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When He Was Good 

JUNE 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 2024 6:30 PM

HERE Performing Arts Center, DOT

(145 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013)

American Premiere


Music by Ronnie Reshef

Libretto by Elad Keidan

Tickets $35



5 Aliens
4 Endangered oceans
3 Avocado plants
2 Parents
1 Murder
All out on a journey investigating love.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When He Was Good is a comic-detective opera which tests the boundaries of love.
Charming aliens, a fervent detective, a nosy neighbor, and a child and his parents, are putting love to a test: does it exist? How strong is it? How durable is it?

When He Was Good is a fun and fresh new opera, at the same time thought provoking, moving, and engaging in universal themes.


Caroline Miller, Roy/Baaz/Passerby 1

Shafiq Hicks, Martin

Claire Myers McCormick, Helen

Andy Dwan, Xardashir/Passerby 5

MaKayla MacDonald, Mrs. Nezekstow/Gaz/Passerby 3

Shane Brown, Sandor Balasz/Moxo/Passerby 4

Rebecca Soelberg, Zork/Passerby 2

Orchestra provided by The Curiosity Cabinet


Orlando Segarra, Stage Director

Whitney George, Music Director
Jillian Flexner, Producer

Lee Braun, Producer

Danny Higgins, Production Manager

Sarah Herdrich, Stage Manager

Kristin Samadi, Rehearsal Pianist

Karen Boyer, Costume Designer

Josh Oberlander-Denny, Scenic Design

Matthew Wasser, Video Design

Jillian Flexner, Sound Designer


Martin and Helen are a middle-class couple, parenting a small child named Roy. One day, an
alien appears on their doorstep. It turns out that as part of the Aliens' research, they need a
human child. They want Roy. But they are not going to abduct him, god forbid. Instead, they
have an offer: they will take care of the child and return him safe and sound a year later. In
fact, because of light-speed travel, the child will only spend one week in space. With their
fast-teaching techniques, they promise the boy will return with a Master’s degree - at his
young age.

After deliberations, the parents agree. Separation surely will be painful, but their son will
get to see the galaxy, become a space traveler, experience different cultures.
For a year they are having a wonderful time. Traveling, being together, going out,
improving their home, seeing to their hobbies. After a year, Roy returns. The alien thanks
them again, and, feeling responsible, and since he liked the kid, he leaves them with an
emergency button: if they wish, they can press the button and the alien will be happy to
take their kid again, this time - indefinitely. Of course, Helen and Martin cannot imagine
that they will ever use the button, and so they stash it in the closet. And up and away go the
aliens in their strange vessel.

Expecting their little boy, Martin and Helen are excited, but also a little sad to lose their
freedom and independence. They assume he will remain as he was, a small child looking up
to his parents. But the boy turns into a little devil, disobeying his parents at any possible
occasion, causing trouble, performing pranks and driving everyone mad. It is then that we
discover that the aliens’ purpose was completely different. In fact, they gave Roy a mission:
They needed to check whether love was real, in order to decide if to preserve the human
race. They instructed Roy to test his parents’ love in any possible way, so that if Martin and
Helen ever press the button, thus disproving love, it would be the end of the human race.

Is love real? Does it have limits? Or is it infinite? Will humanity be saved?.






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