Friday, October 28, 2011

Burning Man opera returns to LA Nov. 20

Returning to Los Angeles for a one-night performance event following a successful run this summer, How to Survive the Apocalypse: a Burning Opera presents an extravaganza of evolution and transformation. Inspired by the origins and ongoing mutation of the notorious Burning Man festival, the show follows two newbies at the desert festival, whose story unfolds through shadow-puppets, projections, dancers, and a sizzling live rock ensemble. The LA Weekly called the show a “rousing, mythic rock pageant,” and wrote that "The evening's stars are the polished, 15-member musical ensemble, which collectively boasts one of the best sets of pipes heard on any stage in LA this year."

How to Survive the Apocalypse takes place on November 20, 2011 at the popular Hollywood nightclub King King, 6555 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028. Doors open at 7:00pm with the show starting at 8:00pm. General admission is $20, reserved Seating is $30, and VIP seating with table service is $40. Tickets are available here. The event is 21 and over. For a video preview of the show please see

This special LA event also celebrates the release of the Original Cast recording of How to Survive the Apocalypse: a Burning Opera on November 15, 2011. Presenting an abridged one-disc version of the show, the album was recorded and produced shortly after the 2009 Original Cast run. The music is available digitally through iTunes, Amazon, and other fine media providers. The physical album, with full libretto, is also available as a CD on and through brick and mortar retailers including Amoeba. For more on the Original Cast recording and performance please see

How to Survive the Apocalypse: a Burning Opera was scored by Mark Nichols, with libretto by noted counterculture writer Erik Davis. Inspired by “the Burn,” the show combines rock opera, an electronic dance party, and a pagan revival show. The workshop version premiered in early 2009 at Stage Werx in San Francisco, and the Original Cast version ran in October the same year, with nine sold-out performances at Teatro ZinZanni. The San Francisco Bay Guardian’s theater critic Steve Jones wrote that the show is “both engrossing musical theater in its own right and a piece of art that truly captures the feel of the event and the Zeitgeist of its attendees.” Writing about the Ghostlight Gypsies’ successful production of the show in Los Angeles this summer, co-directed by Nichols, Stephan Hues, and Julie Lewis, the LA Weekly’s Bill Raden raved about the show’s “anarchic spirit,” and described the show’s score as “a Hair-era musical vocabulary of R&B and acid rock by way of Kurt Weill.”

The origins of How to Survive the Apocalypse lie in a Porta-Potty line at Burning Man in 2006. Ron Meiners made the comment to a friend that only opera could capture the multidimensional experience of the festival. Composer Mark Nichols, in line with his singer partner Julie Lewis, overheard the remark. As a stalwart figure in the Seattle music scene who had already written a number of demented pieces of musical theatre, Nichols loved the idea. Meiners brought in lyricist Erik Davis, a cult author and journalist who had been attending and writing about Burning Man since 1994. Davis in turn brought in director Christopher Fulling. With producer and creative advisor Dana Harrison in tow, the main team was assembled and creative obsession began. Today the project continues to evolve through the vision of Ghostlight Gypsies, with future shows in the works.

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