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54 Below

A Nonprofit Cabaret Venue

Over 1200 years before Hillary, Kamala, and Kirsten, there was Irene, Euphrosyne and Theodora. Developed by the Byzantine Choral Project, ICONS/IDOLS is a tetralogy of choral plays that recovers the secret history of three Byzantine empresses as they ascend in a society rife with animosity towards female rule. Deeply committed to religious icons, these empresses bargain happiness for power in an attempt to re-introduce iconography to the Byzantine Empire.

ICONS/IDOLS: Empress Arias will feature powerful, diverse women performing excerpts from the tetralogy as a whole.

The Byzantine Choral Project is a dynamic collaboration between playwright Helen Banner, composer Grace Oberhofer, and director Colette Robert to make theater using women’s voices.

The development of ICONS/IDOLS received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

ICONS/IDOLS has been developed in The Jam, New Georges’ performance lab for early career female artists, in The New Ohio’s Ice Factory Festival, and by The Tank, a home for emerging artists.


Iris Beaumier (Modern Love, Instinct, Blindspot)
Faye Chiao (New Victory Labworks Artist, Boston Chamber Symphony)
Isabella Dawis (The End of Mermaids, SWEAT the opera)
Rachael Duddy (Esperanza Spalding World Tour, Hildegard)
Hannah Eakin (Dead of Winter, Shattered, Chasers)
Emily Gardner Xu Hall (Nell Gwynn, Lilly Award for a Female Composer-Lyricist)
Kay Weber (Sweetee at Signature Theater, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk’s Republic)
Joell Weil (Little Rock at Sheen Center, Kevin Can Wait)

Music Direction by Robert Frost
Stage Managed by Margaret Gleberman

Past Performances

  • Fri, Feb 8 :9:30 pm
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