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Sing Along With Frances McDormand

The Oscar and Tony winner is in town performing Shaker spirituals. 


Pop quiz: This month, Oscar- and Tony-winning actress Frances McDormand is coming to Z Space to perform which of the following? 

A. An art piece in which she simply maintains a deadpan expression for three hours, titled The Golden Globes, Part Deux.

B. a sing-along with an album of Shaker hymns from the 1800s.

C. a live one-woman reenactment of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Answer: B.

That’s right. McDormand has teamed up with the Wooster Group to perform Early Shaker Spirituals, essentially a sing-along with an old vinyl album of Shaker hymns.

How does such a project come about? “It was a no-brainer,” says director and longtime Wooster member Kate Valk. According to Valk, members of the renowned New York theater group have been listening to this album (on repeat) for 20-plus years. When McDormand (a longtime friend and collaborator) mentioned that she wanted to do a project concerning the Shakers, they seized the opportunity to bring their beloved album to life.

The result is a troupe of women, all over the age of 55, singing (not prettily) and dancing (somewhat awkwardly) on a very stark stage. And it’s not to be missed.
Feb. 5–8. 


Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco

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