Eat The Document

By John Glover and Kelley Rourke

Based on the novel by Dana Spiotta

Developed with and directed by Kristin Marting

Music directed by Mila Henry

Eat The Document

By John Glover and Kelley Rourke

Based on the novel by Dana Spiotta

Developed with and directed by Kristin Marting

Music directed by Mila Henry


In the heyday of the seventies underground, Bobby DeSoto and Mary Whittaker – passionate, idealistic, and in love – design a series of radical protests against the Vietnam War. When one action goes wrong, the course of their lives is forever changed. The two must erase their past, forge new identities, and never see one another again.

Now it is the 1990s. Mary lives in the suburbs with her fifteen-year-old son, Jason, who spends hours immersed in the music of his mother’s generation. She has no idea where Bobby is, whether he is alive or dead. A few towns away, an aging hippie calling himself Nash presides over an anarchist bookstore, drawing the disaffected youth of the next generation into a shifting series of “groups” and “collectives.” Miranda, alone among the kids who frequent the bookstore, takes Nash seriously.

Shifting between the protests in the 1970s and the consequences of those choices in the 1990s, Eat the Document is an alternative opera that explores the connection between the two eras—their language, technology, music, and activism.

Duration: 90 minutes, no intermission
Roles: Eight singers, playing multiple characters
Instrumentation: Band of seven (Music Director/piano, string quartet, drum set/percussion, acoustic/electric guitar)

Eat the Document at Joe's Pub left

Creative Team

John Glover

John Glover, composer

Described as “an unabashedly expressive composer,” (New Yorker) John Glover has received commissions from organizations including Houston Grand Opera, On Site Opera, New York Youth Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and American Conservatory Theater. His work has been presented in venues ranging from Rockwood Music Hall to Carnegie Hall, The Invisible Dog to Rothko Chapel.

Kelley Rourke. Photo by Brittany Lesavoy Smith.

Kelley Rourke, librettist

Kelley Rourke is a librettist, translator and dramaturg. Her work has been commissioned and performed by the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Carnegie Hall, Met LiveArts, and Houston Grand Opera, among others. Kelley is resident dramaturg for The Glimmerglass Festival and Artistic Advisor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative.

Kristin Marting, director

Kristin Marting is a director of hybrid work based in NYC. Over the last 25 years, she has constructed 29 stage works, including 9 original hybrid works, 6 opera-theatre and music-theatre works, 9 reimaginings of novels and short stories and 5 classic plays. Kristin has directed 19 works at HERE and also premiered works at BAM, 3LD, Ohio Theatre, and Soho Rep. Kristin is Founding Artistic Director of HERE and Co-Founding Director of Prototype Festival.

Mila Henry

Mila Henry, music director

Mila Henry is a conductor, pianist and music director who maintains a versatile career, spanning folk operas to rock musicals to reimagined classics. Hailed “a stalwart contributor to the contemporary opera scene” (Opera Ithaca), she has collaborated with The American Opera Project, Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, Opera Philadelphia, PROTOTYPE and VisionIntoArt, at venues ranging from The Apollo to the Library of Congress to Dutch National Opera.

artistic collaborators

Artistic Collaborators

artistic collaborators

Artistic Collaborators

Paul An

Justine Aronson

Leah Asher

Gelsey Bell

Mikaela Bennett

Catherine Brookman 

Shayna Dunkelman

Matt Evans

Liz Faure

Abi Fayette

Christian Mark Gibbs

Terrance Johnson

Amy Justman

Marina Kifferstein

Tesia Kwarteng

Grey McMurray

Jessica Meyers

Paul Pinto

Tim Russell

Rachel Shapiro

Jonathan Woody

Caleb Wright

Andrew Yee


in-process and live excerpts from ‘Eat The Document’


Excerpts from ‘Eat The Document’ performed at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater in NYC


Delve into the ‘Eat The Document’ Zine

Click through the gallery below to read the Zine.


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eat the document © 2024

Photos: “G.I.’s Against the War” (top) and “Don’t Cry: Resist,” (footer) by Bev Grant.

Eat the Document has been developed with support from The American Opera Project, New York State Council on the Arts.