Culture Project in association with
Elisha Wiesel presents
And God Created Great Whales
Created, Composed, Written by Rinde Eckert
Directed by David Schweizer
Conceived by Rinde Eckert, And God Created Great Whales garnered the attention of critics and audiences alike when it premiered at Dance Theatre Workshop in early 2000. The New York Times hailed the piece as “total magic,” while Billboard called it “one of the most strikingly original works to be seen in New York.” After receiving an Obie Award and a Drama Desk nomination, the show was remounted by Culture Project. And God Created Whales has been seen across the country, including at MassMoCa, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Oregon, and Baltimore’s Center Stage. Now, under the original director David Schweizer, and performed by Nora Cole and Rinde Eckert, And God Created Whales returns to its origins to thrill New York audiences once more.
In 1997, The Foundry Theatre in New York City commissioned Rinde Eckert to create a musical interpretation of Moby Dick. The work, And God Created Great Whales, was first workshopped and then presented at PS 122 as a work-in-development during January 2000, receiving its world premiere at Dance Theatre Workshop as a Foundry Theatre production in June 2000. Critical and audience response was extraordinary, including an OBIE Award and a DRAMA DESK nomination. Co-produced with the Culture Project, ...Whales was remounted in July 2000 at 45 Bleecker Street, with an additional New York run, again at Bleecker Street, from November 2001 to January 2002. The Foundry Theatre has toured And God Created Great Whales to MassMoCa (North Adams, MA), the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Oregon, Baltimore’s Center Stage, the Mondavi Center at UC Davis in California, at London’s Barbican Center, and The Bonn Bienalle in Germany.
In September 2009, performed by Nora Cole and Rinde Eckert and again under the direction of David Schweizer, a new workshop of the production exploring a streamlined technical scheme was mounted at the University of Southern California. Through the generosity of Elisha and Lynn Wiesel in December 2011, the production was mounted in this new version and ran for four, invitation-only performances at the Beckett Theatre, followed by a week’s run at REDCAT’s Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Theater in Los Angeles in January 2012.
A special thank you to Melanie Joseph, Artistic Producer of the Foundry Theatre, for her crucial and continuing support.
Photo: Caleb Wertenbaker
And God Created Great Whales is a haunting musical adventure that delves into the psyche of a composer who is trying to create an opera based on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Desperately fighting against a disease that is eating away at his mind, he must rely on a tape recorder to remind him of yesterday’s instructions to himself. Rinde Eckert displays his full creative force in this frenzied, funny, romantic, and moving play.