Inspired by the Chautauquas of the late 19th and early twentieth centuries, the NTUSA's Chautauqua! both narrated and embodied in its performance the historical trajectory of the original Chautauqua movement - from its high-minded ideals on the emancipatory power of knowledge to what some saw as its capitulation to capital, show-biz aesthetics and debased economic exchange. But more than an exercise in historical exegesis, the show explored contemporary tensions between art, commerce and community in the specific venues in which we performed. With substantial portions of the show rewritten for each locale, and the inclusion of local lecturers and performers wherever we toured, Chautauqua! was ultimately a celebration of art and art institutions in their capacity to bring communities together.
Written by James Stanley and Normandy Sherwood
Directed by Yehuda Duenyas
Original Songs by Jesse Hawley
Designed by NTUSA
Lights by Ben Kato
Sound by Drengas
Stage Managed by Jamie Peterson
Featuring: Ilan Bachrach, Jesse Hawley, Matt Kalman, Ean Sheehy, Normandy Sherwood and James Stanley
"The utterly original original downtown outfit National Theater of the United States of America... turn this bizarre footnote in American history into a timely, beautiful meditation on the relationship between the arts, urbanity, community and economics."
"Inspired and audacious... a kind of shotgun wedding between vaudeville and the avant-garde."
"As sophisticated and pointed as NTUSA's previous endeavors, and also more moving and sentimental.