Theater Professor's New Musical to Premiere at Fringe Festival Sept. 15-24

September 9, 2016

Visiting Assistant Professor César Alvarez continues to redefine the musical theater form with ‘The Elementary Spacetime Show’




“The universe doesn’t care if you live. It just doesn’t want you to die as the result of a false impression.”

From the creator of the 2016 Lortel Award-winning Off-Broadway musical Futurity, comes the world premiere of The Elementary Spacetime Show, a new non-traditional musical premiering at the 2016 Fringe Festival, Sept. 15-24 (preview shows Sept. 10-14). With this new work, a co-presentation between the University of the Arts and FringeArts, César Alvarez, a UArts faculty member, continues to challenge the musical form and explore new ways to produce musicals.

“It’s just so exciting to see this piece come to life on stage with a vaudevillian excellence and an incredible cast, all in the context of the Fringe Festival, which is founded on this idea of challenging convention and thinking about contemporary performance in new ways,” said Alvarez. 

This new musical of up-tempo, genre-bending songs provides a healthy dose of the absurd in the search for why to exist when you no longer want to. Directed by Andrew Neisler, The Elementary Spacetime Show follows a young girl who attempts suicide and wakes up trapped in a cosmic vaudevillian game show that she must win in order to enter the void of death. But the more Alameda wants to die, the harder she has to work – winning means she must confront avatars of scientific truth, ostentatious musical numbers, elaborate dance sequences and acquaint herself with the enigmatic laws of the universe.

Read a BroadwayWorld review >>

“Musicals provide a unique platform to explore difficult topics. ‘Elementary Spacetime’ became a non-judgmental space to explore an incredibly touchy and complicated topic – suicide and depression. With elements of the absurd and humor, the darkness became easier to explore,” Alvarez continued.

During the Polyphone Festival at UArts in 2015, The Elementary Spacetime Show was performed in a concert-style, off-book setting while Alvarez and Neisler continued to mold the work. When this professional show premieres at the University’s Arts Bank Theater, 26 current UArts students will be part of the cast of 31 performers.

“This process has allowed me to ask, ‘What if universities not only developed these new musicals that challenge the musical form, but produced them?’” said Alvarez. “The subject matter of this show lends itself so perfectly to working with students and the talented young actors at UArts have provided the ideal testing ground for fully exploring this new work. It is only natural that these students would be part of the premiere,” continued Alvarez.

The Elementary Spacetime Show was developed with support from the Ars Nova Uncharted Group, Polyphone Festival at the University of the Arts and an Ensemble Studio Theater/Sloan commission.

This event is part of a series celebrating the University's 140th Anniversary.