DESCRIPTION

A series of site-specific operas that adapts to each host community, these shows weave hometown documentation with Squonk’s aural and visual trickery. This meta-civic celebration, with an original score, is a heartfelt toast and a punk-vaudevillian roast. 

We enjoy discovering how each city sees itself, as a whole and within its diverse communities. In having fun with this format of a celebration of the host city, we talk about the broader issues of shared humanity and the need for self-definition. Community is a vital issue and a comic creative challenge, allowing us to explore what makes opera life-like and life operatic…or not.

Wherever we go, there we are.

Created in 2006.

Visit our Store to purchase or download a CD of the music from this production.

REVIEWS

“Show me Baltimore, this show says to the people who live here, and I’ll show you what you’re missing.” - The Baltimore Sun

“a zany but serious look at Charleston…dance, song, cinema and theater – all flavored with a bit of circus.” - The Charleston Gazette

“What one saw and heard blended the clever and the corny, the catchy and the kitschy, but one could not be left unmoved by the content, shaped so that the best about Bloomington, the vitality of its present and the nostalgia engendered by its past, could bask in the spotlight. The memorable and the simply amusing unfolded side by side in panorama fashion” - The Herald-Times

“a healthy dose of civic celebration mingled with a friendly roast of hometown pride… uplifting and completely over-the-top” - Times Union

“noisy, colorful, funny, outrageous” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“a funny, frank and sometimes sentimental ode to Albany…a multimedia extravaganza of music, song, dance and video”- Albany Sunday Gazette

“College Park gets its own opera – finally! – and it’s a doozy!” - Washington Post Express

“They struck out to tailor their opera to any city, anywhere in America. The project was genius, as the 90-minute work is not only portable but relevant to every hometown audience.” - Albany Sunday Gazette

“The result is an unusual 90-minute ode to the Maryland suburb, including but not limited to rock-and-roll, projected videos, aerial footage, dancers and a puppet show. The elements blend together onstage to create a show that is at once playful and polished. A group of six musicians take the stage in tracksuits, pretending to be Olympic athletes at an over-the-top welcome-home ceremony. Then they sit down and play stunning, sophisticated music.” 
- The Washington Post

“a surreal dreamscape, alternately sweet, silly, satiric and cool…with a soulful, driving, melodic score.” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“a quirky, playful, music- and image-driven piece of performance art that offers a nontraditional view of a place you thought you knew” - pittsburgh tribune Review

Videos

TOURING

TOURING HISTORY

NC Blumenthal PAC
Charlotte, NC

Buskirk-Chumley Theater
Bloomington, IN

Busan International Performing Arts Festival
Busan, South Korea

Columbia Festival of the Arts
Columbia, MD

CenterStage
Reston, VA

Baltimore Theatre Project
Baltimore, MD

Raritan Valley Community College
Branchburg, NJ

Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center
Houghton, MI

University at Albany
Albany, NY

Hardin County Schools PAC
Elizabethtown, KY

Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville, IL

Bradford Creative & Performing Arts Center
Bradford, PA

Lively Arts at IUP
Indiana, PA

FestivALL Charleston
Charleston, WV

University of Delaware
Newark, DE

Kelly-Strayhorn Theater
Pittsburgh, PA

First Night St. Louis
St. Louis, MO

South Orange PAC
South Orange, NJ

Shady Side Academy
Pittsburgh, PA

Algonquin Arts Theatre
Manasquan, NJ

Central College
Pella, IA

Delaware Valley Arts Consortium
Kennett Square, PA

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of MD
College Park, MD

Kelly-Strayhorn Theater
Pittsburgh, PA

Photos

Photos by Larry Rippel

ARTISTS

The Artistic Directors
Steve O’Hearn & Jackie Dempsey

The Band
Vocals*
Autumn Ayers

Keyboard & Accordion
Jackie Dempsey

Acoustic & Electronic Percussion
Kevin Kornicki

Flute, Sax, Wind Synth & Manybell Trumpet
Steve O’Hearn

Electric Guitar
David Wallace

Upright & Fretless Bass
Nathan Wilson

The Team
Music
Jackie Dempsey

Design & Staging
Steve O’Hearn

Concept Development
Steve O’Hearn, Jackie Dempsey, Buzz Miller, David Wallace & Rick Kemp

Video Design
Buzz Miller with Steve O’Hearn & David Wallace

Lighting Design
Bob Steineck

Additional Music & Assistant Musical Direction
Kevin Kornicki

Stage Direction
Rick Kemp

Lyrics
Christina Acosta & Jackie Dempsey

Text
Steve O’Hearn, Rick Kemp & Jackie Dempsey

Video Operation
Jessi Sedon-Essad

Sound Engineering
George Powell

Stage Management
Heidi Nagle

Additional Video Design
Bonnie Bogovich, Sara Haig, Dean Mougianis, Jim Mueller, Caroline Savage,
Tanya Stadelmann, Dylan Stern, Cara Thompson

Set & Prop Artists
Sharky Schutte, Chris Letzelter, Demmler Schenck, Elizabeth Rishel, Ben McDonald

Costumes
Candy Callery

Opening Voiceover
Rick Kemp

Steve and Jackie would like to acknowledge everyone involved in this production for their creative contributions, especially the Squonk musicians for adding their own individual flavor to the music, and the designers, builders and technicians who added detail and richness to the production.

*Prior to late 2007, Christina Acosta was the vocalist in our Hometown Opera Series and appears in the videos on this website.