Friday, June 20, 2014

Emergence : October 7 @ 7pm

Jacksonville University Voice Students
with faculty coordinators and accompnists Kimberly Beasley & Jay Ivey

* William Finn:  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Selections):
  • Opening Number (Chip Tolentino, Michaela Wright, Matthew Robetson, Harrison Breault, Victoria Miller, Rachel Romo & Lexi Ink)
  • I’m Not That Smart (Matthew Robertson)  
  • I Love You Song (Lexi Inks, Rachel Romo & Chris Robertson)
* Jules Massenet: Départ (Michaela Wright)
* Charlie Smalls: What Would I Do If I Could Feel, from The Wiz (Jamil Abdur-Rahman)
* Jason Robert Brown: I’m Not Afraid, from Songs for a New World (Carley Levy)  
* William Finn: And They’re Off, from A New Brain (Harrison Breault)
* W.A. Mozart: Durch Zartlichkeit und Schmeicheln, from Abduction from the Seraglio (Haley Cox)
* Leonard Bernstein: I Can Cook Too, from On The Town (Leighton Baruch)
* Adam Schlesinger: Screw Loose, from Cry Baby (Savannah Elam)
* Cole Porter: Always True to You in My Fashion, from Kiss me Kate (Victoria Miller)  
* Stephen Schwartz: Beautiful City, from Godspell (Zachary Polendo)
* Leonard Bernstein: Something’s Coming, from West Side Story (Chris Robertson)
* Leonard Bernstein: Some Other Time!, from On the Town (Rachel Romo)

Jacksonville University is a comprehensive, private university with more than 70 respected academic programs that attract nearly 3,000 students from all over Florida, across the nation, and around the world. Working closely with a distinguished faculty of professional performing artists and researchers, students can focus and refine their skills while deepening an appreciation for the musical arts.  Music students at Jacksonville University may pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.), or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

Kimberly Beasley, Assistant Professor of Voice, holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Theatre from the University of Colorado, a Master of Music from Valparaiso University and a Certificate of Vocal Performance from Northwestern University where she studied with Sunny Joy Langton and coached with Sherrill Milnes. Singing in all styles, she has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Northwest Festival Orchestra in Chicago, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Elmhurst Symphony, the Northwest Indiana Symphony, DuPage Opera Theatre, the New Philharmonic Orchestra, Light Opera Works, Music at Main, Friday Musicale, Jacksonville University Orchestra, and the Grant Park Symphony Chorus and the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus at venues such as the Times-Union Center in Jacksonville, the Star Plaza in Indiana, Chicago’s Millennium Park , and the Civic Opera House in Chicago. Roles include Solvieg, Micaëla, Dorine, Serpina, Rosina, Cinderella, Angelica, Josephine, and Ciao-ciao San in productions of Cavalleria Rusticana, Fidelio, Turandot, Peer Gynt, Into the Woods, Suor Angelica, Barber of Seville, Tartuffe, H.M.S. Pinafore, Carmen, and Madama Butterfly. She is an avid recitalist, both locally and in concerts and recitals from Chicago to Colorado. Kimberly also serves as a stage and music director for musicals and operas. She was the music director, to critical acclaim, of Last Five Years for OneTheatre in Chicago, and in 2011 she stage directed Little Women, the Musical for Jacksonville University, a production which won awards for Best Actor and Best Lighting Design from Broadway World.

Jay Ivey has been seen in such operatic roles as Rigoletto, Lescaut (Manon), the title roles of Don Giovanni and Gianni Schicchi, Morales (Carmen), and Maximillian in Candide with Jerry Hadley. Most recently he performed the role of British Ambassador in the world premiere of the new performing edition of The Ghosts of Versailles by John Corigliano with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Other roles performed with Opera Theatre of St. Louis include Spalanzani (Tales of Hoffmann), The Imperial Commissioner (Madama Butterfly), and Priest (Troilus and Cressida). In December of 2008 he was named Artist in Residence at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and was thrilled to perform the role of Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) with their Opera on the Go program.  Jay has also performed a number of oratorio and chamber works including Carmina Burana, the Fauré Requiem, the Brahms Requiem, Händel’s Messiah, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. He has been a district winner for the Metropolitan National Council auditions, a NATS winner at the state and regional levels, and a finalist in the Mobile Opera competition.  Jay is a recipient of the Nancy Wustman Memorial accompanying award and the Joseph Schlanger memorial opera award from the University of Illinois. He recently performed Barber’s Dover Beach with the St. Louis Symphony string quartet at the Sheldon Arts Center commemorating Samuel Barber’s Centennial. On the other side of the stage, he is an active music director and accompanist, most recently serving as music director for the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama.  He has also taught at Eastern Illinois University where he was the Director of Music Theatre and Opera.  He has collaborated with numerous Tony, Emmy, and Grammy award winning artists both on and off stage. His degrees include: DM from Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Voice); MM from The University of Illinois (Voice); and, BME from  Shorter College (Piano)

PROGRAM NOTES -- by Edward Lein, Music Librarian
(in alphabetical order by each composer's last name)
Composer, conductor, lecturer, author and pianist Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) ranks among the most successful musicians in the history of American music. His concert music encompasses virtually every genre from piano works and songs to large-scale choral and symphonic scores, but as a composer it is his music for the stage (ballets, musicals, operas, incidental music) with which he is most identified.

