Original music, lyrics, and story by Michael Shaieb for a 45 minute choral oratorio looking at the effects of crystal meth addiction in the GLBT community. Commissioned by Dr. Stan Hill and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus for their 2008 season and their performance at the GALA Choruses Festival 2008 in Miami.
Written for men’s chorus and 3 male soloists, the story follows a 36-hour period in the life of Sebastian, a young and successful businessman, as he ‘hits bottom’ due to his chronic use of methamphetamine. Sebastian is about to lose everything and everyone close to him, while both his long-time partner Zack and one-night-stand Billy face the cold truth that they have been lied to and left behind.
Through A Glass, Darkly is about shattered dreams, dreams unrealized, and dreams deferred. It is about the fear of being alone, the fear of not fitting in, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. It explores the truth that, with support from our friends, we can gain the insight to see life more clearly.
As the scene opens, Sebastian, a successful Wall Street-type and meth addict, sneaks out of the house he shares with his long-time partner Zack and heads out to a club in search of new adventure (Opener). There, he seduces a fresh new face, Billy, and they retire to a hotel where Sebastian introduces him to the drug (Stay A While). Billy and Sebastian get high (Transitions). Sebastian quickly tires of Billy and the situation and seeks a way to duck out (Just Another Night). After Sebastian leaves, Billy and Zack separately find themselves awaiting Sebastian’s return. Zack decides to leave, begins to pack a suitcase, and finds an old photo album. He nostalgically flips through it, recalling better times (The Ordinary Things).
The story pauses for a commentary on the absurd commonness of crystal meth’s ingredients and its devastating effects on the body (Making It). The Chorus comments on the surreal denials of the meth epidemic, as drugs are not conversation for polite company (Let’s Pretend).
Originally commissioned by Dr. Stan Hill and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus for their 2007-2008 season and underwritten through the generosity of Alan Braun.
The world premiere was March 29, 2008 at Ted Mann Hall on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Twin Cities Public TV taped this concert along with interviews with the soloists and artistic team. The video premiered statewide in Minnesota on June 21, 2008 and is available for purchase on DVD from TCGMC.org.
Billy and Zack, in their separate worlds, each find themselves now wondering where Sebastian is and when he might return (Any Minute Now). But Sebastian is nowhere to be found, and friends and neighbors start to notice his absence (Did You Know). The Chorus reflects on our search for love, and our dreams which we sometimes have to set aside for another day (We Hope). Messages to Sebastian go unanswered – he has lost his job, is losing his friends, and leaves everyone in the dark (Messages). Upon returning home, Sebastian denies that he has a problem and turns his wrath upon Zack, the one person who has supported him for years (What Problem). Zack laments what they have lost to the drug, and Sebastian sees his reflection in the mirror for the first time and what he has become (If You Only Knew).
You were telling my story… speaking to me about the lives that I have affected… you left us with that one sentence that all addicts are longing to hear, we are beautiful. You nailed a very tough subject on the head.- T.
I cannot remember another time that I observed the Chorus living [their] mission statement more fully.- anonymous
Being a former meth user, I feel that I have found some redemption through this show.- M.B.
"If You Only Knew"
Heartland Men’s Chorus
GALA 2012 Concert Block
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
April 10, 2011
West Coast Premiere
San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Centers of San Diego County
David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre
San Diego, CA
New York City Gay Men’s Chorus
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, NYU
New York, NY
April 17, 2010
"Here & Now" concert
The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus
June 7, 2009
Pride Show 2009
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC
Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University
July 16, 2008
GALA Choruses Festival 2008
Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus
Ziff Ballet Opera House
March 30, 2008
Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus
Tedd Mann Hall, University of Minnesota Campus
Advance press for San Diego "Darkly"
Gay Men’s Chorus wants to ‘friend’ you this weekend –Charlene Baldridge, sdnews.com, April 7, 2011 “Friend Me” featuring “Through A Glass, Darkly” –performingartslive.com
West Coast Premiere of "Through A Glass, Darkly" Announced
The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing the West Coast premiere of Mike’s oratorio Through A Glass, Darkly on April 9-10, 2011 in La Jolla at the 500-seat Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center’s David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre.
NY Premiere of "Through A Glass, Darkly"
The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus under the direction of Dr. Charles Beale will be premiering Through A Glass, Darkly on June 30, 2010 at 8pm, at the NYU Skirball Center in Greenwich Village, NYC.
Advance press for D.C. "Darkly", part 2
More advance press at metroweekly.com for the D.C. performances of Mike’s Through A Glass, Darkly:
Advance press for "Darkly" in Washington DC
Dan O’Neill writes a great article for the upcoming production of Mike’s Through A Glass, Darkly, performed by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC:
Where to find us in '09 (and a 2008 wrap-up)
2008 ended with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus premiere of Mike’s oratorio Through A Glass, Darkly being cited for Outstanding Achievement in Opera by MN’s Lavender Magazine (Thanks! But…opera?). At least five more choruses around the country have expressed interest in staging their own concert productions in the near-future.
Big Week In Review, In Pictures
Through A Glass, Darkly premiered on PBS in Minnesota last Saturday night, while Go-Go Beach simultaneously turned 100 (performances…ever) the same night.
"Through A Glass, Darkly" to air June 21 on Minnesota Public TV
Twin Cities Public Television will be airing the premiere broadcast of Mike’s theatrical-concert about meth addiction – “Through A Glass, Darkly”. Hey Minnesotans: set your TiVos for TPT-17 on Saturday, June 21 from 8-9pm central. For the rest of us out-of-towners, we will find out if TPT streams online, and we’ll post ordering info when DVDs go on-sale.
An Easter Parade of "Darkly" publicity
Minnesota’s giant newspaper, the StarTribune, is running a feature about this weekend’s upcoming premiere of “Through A Glass, Darkly”. (If they ask you to pay, just delete your .startribune.com cookies…shhh!)
"Darkly" cover story in this week's Lavender
This week’s Lavender magazine (Minnesota’s GLBT magazine) has a great cover story feature on “Through A Glass, Darkly”.
Photos from Minneapolis "Darkly" rehearsal
Mike and I just returned from a quick trip to Minneapolis to check in on final preparations for the “Through A Glass, Darkly” concert (March 29 & 30!). We had production meetings and met the sound recorder and the video team – and best of all, we sat in on last Tuesday’s rehearsal where we heard the entire piece performed live.
"Through A Glass, Darkly" to premiere in Minneapolis
Save the date! Mike’s newest work gets its World Premiere on March 29 and 30, 2008, Minneapolis.