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Theatrical dance experience ‘Ain’t Done Bad’ comes to NYC this summer

Company of 'Ain't Done Bad'. Photo by Ashleigh Ann Gardner.
Company of 'Ain't Done Bad'. Photo by Ashleigh Ann Gardner.

Ain’t Done Bad is a hybrid theatrical dance experience conceived, directed and choreographed by Jakob Karr (So You Think You Can Dance) and featuring the music of country star Orville Peck. The show will play a limited engagement at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd Street) with previews beginning July 9, opening July 14, and running through September 1.

Ain’t Done Bad tells the powerful heartwarming story of coming out, falling in love and finding one’s true voice as a queer person in the South. Told entirely through contemporary dance without a single spoken word, the 90-minute performance stars Jakob Karr along with 10 leading dancers. 

Karr is joined onstage by Adrian Lee (Wicked) as the Father, Megumi Iwama (Mean Girls the movie) as the Mother, Ian Spring (Parsons Dance) as the Brother, Luke Qualls (The Radio City Christmas Spectacular) as Karr’s alternate, Yusaku Komori (The Greatest Showman) and Jordan Lombardi (Phantom of the Opera National Tour) as the Friends, and Joshua Escover (The Empire Strips Back) as the Lover. Swings include Caden Hunter (Juilliard) and Madison O’Connor (Radio City Rockettes), who also acts as Dance Captain.

Ain’t Done Bad comes to the Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center after critically-acclaimed workshops in Orlando at Renaissance Theatre Company and in North Carolina at Durham’s PSI Theatre, Greensboro PAC and the Wortham Center for Performing Arts in 2023. The production premiered in 2021, at the Orlando International Fringe Festival, where it received the festival’s highest honor (Best Show). Karr is joined by Scenic Designers Philip Lupo, Joey Coombs and Blake Schulte, with Lighting Design by Philip Lupo. Morgan Lemos is the Stage Manager and additional creatives include Grace Buckley (Associate Choreographer) and Joi Marchetti (Additional Music Production). Evan Bernardin Productions is the general manager, Eli Owens in the production assistant, and digital advertising is by SINE Digital.

Karr began dancing at the age of 12 and has performed all over the country, as well as most of Europe, Australia, Japan and India. His credits include CATS on Broadway (Mistoffelees Understudy); Cirque Du Soleil’s VOLTA; So You Think You Can Dance Season 6 – Runner Up; The Radio City New York Spectacular (Mia Michaels); Flashdance The Musical first Nationall Tour; Rock the BalletViva Elvis by Cirque Du Soleil; Kiss Me Kate at Barrington Stage; Working at New York City Center ENCORES; English With An Accent at Lincoln Center, “The 82nd Annual Academy Awards”; America’s Got Talent; GLEE (FOX); Westworld (HBO); and Company XIV.

“When I first listened to Orville Pecks’s album Pony in 2019, I immediately felt that a story had to be woven through his songs…the theatricality of his voice and lyrics spoke to me so clearly,” said Karr. “As a fellow queer artist, I feel it’s important that we tell stories that uplift and honor our community. His music is a gorgeous example of finding triumph in pain and sharing your best self with those who will listen. With dance as my first language, this is the best way I can tell this story. Ain’t Done Bad is my love letter to anyone who has ever struggled with their identity, and it is a thank you note to everyone who helped me find my voice.”

“Dance was the essential element that first drew us together as producing partners,” said producers Patti Maurer and Donald Rupe. “Jakob is able to blend the genres of contemporary dance and theater in a way we’ve never seen before; this show isn’t just a dance piece and it isn’t just a theatrical piece; Ain’t Done Bad is truly the best of both worlds. We are thrilled to share this exciting work of art with the New York theater audiences, the LGBTQ+ community, and multitudes of dancers and dance and theater-lovers in the city this summer.”

Ain’t Done Bad plays Tuesday-Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 7:30pm (for the week of July 9-14), and beginning July 16, the schedule is: Tuesday at 7:30pm, Wednesday at 2pm and 7:30pm, Thursday-Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 7:30pm. Tickets are $40-$75.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit aintdonebad.com.

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