Ghost Quartet is a musical adaptation of a songcycle, "Ghost Quartet," by a band, also called Ghost Quartet, written and composed by Dave Malloy. The show is described as "a song cycle about love, death, and whiskey. A camera breaks and four friends drink in four interwoven narratives spanning seven centuries"
The show tells four interwoven stories: "a warped fairy tale about two sisters, a treehouse astronomer and a lazy evil bear; a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"; a purgatorial intermezzo about Scheherazade and the ghost of Thelonious Monk; and a contemporary fable about a subway murder."
1. "I Don't Know",
2. "The Camera Shop",
5. "Usher, Part 1",
6. "Soldier & Rose",
7. "Any Kind of Dead Person",
1. "The Astronomer",
2. "Family Meeting",
3. "Four Friends",
4. "Fathers & Sons",
5. "Usher, Part 2",
6. "The Telescope",
7. "Tango Dancer",
1. "Lights Out",
2. "The Photograph",
3. "Bad Men",
4. "Usher, Part 3",
3. "The Wind & Rain",
The piece draws on numerous sources of inspiration, including Arabian Nights, Matsukaze (a Japanese Noh drama), Grimms' Fairy Tales, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", James Joyce's Ulysses, Rosemary Timperley's "Harry," Thelonious Monk's "Ruby, My Dear," "Epistrophy," and "'Round Midnight," The Twilight Zone (particularly "The After Hours" and "In His Image"), 2001: A Space Odyssey, David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, Cosmos (both the Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson versions), Stephen King's Dark Tower series, The Legend of Zelda and Castlevania, Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Bill Willingham's Fables, Ken Wilbur's A Brief History of Everything, Tina Satter's Seagull (Thinking of You), Frozen, R. Umar Abbasi's NY Post photo, and "The Wind & Rain," a 17th-century English murder ballad.
The music is scored for four voices, cello, guitars, dulcimer, Celtic harp, erhu, autoharp, piano, keyboards and percussion, and is inspired by murder ballads, doo-wop, angular bebop, Chinese folk, Islamic adhan, and the music of Bernard Herrmann and George Crumb.
The piece premiered in 2014 at the Bushwick Starr. The production starred Brent Arnold, Brittain Ashford, Gelsey Bell, and Dave Malloy, and was directed by Annie Tippe. Christopher Bowser was the production designer and James Harrison Monaco the dramaturg.
The show was remounted at the McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, in January 2015.
The piece was well received by the New York press; Ben Brantley in the New York Times called it "Rapturous...this happily haunted song cycle speaks in many styles. The voguish term "mash-up" doesn't begin to capture its breadth or its quirky sincerity...Ghost Quartet uses languages as varied as gospel, folk ballads, honky-tonk anthems of heartbreak, electropop, doo-wop and jazz à la Thelonious Monk...directed with unobtrusive cunning by Annie Tippe...Mr. Malloy is infectiously in love with the dark arts of storytelling in all its forms..."
On October 31, 2014 the album was released by the ensemble via Bandcamp.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license