Getting NOWHERE FAST: Sam Tower and BRAT team up for female-fronted rock ‘n’ roll dance theater

Photos by Lendl Tellington
Photos by Lendl Tellington

Sam Tower + Ensemble’s atmospheric neo-noir 901 Nowhere Street was one of the most-discussed shows of the 2015 Fringe Festival. Subverting the male-centric conventions of the hard-boiled detective story, the all-female music-infused piece blurred the lines between tough-talking detective, femme fatale, and damsel in distress.

ST+E have teamed up with Jess Conda and BRAT Productions to produce NOWHERE FAST, a spin­off film noir cabaret for FringeArts’ Late Night Fall Programming November 11 and 17, 2016, at 10:30pm.

As artistic director of BRAT Productions, Jess has led the company into a new era of neo­cabaret and rock music infused work, including The Lid (2015), Three Chord Fiction cabaret (2014), and her own Eternal Glamnation (2013). For NOWHERE FAST, she croons her own juicy brand of jazzy, gritty rock vocals alongside a cast of up­and­coming Philly dance theater creators—Susanne Collins, Tess Kunik,​ and Nia Benjamin—and Merri Rashoyan, who reprises her Nowhere Street role as tough­talking private eye Michelle Flynn.

Directed by Sam Tower with a sharp­witted script by Jeremy Gable (who also wrote for Nowhere Street), the boozy romp follows a host of seedy femme fatales through hallucinogenic dance sequences. It is scored by a three-piece cabaret rock band led by experimental guitarist Alec MacLaughlin​, who created and performed the haunting score for Nowhere Street. The set list boasts a line up of revamped tunes from the 1940’s (such as covers of The Inkspots and Kay Starr), alongside classic rock of the 1960’s, and topped with treatments of electro­pop numbers from such artists as Björk and St. Vincent.

The piece promises to combine the best from Sam Tower + Ensemble’s cinematic movement storytelling with BRAT’s hard rock brand to create a genre­bending performance of rock noir cabaret.

[La Peg at FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] November 11+17, 2016;

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