Back to All Events

Supreme Justice: The Battle for Gay Rights

  • Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts 3 Spruce Street New York, NY, 10038 United States (map)

About Supreme Justice: The Battle for Gay Rights

A new work for soprano, tenor, vocal ensemble and orchestra, "Supreme Justice: The Battle for Gay Rights" tackles one of the landmark issues of our time—the struggle to expand the definition of equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, and is a tribute to the extraordinary friendship of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.

This musical drama is based on the arguments and decision in last year’s Supreme Court gay rights cases, and features portrayals of Justices Scalia and Ginsburg, two of the most prominent individuals in opposition to, and in support of, respectively, the expansion of equal rights. Tenor John Duykers, best known for originating the role of Chairman Mao in John Adams’ Nixon In China, portrays Antonin Scalia; legendary soprano Lucy Shelton sings Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The libretto includes the passionate, often colorful words of the two justices, who were good friends up until the day Mr. Scalia died on February 13, yet frequent antagonists on the bench. The contrast of their respect for each other, and their affectionate barbs often aimed at each other, offers the opportunity for a riveting musical portrayal.

An oratorio, Supreme Justice opens and closes with a chorale, and follows a dramatic arc in a concert setting. A four-person vocal ensemble serves as a chorus commenting on the action, with each member of the chorus assuming different roles throughout the piece. There are recitatives and arias; duets; trios; quartets—and even a Notorious R.B.G. Tango!