From June 16-18, 2022, RealTime’s hit concert cabaret ANGELMAKERS: SONGS FOR FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS will be re-imagined at Pittsburgh Winery in the historic Strip District. This brand new iteration of one of RealTime’s anchoring productions will feature beloved original lead performer Milia Ayache from Beirut, Lebanon, in addition to the voices of eight other utterly unique Pittsburgh-based female-identifying vocalists, including internationally Vietnamese pop star, asylee and activist Mai Khôi and Pittsburgh theater favorite Hazel LeRoy. The original ANGELMAKERS band is back together, comprised of Milia Ayache, Michele Dunlap and Zorahna and music-directed by Ayache. The show is directed by internationally-renowned director Cynthia Croot (Connie’s Avant-Garde Restaurant, Mai Khôi’s Bad Activist) and the cast also includes the talents of Angela George, Angela Hsu, Julianna Austin, Linette Taylor, Meg Booth, and Samantha A. Camp. In expanding the cast, RealTime seeks to amplify Pittsburgh’s diverse voices, echoing the show’s theme: “everyone deserves one song.” Tickets are on sale at www.realtimeinterventions.org.
Happening concurrently with the Theatre Communications Group Conference, one of the largest annual gatherings of not-for-profit professional theater professionals in the country, occurring in Pittsburgh this year, the show is a chance to share with theater-makers everywhere the incredible talent we have here in the city. RealTime is showcasing their internationally diverse cast in the most hyper-local of businesses: Pittsburgh Winery, an urban, boutique winery located in the Strip District. Founder Tim Garber started wine-making as a hobby with a small group of friends, and now makes highest-tier Pittsburgh wines from California grapes full-time. The Winery has been home to over 500 musical shows and performances, and RealTime is thrilled that ANGELMAKERS will be their first theatrical cabaret in the space.
The show, first performed in a crumbling Slavic dancehall in Lawrenceville in 2017, explores the moments and motives of female serial killers throughout history, from the 1500’s to the present. The songs are as diverse in content as they are in style, ranging from rock to post-punk to 80’s pop to country.
The response to the 2017 Pittsburgh production was powerful. Pittsburgh Magazine’s Sean Collier wrote, ““Angelmakers: Songs for Female Serial Killers” is no dinner-theater hokum, nor is it a theater-of-cruelty thriller. It’s thoughtful, careful, restrained and — surprisingly — beautiful.” Bill O’Driscoll called the show “engrossing” and “lyrical”, and George Hoover of Pittsburgh in the Round said of the company, “Theatre is a constantly evolving art form; Pittsburgh is fortunate to have companies like RealTime Interventions…to push that evolution ahead.”
The show went on to be produced at New York City’s 54 Below in 2018, featuring Gelsey Bell (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway; Ghost Quartet off-Broadway) and queer icon Viva DeConcini (Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music), along with the original Pittsburgh musicians; it was then developed off-Broadway by WP Theater. A companion podcast to the live show is being developed with support from the prestigious Orchard Project Audio Lab and was recently pitched to Audible, SIrius XM and other outlets. This will be the show’s first return to Pittsburgh since 2017.
So why female serial killers as the focus of a concert musical? RealTime’s co-Artistic Directors (and Angelmakers conceivers) Rice and Thelin respond:
“Our culture is fascinated with true crime, but women aren’t usually at the center of the story unless they’re victims of male killers. Angelmakers asks: how do murderous obsessions exist differently in women than in men, and does our fascination with violence change when it’s a woman who’s committing it? What iniquities influence the making of these ‘monsters’? And how different are they from ourselves?”
Angelmakers is an exploration of both rage and empathy. Using the crack-you-open power of music and troubling the steeped-in notions of women as the more sympathetic (and empathetic) gender, this piece asks audiences to simultaneously hold both their righteous anger at destructive behavior and their awareness of the humanity inside each of us. “We hope this piece will evoke responses of discomfort, fascination, distance, and compassion– responses that, in a larger sense, we all need to learn to negotiate if we hope to understand those who are fundamentally different from us,” Rice says.
The show was originally produced with generous help from The Heinz Endowments*, and was originally developed at the Orchard Project, in their 2017 Performance Lab and their 2021 Audio Lab. The Orchard Project has accelerated new work by scores of acclaimed artists including Taylor Mac, Young Jean Lee, Adam Rapp, The TEAM, and many more (www.orchardproject.com).