Reno Arts, Poetry, Opera, Hip Hop and Youth Community Join Forces for 601AM: A Working Class Opera

Reno Arts, Poetry, Opera, Hip Hop and Youth Community Join Forces for 601AM: A Working Class Opera

Reno’s first-ever spoken word opera event takes place May 30 at Pioneer Center

Reno, NV—Over six local organizations, including Sierra Arts, The Holland Project, NV Opera, Spoken Views, Rainshadow Charter High School, and Reno’s hip hop and spoken word community, are proud to announce Reno’s first-ever spoken word opera—601AM: A Working Class Opera—coming to life at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 8PM. In reflecting the cultural and artistic diversity of our community, this project marks the first time local organizations representing youth, opera, spoken word, hip hop, orchestration, set design, dance and film have come together for a performance production, marking the ultimate collaborative event.

The story is based on the words and poetry of local musician Richie Panelli—aka The Apprentice, and is directed by playwright, Nevada Art Council Artist-in-Residence, and drama instructor of at-risk and incarcerated youth, Pan Pantoja. Over 20 young poets, performers and students ranging in age from 16-30 comprise the cast. An original musical score composed by 24-year-old Fred Case and performed by the NV Opera Orchestra will accompany the performance.

601 AM shares the struggles and triumphs of the modern working class. Modeled after the idea of a “working class opera” in the vein of Bertolt Brecht, the opera concentrates on the stories of the lower socioeconomic demographic that lives, breathes, and dreams in modern day Reno, Nevada. The timing of this production coincides perfectly with the state of our nation as we plunge deeper into recession. 601AM brings together the beauty of the performing arts with the power of social commentary—and reminds us that even in tough times we all find ways to persevere and find hope.

“This truly original performance piece is theatrical personification of hope, determination, and endurance in the face of adversity. The characters struggle with everyday concerns such as paying the rent, keeping food on the table, raising children, and aspiring to rise up and confront their economic condition,” states 601 writer/director Pan Pantoja.
The cast, crew and partners of 601AM have raised a significant amount of funding to make sure this production hit the stage—from house parties, to art shows, to securing individual and business sponsorship, to grants, including a very generous grant from the Redfield Foundation—the people behind 601AM have worked very hard, even in tough times, to fund this project. Four upcoming fundraisers are scheduled for this month—an event at Fairly Grounded on Thursday, April 23 at 5PM, a Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, May 9, and a CD Release Party at Beck’s Brew House on Saturday, May 16th for 21+ and Sunday, May 17th at West Street Market for all-ages. Your support at these final fundraising events will help ensure the success of this production.

Tickets are $25 and $50 for adults, and $10 for kids and are on sale now at Proceeds from the production are donated to drama department of Rainshadow Community Charter High School and The Holland Project to further arts and music programming for teens.