Thaddeus Phillips is a theater director, performer, set designer, and 2002 Pew Fellow whose creations often juxtapose the everyday with the extraordinary. An imaginative storyteller, Phillips says he views theater as a "liquid art form" and "the stage as a transformational space." His work has been presented in the US and abroad at numerous venues and festivals, including the BAM Next Wave Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, the Perth International Arts Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Center-funded work by Phillips includes Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, an action-opera based on Edgar Allan Poe's final days, which was hailed as "among the most original musical theater works I've seen in years" by The New York Times critic Charles Isherwood. In Microworld(s), a solo piece about a Serbian immigrant, audience members powered the lights by bicycling in the lobby. A recipient of a 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, Phillips earned his BA from Colorado College in Colorado Springs and attended Charles University Theater Academy in Prague. In 2016, Phillips received Center support to devise A Billion Nights On Earth, a visual theater work for children and adults that will blend performance art, pop-up storybook design techniques, and a cinematic score.
Thaddeus Phillips produced his largest show to date: an original musical titled Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, about the delirious final days of Edgar Allen Poe's life, which he spent traveling by train between New York and Richmond. Phillips had presented prior versions in small productions and this time transformed and presented the work fully staged at the 2012 FringeArts Festival, with an expanded piano-based score and enhanced visual effects. Artistic collaborators and Minneapolis-based composers Jeremy and David Wilhelm reworked songs they had created for earlier versions of the piece and contributed new songs to the score, using lyrics taken primarily from Poe's letters to his mother-in-law. Ean Sheehy starred as a gaunt and sympathetic Poe, and Sophie Bortolussi played his dead child-wife Virginia, who haunts her widowed husband throughout the show. Teller, of magic duo Penn & Teller, provided creative input on visual sequences and illusions. New York Times critic Charles Isherwood wrote, "This exquisite show is among the most original musical theater works I've seen in years."
Click here to watch the full production of Red-Eye to Havre de Grace.