CONCEPT & DIRECTION – Grethe Barrett Holby
MUSIC – Glen Roven, Tomás Doncker, Ansel Elgort aka DJ Ansolo
STORY & LIBRETTO – Charles R. Smith, Jr.
ADDITIONAL STORY & LIBRETTO – Beth Gutcheon & Maria Schlatter
ADDITIONAL LYRICS – Frank X Walker
BASKETBALL CHEOREGRAPHY – Marcellus Barksdale
MUSIC DIRECTOR/PRODUCER – Everett McCorvey
LENGTH – 90-100 Minutes
AGE GROUP – All Ages, General Audiences
CAST & INSTRUMENTATION
- 6 Singers – Flight (b), Future (b), Coach (t), Sabrina (s/jazz), Daphne (m), Mrs. Lucas (gospel)
- 1 Spoken Word/Rap Artist – Poet
- 1 Ball Handler-Actor-Singer – Ajax (b)
- 2 Actor-Singer-Basketball Players – Akili (bb), Odell (t)
- 1 Game Announcer (experienced free-styler)
- 6 Excellent Basketball Players who can sing (t, b, bb preferred)
- 1 Alternate/understudy B-Ball player
- 5-8 Female Singers – 3 with Cheerleading experience
- 1 young boy
OPTIONAL CAST: GUEST APPEARANCE ROLES
- 1 Singer (Doctor – mezzo)
- 1 Basketball Coach (with Coaching Experience)
- 1 Pro Basketball Player (Hector the Helicopter)
- 1 Cheerleading Squad or 1-3 Professional Cheerleader (s)
- 1-2 Police Officers (minimal lines)
- 1-2 Basketball Scouts (lines rhythmically spoken to music)
- Touring Band: Keyboard 1 (piano), Keyboard 2 (synth), Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Drum Set
- Many of the rap sequences are performed over composed “beat” tracks
- The basketball games are performed over EDM tracks (These might also be played live by a DJ to follow the games)
- Engaging youth in the process & performance of the work
- Inspiring and uplifting youth and families
- Addressing gun violence in the community
- Alaska Public Media
- Hunter College
- WNYC (Media Partner)
- University of Kentucky
DEVELOPMENT & WORKSHOP PERIOD – 2014 - 2016
WORLD PREMIERE & TOURING – Nov. 2017 - Present
- Basketball Court (indoor or outdoor)
- Sound System
ARDEA ARTS is pleased to announce BOUNCE The Basketball Opera, its latest project under development in partnership with University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. Performed on an actual basketball court, BOUNCE is grounded in contemporary issues facing today’s youth, particularly teen violence. The production, which pairs diverse casting with a fresh approach to arts education, integrates high school students into the world of opera using the powerful medium of basketball.
Basketball is a simple game—get the ball in the hole. But this ‘simple’ game becomes complex when outside forces like money and fame challenge team ethics. Ike “The Flight” Harris, a gifted and ambitious young basketball player, is on the fast track to stardom when his wings are clipped by the actions
of a jealous teammate. Wild rumors circulate and Ike’s world crashes down.
Based on “The Flight of Icarus,” BOUNCE showcases Flight’s fall from grace, interweaving a theme of betrayal with Greek drama, Shakespeare, Carmen, Grease, and hip-hop. How does one rise back up after being knocked down? The answer comes from the game of basketball itself, which ties these disparate elements together to create BOUNCE.
Charles R. Smith, Jr. (Story and Libretto)
Award-winning author, photographer and poet with over thirty books to his credit. Numerous accolades including a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration (2010) for his photographs accompanying the Langston Hughes poem, “My People” and a Coretta Scott King Honor Author Award (2008) for his biography on Muhammad Ali, “Twelve Rounds to Glory.”
Glen Roven (Music)
Composer, lyricist, conductor, pianist; Founder and Artistic Director for Roven Records, distributed worldwide by Naxos; twelve-time Emmy Award nominee and four-time Emmy Award winner; collaborated with Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Aretha Franklin, Renee Fleming, Kathleen Battle and hundreds of other celebrities for film, television, Broadway, Carnegie Hall and many other international venues and orchestras.
