BAM’s Next Wave Festival, founded in 1983 by former BAM leader and impresario Harvey Lichtenstein, championed performances in which genres mixed and traditions were upended. Definitive artists of the downtown arts scene were presented for the first time in proscenium theaters and international trailblazers celebrated their New York debuts.
BAM: The Next Wave Festival, edited by Steven Serafin and Susan Yung, is published by BAM in association with Print Matters Productions, Inc. The book surveys the festival’s groundbreaking performances by genre, with chapters written by Tom Sellar, Wendy Perron, Roger Oliver, Mark Swed, and Dan Cameron––plus scenes from the Next Wave by Susan Yung providing a look at the iconic productions that defined the festival. Richly illustrated with performance photos and ephemera from BAM’s archives and a chronology of performances, the volume includes an introduction by Kristy Edmunds and reflections from the late Harvey Lichtenstein. A personal narrative from Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo offers a behind-the-scenes perspective from the festival’s director in conversation with numerous artists and peers.
Lichtenstein began the Next Wave as a series in 1981, presenting dance and opera with choreographers Trisha Brown, Laura Dean, and Lucinda Childs, and composer Philip Glass. The second series expanded with music by Steve Reich and Max Roach, dance by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, and music-theater by Laurie Anderson, among others. These seasons propelled a bolder program––a full-scale Next Wave Festival in 1983 that came to define BAM and entire generations of artists.
“The festival gave artists the opportunity to challenge aesthetic norms by harnessing different forms of storytelling,” says Melillo. “Theater, dance, music, visual art––all separate silos of artistic form––merged on BAM’s stages.”
“The pioneering and restless spirit of BAM is a constant for each and every Next Wave season” says BAM President Katy Clark. “Joe’s dedication to adventurous programming never ceases to astonish us and this book reflects his vision. It’s also an enduring testament to the many people who usher this work to the stage and the audiences who continue to support it.”
BAM: The Next Wave Festival will be published on September 26, 2018. Unbound, a book release event, featuring a discussion with Joseph V. Melillo, will be held that evening at 6pm in the BAM Lepercq Space (30 Lafayette Ave). Visit BAM.org for tickets and additional information.