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World Premiere

The Night Falls

Book and lyrics by Karen Russell | Music and lyrics by Ellis Ludwig-Leone
Choreographed and directed by Troy Schumacher


A dance-driven blend of opera, music, and theater set within a kitschy Floridian roadside attraction.

A new myth for our fractured era, choreographed and directed by Troy Schumacher (NYC Ballet and BalletCollective), with book and lyrics by Karen Russell (Swamplandia!), music and lyrics by Ellis Ludwig-Leone (San Fermin), staged for nine dancers, eight singers, and a chamber music ensemble.

All across America, people on the brink of despair begin to have the same nightmare. A song will not leave their heads. This dangerously beautiful music lures lost souls to a kitschy Floridian roadside attraction built around a sublime grotto, “home of the world’s eeriest echoes” and the concert hall of The Sirenettes. With choreography that dramatizes the leap of empathy between bodies and music that channels the polarities of surrender and resistance, The Night Falls shows the visceral power of art to brace us against the abyss.

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Karen Russell (book/lyrics) A native of Miami, Russell won the 2012 and the 2018 National Magazine Award for fiction, and her first novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2012 Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and was a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2013. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, The New York Times, and the Best American Short Stories anthologies, and honored by the National Book Award’s 5 under 35 program and the New Yorker’s 20 under 40″ issue. Russell is also the author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, and Sleep Donation: A Novella, and the forthcoming story collection Orange World. She lives with her husband and son in Portland, Oregon.

Ellis Ludwig-Leone (music/lyrics) is the songwriter and bandleader for San Fermin, which has released three albums on Downtown/Interscope Records and has toured extensively, with appearances on Last Call with Carson Daly, CBS This Morning, and Canal + Music. The band has received critical praise from the likes of NPR, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and more. He has composed for a wide variety of ensembles and soloists, including ACME, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, The Crossing, Decoda, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Lavinia Meijer, Het Gelders Orkest, NOW Ensemble, and Simone Dinnerstein. He was named the 2015 Composer-In-Residence for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and is a recipient of residencies from The MacDowell Colony and Banff Centre for the Arts. His work with Troy Schumacher has been premiered by the New York City Ballet. Current projects include a new musical commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre, directed by Diane Paulus.

Troy Schumacher (director/choreographer) is a Bessie-nominated American choreographer, dancer, and director living in New York, NY. His athletic aesthetic draws upon the artists he collaborates with to produce fresh, unexpected results. He is a soloist dancer with New York City Ballet and the founder of BalletCollective. He has been dubbed a “visionary artist” by T Magazine and is “one of his generation’s most acclaimed choreographers” (PBS). Schumacher’s work has been presented by New York City Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Performa, Danspace Project, Guggenheim Works & Process, Guggenheim Bilbao, PEAK Performances at Montclair State University, the Joyce Theater, the Savannah Music Festival, and NYU Skirball Center, among others. He has collaborated with many artists including Jeff Koons, Karen Russell, Zaria Forman, Thom Browne, Ken Liu, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, Maddie Ziegler, and David Salle. In addition, to live performances, Schumacher has choreographed numerous art, fashion, and commercial shoots, including works for Google, Sony PlayStation, Capezio, HP, Aritzia, CR Fashion Book, Tom Ford, and The New York Times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schumacher created, directed, and produced the first live world premiere ballets in the US: the one-act Natural History and the full-length Nutcracker at Wethersfield. For more info, visit troyschumacher.com








Developed and co-produced by BalletCollective, Inc.; The American Opera Project; and PEAK Performances at Montclair State University. The Night Falls was developed during a Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals 2018 residency.

This season made possible, in part, by the Alexander Kasser Theater Endowment Fund, PEAK Patrons, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

new jersey arts council


Date: February 9, 2023
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Organizer Name: Arts & Cultural Programming