This June, Vassar alumnae/i, parents, and friends in the Hudson Valley and New York City and Washington, DC, metropolitan areas will have the rare opportunity to take in a cultural collaboration among young performing artists from four continents. London-based John Caird, who won Tony Awards for the Broadway productions of Les Misérables and Nicholas Nickleby, will direct At Home in the World, featuring the Vassar College Choir and Women’s Chorus, as well as young dancers, singers and percussionists from Uganda and Japan.
Following two extraordinary sold-out performances last year in Tokyo and Sendai, Japan, Vassar and the Ashinaga foundation are again combining forces to present At Home in the World. It is a unique presentation that blends American choral with Ugandan dancing, singing, and drumming and Japanese taiko drumming by students from Ashinaga’s programs in Uganda and Japan that provide educational and emotional support for children who have lost parents.
The creation and performance of At Home in the World offers these talented young people from Uganda, Japan, and the United States the opportunity to articulate and share their experience, artistry, and aspirations across their varied and vibrant cultures—and offers audiences the chance to share in the results.
Like Ashinaga itself (the word means “long legs” in Japanese), At Home in the World draws major inspiration from Daddy-Long-Legs, the timeless bestseller by Jean Webster, Class of 1901, which tells the story of an orphaned girl whose education—at a college that will seem suspiciously familiar to Vassar alums—is made possible by an anonymous benefactor. Music for the 2015 American edition of the show will range from a selection from a musical version of Daddy-Long-Legs by director Caird to new original works by noted composers Tarik O’Regan and Matt Gould to traditional and popular songs from all three countries represented by the young performers.
Three special performances of At Home in the World will take place in the U.S.:
- The Martel Theater on the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie on Monday, June 8
- Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on Wednesday, June 10
- The Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 12
And for alums and friends in Asia, there’s more: the troupe will then head across the Pacific for a reprise performance (with Japanese-language script) in Tokyo at the Nerima Bunka Center on Saturday, June 20.
--Photos by ©Suguru Yaginuma and ©Atsushi Shibuya