February 1, 2017

Tamar of the River

Music and Book by Marisa Michelson

Book and Lyrics by Joshua H. Cohen

TAMAR OF THE RIVER is a compelling and innovative music theater work inspired by the Biblical story of Tamar and Judah. In a war-torn world, where East and West are divided by a River red with blood, one young woman is called to raise her voice. As Tamar sets out single-mindedly in pursuit of peace, she journeys to a foreign land, finding a new family and unexpected love. Each decision that brings her closer to her goal also becomes a choice she struggles to accept.

Must one sacrifice their moral compass in pursuit of idealistic dreams? Is killing one’s lover ever justified? When everyone is certain they know the truth, how do we know whose voice to trust? Is there space for innocence in our modern world?

Tamar and Judah grapple with powerful questions that resonate deeply in today’s world. Cohen and Michelson bring to life a tale that illuminates moral challenges through a score influenced by Middle Eastern, Jewish, Asian music and pre-Western chanting.

“Tamar has courage.  Tamar is something new.”  — Adam Guettel

Development History

  • Tamar of the River was first commissioned by Signature Theatre Company under a grant from the American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation. Signature presented a workshop of the show in summer 2010.
  • An oratorio version of the show was produced by New York Theatre Barn and Choral Chameleon in March 2013, directed by Joe Barros with musical direction by Vince Peterson.
  • Songs from the show have been featured in the National Alliance of Musical Theatre’s Songwriters Showcase, Musically Human Productions, and York Theatre’s NEO (New, Emerging, Outstanding) series.
  • Prospect Theater Company developed Tamar in a workshop in winter 2013, and will produce its world premiere this September.