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Bard's Authentic Belgian Spiegeltent Returns for SummerScape 2007, July 5-August 19

Mark Primoff




Annandale-on-Hudson, NY – With the opening of the 2007 SummerScape festival on Thursday, July 5, Bard will bring back the authentic, one-of-a-kind Belgian Spiegeltent that was such a sensation when it was introduced last season – the first time one of these fabled Old World structures appeared in America. The Spiegeltent is a hand-hewn pavilion lined with mirrors built around a theater “in the round”: the type of venue from which Marlene Dietrich sang songs like “Falling in Love Again” in the 1930s. With its ballooning velvet canopies, ornate bars, teak dance floors, and intimate booths (all offering equal access to the action), Bard’s Spiegeltent will present a dazzling array of entertainment throughout the festival, as well as providing a meeting place for drink, food, and celebration.

Playing host to four resident companies, the Spiegeltent will be the showplace for new commissions of dance, opera, and a dramatic song cycle, as well as for entertaining examples of contemporary cabaret and Family Fare. A gala dance party in the Spiegeltent will follow SummerScape’s opening night performance by Doug Varone and Dancers on July 5. Then, on July 6, Susan Marshall and Company will give the first of eight performances of Sawdust Palace, a new work commissioned for SummerScape specifically for Bard’s Spiegeltent.

Ken Roht and his Orphean Circus are back at Bard this year to take charge of Spiegeltent festivities. Dubbed “a demented blend of low-budget Ziegfeld Follies and an earth-bound Cirque du Soleil,” Roht’s Orphean Circus is a surreal music/dance theater – a colorful pageant of costumed performers with a dash of the German expressionist avant-garde. Roht, who will act as Emcee, is a beloved Los Angeles-based performer, who is known and highly acclaimed around the country for his enticing blend of art and spectacle.

Performers and groups appearing this summer include Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Iva Bittová, Martin Creed, the Deedle Deedle Dees, Dzul Dance, Goat on a Boat, Trio Loco, Professor Louie and The Crowmatix, Susan Marshall and Company, Ken Roht, AudraRox, Carl Hancock Rux, Orphean Circus, Slavic Soul Party, and the Wau-Wau Sisters.

Along with sensational cabaret, musical, and late-night performances, the Spiegeltent offers perfect casual summer food, featuring the best the Hudson Valley offers. From burgers made of locally raised beef to specialty entrees, salads, desserts, and libations from the finest regional farms, vineyards, and breweries, the fare at the Spiegeltent is sure to please all palates. Seating is available indoors and out.

Thursdays through Sundays, July 5–August 19: Dining from 5:30–7:30 pm; Cabaret at 8:30 pm; and, at night from 10 pm, it’s the free-admission SpiegelClub, hosted by DJ Bryant ‘Drew’ Andrews, artistic director of Creative Energy Productions in Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday and Sunday afternoons: Family Fare, Cabaret, and more. General admission seating for Cabaret events is $25 unless otherwise indicated.


Susan Marshall and Company
“Watching Marshall’s choreography ... I’ve been profoundly moved by the emotional resonance she coaxes from the simplest movements and patterns.” – Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice
A choreographer of the intimate exchange and the almost-unnoticed gesture, MacArthur “genius” Susan Marshall, with her dance company, has bewitched audiences for 20 years. Now, in Sawdust Palace, a new work commissioned for SummerScape, Marshall takes on new challenges: dancing in the round for the first time, and becoming the first choreographer to sculpt a site-specific work for the Spiegeltent. She will be working alongside the same dancers who featured in her recent Bessie Award-winning dance, Cloudless. Like that work, Sawdust Palace will be a series of dances drawn from the travails and serendipitous moments of everyday life; unlike it, however, in honor of both the Spiegeltent and Edward Elgar (who wrote popular music for music halls), this time Marshall also incorporates elements of burlesque, cabaret, and vaudeville, distilled into her own distinctive language of human gesture.

July 6, 8, 12, 14, and 15 at 8:30 pm; July 7, 8, and 14 at 3:30 pm

Tickets: $35

Martin Creed

Martin Creed, British conceptual artist and Turner Prize-winner, offers a one-night-only variety show on Saturday, July 7, at 8:30 pm, in the Spiegeltent. His performance is presented in conjunction with the CCS Bard Hessel Museum opening of the first American survey of his work, which embraces performance, text, music, video, and sculpture.

