New York City's newest public park, Little Island, has announced its inaugural cohort of artists in residence. Tap dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel, playwright and Tony Award-nominated director Tina Landau (SpongeBob SquarePants), Tony-honored music director and performer Michael McElroy, and PigPen Theatre Co. will serve through the 2021–2023 seasons.
During their three-year residencies, artists will perform and/or direct works, as well as curate events and festivals for the park and its community partners. Little Island's design boasts several performance spaces for utilization—The Amph, a 700-seat amphitheater; The Glade, a smaller lawn venue for 200 visitors; and The Play Ground, an open plaza for recreation and educational programs.
“We are so inspired by the unique vision (and landscape!) of the park. We hope to cultivate our own imaginations—as well as the imaginations of artists we love and admire—on the island via concerts, plays, festivals, educational workshops, and one-off special events," said PigPen Theatre Co. the band of storytellers known for their unique blend of theatre and music, in a joint statement.
Currently under construction, Little Island is one of the latest additions to the four-mile-long Hudson River Park, located at Pier 55 at West 13th Street. The park is scheduled to open to the public this spring as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's New York arts recovery plan.
“Little Island provides an opportunity to explore what it means to be an artist in this moment of radical transformation," said McElroy. He is the founder and musical director and of Broadway Inspirational Voices (earning him an honorary Tony Award) and has several Broadway performance credits including Big River, for which he garnered a Tony Award nomination.
Full programming for the season will be announced later.