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Animal Wisdom

Animal Wisdom has been around since 2017, but singer-songwriter Heather Christian’s rock musical’s unconventional form and mournful feel slip seamlessly into the trickle of live theater that has presented itself over the last year. The filmed production, like many projects of today, is virtual and is coming to neighborhoods nationwide from downtown’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in partnership with the American Conservatory Theater. A performance intended to serve as a requiem for “the unseen forces that shape our lives,” according to the event description, Animal Wisdom received critical acclaim when it debuted in person at the Bushwick Starr, a theater in Brooklyn, four years ago. Christian expressed as much enthusiasm for the filmed adaptation as for the original thing, predicting in the event program that “the piece hopefully (!) might be an easier emotional pill to swallow in the comfort and solitude of your own home.” Adding to the adventurousness of Animal Wisdom’s new iteration is Woolly Mammoth’s decision to bring it to their audience—over its nearly 40 years working with independent theater-makers, the company has focused on non-musical plays. On the company’s website, artistic director Maria Manuela Goyanes explained that “Woolly is leaning into musicals this year, especially those breaking the boundaries of the form, like this one.” Woolly Mammoth’s flexible and experimental approach to theater-making seem a good fit for Christian’s own vision, making this on-demand performance a promising one. The show is available to stream at woollymammoth.net to June 13. $19–$49.