Joe’s Pub at The Public and The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit present composer and musician Marques Toliver’s In Transit, a concert featuring his original music created for and inspired by the Mobile Unit’s Spring 2016 production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. The Mobile Unit continues The Public’s commitment to bring free Shakespeare to communities with limited or no access to the arts by taking the plays on tour to correctional facilities, homeless shelters, social service organizations and more. Toliver’s concert will tour, Tuesday-Saturday, June 21-25, to five community venues, and culminate with a show at Joe’s Pub on Monday, June 27.
“Toliver’s vocals brim with rich, emotional tones that hover above his careful string arrangements,” said NPR. A veteran of the Joe’s Pub stage, Toliver’s distinct style and sound melds R&B vocals with classical violin training and a touch of gospel influence from his grandmother. His talent and energy were an immediate match for the spirit of the Mobile Unit’s feisty Romeo & Juliet, which was directed by Obie Award-winner Lear deBessonet, who also heads Public Theater program Public Works. Toliver performed as The Chorus in both the five-borough tour and the sit-down run at The Public. Touched by the experience, Toliver was moved to write even more music, which he will debut in In Transit.
Marques Toliver burst onto the scene, via the U.K., with an arresting performance on Later with Jools Holland, and a recent declaration from Adele as her “new favourite artist,” but his story begins many years ago in Florida. He began his training in classical violinist at the age of 10, and would later enroll in music school. Frustrated with academia and keen to throw himself into the real world of music making, Toliver took a leap of faith and traveled to New York. Through busking and freelancing musician, he quickly befriended fellow artists, eventually playing live and on records for the likes of Holly Miranda, Grizzly Bear, and Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson. Toliver put out his debut album Land of CanAan in 2013 to great acclaim.