The Long Beach Opera will stage and release the recording of THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE

The Long Beach Opera today announced that in addition to two performances of Anthony Davis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Central Park 5 which they premiered in 2019, LBO will create the world premiere recording of the piece, which will be released this fall. Additionally, LBO has released details of two summer programs taking place the following weekends in July; LBO: ON DISPLAY and the inauguration Long Beach Opera Film Festival. Ticket office and information on


The LBO production of The Central Park 5 will be a new production created by director J. Ed Araiza, in which the orchestra will appear on stage with the singers. Lauded Los Angeles treasure Anthony Parnther will direct the performances, which will take place at the Jordan Auditorium on June 18 and 19. Following the performances, LBO will create the first professional recording of the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, and the recording will be released this fall.

The Central Park 5 is the true story of five teenagers wrongfully accused of a crime and then sentenced to years in maximum security prisons. Following the incredible success of the world premiere produced by LBO in 2019, the company will once again bring the opera to audiences in a new production that will emphasize the characters’ internal dramatic arc and the stunning award-winning score.

The harrowing tale of five teenagers wrongfully convicted, incarcerated, and ultimately exonerated remains a devastatingly relevant indictment of racial injustices in America. The opera’s world premiere by LBO in 2019 brought the composer and “national treasure” (opera news) Anthony Davis further recognition when the score was shortlisted for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music. “Davis’ supercharged score vividly conveys the claustrophobia of a racist legal system and society that there was, for these five innocent boys and their families, no way out.” (Los Angeles Time).

Following critical acclaim for the world premiere, LBO brings back this important and acclaimed work, Ffeaturing many of the original cast members as well as new additions, reinvigorating the story of the five innocent black teenagers falsely accused and convicted of a crime. Anthony Parnther, who was recently hailed by the Los Angeles Times for conducting a “superb performance” of Mr. Davis’ work “Restless Morning”, will conduct the Pulitzer Prize-winning score. J. Ed Araiza will conduct a new production, featuring an orchestra on stage. Araiza is a principal actor and original member of the SITI company, one of the most important experimental theater ensembles in the world. He is also chairman of the theater department at UCLA.

Performances will take place at Jordan Auditorium, which is the campus theater of Jordan High School in North Long Beach, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. The performances that take place in a high school theater are significant in that the actual protagonists of the opera were between 14 and 16 years old at the time of their arrest and conviction. The theater is a state-of-the-art performance space and is located just off 710, just 20 minutes from downtown LA


The production stars Orson Van Gay II, Bernard Holcomb, Ashley Faatoalia, Cedric Berry, William Powell III, Justin Ryan, Lacey Jo Benter, Todd Strange, Joelle Lamarre, Lindsay Patterson, Corey Estelle and Jose Maldonado. Along with conductor Anthony Parnther and director J. Ed Araiza, the production will feature the work of lighting designer Pablo Santiago.


The Long Beach Opera recognizes the importance of a professional recording in the life of any new opera. With this in mind, LBO has decided to allocate resources and time to the creation of the world premiere recording of The Central Park 5 in order to cement its introduction into the canon of 21st century influential works, as well as increase its reach to a much wider audience. The recording will be professionally produced and engineered in a Los Angeles-based studio and will be released to the public in the fall of 2022. Many of the original cast members from the world premiere performances as well as exciting new performers will appear in both the live performance and world premiere recording. The effort will be led by LBO and bandleader Anthony Parnther, whose experience and expertise within the studio recording industry in Los Angeles will bring a venerable force to the success of the project.

Jordan Auditorium
6500 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90805
Single tickets, subscriptions and information available at


Long Beach Art Museum Downtown
July 9 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and July 10 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This new corporate program celebrates the artists who make LBO unique by giving audiences a close look at artists’ mediums and personal creative practices in an intimate gallery setting, putting artists’ work on full EXPOSURE. The LB Museum of Art Downtown will be transformed into a two-day exhibition and immersive event that will allow the public to analyze performances and pieces at will. Artistic Director James Darrah curated current and past LBO artists and invited everyone to create unique performance and visual art of their own design. The two days will vary in content – both will feature an amalgamation of visual art installations, video, dancers, instrumentalists and singers in shocking closeness – ON DISPLAY is a cutting-edge expansion of the definition of music. opera through the creation of new cross-discipline pieces from the artists’ own mediums and their unique practices.

Long Beach Art Theater
July 16 from 12 p.m. to midnight & July 17 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The inauguration LBO Film Festival will take place the weekend of July 16 and 17 at the Art Theater in Long Beach and will present a unique selection of opera films. The 2022 LBO Film Festival will take place over two full days and will include film screenings, live performances, panel discussions and collaborations with local businesses and restaurants throughout the weekend. The lineup will include a variety of artists exploring the overlapping worlds of opera and film and will showcase the projects of unique filmmakers, dancers, composers and opera singers, including the world premiere of the short film commissioned by LBO Hall. The festival will also include several works that have not yet had a theatrical release or public screening. Heralded by the Wall Street Journal as “experimenting and forging a new art form”, artistic director James Darrah’s unique focus on the intersection of opera and film has been hailed by the LA Times as a “coup[ing] an ancient art form for the ‘Insecure’ generation” and will now have an annual home in the inaugural LBO Film Festival – a pioneering two-day series of curated screenings, premieres and events celebrating the cinematic exploration of collision groundbreaking opera with film with a wide range of creative collaborations from film, television and opera.

The creative partnerships, performers, film slates and curators for both July programs will be announced soon.

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