The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will stage an outdoor production Aleshea Harris’s What to Send Up When It Goes Down this summer at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The staging is in collaboration with Playwrights Horizons, which had originally planned to present the play at its Off-Broadway home before the COVID-19 shutdown forced a new strategy.
The New York Times reports BAM will host several other performances throughout the season. Events planned for this spring include a hip-hop and spoken word concert, an African dance festival in May, and the 1:1 CONCERTS series at Brooklyn Navy Yard. Things will kick off March 14 with an art installation titled “Arrivals + Departures” on the facade of Borough Hall.
“We’ve put together a season that transforms some of Brooklyn’s most beloved and distinctive sites into stunning stages,” said David Binder, BAM’s artistic director.
What to Send Up When It Goes Down is a play-pageant-ritual-homegoing celebration in response to the physical and spiritual deaths of Black Americans as a result of racial violence. Weaving facilitated conversation, parody, song, and movement in a series of vignettes, the show creates a space for catharsis, reflection, cleansing, and healing.
First seen in an extended Off-Broadway run at A.R.T./New York Theatres in the fall of 2018, the work has gone on to tour regionally, at the Woolly Mammoth in D.C. and American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show was last seen at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival in 2020. Playwright Harris was recently named the recipient of the 2021 Hermitage Greenfield Prize.
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BAM’s announcement comes shortly after Park Avenue Armory, The Shed, and more NYC venues shared their plans for reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered theatres for more than year.