Separated from her family, young whooping crane Ajijaak undertakes her first migration from Canada to coastal Texas alone. Her journey is disrupted by environmental, industrial, and mythical chaos. Ajijaak must follow her intuition to fly onward, learning from the neo-indigenous communities she encounters along the way. Bringing community together through puppetry, traditional dances, projections and kites, Ajijaak on Turtle Island will inspire the next generation of eco-champions.
Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Ty Defoe, Tony Enos, Joan Henry, Wen Jeng, Curtiss Mitchell, Adelka Polak, Sheldon Raymore and Henu Josephine Tarrant
Ty Defoe and Kevin Tarrant
Jake Montanaro, Jennifer Sanchez, Euni Shim and Dormeshia Ward
Written by Ty Defoe
Lyrics by Ty Defoe and Dawn Avery
Music by Dawn Avery & Larry Mitchell, Kevin Tarrant, and Ty Defoe
Based on original storyboards written and drawn by Heather Henson
Scenic Design by Christopher Swader & Justin Swader
Puppet Design & Fabrication by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™
Projection Design by Katherine Freer
Lighting Design by Marika Kent
Sound Design by Emma Wilk
Costume Design by Lux Haac
Original costumes from Crane: On Earth, In Sky by Donna Zakowska
Aerial Design & Fabrication by Curtiss Lee Mitchell
Traditional Dances choreographed & performed by:
Fancy Shawl Dance by Henu Josephine Tarrant
Hoop Dance and Crane Dance by Ty Defoe
Grass Dance by Sheldon Raymore
Men’s Traditional Dance by Tony Enos
Flag Choreographer by Louis Hellinger
The Authors acknowledge the contributions to the Play of Ari Berk, Felipe Chavez- Ramirez, Melissa Creighton, Sharon Day, Deb Echohawk, Tony Enos, Kate Freer, Lux Haac, Joan Alison Henry, Wen Jen, Marika Kent, Laura Krouch, Anastasia McAllister, Pamela McCaddin, Curtiss Lee Mitchell, Adelka Polak, Sheldon Raymore, Brenna Ross, Christopher Swader, Justin Swader, Henu Josephine Tarrant, Jason Weber, Emma Wilk.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
DAWN AVERY is a Grammy and NAMA nominated artist; Avery has worked with musical luminaries from Pavarotti to Sting, Cage to Nakai; composing for Indigenous lms (Smithsonian’s NMAI, Rich/Heape); touring with her own multi-media projects including 50 Shades of Red and mentoring future generations in the Native Composer’s Project. Avery holds a PhD in ethnomusicology (Indigenous theory, Native Classical music). Of Mohawk descent, her longhouse name is Ieriho:kwats and she wears the turtle clan. Some of the music from this performance may be heard on the Global Award-Winning CD, Crane on Earth, in Sky: A Journey, available for sale.
LARRY MITCHELL is a Grammy award-winning producer, engineer and performer who has toured the world playing guitar with well-known artists including Tracy Chapman, Billy Squier, Ric Ocasek and Miguel Bosé. In his original compositions, Larry skillfully weaves guitar textures that showcase his virtuosity as a solo artist and ensemble player. As an artist, he has released 8 solo records and won a San Diego Music Award for best pop jazz artist. Larry is currently touring promoting his 2016 release The Traveler. As a producer-engineer, Larry has won 26 New Mexico Music Awards in various categories from pop, adult contemporary, rap, rock, country World music and Native American. He won a Grammy Award for producing, engineering and performing on Totemic Flute Chants by Native American artist Johnny Whitehorse, who is better known as Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo. Larry is currently touring with his own trio as well as solo shows in support of The Traveler.
KEVIN TARRANT (HoChunk, Hopi) is a member of the HoChunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Hopi Tribe of Arizona. He was brought up in the traditional way and has been singing since the age of 9. For the past 27 years he has been the Lead singer of The SilverCloud Singers out of New York City. Most recently performed and served as Musical Director for Don’t Feed the Indians – A Divine Comedy Pageant!
