Master Class

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For the type of high-level artistic tuition, see Master class.
Master Class
MasterClass.jpg
Written by Terrence McNally
Characters Maria Callas
Sophie De Palma (First Soprano)
Anthony Candolino (Tenor)
Sharon Graham (Second Soprano)
Emmanuel Weinstock (Accompanist)
Stagehand
Date premiered November 5, 1995
Place premiered John Golden Theatre
New York City, New York
Original language English
Subject A diva holds a master class in voice for the opera
Genre Drama
Setting A master class with Maria Callas at the Juilliard School in the 1970's

Master Class is a play by Terrence McNally, with incidental music by Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, and Vincenzo Bellini. The play opened on Broadway in 1995, with stars Zoe Caldwell and Audra McDonald winning Tony Awards.

Plot[edit]

The opera diva Maria Callas, a glamorous, commanding, larger-than-life, caustic, and surprisingly drop-dead funny pedagogue is holding a voice master class at the Juilliard School. 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 in a monologue about sacrifice taken in the name of art.

Production history[edit]

The play originally was staged by the Philadelphia Theatre Company in March 1995, the Mark Taper Forum and the Kennedy Center.[1]

The play premiered on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre on November 15, 1995 and closed on June 29, 1997 after 598 performances and twelve previews. Directed by Leonard Foglia, the original cast featured Zoe Caldwell (as Callas), Audra McDonald (as Sharon), Karen Kay Cody, David Loud, and Jay Hunter Morris.[2] Patti LuPone and Dixie Carter (as of January 1997)[3] subsequently replaced Caldwell as Callas and Alaine Rodin replaced McDonald later in the run. LuPone played the role in the London production at the Queens Theatre, opening in April 1997 (previews)[3][4] and Faye Dunaway played the role in the U.S. national tour in 1996.[5]

Master Class ran at the Kennedy Center from March 25, 2010 to April 18, 2010, directed by Stephen Wadsworth and starring Tyne Daly as Callas.[6] The play was then revived on Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, running from June 14, 2011 (previews) to September 4, 2011 for 70 regular performances and 26 previews. Directed by Stephen Wadsworth, the cast featured Tyne Daly as Callas, with Sierra Boggess as Sharon.[7] This production transferred to the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre from January to April 2012, with Daly as Callas and Naomi O'Connell as Sharon.[8][9]

A production in Paris, France, Master Class - La leçon de chant (the singing lesson) in 1997 starred Fanny Ardant as Callas and was directed by Roman Polanski.[10]

An Australian production in 1997 starred Robyn Nevin as Callas. Nevin played the role in Brisbane and Sydney. Amanda Muggleton then played Callas in Adelaide in 1998 and Melbourne in 1999. Muggleton reprised the role in the 2001-2002 Australian touring production and won the 2002 Helpmann Award for Best Actress in a Play.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Ben Brantley, in his review of the 2011 Broadway revival for The New York Times wrote that, although Master Class is not "a very good play", he felt that Tyne Daly "transforms that script into one of the most haunting portraits I’ve seen of life after stardom."[12]

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. Zoe Caldwell won the 1996 Tony Award for Actress in a Play, and Audra McDonald won the 1996 Tony Award for Featured Actress in a Play.[2]

The 2011 revival received a 2012 Tony Award nomination, Best Revival of a Play.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Keating, Douglas J. "Phila. Theatre Company Savors 'Master Class' Tonys" philly.com, June 4, 1996
  2. ^ a b " 'Master Class' Listing" playbillvault.com, accessed May 5, 2014
  3. ^ a b Lefkowitz, David and Vargas, Robert. "'Master Class' Milestone & LuPone Confirmed For London" playbill.com, March 24, 1997
  4. ^ " 'Master Class' Listing, 1997" albemarle-london.com, accessed May 5, 2014
  5. ^ Lundy, Katie. "Faye Dunaway to Star in 'Master Class' Tour" playbill.com, August 28, 1996
  6. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Casting Complete for 'Master Class', with Daly, at the Kennedy Center" playbill.com, February 2, 2010
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Class Dismissed! 'Master Class', Starring Tyne Daly, Ends Broadway Run Sept. 4" playbill.com, September 4, 2011
  8. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Tyne Daly Begins Performances in West End Mounting of Terrence McNally's 'Master Class' Jan. 21" playbill.com, January 21, 2012
  9. ^ Spencer, Charles. "'Master Class', Vaudeville Theatre, review" The Telegraph, February 8, 2012
  10. ^ Fanny Ardant" filmreference.com, accessed May 5, 2014
  11. ^ "Master Class". Essgee Entertainment. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Brantley. Ben."Theater Review. 'Master Class'" The New York Times, July 7, 2011
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "'Once', 'Clybourne Park', 'Porgy and Bess', Audra McDonald, 'Salesman' Win 2012 Tony Awards" playbill.com, June 10, 2012

External links[edit]