Bach At Leipzig
by Itamar Moses
Full Length Play, Comedy / 7m
Leipzig, Germany — 1722. Johann Kuhnau, revered organist of the Thomaskirche, suddenly dies, leaving his post vacant. The town council invites musicians to audition for the coveted position, among them young Johann Sebastian Bach.
Leipzig, Germany — 1722. Johann Kuhnau, revered organist of the Thomaskirche, suddenly dies, leaving his post vacant. The town council invites musicians to audition for the coveted position, among them young Johann Sebastian Bach. In an age where musicians depend on patronage from the nobility or the church to pursue their craft, the post at a prominent church in a cultured city is a near guarantee of fame and fortune -which is why some of the candidates are willing to resort to any lengths to secure it. BACH AT LEIPZIG is a fugue-like farcical web of bribery, blackmail, and betrayal set against the backdrop of Enlightenment questions about humanity, God, and art.
“The most stylish and substantive play based on classical music since Peter Shaffer's Amadeus .” – Ithaca Times
"A funny, fiercely intelligent romp." – Los Angeles Times
“A fleet-footed, quick-witted, brain-teasing farce. It's a joy.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“If you like super-smart silliness, be ready to laugh until your ribs are sore. A who's-on-first farce full of theatrical trickery and fizzy verbal slapstick.” – The Wall Street Journal
“A remarkably silly yet intellectually stirring comedy. Deserves to be a minor classic. Reaches for an ineffable beauty and mystery that is hard to shake.” – Queen Anne News
“Lovely, wise, tender, strong, and the best play I've seen — or can imagine — by a young playwright.” – Chicago Reader
“An intellectual fun-house of a play. With its wordplay, brainy allusions and virtuoso manipulations of artistic form, it has a 'look-Ma-no-hands' swagger. A poignant meditation on the artistic temperament and the transporting power of music.” – Washington Post
“Itamar Moses' brainy comedy doesn't settle for cheap laughs, though it has a lot of them. He's got more — much more — on his mind...a look at pride, the meaning and duties of talent, and deep, discursive ruminations on whether music and people can — or should — evolve without spiritual faith.” – Seattle Weekly
“Moses may be some kind of genius.” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Brilliant. What consistently amazes and delights is not just the wealth but the breadth of the intellectual fencing, which never misses a comedic beat. Moses reveals a remarkable ability to make a complex, intellectual play funny, with the feather-light touch of a modern Moliere.” –Shepherd Express Milwaukee
- No Special Cautions
- Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
- Time Period: 18th Century
- Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
The Thomaskirche, Leipzig, Germany, 1722. Later 1750.
- Additional Features: Play w/ Music
- Features / Contains: Period Costumes
- Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
- Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
- Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)
JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH - organist and Kapellmeister at Zerbst, fifties.
GEORG BALTHASAR SCHOTT - organist at the Neuekirche in Leipzig, fifties.
GEORG LENCK - organist and Kantor at Laucha, late thirties.
JOHANN MARTIN STEINDORFF - organist and Kantor at Zwickau, twenties.
GEORG FRIEDRICH KAUFMANN - organist and Kantor at Merseburg, fifties.
GEORG FRIEDRICH GRAUPNER - organist and Kapellmeister at Dramstadt, fifties.
THE GREATEST ORGANIST IN GERMANY - organist and Kantor at Hamburg.
- All Male
Bach at Leipzig was first presented at Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, in 2002. It was directed by Kevin Moriarty. The play was subsequently presented Off Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop in New York City in 2005. It was directed by Pam MacKinnon.