JOAN HENRY (Tsalag / ‘Nde / Arawaka) performed happily this year with Rachel Chavkin & The TEAM, at the NY Musical Festival, Clearwater Festival and Indigenous People’s Day in NYC. Traditional song-carrier & dancer, favourite theatre & lm credits include Lady Macbeth & Paulina for Amerinda’s Indigenous Shakespeare Ensemble, the West Side Story 30th Anniversary Company, Disney’s Pocahontas, Lionsgate’s Blood Red Earth, and appearances with jazz legend Jack deJohnette, Pete Seeger, Paul Winter, Magic Circle Repertory Ensemble and her jazz sextet, Spirited. She is honored to again share about Mother Corn and represent the Pawnee Nation in song along with her own, with support from the Pawnee Tribal Council & linguists & new friend Deb EchoHawk, and to sing for the waters in this production. www.earthsinger.net, www.thetalentexpress.com/our-signed-roster
TY DEFOE (Giizhig) is a Grammy Award winner from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations and resides in NYC. He is a writer and shape-shifting interdisciplinary artist who has gained recognition in many circles around the world and in his community. He brings the teachings of his mentors with him as a practitioner of hoop dancing, eagle dancing, and a carrier of traditional songs. Other works: Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon (2017 Jonathan Larson Award, 2015 Kilroy’s Honorable Mention), Tick-Tick (Prospect Theatre’s Musical Theatre Lab), In the Cards (Boston Contempo-International Festival), Crossing Borders (CAP 21 Residency), Red Pine (Autry Native Voices Theater Festival, Institute of American Indian Arts). In development: Hart Island Requiem, Sunrise Prayer, and Gender Nation. www.tydefoe.com
HEATHER HENSON is a contemporary puppet artist whose work promotes harmony and healing for the planet through artistic spectacle and discussion. Backed by a degree from Rhode Island School of Design and studies at CalArts, Heather created the multi-platform production company, IBEX Puppetry, to honor the creativity in herself and others. Heather’s storytelling has been heavily impacted by her sense of kinship with endangered Whooping Cranes. Inspired by the healing partnerships formed between cranes and teams of humans at The International Crane Foundation, she has brought animals and elemental forces of our planet out to frolic and fly among audiences with Panther and Crane (UNIMA Citation of Excellence), Endangered Species Parade, Celebration of Flight, FLIGHT: A Crane’s Story, Crane: On Earth, In Sky, and Harmonious Migrations.
DAWN AVERY – Grammy and NAMA nominated, Avery has worked with musical luminaries from Pavarotti to Sting, Cage to Nakai; composing for Indigenous films (Smithsonian’s NMAI, Rich/Heape); touring with her own multimedia projects including 50 Shades of Red and mentoring future generations in the Native Composer’s Project. Avery holds a PhD in ethnomusicology (Indigenous theory, Native Classical music). Of Mohawk descent, her longhouse name is Ieriho:kwats and she wears the turtle clan. Some of the music from this performance may be heard on the Global Award-Winning CD, Crane on Earth, in Sky: A Journey, available for sale.
KEVIN TARRANT is a member of the HoChunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Hopi Tribe of Arizona. He was brought up in the traditional way and has been singing since the age of 9. For the past 27 years he has been the Lead singer of The SilverCloud Singers out of New York City, major venues in N.Y.C. include: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Madison Square Garden, The Ritz, Roseland, LaMama Theater, Theater for New City, Lincoln Center, National Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Natural History, Public Theater, Apollo Theater, United Nations, Beacon Theater, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Most recently Tarrant performed in and served as Musical Director for Don’t Feed the Indians – A Divine Comedy Pageant!
Broadway World Photo Flash
“An immersive environmental spectacle for the whole family!”
Graceful Puppetry and Native Actors Combine
in ‘Ajijaak on Turtle Island’
Off Broadway Review: AJIJAAK ON TURTLE ISLAND
Puppet Artist Heather Henson Adds Color Guard Performers to New Show
“CRANE : On Earth, In Sky is a rich production, visually and emotionally. It creates awareness, expands to understanding and ultimately translates the values of North America Indigenous cultures. This spiritual performance connects and communicates an understanding of the natural phenomena of the Crane Migration and the need to fiercely protect our environment.”
– Denise Christensen, Merryman Performing Arts Center
“Delightfully whimsical…the cranes are majestic.”
February 9, 2018
Post-Show Talk Back
Please join us for a talk back with the Ajijaak designers and builders from The Jim Henson Creature Shop including:
Creative Supervisor for The Jim Henson Creature Shop: Jason Weber
Coyote: Rollie Krewson
Deer: Sierra Schoening
Adult & Adolescent Crane: Anney Ozar
Large Turtle: Mary Brehmer
with Heather Henson