Local News: Curtain Down:Infernal Bridegroom Productions 1993 - 2007

Posted by: Staffon 2007/7/24 19:50:00 2688 reads
Infernal Bridegroom Productions (IBP) ceased operations this month due to insurmountable financial difficulties. Founded in 1993, IBP produced 68 plays and was recognized locally and nationally for its provocative new work, its talented ensemble and its success in attracting non-traditional audiences. The company's recent world premiere rock opera Speeding Motorcycle, created in collaboration with acclaimed artist and songwriter Daniel Johnston, received favorable coverage in The New York Times, Art in America, No Depression magazine, The Austin Chronicle and local media outlets...

Past works also received positive coverage from American Theatre, Theatre Journal, Stage Directions and The Dallas Morning News.

IBP appeared regularly in the annual Houston Press "Best of Houston" issue, receiving awards for Best Theater Company, New Play, Original Show, Director, Actor, Actress, Set Design, Light Design, Costume Design, Special Effects, Christmas Show and Rock and Roll Theater. And The Houston Chronicle called IBP Houston's best experimental theater.

IBP enjoyed a large and loyal audience as well as regularly attracting out-of-towners that travelled to Houston specifically to see the company's work.

The company was acclaimed for its productions of rarely produced plays by Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Bertolt Brecht, Georg Büchner, Jean Genet, Anton Chekhov, Sam Shepard and David Mamet and was the first to introduce Houston audiences to the works of playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks, Maria Irene Fornes, Sarah Kane, Heiner Müller, Wallace Shawn, Charles Mee, Richard Foreman, Mac Wellman and Bernard-Marie Koltès. IBP also attracted national attention for the theatrical premiere of A Soap Opera by Ray Davies and The Kinks and was lauded for its hit production of Broadway musical Guys and Dolls.

But IBP was perhaps best known for the new work it created. Highlights included &#$!ing A, commissioned by IBP and DiverseWorks Artspace and written and directed by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks; We Have Some Planes and Last Rites, conceived and directed by renowned theater artist Brian Jucha; Hide Town, commissioned by the NEA and TCG and written by Lisa D'Amour; Speeding Motorcycle, commissioned by The Rockefeller Foundation and conceived and directed by IBP founding artistic director Jason Nodler in collaboration with Daniel Johnston and the IBP company; Nodler's original plays In the Under Thunderloo, King Ubu is King and Meatbar; company member Troy Schulze's Me-sci-ah, Jerry's World (adapted from the radio shows of cult figure Joe Frank) and Actual Air (adapted from the poetry and music of Silver Jews frontman David Berman); founding company member Tamarie Cooper's 20 Love Songs and the wildly popular Tamalalia series created and directed by Cooper.

Although IBP was in residence at the legendary punk club The Axiom for the last five years, it spent nine years as a homeless company, performing in warehouses, bars, restaurants, aboard a moving school bus, in an abandoned outdoor shopping center and occasionally in traditional theater spaces such as Stages Repertory Theatre and DiverseWorks.

Music composed and recorded by IBP's resident orchestra, under the direction of former artistic director Anthony Barilla, has enjoyed regular radio play on college stations around the country and on NPR's This American Life.

The company received sustained and substantial support from the city of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, The Houston Endowment, The Brown Foundation, The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts and generous individual donors.