July 7 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

The CCS/Hessel Museum’s Martin Creed exhibition runs from July 7 to Sept 16, Wed-Sun 1–6 pm.

Iva Bittová

One of the most remarkable personalities in Czech music, avant-garde vocalist-violinist Iva Bittová returns to SummerScape to perform an experimental mix of new music and Moravian folk music.

July 13 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

Orange Star Dinner Show
“Subversive magus Ken Roht and a fabulous service crew dish up a sublime franchise benchmark … the most nourishing spread in town.” – Los Angeles Times, Critic’s Choice
The Orphean Circus’s Orange Star Dinner Show is a music-theater romp set in a surreal Wyoming dinner theater, with sibling rivalry, patriotism, ugly men in drag, murder, broken fingernails – and no sign of dinner. This multimedia spectacle features a raucous, psychedelic mash-up of country, rock, and pop-minimalist music…, and no sign of dinner. Ken Roht is the L.A. cult artist/auteur who directed/choreographed Offenbach!!! at Bard’s 2006 SummerScape.

July 19 and 21, and August 2 at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets: $25

Orphean Circus is produced in association with Bootleg Theatre, LA.

Wau Wau Sisters

Following last year’s packed-to-the-canopies show, the Wau Wau Sisters (Tanya Gagné and Adrienne Truscott) return with more of what the New York Times called their highly “irreverent, sacrilegious, lascivious” brand of vaudeville.

July 20 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

Professor Louie and The Crowmatix

Get in the groove with Professor Louie’s Woodstock ensemble, a great live band that plays “a tasty mix of rhythm & blues and rock & roll.” – Record Review

July 22 at 8:30 pm


Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Following last year’s sold-out run, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus rolls back into town. In fact,

it has set up shop in nearby Hudson and is getting ready to regale SummerScape audiences with its bag of tricks and inventive Victorian Variety Show, rated PG13. Check out Family Fare for bundles of Bindle fun for all ages.

July 27 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

The Elliot Smith Project: Speaking in Clowns

A dramatic song cycle based on Elliott Smith’s From a Basement on a Hill,
conceived and directed by Daniel Fish

Based on Elliott Smith’s album From a Basement on a Hill, this new music theater piece was conceived specifically for the Spiegeltent and inspired by Elliott Smith’s remarkable, posthumously released record. True Love Productions and Daniel Fish (who brought us 2005’s acclaimed Rocket to the Moon), along with a small ensemble of extraordinary performers, transform the privacy, pain, and pop-eccentricity of singer-songwriter Smith’s music into a beautiful and genre-defying theatrical experience.

July 26, 28, and 29, and August 3, 4, and 5 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

Trio Loco: Mark Dziuba, Studio Stu, and Dean Sharp

The eccentric jazz trio takes the best classic jazz and originals and twists them into “jazz unstandards.”  For these three players, nothing is sacred: lyrics are changed at will, familiar tunes put through a fun-house mirror, and yet the music is serious, sophisticated, and uncompromising in its execution. This is an in-tune, out-of-tune, offbeat outfit.

August 4 at 3:30 pm


The Blackamoor Angel

Conceived and written by Carl Hancock Rux, music by Deirdre Murray, directed by Karin Coonrod

A multidisciplinary artist, Carl Hancock Rux incorporates rap, slam poetry, and the oral traditions of 19th-century slaves into his writing. The Blackamoor Angel, his opera collaboration with downtown jazz composer Deirdre Murray, tells the story of Angelo Soliman, an African in 18th-century Vienna and friend of Mozart’s, via the performance of a Weimar-era traveling circus. The opera probes the secrets of the Moor’s relationship to Mozart, his involvement in Mozart’s final operas (the character of Monostatos, in The Magic Flute, was based on Soliman), his mysterious death, and the reason for the heinous postmortem display of his body in Austria’s Imperial Naturalienkabinett (Natural History Gallery).

August 9, 10, 17, and 18 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

Special support for this program has been provided by The New York State Music Fund.

