Share
January Events at UMS — including No Safety Net
 
ums.org
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
JANUARY EVENTS AT UMS
 

UMS Kicks Off No Safety Net 2.0 in January
Groundbreaking Theater Festival Explores Contemporary Social Issues through Performance and Free Community Events

On Masculinity and Internet Radicalization

Tania El Khoury's As Far as My Fingertips Take Me
On the Refugee Crisis

Half Straddle's Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription
On Patriotism, Interrogation, and Whistle-Blowing

The Minnesota Orchestra Performs Sibelius at Hill Auditorium
Featuring violinist Elina Vähälä and the UMS Choral Union

Martin Katz's What's in a Song Returns to Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre

UMS and the Michigan Theater to Screen Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag and Arthur Miller's All My Sons

Read on for more details about these events.

Contact Mallory Shea for additional information or to request interviews with UMS touring artists or staff. Press images are always available at
ums.org/press, or they can be downloaded by clicking the respective "Press Photos" buttons below.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mallory Shea

Learn More
Just Announced!
HD Broadcast: National Theatre, London

Fleabag

Written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Directed by Vicky Jones

Tuesday, January 7 // 7 pm
Michigan Theater

The hilarious, award-winning, one-woman show that inspired the BBC’s hit TV series, Fleabag is written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and directed by Vicky Jones. This rip-roaring look at some sort of woman living her sort of life is a monologue that follows the central character Fleabag over three days as her life unravels.

Fleabag may seem oversexed, emotionally unfiltered, and self-obsessed, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. With family and friendships under strain and a guinea pig café struggling to keep afloat, Fleabag suddenly finds herself with nothing to lose.

Co-presented with the Michigan Theater.

Learn More
Hugo Wolf’s Complete Mörike Songs
Martin Katz and Friends
What’s in a Song

Sarah Shafer, soprano
Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano
Daniel McGrew, tenor
Jesse Blumberg, baritone
Martin Katz, piano

Part 1: Friday, January 10 // 8 pm
Part 2: Sunday, January 12 // 4 pm
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre

Martin Katz, Earl V. Moore Collegiate Professor in Music at the University of Michigan, returns with a special edition of What's in a Song to bring Hugo Wolf's cycle of 53 Mörike songs to life over two concerts.

Although Hugo Wolf composed in other forms, his fame rests almost entirely on his songs. In just a few months in 1888, the Austrian composer wrote 53 songs set to the poetry of Eduard Mörike, a German author whose work focused on idyllic scenes of nature and delightful fairytales. Wolf’s music perfectly matches the verbal rhythm and vocal inflections of the poetry, with an emotional insight that makes each song a reincarnation of the poem in another medium.

VOCALIST BIOS:
After receiving both her Bachelor’s and Master’s from the esteemed Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia based soprano Sarah Shafer made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2018 performing the role of Azema in Handel’s Semiramide. She frequently appears as a principal artist with Opera Philadelphia where she will sing Iris in Semele this season. Ms. Shafer has been heard performing Schumann and Brahms lieder at Carnegie Hall in collaboration with pianist Richard Goode.

The British born Canadian mezzo-soprano Susan Platts has sung with a number of the top symphonies around the world, including Houston, Detroit, and Toronto. In addition to oratorio, she has been featured in opera performances at Covent Garden, the Royal Opera House, and Teatro alla Scala. Platts was selected from a pool of international candidates in 2004 to study with Jessye Norman, who went on to become one of Platts's most esteemed mentors until she passed away earlier this year.

Jesse Blumberg frequents as a soloist with the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) Orchestra, which earned him a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Opera Recording. A U-M alumnus, Blumberg was featured in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera and has also been heard in leading roles at the Pittsburgh and Atlanta Operas.

Daniel McGrew is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Michigan. He has recently been seen as the title role in the University’s productions of Bernstein’s Candide, and Charpentier’s La descente d'Orphée aux enfers. This past summer, he made his debut at the Marlboro Music Festival. As a two-time Tanglewood Music Center alum, McGrew has been mentored by Dawn Upshaw, Sanford Sylvan, and Stephanie Blythe.

