In this interview with Extended Play, members of the original cast of "This Beautiful City" talk about the show's origins, Michael Friedman's legacy and the bittersweet experience of recording the new album.
This episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the second of three culled from “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015.
This episode includes monologues and a song crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing.
First up, Jennifer Morris and Irene Lucio portray two women on the curatorial staff of the American wing, talking about Mary Cassatt’s “Portrait of the Artist.”
Next, Morris — still portraying a Met Museum curator — introduces Winslow Homer’s painting “Dressing for Carnival.” April Matthis then plays a visitor to the museum who responds to the piece. She sings a song called “Never” by Kirsten Childs.
Finally, actor Cindy Cheung plays a museum technician talking about moving pieces of art around the gallery. She discusses Homer’s painting “Veteran in a New Field.”
“The Way They Lived” was performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 15 and 16, 2015. Mia Rovegno directed a cast that included Damian Baldet, Jordan Barbour, Kyle Beltran, Cindy Cheung, Irene Lucio, April Matthis, Grace McLean, Jennifer Morris, Tanis Parenteau, Monica Salazar and Rona Siddiqui. The piece featured songs by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Erato A. Kremmyda, Grace McLean, Lady Rizo and Yair Evnine, Kirsten Childs, Michael Friedman, Rona Siddiqui and Ty Defoe.