Dzul Dance
“Javier Dzul sent people twisting and turning with remarkable elasticity.” – New York Times
Dzul Dance fuses ritual and modern dance with daring aerial maneuvers, transforming bodies into earthbound and airborne forces of nature. The company offers an exciting and unique intermarriage of forms, using intense physicality, innovative partnering, and amazing aerial work to bring pre-Hispanic culture to life.
August 11 and 12 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

God Bless the Music Hall

Where better to relive the experience of the 19th-century British music hall tradition than the Spiegeltent?  Music hall stages were populated by colorful entertainers who presented saucy songs and dances, and by specialty acts such as stilt-walkers, escapologists, and cyclists. Characters such as the dandified “toff” or “swell” sang of “Champagne Charlie” and the good life, while others would tell the audience to “Pack up Your Troubles” and forget the realities of war. But not all was lighthearted: later in the century the music hall would resound with songs that fired imperialist enthusiasm. Many of the forms first encountered in the music hall linger on, and we invite you to rediscover their origins.

August 16 at 8:30 pm

Tickets: $25

Bard Music Festival Closing Night: Slavic Soul Party!
“Fiery Gypsy brass, soulful Balkan anthems, and hip-grinding American funk [as] brash and strong as slivovitz”      – New York Times
The New York City musicians who make up Slavic Soul Party mix Balkan music with American jazz and soul and brass-band music from diverse immigrant backgrounds.
August 19 at 8:30 pm



Thursday–Sunday at 10 pm


Offering a late-night bar with music and dancing, the SpiegelClub is the region’s most exhilarating summer gathering place, where audiences and artists can meet over a drink or a casual bite and enjoy SummerScape evenings at Bard. Join Ken Roht and his Orphean Circus for an eclectic mix of music and infectious fun, in a venue unlike any other. Music will be provided by DJ Bryant 'Drew ' Andrews.


Saturday and Sunday (check schedule)

Tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for children aged twelve and under


Singer/songwriter and music educator Audra Tsanos has been rocking out with New York City families for the past eight years. AudraRox, her high-energy kid-rock band, is made up of six professional musicians, (mostly) moms and dads, who perform insightful, original songs that tackle everything from lost shoes and broken toys to sugar highs and short attention spans with a wry wit that appeals equally to children and their parents.

July 15 at 1 pm and 3:30 pm

Orphean Circus

These L.A.-based creators of progressive music-theater will show young people of all ages how they do it. The hands-on workshop includes performances by Orphean Circus, and voice and movement exercises for willing participants; it culminates in the creation of a wildly creative, audience-generated, music-theater piece.

July 21 at 3:30 pm; July 22 at 1 pm and 3:30 pm

Orphean Circus is produced in association with Bootleg Theatre.

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus brings together elements of circus, sideshow, vaudeville, and cabaret to provide a stage for some of the most talented performing artists in the world. Jugglers, clowns, acrobats, and trapeze artists share the stage with musicians, magicians, dancers, daredevils, and more. Fun for all!

July 28 at 3:30 pm; July 29 at 1 pm and 3:30 pm

Goat on a Boat

Puppet theater comes alive with the Chicken Show, brought to you by Goat on a Boat theater company’s hilariously cute puppets. Find out how, with the help of her friends, Henrietta the Singing Chicken escapes the stew pot and learns to believe in herself and make her dreams come true. For children aged eight and under.

August 5 at 1 pm and 3:30 pm

The Deedle Deedle Dees

Question: Who are the Deedle Deedle Dees, aka Booker Dee, Innocent Dee, Otto von Dee, and Ulysses S. Dee?  Answer: A Brooklyn-based rock band for kids (and smart adults) who entertain audiences with historically inspired songs (“Nellie Bly”) as well as sillier numbers (“Vegetarian Tyrannosaurus Rex”).

August 12 at 1 pm and 3:30 pm


July 5        Bard SummerScape 2007 opens with Doug Varone and Dancers

July 6         First of eight performances by Susan Marshall and Company

July 12        First of eight performances of Shaw’s Saint Joan

July 27      First of five performances of the Zemlinsky opera double bill

Aug 3         First of eight performances of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer

Aug 10 – 12     Bard Music Festival: “Elgar and his World” – Weekend One

Aug 17 – 19     Bard Music Festival: “Elgar and his World” – Weekend Two


For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, phone the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit

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This event was last updated on 08-20-2007