Photo by Patti Brahim.
Photo by Patti Brahim.
Photo by Patti Brahim.

Twentieth Century Club

July 18, 24 & 26
7:30 p.m. & 2 p.m.

It’s been 53 years since the publication of Rachel Carson’s game-changing Silent Spring, but the themes and insights of her seminal book remain as relevant and as powerful today. This month, a new eco-opera making its world premiere right here in Pittsburgh is bringing Carson’s pioneering work to life in powerful and relevant new ways.

Photo by Patti Brahim.

Running for just three nights, A New Kind of Fallout follows a Pittsburgh “everyfamily” as their lives are turned upside down by the type of environmental warnings issued in Carson’s prescient text. Theater-goers will be transported to a fictional Pittsburgh suburb in the year 1962, where newly pregnant homemaker Alice Front (played by Lara Lynn Cottrill) evolves into an enlightened environmental activist after her neighborhood is sprayed with a “miracle compound” used to eradicate insects. As Alice’s concerns for her environment, home and unborn child grow more severe, she finds herself at odds with her husband Jack (played by Christopher Scott), an ad exec on the rise who works for the very chemical company manufacturing the harmful pesticide.

Photo by Patti Brahim.

Directed by Jonathan Eaton, the poignant work is a new collaboration between NYC-based composer Gilda Lyons and librettist Tammy Ryan—an acclaimed playwright based in Pittsburgh. Part of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh‘s 2015 SummerFest Season, the eco-opera also features conductor Robert Frankenberry

Inspired by the life and works of Carson—a Springdale native who helped launch the environmental movement—Fallout explores themes of environmental stewardship, social and personal responsibility and global connectivity.

The opera’s unique yearlong development process included public workshops with community members that were held at compelling sites located around the city and region, including the Carrie Furnace, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and Carson’s own alma mater—Chatham University.

Don’t miss opening night on July 18, which will feature a post-show party with the cast and crew, cocktails and cabaret performances.

Added bonus? All students with an ID will receive free admission to A New Kind of Fallout and also to all Opera Theater of Pittsburgh recitals.

Purchase tickets.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...