Exclusive Presenting Sponsor (Friday): Maurice and Linda Binkow Vocal and Chamber Arts Endowment Fund
Presenting Sponsor (Sunday): Doris and Herbert E. Sloan Endowment Fund
Supporting Sponsor (Sunday): UMS Sustaining Directors
Media Partner: WRCJ 90.9 FM

Learn More
HD Broadcast
All My Sons

By Arthur Miller
Starring Sally Field and Bill Pullman
Directed by Jeremy Herrin

Sunday, January 19 // 7 pm
Michigan Theater

Academy Award-winner Sally Field (Steel Magnolias, Lincoln) and Bill Pullman (The Sinner, Independence Day) star in Arthur Miller’s blistering drama.

In 1947 America, Joe and Kate Keller are a success story, despite hard choices and even harder knocks. They have built a home, raised two sons, and established a thriving business. But nothing lasts forever, and their contented lives — already shadowed by the loss of their eldest boy to war — are about to shatter. With the return of a figure from the past, long-buried truths are forced to the surface, and the price of the American dream is laid bare.

A co-production from The Old Vic and Headlong. Co-presented with the Michigan Theater.

 
Learn More
Minnesota Orchestra

Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Elina Vähälä, violin
Sassa Åkervall, speaker
UMS Choral Union

Saturday, January 25 // 8 pm
Hill Auditorium

The Minnesota Orchestra returns for its first UMS performance since its 1972 debut, with its celebrated music director Osmo Vänskä. Vänskä has a special affinity for Nordic repertoire and especially the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, an aspiring violinist turned composer who is regarded as a national hero in his native land.

The all-Sibelius program features Snöfrid (Snowy Peace), with its Finnish score performed by the UMS Choral Union. US-born Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä makes her UMS debut with Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, which alternates showy technical brilliance with uncommonly beautiful melodies. The composer's fifth symphony rounds out the program with its iconic, swan-inspired motif and epic finale.


ALL-SIBELIUS PROGRAM:
Snöfrid (Snowy Peace), Op. 29
Violin Concerto in d minor, Op. 47
Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 82

Presenting Sponsors: Frances Mauney Lohr Choral Union Endowment Fund and KLA
Supporting Sponsors: Gerald (Jay) and Christine Zelenock, James and Nancy Stanley, and the UMS Medical Community Endowment Fund
Media Partners: WRCJ 90.9 FM, WGTE 91.3 FM, and Michigan Radio 91.7 FM

NO SAFETY NET 2.0

UMS is pleased to present No Safety Net 2.0, a three-week festival of three provocative theater productions plus a one-on-one installation performance, all of which foster timely conversations around topical social themes. The festival will be held January 22–February 9, 2020 on the University of Michigan campus and features 20 staged public performances, two school day performances, and opportunities for open dialogue and conversation with artists and other audience members.

Read on for more details. Additional information about No Safety Net performances, related events, and resources is available at ums.org/nosafetynet.

Learn More
No Safety Net
The Believers Are But Brothers

Written and performed by Javaad Alipoor
Co-directed by Kirsty Housley

Wednesday, January 22 // 7:30 pm
Thursday, January 23 // 7:30 pm
Friday, January 24 // 8 pm
Saturday, January 25 // 8 pm
Sunday, January 26 // 2 pm (Added Performance)
Arthur Miller Theatre

A No Safety Net Production

No Safety Net 2.0 opens with five performances of The Believers Are But Brothers. In this production, writer and performer Javaad Alipoor explores an electronic maze of fantasists, meme culture, 4chan, the alt-right, and ISIS through the eyes of young men who find themselves burning with resentment, without the money, power, and sex they think they deserve.

This multimedia show weaves together stories of three disaffected men and their journeys to radicalization, exploring the smoke and mirrors world of online extremism, anonymity, and hate speech.

This production contains adult themes. As part of the performance, audiences will be invited to join a private WhatsApp group chat for the show (optional, but will enhance the experience). The chat will be deleted after each performance.

