Michael Gordon’s new post-rock opera What To Wear opens tonight at the Redcat Theater in downtown LA.   Richard Foreman wrote the libretto and directs the stage production.

According to our sources (Michael, who “guarantees a good time will be had by all”), What to Wear is a raucous and bitingly funny work about fashion. There are 4 main characters (all called Madeline X) and 2 ducks,
a small one and a big one. There are ten singers, ten actors and 7 musicians all under the musical direction of David Rosenboom.

What to Wear postulates a world in which military tanks and nightmare toy ducks take turns threatening  would-be fashion models, who are trying to escape reality by dressing in bizarre outfits that semi-disguise them as lost children who never found out how to be lovable,” Gordon explains, helpfully.  “They inhabit a large red room, dominated by four giant images of colorful abstract demons, suggesting that whatever one does finally wear, worse nightmares will eventually turn even the most riotous party inside out. They sing again and again, ‘I am Madeline X, beautifully dressed’. But as everyone on-stage turns less and less beautiful– something more ecstatic than beauty slowly reveals its awesome 21st century face.”


The Recat Theater is CalArts’ downtown center for innovative visual, performing and media arts and is located in the Walt Disney Concert Hall.   What To Wear runs through October 1

10 Responses to “What to Wear in LA”
  1. Ian Garrett says:

    A couple facts with the above.

    1. Richard did not design the sound on this one, though he shares the credit, it was Colbert Davis.

    2. This might end up in new york, but not at BAM.

    3. Richard’s Prostate is in good shape.

  2. Steve Layton says:

    Hey Johnny, Andrea’s (that’s a real name, by the way) one of the *good* snarks, so chill a little.

  3. johnny Chang says:

    i’ve seen “What to Wear Twice” – First some of the “theatrics” hit me as somewhat punk. and the music is fun – I enjopyed it – yet nothing more. One doesn’t dwell more on it (even after a couple of hearings). So i wouldn’t say it lifted the audience up more and more toward the conclusion of the work.

    By the way , this “Andrea” person definitely sounds snarky to me. though “Andrea” claims not trying to sound “snarky”… Definitely tryng to be snarky. “Look how I KNOW richard foreman’s work…” From the comments I’ve seen, always so ready to defend foreman, and always so ready to snark out at another opinion of foreman.


  4. Fred Lover says:

    Richard Foreman, I love love love, but this was more about Michael Gordon, and though the music was technically sound, it was pretty much a big snooze. Big disappointment

  5. David Salvage says:

    My one Foreman experience was “Cowboy Rufus” a few ago. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Visually fun, but I hadn’t a clue what was going on and I didn’t care that I didn’t.

  6. andrea says:

    foreman does something every year. is it only interesting to you every five or six years? (not trying to be snarky, just saying that foreman has a large output)

  7. corey dargel says:

    foreman does something interesting every five or six years. it’s been a while, so maybe this will be the one. will someone write it up on S21?

  8. andrea says:

    i’m sure it’ll come to nyc since both gordon and foreman live here. i believe it was commissioned by calarts, so they get first dibs, of course. maybe it’ll be at BAM. foreman usually does his own sound design for his theater productions, so i’m curious what an opera version of his theater-piece will sound like…

  9. Jeff says:

    bring it to new york! i need my michael gordon fix!

  10. andrea says:

    ‘whatever.’ yes, but that’s richard foreman for you. i think you have to let go of your desire for ‘normal’ when dealing with foreman.