Mark Mulcahy (music) and Ben Katchor (libretto and images)
Singers: Molly Weaver, Ryan Mercy, Mark Mulcahy and Katie Geissinger.
Musicians: Brian Marchese, Henning Ohlenbusch and Dave Trenholm
Katchor and Mulcahy's sung-through pop-musical chronicles the life and times of Abe Rosenbach, the world's preeminent rare-book dealer in the first half of the last century and his brother Philip, a savvy dealer of decorative arts. Their collection ranges from James Joyce's manuscript of Ulysses to John Tenniel's original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland
Mixing projected animated images with live actors, singers and musicians, the show explores such issues as the obsessive nature of collecting, the relationship between cultural and commercial pursuits and the men's historical significance as the owners of some of the world's greatest literary treasures.
This production was originally produced and commissioned by The Rosenbach Museum & Library for its 50 th anniversary celebration and as part of the Rosenbach's artist-in-residence program in September 2004.
This project has been generously supported by a grant from the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia.
Press and Reviews
Variety review Sept. 15, 2004.
'The Rosenbach Company,' Ben Katchor and Mark Mulcahy's Strange Musical, New York Times, April 2, 2006
Review by Seth Rogovoy, critic-at-large, Berkshire Living magazine
Poetry of the Margins: Ben Katchor, Mark Mulcahy, and “The Rosenbach Company" by Eric Henry Sanders from PaknTreger, summer 2006. Download below.