Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sing your barbaric yawp! Whitman's masterpiece adapted as a piece of musical theater

Who needs to sound your barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world when you can sing it?

This month, Walt Whitman’s masterpiece “Song of Myself” gets the musical-theater treatment, thanks to the troupe Compagnia de’ Colombari, which has rechristened the Brooklyn bard’s beloved poem as “More or Less I Am.”

The production honors Whitman’s celebration of American diversity through an international mix of actors, musicians and children speaking and singing Whitman’s words, with music courtesy of genre-defying string ensemble Brooklyn Rider.

“Whitman intended ‘Song of Myself’ to inspire unity by celebrating America at a time when the country was deeply divided, and today the poem is more relevant than ever,” said director Karin Coonrod.

The show about diversity will travel the borough for performances in the diverse settings as Bargemusic in DUMBO (a benefit launch on May 5), Fort Greene Park (May 6), and the Old Stone House (May 11) in Park Slope.

Audience members are also welcome to play a role in the production. So start practicing those yawps.

“More or Less I Am” at Bargemusic [2 Old Fulton St. at Furman Street in DUMBO, (718) 624-2083], May 5 at 8 pm; Fort Greene Park [Dekalb Avenue and Cumberland Street in Fort Greene, (718) 722-3218], May 6 at 7 pm; Old Stone House [336 Third St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 768-3195], May 11 at 7 pm. Last two shows are free. For info, visit


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