PigPen Theatre Co.
When the seven musicians in PigPen Theatre Co. first met in 2008, they were actors in their freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. During the annual student showcase, the guys found themselves working together and wrote a 15-minute theater piece that incorporated folk music and shadow puppetry. “We continued to do the festival every year and as the plays grew, so did the music,” says member Arya Shahi. After writing and performing several more plays—two of which won the top prize at consecutive New York International Fringe Festivals—the collective recorded their debut album, Bremen, released last year. The music continues in the folk and roots vein of their theater work and was inspired by one of their stage productions. The group says that their main goal is storytelling and, according to bandmate Dan Weschler, “Folk music is so connected to storytelling
that it’s what we gravitated toward.” After their summer tour, PigPen migrated from New York to Chicago for a run of their latest play, The Old Man and the Old Moon, and focused on their sophomore album.