MacDowell Downtown: Composer Dave Malloy Tackles Literary Classics

Dave Malloy loves to adapt literary classics into modern musicals. He is currently reworking Melville’s Moby Dick as a musical, the second installment of what he likes to call the “Impossible Novels Trilogy.” His first “impossible” was the critically acclaimed Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, based on Part 8 of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Premiering off-Broadway in 2012, the musical can be seen on Broadway this October. The third “impossible” will be a refashioning of James Joyce’s Ulysses. This Friday night starting at 7:30 p.m. at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture, Malloy will describe his adaptation process and perform a few songs live.

“In all three cases, the authors played with the form of the novel, and that really appeals to me,” says Malloy about his trilogy. “Each has all these different elements that are so interesting on so many different levels.”

Malloy will be thoroughly busy at MacDowell for his first Fellowship: in addition to Moby Dick, he will also be musically reconstructing William Shakespeare’s plays about the royal Henrys.

“A month in the woods to do nothing but write is exactly what I need right now, so it’s going to be great.” Both works were commissioned by New York’s Public Theater. “We pitched them both ideas, and they liked both,” he says, matter-of-factly of the meeting he and his Henriad collaborator Rachel Chavkin had with the Public. “These are typically things that academia loves, and have a reputation for being incredibly long and boring,” says Malloy, “while, in reality, they are wonderful pieces of work.” Malloy, it turns out, earned English literature and music composition degrees simultaneously from Ohio University.

This Friday join Dave Malloy as he distills massive themes, complex characters and intricate plots with the magic of musical theater. Doors at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture open at 7:00 p.m.; light refreshments served before the show starts at 7:30 p.m.


MacDowell Downtown
Composer Dave Malloy will present his takes on Moby Dick and Shakespeare’s Henriad, and perform some related songs.

Friday, May 6, 2016
7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
The Monadnock Center for History and Culture

19 Grove Street
Peterborough, NH
Cost: Free

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