The Joyce Theater Foundation (Linda Shelton, Executive Director) is thrilled to announce the theatrical dance and music production Heart of Brick as the first engagement of its Fall ‘23/Winter ‘24 season. The tender and sincere depiction of queer Black love, a collaboration between three visionary artists—serpentwithfeet, Wu Tsang, and Raja Feather Kelly—this Joyce Theater Production will play The Joyce Theater from September 15-22. Tickets, ranging in price from $12-$82 including fees, can be purchased at www.Joyce.org, or by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th Street. For more information, please visit www.Joyce.org.
Three artists at the top of their forms join forces to tell a timeless tale of love and self-discovery through an intersectional queer Black lens in Heart of Brick this fall at The Joyce. Co-commissioned by The Joyce Theater Foundation, Kampnagel International Summer Festival Hamburg, and The LA Phil, the evening-length work is inspired by the highly anticipated new album from the acclaimed alternative R&B artist serpentwithfeet, revealing a new era for the artist sonically and personally. Embarking on his first theatrical stage work, the in-demand Los Angeles-based musician simultaneously makes his Joyce debut with the production, playing his music live on stage for each performance.
Joining serpentwithfeet in creating the healing, community-building environment of a queer Black nightclub in Heart of Brick are a multimedia artist and a choreographer who defy definition, genre, and boundaries. Wu Tsang creates the physical environment for the production’s seven dancers with her art that intertwines film, aesthetic performance, and political activism, creating the perfect backdrop for the surrealist explorations of the intersection of pop culture and human desire set to movement by Raja Feather Kelly. Together, these three artists capture the blossoming love between two men in a gay Black nightclub, engaging the body with dance and the spirit with music in this beguilingly gentle and sincere theatrical experience.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Josiah Wise, professionally known as serpentwithfeet, is an experimental musician based in LA. Baltimore-born, serpent’s flair for theatrical themes and gospel sensibilities can be traced to the Black church, a place where he had his earliest experiences with glamour and the ornate. serpentwithfeet’s music is not only imagining but exploring a world wherein Black love is paramount. Compassion is the backbone of serpent’s art, as he communes with his most loving self. This can be seen through his debut EP, Blisters (2016), where he introduced the world to his sensual, unboxed universe. Following the EP, he released his studio album Soil(2018), another EP Apparition (2020), and his second studio album Deacon (2021). In 2022, serpent released a new content series, Serpent’s Parlor, accompanied by a new single “I’m Pressed.” Up next, serpent is working on his third studio album, Grip which is set to release in the fall of 2023.
Wu Tsang is a filmmaker, visual artist, and performer who incorporates strategies of activism, art making, event planning, and stage production across a range of multi-disciplinary projects. Tsang combines or juxtaposes the avant-garde and cerebral with sensual, often emotionally charged representations that prompt deeper inquiries into how individuals and communities resist ingrained social prejudices. Her work also considers prescient debates about a generation’s claim to a subculture, social gathering as a form of insurgency, and the political capacity of contemporary art. Tsang received a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.F.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles. Films by Tsang include We hold where study (2017), Duilian(2016), Girl Talk (2015), Wildness (2012), Damelo Todo (Gimme Everything) (2010), and Shape of a Right Statement (2008). Tsang’s work has been exhibited or screened at Tate Modern London, Kunsthalle Münster, Stedelijk Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, among many other national and international venues.
Raja Feather Kelly is a choreographer and director, and the Artistic Director of the feath3r theory, a dance-theatre-media company. Kelly has created 16 evening-length premieres with the feath3r theory, most recently WEDNESDAY at New York Live Arts. Feather Kelly is the choreographer for the award-winning Broadway musical A Strange Loop. His choreography for Off-Broadway productions includes We’re Gonna Die (Second Stage), On Sugarland (NYTW), SUFFS (The Public Theater), and Broadway-bound Lempicka (La Jolla Playhouse). He has received numerous accolades, including three Princess Grace Awards, an Obie Award, an Outer Critics Circle honor for choreography for A Strange Loop, Dance Magazine’s Harkness Promise Award, and was a finalist for the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s Joe A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography for Fairview.
ABOUT THE JOYCE THEATER
The Joyce Theater Foundation (“The Joyce,” Executive Director, Linda Shelton), a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community for almost four decades. Under the direction of founders Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, Ballet Tech Foundation acquired and renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea. Opening as The Joyce Theater in 1982, it was named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther’s clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. Ownership was secured by The Joyce in 2015. The theater is one of the only theaters built by dancers for dance and has provided an intimate and elegant home for over 400 U.S.-based and international companies. The Joyce has also expanded its reach beyond its Chelsea home through off-site presentations at venues ranging in scope from Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, to Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center, and outdoor programming in spaces such as Hudson River Park. To further support the creation of new work, The Joyce maintains longstanding commissioning and residency programs. Local students and teachers (K–12th grade) benefit from its school program, and family and adult audiences get closer to dance with access to artists. The Joyce’s annual season of about 48 weeks of dance now includes over 340 performances – both digital and in-person – for audiences of over 150,000.
Joyce Theater Productions (JTP) is the in-house producing entity for The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc., formed to create original work for The Joyce’s stage and for worldwide touring. This initiative provides dance artists who have little or no formal management or infrastructure the means to create productions of the highest standards of excellence. The program also includes the Associate Company model, offering sustained producing, fiscal, and/or administrative management to companies that may require short or longer term support.
The Joyce Theater opens its Fall ‘23/Winter ‘24 season with The Joyce Theater Production Heart of Brick from September 15-22. The performance schedule is as follows: Fri-Sat 8pm; Sun 2pm; Tue-Wed 7:30pm; Thu-Fri 8pm. Tickets, ranging in price from $12-$82 including fees, can be purchased at www.Joyce.org, or by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th Street. For more information, please visit www.Joyce.org.
Heart of Brick is a Joyce Theater Production and coproduction with Kampnagel International Summer Festival. Co-commissioned by The Joyce Theater Foundation, Kampnagel International Summer Festival Hamburg, The LA Phil with generous support from Linda and David Shaheen, Seattle Theatre Group, and Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa.
Leadership support for The Joyce Theater Foundation has been received from the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust.
Champion support for The Joyce’s annual programming has been provided by Howard Gilman Foundation and The Shubert Foundation.
Raja Feather Kelly is the recipient of a Joyce Creative Residency. Champion support for The Joyce’s Creative Residencies Program supporting choreographers and dance companies has been provided by Mellon Foundation.
The Joyce’s presentation of Heart of Brick is a HARKNESS FIRST Joyce Theater debut, generously supported by The Harkness Foundation for Dance.
Major support for The Joyce has been provided by Catskill Mountain Foundation, Ford Foundation, MacMillan Family Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
The Joyce Theater’s Fall ’23/Winter ’24 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council with special thanks to Council Member Erik Bottcher.