American Realness

Cynthia Hopkins

A Living Documentary

FRI JAN 9, 5:00 PM
SAT JAN 10, 8:30 PM
TUES JAN 13, 5:00 PM
WED JAN 14, 8:30 PM
SAT JAN 17, 3:00 PM
SUN JAN 18, 5:00 PM

Run time: 90 minutes

466 Grand Street / tickets $20

Single Tickets Festival Pass

A Living Documentary is a comedic, no-nonsense reflection on the trials and tribulations of earning a living as a professional theater artist in the 21st century. Intertwining elements of musical comedy, documentary, and fiction, Hopkins’s newest work intersperses autobiographical storytelling with portrayals of semi-fictional comedic characters, all the while asking myriad questions about the realities of artistic life in New York City.

A veritable departure from past works, A Living Documentary presents a stripped-down, one-woman-show, in which Hopkins plays both herself and an eclectic cast of characters. Featuring a number of Hopkins’s original compositions, both live and recorded music will accompany the work.

A Living Documentary was commissioned by New York Live Arts and made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts (additional support was given by contributors to the Dance Theater Workshop Commissioning Fund at New York Live Arts.) A Living Documentary was developed, in part, through residencies at The Watermill Center (in partnership with New York Live Arts); Bunker in Slovenia (through the Suitcase Fund); Mount Tremper Arts; and Acadia Summer Arts Program. Some material for this work was developed through showings at the Catch performance series.

Photo by Jeff Sugg

Created (Written & Composed) and Performed by Cynthia Hopkins

Thanks to David Belt, Kelly Copper, Andrew Dinwiddie, Inga Glodowski, Caleb Hammons, Molly Hickok, John Hodgman, Jeff Larson, Paul Lazar, Young Jean Lee, Pavol Liska, Adam Max, DJ Mendel, Carly McCollow, Annie B Parson, Carla Peterson, Nate Read, Michelle Stern, Marion Boulton Stroud, Jeff Sugg, the staff of New York Live Arts, and anyone who has ever supported the work of Cynthia Hopkins in any way.


Cynthia Hopkins is an internationally acclaimed musical performance artist: she writes and sings songs, records albums, and creates groundbreaking multi-media performance works that intertwine truth and fiction, blurring the lines between edification and entertainment. Through the process of making performances, she attempts to alchemize disturbance into works of intrigue and hope that simultaneously stimulate the senses, provoke emotion, and enliven the mind. She has produced six performance works and eight albums of original music. Her work has been honored with many awards, including the 2007 Alpert Award in Theater and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. Ms. Hopkins also works as a performer and composer for hire, most recently appearing at BAM in the Big Dance Theater piece Alan Smithee Directed This Play. She is currently at work on several new projects (an experimental lecture demonstration about alcoholism; a memorial service for her large-scale works in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop & Museum in Philadelphia; and a piece exploring the trials and tribulations of social media) while continuing to work as a performer, composer, voice over artist, and musician for many other folks.

A Living Documentary doesn’t really offer solutions (though it does smartly advocate doing less). But as theater it ultimately offers something more satisfying and complicated: a series of overlapping and sometimes contradictory impulses and desires around the making of art, laced with bracing reminders of the true costs involved in these quixotic pursuits.”
By Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times, Published March 7, 2014

“The story she tells is based on the question she’s been asking herself and fellow artists: What are the best strategies to balance survival with art?”
By Allison Lichter, The Wall Street Journal, Published March 5, 2014