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Squonk Opera

Composer Jackie Dempsey and artist Steve O'Hearn work with an ensemble of 10-20 artists to create post-industrial performances with original music, design, and staging, outside the rules of mass culture, fashion or academia. We received our first major commission in 1995 to create Night of The Living Dead: The Opera, from Marc Masterson. During a NYC stint of Bigsmorgasbordwunderwerk in 2000, we were PS 122 critical darlings for 3 months when The New York Times critic Ben Brantley called it "ingenious, hallucinatory, hypnotic" and it received an American Theater Wing Award. Squonk Opera has since created more than ten original productions and has performed in more than 250 venues across the United States. We roll up our sleeves and develop work that attacks and celebrates the idiosyncrasies of our world. Squonk has played on 3 continents and in over 25 states, and we strive to create work that is accessible and transformative. The Buffalo News hailed us as "Rust Belt dada" and the Washington Post described us as "Debussy meets Godzilla," although we suspect that last one may have been an insult. Often overblown, site-specific and participatory, our work was born from Middle America, places where people like their art boisterous and their food greasy. We created work too ambiguous for pop culture, and too easily appreciated for fashionistas to flaunt their sophistications.

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