Master Class

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Master Class
Written by Terrence McNally
Characters Maria Callas
Sharon Graham
Sophie De Palma
Emmanuel Weinstock
Anthony Candolino
Date premiered November 5, 1995
Place premiered John Golden Theatre
New York City, New York
Original language English
Genre Drama
Setting A master class with Maria Callas at the John Golden Theatre
IBDB profile

Master Class is a play by Terrence McNally, with incidental music by Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, and Vincenzo Bellini.

The play originally was staged by the Philadelphia Theatre Company and the Mark Taper Forum. After twelve previews, the Broadway production, directed by Leonard Foglia, opened on November 15, 1995 at the John Golden Theatre, where it ran for 598 performances. The original cast included Zoe Caldwell, Audra McDonald, Karen Kay Cody, David Loud, and Jay Hunter Morris. Caldwell and McDonald won Tony Awards for their performances in 1996.

Patti LuPone and Dixie Carter subsequently replaced Caldwell as Callas and Alaine Rodin replaced McDonald later in the run. LuPone played the role in the London production and Faye Dunaway played the role in the national tour. Tyne Daly starred as Callas in a summer 2011 revival of the play at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.[1] This production will transfer to the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre for a run lasting January to April 2012.[2]

A production in France, Master Class - La leçon de chant (the singing lesson),[3] in Paris in 1997 had Fanny Ardant as Callas and was directed by Roman Polanski.


At its core is the diva Maria Callas, a glamorous, commanding, larger-than-life, caustic, and surprisingly drop-dead funny pedagogue holding a voice master class. Alternately dismayed and impressed by the students who parade before her, she retreats into recollections about the glories of her own life and career. Included in her musings are her younger years as an ugly duckling, her fierce hatred of her rivals, the unforgiving press that savaged her early performances, her triumphs at La Scala, and her affair with Aristotle Onassis. It culminates into a monologue about sacrifice taken in the name of art.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Master Class won both the 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play and the 1996 Tony Award for Best Play.


External links[edit]