Blind Hemmin' Jefferson (played by GMC student Jose VanDerburg) is visited by gospel singers Crystal Giasson and Kesiah Francis in Prof. John Nassivera's new musical play, "Prometheus Bound in New Orleans," which opens at Green Mountain College Thursday, April 26.

World Premiere Musical of New Orleans Jazz, Blues and Gospel Opens This Week
Dixieland jazz, Delta blues, gospel singers, and voodoo drummers will all share the stage during a world premiere performance of Green Mountain College professor John Nassivera's "PROMETHEUS BOUND in New Orleans." The play runs from Thursday April 26 through Saturday, April 28 with a 7 p.m. curtain. The final evening will be a benefit performance for Americorp's City Year New Orleans program to raise funds to assist school children displaced by hurricane Katrina.

"PROMETHEUS BOUND in New Orleans" casts the ancient Greek play by Aeschylus into 1950's New Orleans one night during Mardi Gras. This staging at Green Mountain College will feature a cast of GMC actors, a gospel chorus, a blues band, a Dixieland jazz band, and a drum ensemble performing authentic voodoo ceremonial drumming.

Rather than being chained to a rock as in the Greek, in this version Prometheus is a blues singer named "Blind Hemmin' Jefferson," and he is brought onstage by the Ku Klux Klan who chain him to an old abandoned gas pump in front of a dilapidated gas station. In his predicament he is then visited by two New Orleans voodoo practitioners, Queen Muddy Water and a young priestess named Mambo Io. All of this is taking place in the course of one wild and macabre night during Mardi Gras festivities.

"When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans I was devastated," says Nassivera. "I couldn't get it out of my mind. But out of this destruction it hit me that New Orleans had to be the setting for a play using blues and gospel music that I'd been thinking about for years." Nassivera teaches 'Prometheus Bound' in his regular course work and decided that the plight of Prometheus resonates with the same tone as the lyrical voice of the blues. In the play, New Orleans has become a 'Promethean' city, seemingly punished by the gods but still holding on, defiant. "Among other things, this is a bluesy love song to New Orleans," says Nassivera.

GMC music instructor and jazz guitarist, Don Goodman, will lead the blues band. Goodman is also a blues and jazz expert who knows the musical forms and their history. Several of the blues songs in the show are traditional, but Goodman has written original material as well. Another GMC faculty member, percussion instructor Gary Meitrott, is a specialist in West African and Haitian traditional voodoo drumming methods. The music includes such well-known songs as Amazing Grace, Empty Bed Blues, Wade in the Water, Nearer my God to Thee, and When the Saints Come Marchin' In. Members of the College's choir will form a gospel group to fulfill the role of the Greek chorus.

Nassivera, who created PROMETHEUS BOUND in New Orleans, was founding director of the Dorset Theatre Festival, a position he held for 30 years. His many previous plays have been seen in New York, Miami, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and of course at the Dorset Theatre.

General admission is $10 at the door. Immediately after the Benefit Performance on April 28th there will be a reception for audience and cast members, featuring coffee and "beignets" from the famed Cafe du Monde in New Orleans' French Quarter.

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Guided Relaxation/Meditation
12:30 - 1 p.m., Wellness Center

Power Yoga
4 - 5 p.m.,
Bogue Movement Studio

Women's Softball vs. Middlebury
4 p.m., Middlebury

Men's Lacrosse vs. Castleton
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Credo Christe
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Candlelight Vigil for Virginia Tech
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11 a.m. - 12 p.m.,
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Faculty Colloquium: Bill Prado
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Safety Day
1:30 3:30 p.m.,
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Women's Softball vs. Johnson
4 p.m., Johnson

Cardio Kickboxing
5:30 - 7 p.m.,
Bogue Movement Studio

Live Music: Fareed Haque Group
9 - 11 p.m., The Gorge

Power Yoga
4 - 5 p.m.,
Bogue Movement Studio

Play: Promotheus Bound
in New Orleans

7 p.m., Ackley Theatre

Guest Speaker: David Budbill
7 p.m., The Gorge

Guest Speaker: Matt Newman
11 a.m., Terrace 124

Gentle Yoga
2:30 - 3:30 p.m.,
Bogue Movement Studio

Senior Art Reception:
Caitlin Hildebrandt

6 - 8 p.m., Surdam

Play: Promotheus Bound
in New Orleans

7 p.m., Ackley Theatre

Athletic Banquet
2 p.m., New London

Play: Promotheus Bound
in New Orleans

7 p.m., Ackley Theatre

Spring Concert 2007: RJD2
8 - 10 p.m., Waldron Gym

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