Noted avant garde composer John Moran has selected Las Vegas’s award-winning Majestic Repertory Theatre to debut a new immersive staging of his composition THE MANSON FAMILY (AN OPERA), marking the fiftieth anniversary of the notorious 1969 crime that shook the nation. Originally commissioned by the Lincoln Center, THE MANSON FAMILY (AN OPERA) has built a cult following largely due to its cast recording produced by Moran’s artistic mentor Phillip Glass and featuring Iggy Pop.
John Moran made his mark creating multimedia performances in New York’s vibrant downtown scene of the late 1980s. When Julian Serrano’s “Piss Christ” caused a controversial stir because of its NEA funding, Moran was caught in the crossfire of congressional investigations of seemingly “obscene” art. Critics at the time unfairly felt Moran was glorifying Manson, particularly one contributor to The Wall Street Journal. This led Manson to compose a series of rambling letters to the contributor defending Moran – who had never been in contact with him. Thirty years later culture has shifted and true crime has become water cooler fare, with the popularity of shows such as Mindhunter and podcasts including My Favorite Murder.
“John reached out to me last summer with the idea of Majestic Rep producing Manson Family. That alone was stunning and an honor,” says director Troy Heard. “He didn’t know I bought the CD back in high school. The insanity of that composition had my mind reeling with staging possibilities. When John and I bonded over a love for haunted houses and Disney Imagineering, we decided to take his production to the next level by creating physical worlds the audience would walk through.”
THE MANSON FAMILY (AN OPERA) begins shortly after the murders have occurred and features four key players: a ghostly Prosecutor, Susan Atkins, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, and Manson. The Beatles also make brief appearances. Audiences will visit the Cielo Drive scene, gather around a bonfire at Spahn Ranch, and become the jury in the L.A. County Courtroom.
“It’s a Post-Modern acid trip through 1969 complete with audio mash-ups, projections curated by Moran, trippy lighting and smells,” says Heard. “We’re creating art that is moving, unsettling and at times darkly funny.” Because of the immersive staging, only sixteen tickets will be sold to each performance, making this an intimate and unique performance for audiences.
THE MANSON FAMILY (AN OPERA) will be performed from November 21 through December 8. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. nightly, and Sundays at 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. There will be no performance on Thursday, November 28. General admission is $35. Majestic Repertory Theatre is located at at 1217 S. Main Street. Tickets are on sale now at www.majesticrepertory.com.