Tomás Doncker (Composer)
Composer, producer. Guitarist for James Chance & The Contortions, Defunkt, J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz. Collaborated with Bootsy Collins, Yoko Ono, The Itals, & Prince Charles Alexander. Current projects with Ivan Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Meshell Ndegeocello, Living Colour’s Corey Glover, P-Funk keyboardist Amp Fiddler Shamekia Copeland, & Bill Laswell.
Grethe Barrett Holby (Concept & Direction)
Directed/choreographed at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, La Scala, and opera companies across the US. Original cast member of Einstein on the Beach; collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, Lou Reed, Robert Wilson and Yusef Komunyakaa; founder of Ardea Arts, Family Opera Initiative and American Opera Projects. A Rockefeller Fellowship recipient, she holds a B.S. and M.S. from MIT.
Everett McCorvey (Producer/Music Director)
Professor of Voice, OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies, and director and executive producer of the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre; artistic director of the National Chorale, New York City; director of the American Spiritual Ensemble; vice-chair of the Kentucky Arts Council. Professional Credits: the Kennedy Center, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Communale (Italy), Radio Music City Hall.
Beth Gutcheon (Additional Story and Libretto)
Beth Gutcheon has ten novels in print. Her eleventh will be published by Morrow / HarperCollins in March of 2018. She is also a vested member of the Writers Guild of America, with some dozen studio feature screenplays to her credit, as well as the narration for the documentary Children of Theatre Street, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
Frank X Walker (Additional Lyrics)
Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is a founder of the Affrilachian Poets and the author of nine collections of poetry including, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, he is the originator of the word, Affrilachia. The Lannan Poetry Fellowship Award recipient has degrees from UK and Spalding University as well as four honorary doctorates from the University of KY, Spalding University, Centre College, and Transylvania University.
Ansel Elgort / DJ Ansolo (Basketball EDM Tracks)
A DJ and Electronic Dance Music Producer, Ansolo has performed in major EDM concert venues and festivals around the world including Bangkok, Korea, the Philippines, Las Vegas, and NYC including Pasha, Electric Zoo, TomorrowWorld, Life in Color, and Ultra Music Festival in Japan, Bali and Miami. He is signed with Island Records and is a graduate of LaGuardia Arts High School here in New York City.
Marcellus Barksdale (Director of Community Engagement & Basketball Choreography)
A native of Lexington, KY, Marcellus continually serves his community through various efforts such as youth sports coaching, mentoring and volunteering with local nonprofit organizations. Currently in the beginning stages of living the dream as both a professional athlete, speaker and writer, Marcellus has always dreamed to positively inspire others through creativity. As such, Marcellus is proud and honored to have the opportunity to be an intricate piece of the Ardea Arts creative team.
LEXINGTON, KY, OCT 2017
In anticipation of the November premiere, BOUNCE partnered with Lexington, KY area organizations and schools to offer community engagement workshops in a collaborative effort to help introduce and expose youth to theatre and music through the game of basketball. The workshops allowed youth to learn basketball dribbling fundamentals, gain basic theatre and music knowledge, combine the two elements of art and sport to express their creativity, and most importantly, have the chance to better understand the complexities of growing up in today’s world. The workshop was led by BOUNCE cast members and consisted of:
- Basketball dribbling drills
- Music and theatre terminology
- Discussions about gun violence, decision making, and overcoming adversity
- Sharing the individual stories and experiences of cast members
EAST FLATBUSH, BROOKLYN, NY, JUN 2016
Ardea Arts presented Showcase Performances of BOUNCE The Basketball Opera at Paerdegat Park in East Flatbush, Brooklyn in June 2016. BOUNCE The Basketball Opera is grounded in pressing issues facing today’s audiences. Pairing diverse casting with a fresh approach to arts engagement, local high school students working along side seasoned professionals are integrated into the production using the powerful medium of basketball. They become the basketball players, the cheerleaders and Flight’s classmates and teammates. Local and national community leaders also play a number of the adult roles.
KAISER PARK, BROOKLYN, NY, SEPT 2014
Ardea Arts, in partnership with the City Parks Foundation presented Bounce: The Basketball Performance Event for children age 10-18 and their families, at Kaiser Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn on Sunday, September 14, 2014. Kids enjoyed a ball handling workshop, a performance of words and music by noted performers, and got the chance to be filmed showing off their basketball skills and expressing their creativity.
Events related to BOUNCE: The Basketball Opera received funding from OPERA America's Opera Fund.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
WORKSHOPS & SHOWCASES