The saying “bring down the house” can be traced to the 18th-century, a term used to describe the unbridled approval of an audience, the roar of the crowd that shakes a theater to its rafters.
The Greek word “katharsis” means cleansing: it gives us a release—we are the characters, the characters are us—through a sudden awareness, a critical decision, a revelation. Sometimes it’s the sheer joy of the moment that brings us to our feet. And for one fleeting moment we ascend as well, gathered together for one night in the dark, brought together and listening, laughing, crying, as one.
For a special two-week run, we will revisit some of these showstopping songs and the performances that brought us to our feet.
— Jeanine Tesori (Encores! Off-Center Creative Advisor) and Anne Kauffman (Encores! Off-Center Artistic Director)
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Thursday, May 23rd
Following the 7:30pm performance, there will be a Sloan panel discussion that will address how scientists talk about climate change. Speakers include Director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Robert Kopp and Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University Sonali McDermid. The discussion will be moderated by actress Kerry Bishé.
Robert Kopp is Director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences and a Professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University. His research focuses on research focuses on past and future sea-level change, on the interactions between physical climate change and the economy, and on the use of climate risk information in decision making. He is an author of the Fourth National Climate Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report. Prof. Kopp is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s James B. Macelwane and William Gilbert Medals and the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA)’s Sir Nicholas Shackleton Medal.
Sonali McDermid is a climate scientist and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU. Her widely-published research explores the role of landscapes in our regional and global climate systems. In particular, much of her work focuses on agriculture and food production, as these are both drivers of global climate change and vulnerable to it. To study these agriculture-climate interactions, she uses a variety of tools, including global climate models, crop models, and observational datasets and is currently helping to develop the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies global climate model. Dr. McDermid also serves as the Climate Co-Lead for the Agricultural Intercomparison and Improvement Project (www.agmip.org), a 10+ year project investigating the impact of climate change on food security across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She has contributed her expertise on climate-agriculture interactions for the upcoming IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, and is currently leading an assessment of climate change and rice farming systems across South Asia and Latin America. Dr. McDermid holds a B.A. in Physics from NYU (2006), and an M.A., M.Phil, and Ph.D. (2012) from the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University in Atmospheric Science and Climatology. Prior to her appointment NYU, she was NASA Post-Doctoral Fellow at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in NYC. Outside of her academic work, Dr. McDermid is actively consulting on several projects representing climate science across the performing and fine arts, as she believes those perspectives are uniquely situated to inspire urgent, thoughtful, and deliberate action on issues of global environmental change.
Kerry Bishé is a theatre, ﬁlm and television actor. She made her Broadway debut in PYGMALION at the Roundabout Theatre. Other theatre credits include MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE (Minetta Lane), AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER (Williamstown), and BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (Old Globe). She played computer engineer Donna Clark on AMC’s HALT AND CATCH FIRE and appeared in the movie ARGO for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award. She can be seen in the upcoming Showtime series PENNY DREADFUL: CITY OF ANGELS and Steven Spielberg’s anthology AMAZING STORIES. She hosts the FilmNation podcast HYPERTHETICAL available through Luminary Media. Kerry is an ardent science enthusiast and works to promote science in culture.
Wednesday, May 29th
Following the 7:30pm performance, there will be a panel discussion that will address the essential role of journalism in the fight against climate change. Speakers include deputy editor of the Climate and Environment group at The New York Times Jesse Pesta, chief climate correspondent at CNN Bill Weir and staff reporter at Quartz Zoë Schlanger.
Jesse Pesta is the deputy editor of the Climate and Environment group at The New York Times. Previously he edited investigative projects and the Sunday Business section at the Times, and before that he was a member of the group responsible for narrative and investigative projects at The Wall Street Journal. Earlier he was based in New Delhi and Hong Kong as a foreign correspondent and among other things covered the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks from Pakistan.
Zoë Schlanger is a staff reporter at Quartz, where she covers the environment. She has reported on climate change and pollution issues from Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Kenya, and elsewhere, and her work has appeared in Wired, Newsweek, the Fader, the Nation, and the Village Voice. She was the recipient of the 2017 National Association of Science Writer’s science reporting award for a Newsweek cover story about environmental racism and industrial air pollution in Detroit. She is a finalist for the 2019 Livingston award for a series about the changing nature of water along the Texas/Mexico border in a warming world.
Bill Weir is an award-winning broadcast journalist, CNN’s Chief Climate Correspondent and the executive producer, writer and host of “The Wonder List with Bill Weir.” Over 3 seasons, his documentary series journeyed across two dozen countries in search of people and places, cultures and creatures on the brink of seismic change. Known for his distinctive storytelling style and lush photography, Weir joined CNN in November 2013 after a decade at ABC News. As an anchor at “Good Morning America” and “Nightline” he was among the first reporters into the floodwaters of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Japan’s tsunami zone during the nuclear crisis of 2011. He dodged Taliban bullets in Afghanistan, led network coverage from Iraq and was the first American to broadcast live from Tibet. From Paradise to Puerto Rico, Bill led live coverage of floods, fires and hurricanes and after the flames are out and streets are dry, Weir is known for going back to document recovery and the man-made disasters that can follow.
Wednesday, June 5th
Following the 7:30pm performance, there will be a panel discussion that will explore the intersection of art and climate change. Speakers include visual artist Zaria Forman and writer Helen Phillips.
Zaria Forman documents climate change with pastel drawings. She travels to remote regions of the world to collect images and inspiration for her work, which is exhibited worldwide. She has flown with NASA on several Operation IceBridge missions over Antarctica, Greenland, and Arctic Canada. She was featured on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and PBS. She delivered a TEDTalk, and spoke at Amazon, Google, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, exhibited in Banksy’s Dismaland, and was the artist-in-residence aboard the National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica. Her works have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, and the Smithsonian Magazine. Forman currently works and resides in Brooklyn, NY, and is represented by Winston Wächter Fine Art in New York, NY and Seattle, WA.
Helen Phillips is the author of five books, including, most recently, the novel The Need. Her collection Some Possible Solutions received the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Her novel The Beautiful Bureaucrat, a New York Times Notable Book of 2015, was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the Italo Calvino Prize. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Tin House, and on Selected Shorts. She is an associate professor at Brooklyn College.