Jeanna de Waal to Lead World Premiere of Insomnia at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall | Playbill

Classic Arts News Jeanna de Waal to Lead World Premiere of Insomnia at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall

The musical work from composer Blake Allen is based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story Sleeping and Waking.

Jeanna de Waal

Jeanna de Waal (Diana The Musical) and Cree Carrico will star in the world premiere of Insomnia, a new musical work from composer Blake Allen, at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall November 8. The work, written and directed by Allen, is based on the 1934 F. Scott Fitzgerald short story Sleeping and Waking.

Described as a "merge of classical, opera, and musical theatre," Insomnia includes two multi-movement, sextet compositions for voice, string quartet, and piano, telling a story of how sleep deprivation and anxiety affect two individuals living nearly a century apart.

The first piece, which uses text excerpted from the Fitzgerald story, will be performed by Carrico. The work follows Fitzgerald as he roams the streets during a sleepless night in Baltimore. De Waal will take the second piece, titled Of Which, Tomorrow. The original piece features stream-of-consciousness texts written by Allen after he was repeatedly awakened at 4:05 AM every morning by anxiety and insomnia, used to center on a 30-something woman whose insomnia is derived from a fear of government mandated population control.

Carrico and de Waal will be accompanied by the Argus Quartet, including Clara Kim on violin, Giancarlo Latta on violin, Maren Rothfritz on viola, and Mariel Roberts on cello; and pianist Chris Koelzer. Traguna Productions is producing the evening.

"Insomnia is said to be an innate, evolutionary condition stemming from the time when humans were hunters and gathers," shares Allen in a statement. "According to anthropologists, wolf pups would hunt right before dawn, often targeting young children, and so humans would wake up early, before the hunt to protect their offspring. Since then, the anxiety of the ‘encroaching’ wolf pup has been replaced by sleepless nights filled with worrisome thoughts, growing lists of tasks and projects to complete, decisions we have yet to make, texts we shouldn't have sent, and the stress of our impending day-to-day circumstances and life events. Much like Fitzgerald before her, even Taylor Swift’s upcoming album Midnights may be one of the most relatable with her ‘journey through terrors and sweet dreams.’ Through music and story, my Insomnia evening dissects what happens when we battle with our subconscious thoughts and the potentially far-reaching effects of the decisions we make when our mind is racing, compounded by the very real stress of trying to fall asleep."

Tickets are available at

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