Columbians Behind World Premiere of 'Songs About Trains'

BY William Hutton, April 22, 2022

Playwriting alumnus Julián Mesri ’20 and Dramaturg alumna Meropi Peponides ’13 join the team behind Radical Evolution’s world premiere of Songs About Trains. A co-production between Working Theater and New Ohio Theater, Songs About Trains runs through April 23, 2022.


Using music as central storytelling, Songs About Trains celebrates the untold stories of the multicultural workforce responsible for building the US rail system. Bringing together folk songs, stories, and movement, the theatrical concert event explores the complexities of immigration, labor, Manifest Destiny, and the “progress” of the railroad––how it helped to forge a global superpower and generate wealth for a select few, at the expense of thousands of lives, all the while inspiring one of the deepest cannons of music ever made in America. 


Julián Mesri joins the production as Musical Director/Arranger. He is a New York-based Argentinean-American writer and composer who makes multilingual plays and musicals in the U.S. and around the world. Recent productions include Immersion (Ingenio Festival at Milagro Theater, BAPF Semi-Finalist), The Gauchos Americanos (Teatro Extranjero, Buenos Aires), and the upcoming musical Telo. Mesri has been an Emerging Artist of Color Fellow at NYTW, a Van Lier Fellow at Repertorio Español, and the recipient of an ASCAP Scholarship. His adaptation of Fuenteovejuna received the HOLA Outstanding Production award. As a translator, he has worked for both the Lark U.S./Mexico Exchange and PEN World Voices. He received his MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University and is a 2020 Sokoloff Arts Creative Fellow.


Meropi Peponides joins Songs About Trains as Artistic Producer. She is a theater maker, artistic producer/dramaturg, podcast producer and co-founder of Radical Evolution. She recently co-created Songs About Trains, The Corrido of the San Patricios, and Loving and Loving with Radical Evolution, and produced Fairview and Is God Is at Soho Rep. Her work explores cross-cultural affinity and the mixed race experience in the 21st Century. Peponides received her BA from UCLA and an MFA from Columbia University.