If Sag Harbor based playwright Joe Pintauro is serious about not always wanting to be identified as a former Catholic priest, he is going to have to stop focusing his consciousness on the human foibles of men of the cloth. While that is impossible, let’s hope he never does, because Pintauro’s work asks us to engage more deeply with our core beliefs, and our identity as human beings. On Friday night, the Parrish Art Museum in Watermill staged Salvation, an art song trilogy based on three of Pintauro’s one-acters, published in 1997. Kevin Jeffers composed the book, music and lyrics, having discovered Joe Pintauro’s work as he was looking for plays to put to music. The ethical and spiritual dilemmas of Salvation speak to faith in the unknowable, the divine.
For this Parrish premiere, Salvation featured the vocal talents of a variety of performers: Hadley Rouse, Matthew Boyd, Bart Shatto, Jessie Podell, Eric Sorrels, and Tyler Belo. Kevin Jeffers triumphs in ensuring that Art Song, a particularly versatile, whimsical American musical genre prevalent in the mid-twentieth century in works by Paul Bowles, Virgil Thomson, and Ned Rorem, lives.