Bernstein's first Broadway musical was On the Town (1944), with book and lyrics by Betty Comden (1917-2006) and Adolph Green (1914-2002).  Expanded from Bernstein's ballet, Fancy Free (1944), the story centers around the exploits of three sailors (Chip, Gabey and Clyde) on 24-hour shore leave in New York City during World War II.  They get separated, and in the search for love and adventure Chip crosses paths with Hildy, a cab driver who coaxes him to her apartment, expounding her virtues in I Can Cook Too [YouTube Performance]. Later, as the sailors prepare to return to their ship while wondering what the future will bring, Claire, another one-night girlfriend, wistfully promises, "We'll catch up... Some Other Time." [YouTube Performance]

Conceived as a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the jazzy West Side Story (1957) is Bernstein's best-known and most popular work.  Amidst the growing gang rivalry between the Sharks and the Jets, Tony (the Romeo character) looks forward to the evening's festivities with excited optimism in Something's Coming, set to lyrics by the now-legendary Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930). [YouTube Performance]

Early in his career Jason Robert Brown (b. 1970) worked in New York City as accompanist , conductor and arranger for a number of music theater productions by others, including William Finn’s A New Brain. Now Brown is regarded among Broadway's leading composers, lyricists and playwrights in his own right, having won a number of major theater awards, including three Tonys, one for Parade (1999) and two for The Bridges of Madison County (2014).  I’m not afraid of Anything is one of the 16 songs for four singers that comprise Brown's very first original production, Songs for a New World.  The musical revue is described as “a theatrical song cycle” in which each number elaborates a decisive, life-altering moment rather than sustaining a plot or developing ongoing characterizations.  In I’m not afraid of Anything a woman lists the fears of her children, mother and husband for which she has no sympathy, until it begins to dawn that perhaps her own fear of showing vulnerability is what has created a wall between her and the people she loves. [YouTube Performance]

In 1992, American composer and lyricist William Finn (b. 1952) won two Tony Awards for his Broadway production of Falsettos. It's the same year he underwent brain surgery, and it was his near-death experience that inspired the autobiographical A New Brain, a musical comedy (despite the dark subject) that premiered Off-Broadway at the Lincoln Center Theater in 1998. As for the show's story, cynical composer Gordon Schwinn (Finn's alter ego) prepares to undergo surgery for brain cancer, and is terrified he won't survive to finish his as-yet-unwritten best works. While temporarily comatose following the surgery he hallucinates about the people around him, and wakens with a kinder, gentler view of them and the events that shaped his life. In And They’re Off, Gordon recounts his father's gambling addiction and eventual abandonment, but also remembers the laughter he always brought.  [YouTube Performance]

First produced on Broadway in 2005, Finn's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee won two Tony awards and a Drama Desk award. The Opening Number to the one-act musical comedy introduces the student contestants and eccentric judges for a middle school spelling bee. Long-time hostess (and former bee champion) Rona Lisa Peretti provides introductions, and as the contest progresses it's peppered with flashbacks that elaborate their lives.  In I'm Not That Smart, Coneybear, whose shocking ignorance of South American rodents has him at a disadvantage, reveals that his family is perhaps not as supportive as one might hope. But the heartbreaking I Love You Song reveals that he has it easy compared with Olive, whose neglectful parents refused even to give her the entrance fee. Olive's word is "chimerical," which prompts a "wildly fanciful and highly unrealistic" fantasy in which her parents finally show affection for the lonely girl whose only childhood friend had been her dictionary.

Opening Number [YouTube Performance]
I'm Not That Smart [YouTube Performance]
I Love You Song [YouTube Performance]

Jules Massenet (1842-1912) wrote prolifically for the concert hall, but it was his works for the stage that brought his greatest successes. He was the leading French opera composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with 25 published operas to his credit. Though Massenet hasn't sustained the same regard enjoyed by Mozart, Verdi, Wagner or Puccini (but then, who else has?), his Manon (1884) is a cornerstone of the French operatic repertoire, and Werther (1892) maintains a place on international opera stages. Massenet wrote several song cycles and about 250 separate songs that demonstrate the same melodic expressiveness that made his operas so popular.  Between 1875 and 1914, Massenet published 160 of his songs in eight volumes of 20 songs each.  Départ, on a text by French poet and playwright Émile Guérin-Catelain (1856-1914), appeared in the fourth volume, first published in 1894. [Score (PDF) from]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) began work on Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio) in 1781, shortly after moving from Salzburg to Vienna, and it was produced the following year. Akin to the modern Broadway musical, Mozart's German Singspiel uses spoken dialog to advance the plot, with musical numbers reflecting upon the action and providing insight into the characters. The librettist for Abduction was Stephanie Gottlieb (1741-1800), who borrowed (i.e., pirated) and adapted a libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner (1748-1807).  Mozart wrote the music specifically to exploit the virtuosic capabilities of his "original cast," and it contains some of the composer's most challenging vocal writing.  It was and remains a huge hit, and it helped establish Mozart's reputation as a composer throughout Europe.  Set in Turkey, the storyline follows the rescue of Konstanze by her beloved Belmonte, who discovers that Konstanze and her maid Blonde were sold into the harem of the Pascha Selim by pirates.  Blonde opens Act II with Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln (With Tenderness and Compliments) as she repulses the amorous advances of the Pascha's thoroughly disagreeable manservant, Osmin. [YouTube Performance]

