I had no idea what to expect from this show. I mean what the heck is a flux kit, when did Gertrude Stein get involved with the civil war, and who in their right mind would write an opera about US Grant? The obvious answer is no one in their right mind would attempt to write such a thing, which led me to conclude, the author Stephen Rush may not be in his right mind. I met Stephen while he and his troop (troupe) where serenading bystanders on the sidewalk. I introduced myself and told him I played trombone too. He informed me six of their troupe played trombone. I replied with something thoughtful and reflective like, “Wow” he said, “I didn’t say we were proud of it.” They should be this ensemble can flat out play.
OK, so really, what is a flux kit?
The opera was conceived as a game invented by the playwright that determined the action, design, and music of the performance. Once I got the feel for it, it was like being part of a giant board game—except it was an opera.
Why you should go
It’s a lively and entertaining show. Everyone in the cast can sing but especially Jennifer Goltz and Dan Kitzman. I have seldom heard better. They rival talent I saw on Broadway this spring. They are that good. You should go hear for yourself.
The musicians were exceptional, not only on their assigned instruments but switching from one instrument to another. I was enthralled. It seemed spontaneous. I wondered how much was improvised.
Ulysses Grant: A Flux Kit Opera has a message. As the show flyer explains, “The opera swings from the ridiculous to the fervently sincere as Civil War Statistics are displayed, descriptions of battle strategies are sung, and eight Civil War battles are reenacted…”
Stephen Rush is not addled
A better description of Stephen Rush may be evil genius. At times during the performance he threw members of the cast curve balls. One time he wore a tied dyed surgical mask the next time I saw him he was in a red stocking cap. He and the cast were having fun, and that spread to the audience.
You should see Ulysses Grant: A Flux Kit Opera for the story, the great voices, the outstanding musicians and score, to have fun and most of all…if you play trombone.