MARISA MICHELSON is a multi award winning writer of musical theatre, choral works and interdisciplinary music-based pieces, and she is the founder of the newly birthed Marigold Vocal Ensemble. She is also a sought-after voice teacher. Tamar of the River, her experimental musical (written with Joshua H. Cohen) was produced by Prospect Theater in 2013, released as a cast album on Yellow Sound Label in 2014 and hailed as “majestically opulent” (Broadway World), “intriguing…full of unbounded inventiveness” (Playbill). Jesse Green recently called “Tamar of the River” “one of the most extraordinary scores in years” (NY Magazine). Tamar of the River was also produced as a theatrical oratorio for Vince Peterson’s Choral Chameleon. Marisa is recently returned from residencies at MacDowell and Ucross. Marisa is currently composer-in-residence at the Sheen Center, NYC.
Marisa recently created Song of Song of Songs (developed with Ethan Heard, choreography by Chase Brock, Judson Memorial Church, Heartbeat Opera) as one-third of her Desire and Divinity Project, an emobodied musical ritual multimedia meditational exploration of Sappho, Hildegard von Bingen, Heloise D’Argenteuil and Marguerite Porete.
Her community-engaging “earthy and melodic” oratorio, Naamah’s Ark (libretto by Royce Vavrek) was commissioned by Ted Sperling for MasterVoices as part of their inaugural community outreach initiative providing an opportunity for a community to make music regardless of their abilities or backgrounds. Naamah’s Ark premiered on June 5th at Ansche Chesed synagogue in NYC.
Musicals in development include Scheherazade – a musical adaptation of Jason Grote’s acclaimed play, 1001. Scheherazade was workshopped with York Theatre in May 2013 and remains in development with them after previous residencies at Theateworks, Palo Alto, New Dramatists, and Montclair University’s New Works Institute. It is currently in development with NYC’s Prospect Theater Company and will go into production in Spring of 2018.
Marisa composed the music for The Other Room, a 30-minute music-theatre piece scored for voice, cello, piano, and minimal electronics with a libretto by Mark Campbell. “The Other Room,” was commissioned by Paulette Haupt and ran for one month at the Barrow Group Theatre starring Phoebe Strole as Lena, a woman reflecting on her profound love for her friend Steve, during the AIDS crisis in NYC in the 1990s.
Her work has been seen at theaters across the country and internationally, including at the Goetheanum (Dornach, Switzerland), the Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre (VA), the York, New World Stages, the Flea, in people’s homes, and outdoors under the great wide sky.
Awards: Jonathan Larson; American Musical Voices: The Next Generation; St. Botolph Award; Grant to study Indian Hindustani singing in India. Residencies: MacDowell; Ucross; Blue Mountain Center; Theatreworks Palo Alto; New Dramatists; Montclair University; Millkin University.
Marisa sang with Meredith Monk in Songs of Ascension at BAM. Recordings: Tamar of the River (Yellow Sound Label); Broadway Lullaby Project (“All New “ singer: Nikki M. James).
Marisa teaches private voice lessons and has taught voice and/or embodied composition/improvisation workshops at the American Theatre Wing, The Performing Arts Project, The University of the Puget Sound, Millikin University. www.marisamichelson.com