Tamar of the River

Music & book by Marisa Michelson
Book & lyrics by Joshua H. Cohen

"Alluring and lyrical." - Anita Gates,

Tamar of the River is a compelling and innovative music theater work inspired by the Biblical story of Tamar and Judah. In a war-torn world, where East and West are divided by a River red with blood, one young woman is called to raise her voice. As Tamar sets out single-mindedly in pursuit of peace, she journeys to a foreign land, finding a new family and unexpected love. Each decision that brings her closer to her goal also becomes a choice she struggles to accept.

Must one sacrifice their moral compass in pursuit of idealistic dreams? Is killing one’s lover ever justified? When everyone is certain they know the truth, how do we know whose voice to trust? Is there space for innocence in our modern world?

"A thrilling piece of theatre... Joshua H. Cohen’s book and lyrics are touching and well thought-out. In a world where morality seems to have vanished and peace a concept hardly practiced, this piece lights the way to discussion. Marisa Michelson’s music and book is haunting and ethereal… Rarely do you see a piece that is so new and enchanting. This is a must see for musical theatre lovers." – Suzanna Bowling, Times Square Chronicles

Tamar and the River was commissioned as part of Signature Theatre's American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation. It had a three-week workshop there, culminating in performances July 9-10, 2010, directed by Matthew Gardiner. It was subsequently featured in the Songwriters Showcase of the NAMT 22nd Annual Festival of New Musicals.

Its world premiere was produced by Prospect Theater Company, September-October 2013.

Video from the production here.

"It's hard to imagine a more ambitious piece of musical drama coming out of indie theatre than Prospect Theater Company's production of Tamar of the River... The narrative takes on immense power through Michelson’s rich and distinctive score." – Ron Cohen, nytheaternow.com

The production was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, for Margo Seibert (Outstanding Actress in a Musical) and Brian Tovar (Outstanding Lighting Design).

Pictures from the production here.

Choreographed by CHASE BROCK

starring Margo Seibert
with Ako, Jeremy Greenbaum, Erik Lochtefeld, Mike Longo and Vince B. Vincent
and featuring: Jen Anaya, Adam Bashian, Margot Bassett, Troy Burton, Tamrin Goldberg, Aaron Komo and Mary Kate Morrissey

Music Director – Matt Aument

Scenic Design – Brett J. Banakis
Costume Design – Candida K. Nichols
Lighting Design – Brian Tovar
Sound Design – Jeremy J. Lee

Casting Director – Jason Najjoum

Production Manager – Pope Jackson
Stage Manager – Emily Paige Ballou
Asst. Stage Manager – Taylor Alyssa Marun

"Michelson’s challenging and tonally complex music is some of the most unique and beautiful I've heard in musical theater... The stellar cast effortlessly delivers this very difficult material while performing Chase Brock's visually appealing choreography, which turns human bodies into a rushing river." – Zack Sullivan, Theatermania

Visit the show's website.

"The glorious Tamar of the River... is a must-see for anyone interested in nontraditional, engaging, and accessible musical theatre... The show is compelling, sexy, sometimes funny, and deeply emotional." – Wendy Caster, Show Showdown

Press for the production:

"Tamar has courage. Tamar is something new." — Adam Guettel

The World Premiere Recording is now available from Yellow Sound Label! See the Store for details.

For the Oratorio version, click here.