The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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From Page to Stage: Fellow Travelers with Arizona Opera, Gregory Spears, Greg Pierce, Kevin Newbury, Thomas Mallon

Date(s): Thursday, November 7, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Marston Exploration Theater, Arizona State University, 781 E Terrace Rd, Tempe, AZ 85287
Discussion, Q&A
Genre and Form(s): 
Cost: Free

About this Event

In an event with the Arizona Opera and ASU’s Center for Jewish Studies, School of Music, and Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, the composer, librettist, and director of Fellow Travelers, along with the author of the book in which it’s based, will sit down to discuss the process of generating an impactful story, translating it to an opera score, and bringing it to life on stage. The discussion will be followed by a reception with light refreshments.


About the Opera

It's 1950s Washington, D.C.: a world of bare-knuckled ideology and secret dossiers, dominated by personalities like Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and Joe McCarthy. Enter Timothy Laughlin, a recent college graduate and devout Catholic eager to join the crusade against Communism. An encounter with a handsome State Department official, Hawkins Fuller, leads to Tim's first job and, after Fuller's advances, his first love affair.

As McCarthy mounts a desperate bid for power and internal investigations focus on “sexual subversives” in the government, Tim and Fuller find it ever more dangerous to navigate their double lives. Moving between the diplomatic world of Foggy Bottom and NATO's front line in Europe, Fellow Travelers is a searing historical novel infused with political drama, unexpected humor, and genuine heartbreak.

To learn more about Fellow Travelers, visit Arizona Opera's website at

About the Author

Photographo f Gregory Spears

Gregory Spears writes music that blends aspects of romanticism, minimalism, and early music. His work has been called "astonishingly beautiful" (New York Times), "coolly entrancing" (The New Yorker), and "some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory" (The Boston Globe). In recent seasons he has been commissioned by The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Cincinnati Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, and the Jack Quartet among others.

Photograph of Greg Pierce

Greg Pierce grew up in Shelburne, Vermont. His play Slowgirl was the inaugural play of Lincoln Center's Claire Tow Theater (LCT3). It was subsequently produced by Steppenwolf Theatre and the Geffen Playhouse among others. His play Her Requiem, a Lincoln Center Theater commission, was also produced by LCT3. His play Cardinal was commissioned and produced by Second Stage Theater. The Landing, a musical written with composer John Kander, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre in NYC.

Photograph of Kevin Newberry

Kevin Newbury is a theater, opera, film, and event director based in New York.

Photograph of Thomas Mallon

Thomas Mallon’s ten books of fiction include Henry and Clara, Fellow Travelers, Watergate (a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award) and the just-published Landfall.  He has also written volumes of nonfiction about plagiarism (Stolen Words), diaries (A Book of One’s Own), letters (Yours Ever) and the Kennedy assassination (Mrs. Paine’s Garage), as well as two books of essays (Rockets and Rodeos and In Fact).  His work appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and other publications.  

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