All The World’s A Stage…

Dear All:musicals

‘Tis the season…SPRING MUSICAL season…and there is no shortage of live theater available to us as Choral Directors!

(How exciting!)  I, personally, do not direct our musical, I haven’t for a while.  This year, I agreed to assist with the creation of the PLAYBILL via the online program called PLAYBUILDER and I absolutely loved it!  (If you ever need someone to create yours, call me – I’d be happy to!)

But I digress.  What is the rest of the world doing while hundreds of staff and students are setting lights and sound, polishing choreo and blocking, checking last minute lines and lyrics, advertising and marketing and selling tickets? (…hoping for that ever-rewarding announcement that they have SOLD OUT the house!) Is it possible to calculate the hours that go into a theatrical production?  From the agonizing decision, in a high school setting, of choosing the right show to the professional world of securing the finances to put the dream on a stage. It’s really incomprehensible.

At present, you have so many choices in and around New York and New Jersey!  The motherload of productions where you can feast on the talents of many.  Permit me to boast a bit, with permission, about a few producers and artists that are quite special to me.

If you are an ABBA fan – you can see MAMMA MIA at Hanover Park High School this Thursday through Saturday produced by Ridge Grad – Helen Britez.

Mamma Mia-Hanover Park

How about a classic in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Roxbury High School produced by Ridge Grad – Patrick Hachey?Fiddler-Roxbury

Or you can come to RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL this Thursday through Saturday and see so many of my lovelies (like these four) in GUYS & DOLLS produced by Martha Harvey!Guys & DollsIf you’d prefer to head into Manhattan, you can see Ridge grad  – Gil Brady (Hagovsky) in a leading role in SIDEWAYS-THE EXPERIENCE, playing Off-Broadway at the Theatre at St. Clements on 46th.Sideways+the+Experience+at+the+Peccadillo+Theatre

The cast of SIDEWAYS features Gil Brady (Shear Madness) as Jack, Kimberly Doreen Burns (Irish Rep’s Finian’s Rainbow) as Maya, Allison Briner Dardenne (Bright Star) as Phyllis, Stephen Elrod (Shakespeare Theatre Co.) as Brad, Jenny Latimer (Les Misérables National Tour) as Victoria, Brian Ray Norris (SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical) as Miles, Jenny Strassburg (Mint Theatre Company’s Echoes of the War) as Terra, and Oliver Wadsworth (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang National Tour) as the Tasting Room Manager.

Or if a new release from across the pond is your choice, then you can head into Morristown at the MPAC to catch Ridge grad – Nic Doodson’s third hit musical – CHOIR OF MAN – on Thursday, April 9th at 7:30p.Choir of Man

The Choir of Man is the runaway hit of the international music and theater scene from the creative minds of Nic Doodson and Andrew Kay – the team behind Gobsmacked!, The Magnets and the Soweto Gospel Choir. This show is 80 minutes of unadulterated entertainment that combines high energy dance, live music and foot-stomping choreography with the incredible talent of 9 ordinary guys who perform everything from sing-along classics to classic rock. Known across the globe as “the ultimate-feel good show,” Choir of Man offers up an evening of indisputable joy! It’s a party. It’s a concert. It’s a pint-filled good time set in a working pub that combines hair-raising harmonies, high-energy dance and live percussion with foot-stomping choreography. The multi-talented cast of nine handsome blokes sings everything – pub tunes, folk, Broadway, classic rock – all to roof-raising heights. It’s the best singing, dancing, stomping, pub crawl of a concert you’ll ever attend! Cheers!

Or, if you happen to find yourself in Passau, Germany, then please look up Ridge grad – JEFFREY NARDONE – Principal Tenor of the Landestheater Niederbayern in any of his upcoming roles. I was privileged to have lunch with Jeff and his beautiful girlfriend, Patrizia this weekend.  Jeff is really living the performer’s dream – getting to perform in a beautiful Opera House and surrounding theaters in an idyllic flat in Passau.  Bliss!

Jeff nardone

The dramatic tenor Jeffrey Nardone from America completed his Masters in Music at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City as a student of Metropolitan Opera Tenor Neil Rosenshein and also studied music and culture management at Shenandoah University in Virginia. From 2007-2009 was the tenor student at the Opera Institute at Boston University, founded by the world-famous soprano Phyllis Curtin. There he sang the leading role of Camille in the New England premiere of Tobias Pickers Therese Raquin. As a member of the Opera Studio at Central City Opera in Colorado, Jeffrey sang the role of Prince Charmant in Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon.

As a member of the Lower Bavarian State Theater, he was Alfredo (La Traviata), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Duca ( Rigoletto ), Barinkay ( The Gypsy Baron ), Tassilo (Countess Mariza), Edwin (The Csardas Princess), in the title roles of La Damnation de Faust and Idomeneo and as Des Grieux (Manon), Jesus (Jesus Christ Superstar), Giuseppe Hagenbach ( La Wally ), Melot ( Tristan and Isolde ), Hofmeister ( Der Rosenkavalier ) and as René Graf von Luxemburg ( The Count of Luxembourg), as well as in the Pasticchio with music by Albert Lortzing One is only heard once. In Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, he sang the role of Erik. 

North American appearances included Don José (Carmen), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) and the title role in the world premiere of Gauguin / Savage Light in New York City, with which Jeffrey Nardone earned an enthusiastic review in the New York Times. The tenor has also been seen in concerts and recitals in Europe and the United States, including as a guest artist at Carnegie Hall. In 2016 he won first prize in the Phoenix Opera competition with excerpts from Adriana Lecouvreur and Der Freischütz.

This is just a short list of so many who make contributions to the performing arts every day.  In classrooms.  In studios.  In church.  At Conferences.  I am grateful to all of them!

So, what are you waiting for?  Go out and get tickets and support your local musicians and actors!  Believe me – They’ll be thrilled to see you in the house – I know I always am!

Good luck to all who are bringing this valuable art form to their communities.  We love and respect you for the difference you are making in the world.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Barbara

In Memoriam…

Rest in peace text for Respect for the funeral vectorIt’s a heavy weight. To learn of the unexpected passing of Choral Colleague Dave Lockart (64).  Like other losses that seem to happen without notice, this leaves many more questions than answers.  I wasn’t aware that he was ill, perhaps few knew.  It’s not exactly something you post on Social Media.  And I would not expect to be in the know – we were colleagues at Board Meetings and Conferences.  We shared stories of teaching and rehearsals – he had a wicked sense of humor.  He was respected for his fairness and honesty and admired for his exceptional musicianship.

Gone too soon for sure.

And then I started to think about others…Anne Hannah (65) from Matawan who was instrumental in my being chosen to conduct the NJ All-State Mixed Chorus; Steven Gosewich (51) who was a well-known choral director and accompanist in Freehold/Howell; Brent Miller (69) who was an active leader for ACDA; Ken Steele (67) was an adjudicator and high school Choral Director; Sue Belly (63) who was the ever-present loving and friendly face at Region II Chorus activities.  Respectively, all of these Masters of Music helped to shape who so many of us are today.  They set the bar high in musicianship and integrity and passion for the Choral Art.  It made someone like me, coming up behind them, always want to do better.  To be better.  To bring the very best I could to my own students.  Seems like the least we can do to honor their service, contribution and memory.

For sure the Heavenly Choirs have welcomed every one.

I hope they keep a watchful eye on all of us.

Rest in Peace, friends.

Rest in Peace.

REST IN PEACE

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Barbara