Sufjan Stevens‘ 2005 concept album ‘Illinois’ is being turned into a musical, with its first run confirmed for this year.
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The new show will premiere this summer as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Bard College’s Fisher Center in New York.
A synopsis of the production, which features music and lyrics penned by Stevens and script written by Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury, reads: “Featuring new arrangements of the entire album for a live band and three voices — ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics — Illinois will lead us on a mighty journey through the American heartland, from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos.
“Tony Award-winner Justin Peck transforms the album into a full-length theatrical performance with a cast of virtuosic dancers, singers, and musicians in a narrative crafted with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury.”
The show will come to Bard from June 23 to July 2 and you can buy tickets here.
A few years back, Sufjan Stevens called for every band to break up after ten years together in his end-of-year roundup for 2021.
Writing on Tumblr, Stevens listed his favourite and least favourite albums of 2021 – even though most of the entries aren’t actual albums, and a majority of those that are, weren’t released this year.
Topping Stevens’ list of the worst albums of 2021 was Netflix’s hit show Squid Game. “I didn’t actually see it but it looks really stupid,” he wrote before giving it a score of F-.
Also on Steven’s list of his least favourite albums was The Matrix 4 (“Ugh. Computers. Hackers. Cyberpunks. Simulated Reality. The ’90s. The color green”), Dune (“A very long Zara ad”) and everything Marvel have released, with Stevens explaining that “if it’s on Disney+, it’s for children”.
As for music, Stevens isn’t a fan of the ‘90s revival (“Please. It was bad enough the first time around”), musicals (“Please stop singing and dancing”) or Adele’s latest album ‘30’. “Girl, please. We know you’re 33. It’s on your Wikipedia page,” he wrote.
He’s also set to feature on ‘First Two Pages Of Frankenstein’, the new album from The National, alongside other collaborations with Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers.