L'Orient Creative Team

Preeti Vasudevan 2020_1.jpg

Preeti Vasudevan: Artistic Director/Choreographer

Award-winning choreographer and cultural storyteller Preeti Vasudevan's provocative theatrical works redefine individual identity, uniting artists and audiences alike. Her creations have been lauded as a refreshing collision of eastern and western aesthetics pushing for a new expression in art-making. Using just about every mode of the performing arts (including dance, music, poetry, visual art, mime, and theater), Preeti invites cutting-edge collaborators to form a 21st-century language of expression. Her unconventional storytelling challenges the status quo of dance-theater, bridging ancient traditions with the contemporary world.

 

Known for igniting groundbreaking artistic partnerships, Preeti frequently collaborates with celebrated artists such as legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Guggenheim awardee Paul Kaiser and with leading ensembles like Silkroad. Preeti’s works have been commissioned by distinguished institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art NY, Glimmerglass Opera Festival NY, Guggenheim’s Works & Process NY, New Victory Theater NY, Morph Dance Company UK, and The Alliance Francaise, among others. She has been invited to sit on panels at the National Endowment for the Arts US, US Consulate panel on women creatives, Joyce Theater, and Asian American Arts Alliance.

 

Preeti’s vibrant international career has brought her to the world’s stages as a performer, curator, and thought leader. From her early start as an award-winning classical artist from India to receiving a cultural scholarship as International Choreographer in Residence at the American Dance Festival, she has emerged as an artist to watch by leading global institutions where she has been in residence. Her works have been supported by prominent organizations like TED; Centre National de la Danse, Paris; Lincoln Center, NY; Guggenheim Works & Process, NY; The Joyce Foundation, NY; and Mahindra Excellence in Theater Awards, India. In recent years, original works performed by her performing arts collaborative, Thresh, have earned international acclaim for their fresh juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary voices.

 

More on Preeti.

KAMALA-7075.jpg

Kamala Sankaram: Composer

Praised as “one of the most exciting opera composers in the country” (Washington Post), composer Kamala Sankaram moves freely between the worlds of experimental music and contemporary opera. Recent commissions include works for The Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, the PROTOTYPE Festival, and Creative Time, among others.

 

Kamala is known for her operas fusing Indian classical music with the operatic form, including Thumbprint, A Rose, Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers, and the forthcoming Jungle Book. Also known for her work pushing the boundaries of the operatic form, recent works include The Last Stand, a 10-hour opera created for the trees of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Only You Will Recognize the Signal, a serial space opera performed live over the internet, Looking at You, a techno-noir featuring live datamining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers, all decisions will be made by consensus, a short absurdist opera performed live over Zoom, and The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera.

 

Kamala is the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble whose accolades include two awards for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards, the 2018 Mid-Atlantic touring grant, and appearances on WFMU and NPR. Awards, grants and residencies: Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, HERE Artist Residency Program, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center.

 

Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculties at the Mannes College of Music and SUNY Purchase.

More on Kamala.

catfill.jpg

Catherine Filloux: Writer/Librettist

Catherine Fillloux is an award-winning playwright who has been writing about human rights and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her plays have been produced around the  U.S. and internationally, and have been widely published and anthologized. Filloux has been honored with the 2019 Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and Community Fellowship; the  2017 Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre; and the 2015 Planet Activist Award. 

 

Filloux is the librettist for three produced operas, New Arrivals (Houston Grand Opera, composer  John Glover), Where Elephants Weep (Chenla Theatre, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, composer Him  Sophy), and The Floating Box (Asia Society, New York City, composer Jason Kao  Hwang). Where Elephants Weep was also broadcast on national television in Cambodia; The  Floating Box was a Critic’s Choice in Opera News and is released by New World  Records. Filloux is the co-librettist with composer Olga Neuwirth for the opera Orlando, the winner of the 2022 Grawemeyer award, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf which premiered at the Vienna State Opera.

 

Filloux’s new musical, Welcome to the Big Dipper (composer Jimmy  Roberts, co-book writer John Daggett, and director DeMone Seraphin) was a 2018 National Alliance for Musical Theatre finalist and received a workshop at the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, New York.

 

Opera in development: Mary Shelley (composer Gerald Cohen, dramaturg  Cori Ellison, Black Tea Music). Filloux is a Franco-American writer and received her French Baccalaureate in Philosophy with Honors in Toulon, France, and her M.F.A. at NYU’s Tisch  School of the Arts Dramatic Writing Program. She is a co-founder of Theatre Without Borders, as well as an alumna of New Dramatists. 

More on Catherine.

z RW Head Shot #1.jpeg

Robert Wierzel: Production Designer

As a lighting designer, Mr. Wierzel has worked with artists from diverse disciplines and  backgrounds in theatre, dance, opera and contemporary music, with companies  throughout the country and abroad.  His theatre work has been seen on and off Broadway, including Lady Day At Emerson’s  Bar & Grill, starring Audra McDonald; the musical Fela! (Tony Award nomination);  Dreams and Nightmares; and productions at the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public  Theater; Roundabout Theatre Company; Signature Theatre Company; Playwrights  Horizons; Mostly Mozart Festival; BAM; The Acting Company; and the Lincoln Center  Festival/American Songbook Series. 

He has worked with the opera companies in Paris-Garnier; Versailles-Château de  Versailles Spectacles; Tokyo; Toronto; Bergen & Kristiansand Norway; Folk Opera,  Sweden; Dutch National; Wexford Festival Opera; New York City Opera;  Glimmerglass Festival; Atlanta; Seattle; Boston Lyric; Minnesota; Philadelphia; San  Francisco; Houston; Washington National; Chicago Lyric; Chicago Opera Theatre;  Montreal; Vancouver; Florida Grand; Portland; Colorado; Wolf Trap; San Diego;  Virginia and Gotham Chamber Opera.  

Robert has also collaborated on productions at the Royal National Theatre of London;  Savoy Theatre, London; Lyon Opera Ballet; Berlin Opera Ballet; Musée du Louvre and the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto.  

Robert is on the faculty of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is a Creative Partner at Spark Design Collaborative.

More on Robert.

Ramona Kelley.jpg

Ramona Kelley: Assistant to Artistic Director/Choreographer

Ramona Kelley is from Berkeley, CA where she began her training at Berkeley Ballet Theater. She went on to earn a BFA in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Ramona danced the principal role of ‘Betsy’ in Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away and went on to dance with the Tharp company creating new roles in addition to performing repertory works. She is a principal guest artist with Oakland Ballet and has also performed with Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Paris, Dance Lab New York, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Claudia Schreier and Co, Post:Ballet, Sidra Bell, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance and Phantom of the Opera (25th Anniversary Tour) among others. Ramona has taught master classes in Tharp technique across the country and is an adjunct ballet faculty member at NYU’s Tisch Dance.