Some of the wittiest and most sophisticated songs that ever hit the Broadway stage were penned by American composer and lyricist Cole Porter (1891-1964). During the late 1920s and 1930s Porter became a fixture on Broadway, producing a large body of lasting songs hits (Love for Sale, Night and Day, I get a Kick out of You, Just One of Those Things, etc.). In something of a come-back, Porter produced Kiss Me, Kate in 1948.  Universally regarded as his finest work, the show became the first-ever recipient of a Tony Award for Best Musical. The "play-within-a-play" plot takes place during a performance of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, with the antagonism between The Bard's "Kate" and "Petruchio" mirroring the backstage bickering between the lead actors who portray them.  Shakespeare's supporting roles, "Bianca" and "Lucentio," are played by Porter's "Lois" and her boyfriend, "Bill."  Bill's offstage jealousy is piqued because Lois continues flirting with other men, but Lois rationalizes her behavior in the ironic Always True to You in My Fashion, extolling her own brand of fidelity--even if she might still accept gifts (and the advances) of wealthy suitors. [YouTube Performance]

Emmy- and Grammy-winning songwriter, bass guitarist, and record producer Adam Schlesinger received a Tony nomination for his only foray into musical theater, Cry-Baby (2007), along with lyricist David Javerbaum, head writer for Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Based on the 1990 film by John Waters, the press release for Cry-Baby: the Musical describes it as a tale of "wayward youth, juvenile delinquents, sexual repression, cool music, dirty lyrics, bizarre rejects...Finally, the 50's come to life! For real this time!"  Identified by Playbill as "Broadway's first rockabilly score," the show centers around the romance between bad boy rock-n-roller Wade 'Cry-Baby' Walker and Allison Vernon-Williams, a prim bobby soxer who wants to kick off her goody-two-shoes.  As if he doesn't have enough problems navigating the right side of the tracks, Cry-Baby is stalked by a deranged fan, Leonora Frigid, who details her undying love in the hilarious show-stopper, Screw Loose. [YouTube Performance]

While still in his early twenties, composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz (b. 1948) already had two hits playing in his hometown of New York City, Godspell (1971) and Pippin (1972), and had collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the lyrics for Bernstein's theater piece, Mass (1972). By 2007, Schwartz's The Magic Show (1974) and Wicked (2003) had joined Pippin in passing the 1,500-performances-on-Broadway mark, making Schwartz the only other composer/lyricist besides Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!; Mame; La Cage aux Folles) to achieve that goal. Working with composer Alan Mencken, Schwartz provided the lyrics for three of Disney's animated features (Pocahontas, 1995; The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1994; Enchanted, 2007), and the pair won two Academy Awards for Pocahontas. As composer/lyricist for DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt (1998), Schwartz got his third Oscar (Best Song: When You Believe). Besides a "handful of tennis trophies," Schwartz has also won a Drama Desk Award and three Grammy Awards, and has been nominated for six Tonys. Two of the Grammys were for the cast recording of Schwartz's first hit, Godspell, which had over 2,100 Off-Broadway performances before another 527 after moving on-Broadway in 1976. The show presents New Testament parables interspersed with lyrics drawn from the Episcopal hymnal. The song Beautiful City was added to the score for the 1973 film version of Godspell (danced on the rooftop of the newly-constructed World Trade Center), and the lyrics were revised after the 1993 riots in Los Angeles. For the 2011 Broadway revival, Beautiful City was transformed from an upbeat dance number into a contemplative meditation of hope, delivered by Jesus before the Last Supper. [YouTube Performance]

At age 11 Charlie Smalls (1943-1987) entered the Juilliard School of Music, and later graduated from Manhattan's High School for the Performing Arts before touring with the New York Jazz Repertory Company.  Virtually unknown in 1974, Smalls took Broadway by storm with The Wiz, an updated version of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz retold from an African-American perspective.  The show won seven Tony Awards in 1975, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, and the original cast album won the Grammy the following year.  The 1976 film adaptation featured a star-studded cast including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Nipsy Russell starred as Tin Man, whose soulful What Would I Do If I Could Feel ends the first act of the stage version. Tragically, Smalls died at age 43 from a ruptured appendix while touring in Europe. [YouTube Performance]

No comments: