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Latin for breath, “Spiritus” is often used figuratively to mean spirit. In Dael Orlandersmith’s solo piece Spiritus/Virgil's Dance the word takes on a metaphorical meaning for a soul on a quest. In conversation with Dante’s Divine Comedy, we meet Virgil in the middle of an ordinary life. With their father’s passing, Virgil reframes death and finds the extraordinary they’ve been searching for.

February 1 - March 9, 2024

Spiritus/Virgil's Dance will be directed by Neel Keller and will begin performance on February 1, 2024. This show is being produced in partnership with Merrimack Repertory Theater where it was originally commissioned, and this past summer premiered as part of The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherdstown.


Broadway World deemed the production “a special, human kind of satisfaction which we might not have realized we needed—but which we truly need nonetheless.”


Dael Orlandersmith is a playwright whose plays include Beauty’s Daughter, Stoop Stories, Black N’ Blue Boys/Broke Men, Horsedreams, Bones, The Blue Album, Yellowman, The Gimmick, Monster, Forever and Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Yellowman, and the winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick. She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship and an Obie Award for Beauty’s Daughter, as well as a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim Fellowship, along with several other awards and honors. Her play, Forever, was commissioned and performed at the Mark Taper Forum/Kirk Douglas Theatre Fall of 2014, followed by performances at the Long Wharf Theatre in Winter 2014/15, New York Theatre Workshop in Spring 2015, and at Portland Center Stage in Winter 2016. Her play Until the Flood was produced at St Louis Repertory in the fall of 2016, Rattlestick Theater in 2018, and Milwaukee Rep in 2019, as well as Portland Center Stage, ACT Seattle, the Arcola Theatre in London, the Galway Arts Festival at the Druid Theatre, and the Traverse at Edinburgh Festival. In 2020, Ms. Orlandersmith received the Doris Duke award. She is currently working on two commissions for Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. 

Neel Keller has enjoyed a long and happy collaboration with Dael Orlandersmith after meeting almost 30 years ago on a production of Romeo and Juliet. Over the last several years they have worked closely on creating and producing Orlandersmith’s acclaimed plays Until The Flood, Forever and Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance on stages across the US and Europe.  Neel’s other recent productions include, the world premieres of Julia Cho’s Office Hour, Eliza Clark’s Quack, Jennifer Haley’s The Nether, Kimber Lee’s to the yellow house, and Lucy Alibar’s Throw Me On The Burnpile and Light Me Up. Neel has directed at many theaters including, The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Neel is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Directors Guild of America.

Ticketing Information

Previews (February 1st - February 14th)

  • $36 General (plus $4.00 service fee)

  • $26 Student/Artist/Senior/Disabled


Shows (February 16th - March 9th)

  • $46 General (plus $4.00 service fee)

  • $36 Student/Artist/Senior/Disabled

Pay What You Can Shows (February 1st - February 5th)

  • Tickets start at $5

Ticket prices include a $1 facility fee

To get a Student/Artist/Senior/Disability discount or a group discount, or for any questions, please email Eliana at

Run Time: 60 minutes

No Intermission

Community Events


Saturday, February 17th

A post-show conversation with end of life doulas on their work with Brianna L. Hernández, Martha Roth, and Mangda Sengvanhpheng.


Wednesday, March 6th

A post-show conversation and listening session with NYC musicians on the relationship between music and death with Javier Arau, Felice Rosser, Elliot Sharp, and Matt Stapleton.


Takeshi Kata (Scenic Designer) Broadway: Prayer for the French Republic (Friedman), Clyde’s (Helen Hayes), Derren Brown’s Secret (Cort), Water for Elephants (upcoming). Off Broadway: Atlantic, NYTW, Playwrights Horizons, Public, Rattlestick, Second Stage, Signature, Vineyard, among others. Other Recent Projects include Until the Flood (FIND festival, Shaubühne, Berlin) and Bug (Steppenwolf). Kata is the recipient of the 2022 Michael Merrit Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration, and has received Drama Desk, Obie, and Jeff Awards. He is an Associate Professor at University of Southern California, School of Dramatic Arts.


Kaye Voyce (Costume Designer) Rattlestick: Until The Flood, Ironbound, Horsedreams, Faster. Broadway: Sea Wall/A Life (co-design),True West, The Nap, Significant Other, The Real Thing, The Realistic Joneses, and Shining City.  Selected off-Broadway: Jonah (Roundabout), The Bedwetter (Atlantic Theater - book by Sarah Silverman), Shhhh (Atlantic), Morning Sun (MTC), Mud/Drowning (set and costume design, Mabou Mines), Anatomy Of A Suicide (Atlantic), Marys Seacole, After The Blast (LCT3), Mary Page Marlowe (2ST), The Antipodes, Signature Plays, The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature), Coriolanus, Hamlet, Measure For Measure (Public Theatre), Greater Clements (LCT). Other recent credits include Stranger Love, a seven hour opera/dance/orchestral event with the LA Philharmonic.