RELATED EVENTS


Post-Performance Artist Q&A
Wednesday, January 22
Held after the opening night performance and featuring creator Javaad Alipoor, director Kirsty Housley, U-M Professor of Information Clifford Lampe, U-M Professor of History and American Culture Alexandra Stern, and U-M Professor of American Culture and Screen Arts and Director of the Digital Studies Institute Lisa Nakamura.

Post-Performance Community Dialogues
After each non-opening night performance
After each non-opening night performance, UMS will provide a space for audience members to reflect on, discuss, and analyze the performance they've just experienced. Conversations will be guided by experienced facilitators from the community, including Sharman Spieser, Equity Consultant and Community Collaborator.

Workshop: How to Become An Internet Troll
Saturday, January 25, 4–5:30 pm // Pierpont Commons

This workshop shows common trolling techniques, including the mechanisms behind different types of conflicts that can happen between users online. We’ll show how people create memes to insult others, find information for doxing, and construct posts to inflame anger in others. The goal is to raise overall awareness of how these processes operate and increase your ability to resist these attacks yourself. Led by U-M Professor of Information Clifford Lampe.

School Day Performances of The Believers Are But Brothers
Two special performances for high school students who are participating in an extended theater residency with teaching artists and Javaad Alipoor. Private performances for these two high schools only; the high school classrooms will then produced their own devised work exploring related themes.

Presenting Sponsor: U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Funded in Part By: William Davidson Foundation
, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the British Council.
Educational programs for No Safety Net 2.0 are funded in part by the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Media Partners: WDET 101.9 FM, Between The Lines and Metro Times

Learn More
No Safety Net
As Far As My Fingertips Take Me

Created by Tania El Khoury
Performed by Basel Zaraa

Institute for the Humanities Gallery (Ann Arbor): January 24-February 2
Arab American National Museum (Dearborn): February 4-9

A one-on-one installation performance held at the Institute for the Humanities Gallery and the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, As Far As My Fingertips Take Me is an encounter through a gallery wall between an audience member and a refugee.

Artist Tania El Khoury commissioned musician and street artist Basel Zaraa, born a Palestinian refugee in Syria, to create a narrative inspired by the journey his sisters made from Damascus to Sweden, with a goal of helping others understand the effect of border discrimination on people’s lives. One at a time, audience members listen to the refugee’s story through headphones, while the refugee draws his journey on the audience member’s arm. The Washington Post said, "I left with a feeling of having established a firmer link to a crisis that is overwhelming to contemplate."

In addition to the performances, Tania El Khoury’s video and sound exhibition featuring the daily lives of Syrian refugees in Munich, Stories of Refuge, will be on display at the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities Gallery, opening January 23.

Presenting Sponsor: U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Funded in Part By: William Davidson Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs.
Educational programs for No Safety Net 2.0 are funded in part by the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Media Partners: WDET 101.9 FM, Between The Lines and Metro Times

Learn More
No Safety Net
Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription

Conceived and directed by Tina Satter / Half Straddle
Performed by Becca Blackwell, Emily Davis, Pete Simpson, and T.L. Thompson

Wednesday, January 29 // 7:30 pm
Thursday, January 30 // 7:30 pm
Friday, January 31 // 8 pm
Saturday, February 1 // 8 pm
Sunday, February 2 // 2 pm (Added Performance)
Arthur Miller Theatre

In June 2017, a 25-year-old former Air Force linguist named Reality Winner was surprised at her home by the FBI, interrogated, and then charged with leaking top-secret evidence of Russian interference in our voting system to the media. She’s in jail now, sentenced in August 2018 to a five-year, three-month prison sentence.

Conceived as a play and directed by Tina Satter, Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription takes the unedited script of the interrogation and turns it into theater, revealing a verbal dance between the knife-sharp Reality and the FBI agents who arrived at her home unannounced. As Reality’s autonomy shrinks before her eyes, a simmering real-life thriller emerges, offering vital considerations of access, language, power, patriotism, and honor at this particularly loaded American moment.

Is This A Room was a New York Times Critic's Pick and was included in the publication's list for the Best Theater of 2019.

RELATED EVENTS


Post-Performance Artist Q&A
Wednesday, January 29

Held after the opening night performance and featuring creator and director Tina Satter, U-M Professor from Practice in Law Barbara McQuade, retired FBI agent Gregory Stejskal, moderated by Brian Willen, partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and adjunct professor of law at the U-M Law School.

