The original cast recording for Dave Malloy's musical Octet features a score for an a cappella chamber choir and an original libretto inspired by internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry. Octet, which premiered at the Signature Theatre in 2019, explores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of twenty-first century technology. "The most original and topical musical of the year," says the New York Times; "the sublime a cappella chamber opera is a portrait in song of perhaps the greatest David and Goliath struggle of our time."
The original cast recording for three-time Tony Award nominee Dave Malloy's musical Octet—recorded live during Signature Theatre's world premiere production at the Pershing Square Signature Center—was released on November 15, 2019, digitally and on January 17, 2020, on CD, via Nonesuch Records. Featuring a score for an a cappella chamber choir and an original libretto inspired by internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry, Octet explores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of twenty-first century technology. The album was produced by Malloy and Or Matias. For more on the show, visit octetmusical.com.
"The most original and topical musical of the year," says the New York Times, "the sublime a cappella chamber opera is a portrait in song of perhaps the greatest David and Goliath struggle of our time. In one cavernous corner, there's the endless, labyrinthine and shape-shifting internet. In the other corner, there is the naked and unaccompanied human voice, about as low-tech as you can get."
Funded in part by a fervent, fan-driven Kickstarter campaign, the album features the cast of Signature's original production of Octet, directed by Annie Tippe with music supervision and direction by Or Matias: Adam Bashian as Ed, Kim Blanck as Karly, Starr Busby as Paula, Alex Gibson as Henry, Justin Gregory Lopez as Toby, J.D. Mollison as Marvin, Margo Seibert as Jessica, and Kuhoo Verma as Velma. The creative team included Amy Rubin and Brittany Vasta (scenic design), Brenda Abbandandolo (costume design), Christopher Bowser (lighting design), Hidenori Nakajo (sound design), and Jhanaë KC Bonnick (production stage manager).
"Every one of the show’s actors is balancing a full, many-shaded character with a masterful musical performance, both as a soloist and within the goose-bump-inducing vocal blend of the ensemble," Vulture said of the Signature Theatre cast. "Malloy’s shifting, intertwining songs expand and contract like a Hoberman sphere, now meticulous and crystalline, now swelling with strata of glistening harmonies.”
Dave Malloy is a composer/writer/performer/orchestrator. He has written thirteen musicals, including Octet; Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, an electropop opera based on a slice of Tolstoy's War & Peace (twelve Tony nominations, including Best Musical, Score, Book, and Orchestrations); Ghost Quartet, a song cycle about love, death, and whiskey; Preludes, a musical fantasia set in the hypnotized mind of Sergei Rachmaninoff; Little Bunny Foo Foo, a forest entertainment for small people; Three Pianos, a drunken romp through Schubert's "Winterreise"; Black Wizard/Blue Wizard, an escapist RPG fantasy; Beowulf—A Thousand Years of Baggage, an anti-academia rock opera; Beardo, a reinterpretation of the Rasputin myth; Sandwich, a musical about killing animals; and Clown Bible, Genesis to Revelation told through clowns. He has won two Obie Awards, a Smithsonian Ingenuity Award, a Theater World Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, an ASCAP New Horizons Award, and a Jonathan Larson Grant, and has been a MacDowell fellow and Composer-in-Residence at Ars Nova and a Signature Theatre Residency 5 playwright. Future projects include an adaptation of Moby-Dick. He lives in Brooklyn.
Signature Theatre (Paige Evans, Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert, Executive Director; James Houghton, Founder) celebrates playwrights and gives them an artistic home. Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, producing several plays by each resident writer and delivering an immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision. In 2014 Signature became the first New York City company to receive the Regional Theater Tony Award. Signature serves its mission at its permanent home, The Pershing Square Signature Center.
Produced by Dave Malloy and Or Matias
Recorded at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center, June 20–23, 2019
Mixed by Tom Lazarus
Mastered by Joe Lambert
Design by Evan Gaffney
Cover Image by Danielle Speicher, based on original art by Pamela Colman Smith
FOR SIGNATURE THEATRE:
Director of Artistic Programs: Natasha Sinha
Production Dramaturg: Jenna Clark Embrey
Production Manager: Gabriela Gutierrez
Vocal Coach: Marisa Michelson
Assistant Music Director: Simone Allen
Casting Associate: Joe Gery
Associate General Manager: Kayla Faede
Associate Sound Designer: Sam Schloegel
Audio Mixers: Ian Williams, Matt Good
Deck Audio: Dio Garcia
Production Audio: Cameron Hoffman, Scott James
Production Photos: Joan Marcus
Scenic photos: Brittany Vasta and Cassie Dorland
Assistant Stage Manager: Kate Ann Wilson
Understudy for Toby/Marvin/Henry/Ed: Jonathan Christopher
Understudy for Velma/Jessica/Karly/Paula: Nicole Weiss
Ed: Adam Bashian
Karly: Kim Blanck
Paula: Starr Busby
Henry: Alex Gibson
Toby: Justin Gregory Lopez
Marvin: J.D. Mollison
Jessica: Margo Seibert
Velma: Kuhoo Verma