Mary Louise Geiger (Lighting Designer) at Rattlestick Until the Flood, Draw the Circle.  Broadway: The Constant Wife (American Airlines Theatre).  Off-Broadway: Partnership, Conflict, Becomes a Woman (The Mint); Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, Good Television, The New York Idea (Atlantic Theatre); X, Or Betty Shabazz v. The Nation (Acting Company); Nat Turner in Jerusalem, Forever, Oedipus at Palm Springs (New York Theatre Workshop); Kindness, Blue Door, The Busy World is Hushed (Playwrights Horizons); Mabou Mines Dollhouse, Red Beads (Mabou Mines).  Regional:  ACT, 5th Avenue, Goodman, Huntington, Steppenwolf, Milwaukee Rep, Guthrie, Pioneer, Cleveland Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Center Theatre Group, LA Opera, among others.  Training:  Yale School of Drama. Faculty: NYU Tisch.


Lindsay Jones (Original Music & Sound Designer) Broadway: Slave Play (Tony nominations for Best Score and Best Sound Design of a Play), The Nap, Bronx Bombers and A Time to Kill. Off-Broadway: Privacy (The Public Theater), Bootycandy (Playwrights Horizons), Feeding the Dragon (Primary Stages), Top Secret (New York Theatre Workshop) and many others. Regional: Guthrie Theater, Center Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Hartford Stage, Alliance Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage, Old Globe Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre and many others. International: Stratford Festival (Canada), Royal Shakespeare Company (England) and many others. Audio dramas: Marvel, Audible, Next Chapter Podcasts, award-winning “The Imagine Neighborhood.”  Film/TV scoring: HBO Films’ A Note of Triumph (2006 Academy Award for Best Documentary, Short Subject) and over 30 other films. He is the co-chair of Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association, and teaches Composition For Theatre and Music History at the University Of North Carolina School Of The Arts.


Nicholas Hussong (Projection Designer) is a designer for live (and now digital) performance and events. Creative Producer at Dwight Street Book Club. Broadway: Skeleton Crew (Tony Nomination). Off-Broadway: Skeleton Crew, These Paper Bullets (Atlantic, Drama Desk Nom) Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons), On That Day in Amsterdam (Primary Stages, Drama Desk Nom), White Guy on the Bus (59E59), Chick 6 (LaMama), Until the Flood (Rattlestick).  Other credits include: The Wizard of Oz (Geva), RENT! (Paper Mill Playhouse), Vietgone (The Guthrie), To the Yellow House (Lajolla), Kleptocracy (Arena), Until the Flood (15 regional and international locations); Haint Blu, Hair & Other Stories (Urban Bush Women); Woman's Party (Clubbed Thumb); Grounded (Alley); Arden Theater, Playmakers Rep, Berkshires Theatre Group, Other work includes; Atlanta Opera, Virginia Museum of Art, David Zwirner Gallery, Marc Jacobs, Mass MoCA, Complex Magazine, AMC+, San Diego Shell, San Diego Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Tony Awards (CBS), Ask Ronna Podcast. He also designed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, China, Canada and Vienna. Co-Creator of FEAST, an immersive dining experience with Listen&Breathe (Nantucket, Ireland & please, hopefully, someday, the US). Adjunct Lecturer NYU Tisch. Yale MFA. UAW & USA829.


Martha Donaldson (Production Stage Manager) Broadway: Leopoldstadt, Diana: the musical, The Lifespan of a Fact, Escapeto Margaritaville, The Children, The Glass Menagerie, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, You Can’t Take It with You, Next to Normal, [title of show], Top Girls, The Year of Magical Thinking. Most recent Regional: Babbitt (La Jolla Playhouse), Off Broadway: New York Theatre Workshop, Public Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, St. Ann’s Warehouse, and many others. 


Please consider supporting Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance by becoming a Friend of Virgil. Your gift not only supports this production, but allows Rattlestick to invest in innovative work, like Spiritus/Virgil's Dance, and keeps ticket prices affordable for everyone in our community.

From Scala to Plutus, all Friends of Virgil receive free performance ticket(s), recognition online and in programs, early access booking, and prime performance seating. Pending the giving level you choose, additional benefits range from an invitation to opening night to a signed production poster.

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