Post-Performance Community Dialogues
After each non-opening night performance
After each non-Opening Night performance, UMS will provide a space for audience members to reflect on, discuss, and analyze the performance they've just experienced. Conversations will be guided by experienced facilitators from the community, including Sharman Spieser, Equity Consultant and Community Collaborator.

Panel Discussion: Reality Winner, Russian Election Meddling, and the Future of America
Friday, January 31, 6:307:30 pm // Pierpont Commons
J. Alex Halderman, Director of the U-M Center for Computer Safety and Society and U-M Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, was one of the experts that the Intercept called upon to comment about the information that Reality Winner leaked prior to her arrest. He sits down for a pre-performance conversation with journalist Kevin Gosztola, who is also the co-host of the weekly podcast "Unauthorized Disclosure." Moderated by Brian Willen.

Reality Now: A Discussion with Reality Winner’s Mother
Saturday, February 1, 4–5:30 pm // Pierpont Commons
Billie Winner-Davis shares her experience of Reality’s arrest and updates on her current status, along with journalist Kevin Gosztola, moderated by U-M Associate Professor of Theatre & Drama Ashley Lucas.

Presenting Sponsor: U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Funded in Part By: William Davidson Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs.
Educational programs for No Safety Net 2.0 are funded in part by the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Media Partners: Between The Lines and Metro Times

Learn More
No Safety Net
White Feminist

Written and performed by Lee Minora
Directed by Alice Yorke

Monday-Thursday, February 3-6 // 7:30 pm
Friday, February 7 // 8 pm
Saturday, February 8 // 2 pm (Added Performance) & 8 pm
Sunday, February 9 // 2 pm & 6 pm (Added Performance)
Duderstadt Video Studio

Gender and privilege collide in Lee Minora’s White Feminist. As the host of a morning talk show, "Becky’s Time," Minora skewers and dissects the failings of non-intersectional feminism, putting the #metoo movement, liberal guilt, and fake celebrity apologies on trial, and unearthing inadequacy and ineffectiveness in the face of social inequality with both cunning and charm. Teetering between oppressed and oppressor, Minora takes everyone to task, including herself, with a smile on her face and middle fingers in the air.

RELATED EVENTS


Post-Performance Artist Q&A
Monday, February 3

Held after the opening night performance and featuring Lee Minora and Alice Yorke.

Post-Performance Community Dialogues
After each non-opening night performance
After each non-opening night performance, UMS will provide a space for audience members to reflect on, discuss, and analyze the performance they've just experienced. Conversations will be guided by experienced facilitators from the community, including Sharman Spieser, Equity Consultant and Community Collaborator.


Girl Talk: Race, Comedy and Feminism Now
Saturday, February 8 // 4–5:30 pm // Pierpont Commons
Asia Marie Hicks, Johanna Medranda, and Tiffany Baxi, all Detroit-area women comics, take to the stage to share their work and talk about their personal experiences as women of color in comedy today.

Presenting Sponsor: U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Funded in Part By: William Davidson Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs.
Educational programs for No Safety Net 2.0 are funded in part by the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Media Partners: Between The Lines and Metro Times

No Safety Net
Additional Festival-Related Events & Resources
No Safety Net Opening Talk by Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis
Presented as part of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series. Thursday, January 16 at 5 pm, Michigan Theater.

Active Bystander Training
Workshop presented by Ann Arbor’s Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice to train people on how to become more supportive, empathetic, and active bystanders in everyday life, stepping in to help those who experience anything from police brutality to micro-aggressions in office settings. $30, Saturday, January 25 from 10 am – 3 pm, Pierpont Commons.

No Safety Net Podcast Series
Hosted by UMS Programming Manager Mary Roeder, this three-part podcast series features interviews with the creators of The Believers Are But Brothers, Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription, and White Feminist. Listen at: no-safety-net.simplecast.com
 
 
 
 
734.764.2538
 
ums.org
ums.org
 
2014 National Medal of Arts recipient

University Musical Society
Burton Memorial Tower
881 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1011
United States