BEYOND THE STAGE with Dog Days Opera


Dog Days is a work of contemporary music-theatre from celebrated composer David T. Little that incorporates elements of opera, musical theatre, and rock-infused concert music to investigate the psychology of a working-class American family pitted against a not-so-distant-future wartime scenario. Based on a powerful short story by Judy Budnitz, Dog Days is set in the aftermath of an unimaginable catastrophe as a family struggles to survive. The teenage daughter clings to hope, unwilling to accept their dire situation, until a disturbing stranger shows up at the doorstep.

Show Website

Dog Days Trailer


Review: Opera Review: Dog Days Is ‘Intolerable and Superb’ (Vulture)
“With a blunt, merciless libretto by Royce Vavrek and wheeling, nimble music by David T. Little, Dog Days portrays an American family brutalized by war, and the result is by turns intolerable and superb.”—Justin Davidson, January 11, 2016

Review: David T Little presents ‘opera theater’ at its finest (The Guardian)
“Led by conductor Alan Pierson, singers and actors handle the composer’s complex, percussive and hook-filled music with suave assurance”—Seth Colter Walls, January 10, 2016

Review: In ‘Dog Days,’ a Family Clawing for Survival (New York Times)
“With its boldly eclectic score and powerful libretto, “Dog Days” tells an apocalyptic story unstintingly”—

Interview: Tony Award Nominee, Lauren Worsham Shines in the Darkness (Center on the Aisle)
“Tony award nominee, Lauren Worsham — best known to Broadway audiences as murderous Monty’s fiancée, Phoebe in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” — has taken a turn past musical comedy and found herself deep in darkness. Not as a villain however, but in style, as a performer and leading lady having just released her first full-length album, “Beautiful Monster” with her indie-pop band, Sky-Pony and in the post-apocalyptic opera, “Dog Days” at NYU’s Skirball Center”—Steve Schonberg, January 8, 2016

Interview: Dog Days at the Prototype Festival (CurltureRadar)
“Dog Days is told from the perspective of 13-year-old Lisa, who, after her family survives an apocalyptic event, befriends a man trying to survive by becoming a dog. Culturadar blogger Shoshana Greenberg talked to Vavrek and David T. Little, composer of Dog Days, about their experience in the festival, their collaboration, and writing for a dog-man.” —Shoshana Greenberg,  January 6, 2015

Article: Angels, Demons and Opera: Boundary-Pushing Programs (The Wall Street Journal)
“If you wrote a five-minute string quartet about the fall of civilization, the tone of it would have to be really direct,” said David T. Little, the composer of “Dog Days,” about a nuclear family’s meltdown in a post-apocalyptic world, and its telltale responses to a stranger who has chosen to regress into a canine-like persona.” —Steve Dollar, January 5, 2015

“I don’t know how I made this career,” he acknowledges to us during our talk with him in his Bushwick apartment. “I’m legitimately only writing libretti. Aside from doing a couple of classes at different universities and one-offs, I’m not working in any other capacity. I’m making no money besides from writing libretti and lyrics.””  —Frank J. Oteri, January 1, 2016

Article:  Fully Committed: The Prototype Festival redefines contemporary opera. (The New Yorker)
“Amidst the general uncertainty of New York’s operatic scene, the Prototype Festival, an annual explosion of youthful energy spearheaded by Beth Morrison Projects and the experimental theatre space HERE, has built a clearly defined profile: brash, socially engaged, and substantially post-classical.”— Russell Platt, January 11, 2016 Issue

Article: ‘Dog Days’ Is Centerpiece of Prototype Festival (NY Times)
For new music, the main difficulty isn’t getting a premiere. It’s getting a second performance, and a third, and a fourth, the repetitions necessary for a piece really to enter the cultural bloodstream. That hasn’t been a problem for the acclaimed opera “Dog Days,” a post-apocalyptic family drama based on a short story by Judy Budnitz.” December 31, 2015

Interview: Interview: John Kelly on Getting in Touch with His Feral Side for Post-Apocalyptic Opera ‘Dog Days’ (StageBuddy)
“Performance artist John Kelly is known for his emotionally and intellectually complex works in which he draws from elements of his own life, current politics and other arts. Going from writing, to singing, to acting, Kelly is always on the lookout for the next challenge, and in the contemporary opera Dog Days (co-presented by NYU Skirball Center, Beth Morrison Projects and HERE’s Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now) he might have found one of the most exciting projects yet.” —Jose Solis

Interview: BWW Interview: Lauren Worsham Talks Sky Pony, Dog Days and Makes an Exciting Announcement! (BroadwayWorld)
“Tony nominee Lauren Worsham spoke with BroadwayWorld about her new Sky Pony album and upcoming role in Dog Days.”—Reilly Hickey, December 23, 2015

Article: Notable Performances and Recordings of 2015 (The New Yorker) “Amid a spate of ineffectual American operas on inoffensive themes, David T. Little’s “Dog Days,” which had its première in 2012 and which I saw in a presentation by the L.A. Opera, is stunning in its ferocity.” —Alex Ross, December 15, 2015

Article: The Kaleidoscopic World of Royce Vavrek (Opera News)
“His words give a bizarre lift to contemporary opera. This spring, librettist Royce Vavrek’s Dog Dayscomes to Fort Worth and L.A. HEIDI WALESON talks with one of opera’s freshest new voices.” —Heidi Waleson,, The Wall Street Journal, April, 2015

Article: The Battle to Make Opera Cool: Meet the Bright Young Things of New York City’s Opera Renaissance (The Daily Beast) “It took the hard work of producer Beth Morrison to give David T. Little the platform he needed. Morrison first heard of him when she was sent his song cycle “Soldier Songs.” She cried throughout the entire thing. Cut to the first PROTOTYPE and the work is being staged before an audience, and she helped to stage Dog Days, too.”— David Levesley, March 1, 2015


Join us for a post-show discussion and Q&A with composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek, moderated by Randall Eng, Assistant Arts Professor, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing , NYU Tisch School of the Arts.



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