Blending Civil War History and Sci-fi, The Lisps offer new Rock Musical “Futurity” at Mass MoCA

We’re posting this a bit early since it is likely that tickets will become impossible to obtain for those who delay. The Lisps are extraordinary under any circumstances, but they have been exploring some new territory, and we are lucky they are bringing it to Mass MoCA in North Adams.

The Lisps bring Futurity to MASS MoCA, Saturday, April 27 at 8 PM. It’s a rock musical.

Ada Lovelace and her artificial intelligence "Futurity" machine which is steam powered.

Ada Lovelace and her artificial intelligence “Futurity” machine which is steam powered.

Futurity is a sci-fi love story set inside a history lesson.This original indie-rock musical by The Lisps, a Brooklyn-based assemblage of 21st-century theater-loving indie rockers, borders the literary and borrows liberally from vaudeville, Anti-Folk, science fiction, and Americana. Broadway World advises, “Leave your presumptions about musical theater at the door. Born of the art world and the indie rock scene, the show is part performance art, part rock concert, and totally defies conventional labels.”

Within a theatrically staged song cycle, Futurity fuses found text, experimental music, and The Lisps’ own brand of quirky pop to tell the story of young Julian Munro, who spends his days breaking up Confederate railroad tracks as a soldier in the Union army. Julian copes with the destruction around him by imagining a far-fetched science fiction future. Guided by his brilliant mentor, the famous metaphysicist Ada Lovelace, Julian weaves an epic fantasy that folds a utopian, high-tech future into the dark reality of war. Together, Julian and Ada attempt to devise an all-powerful steam-powered machine destined to end war and all of humanity’s miseries. In the words of The Boston Globe, Futurity is “a DIY rock musical that just happens to concern itself with string theory and the possibility of a technological singularity.”

"Futurity" is a complex production both musically and theatrically.

“Futurity” is a complex production both musically and theatrically.

The Lisps’ energetic performances frequently involve bloody tambourines, wrestling, lipstick-smeared melodicas, old filing cabinets, and film reels suspended by rusty chains on a set designed by Emily Orling. Sammy Tunis and César Alvarez sing and act the roles of Ada Lovelace and Julian Munro, backed by drummer Eric Farber. The book and music were written by César Alvarez and Molly Rice. Originally funded via Kickstarter with financial contributions from theatrical collaborators and fans of The Lisps, Futurity is directed by Sarah Benson, current artistic director of the renowned Soho Repertory Theater. Futurity features choreography by the innovative Annie-B Parson, founder of Big Dance Theater and choreographer of Here Lies Love, the collaboration between David Byrne and director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher) which was in residency at MASS MoCA before moving on to performances at the Public Theater.

The Lisps will perform Futurity in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 on Saturday, April 27, at 8 PM. Club B-10 is an intimate, casual venue on the third floor of MASS MoCA. Full bar plus dinner and snacks from Lickety Split are available before and during the show. Tickets are $12 in advance, $16 on the day of the show, and $10 for students. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office, located off Marshall Street in North Adams, from 11 AM until 5 PM (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at

One thought on “Blending Civil War History and Sci-fi, The Lisps offer new Rock Musical “Futurity” at Mass MoCA

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