Monday, February 2, 2009

Update: Plonsey/Pekar Opera Review - "Leave Me Alone"

Previously I reviewed the live webcast of the opera "Leave Me Alone!" Today, I received an update to the cast list and some pictures of the production.

Leave Me Alone! A Jazz Opera In Two Acts

Music by Dan Plonsey
Libretto by Harvey Pekar
Additional Music by Josh Smith
Additional Words by Mantra Ben-ya'akova Plonsey and Joyce Brabner

Daniel Michalak and Josh Smith, Musical Directors
Jonathon Field, Stage Director
Robert Katkowski, Set Designer
Barry Steele, Lighting Designer
Victoria Vaughan, Stage Manager
Daniel Michalak, Vocal Preparation
Elizabeth and Orville Zharoff, Choreography

CAST
Dan Plonsey
Harvey Pekar
Mantra Ben-ya'akova Plonsey
Joyce Brabner
Josh Smith
Joanna Lemle '10 (mezzo)
Christopher Rice '10 (tenor)
Kate Rosen '11 (mezzo)
Patty Stubel '09 (soprano)
Gerard Michael D'Emilio '11 (bass)
David Schwartz '12 (acted only)
Telephone appearance by Robert Crumb

BAND
Noah Hecht '10 (drums)
Aaron Salituro '11 (trombone)
Gregory Zilboorg '13 (trumpet)
Shaquille Harry-Tisdell '12 (bass)
John Schott (guitar)
Josh Smith (saxophone)
Joe Karten (trumpet)
Daniel Michalak (piano)

DANCERS
Cree Carrico
Mark Muthersbaugh
Elizabeth Zharoff
Orville Zharoff

Pekar (left) and music director Josh Smith (right) listen to music onstage together in the new opera "Leave Me Alone!"
Harvey is surrounded by adoring fans; a singing member of cast dons a Pekar mask, and gives voice to his internal monologue. Rear: Patty Stubel; Front, left to right: Christopher Rice, Harvey Pekar, Joanna Lemle.
Music director Josh Smith (left) and composer Dan Plonsey (right) perform together in the show. This is the sax duet I speak about in the review.
Oberlin Conservatory students (clockwise from front) Christopher Rice, Kate Rosen, Gerard Michael D'Emilio, Patty Stubel and Joanna Lemle hunt for old records, as author Harvey Pekar looks on.

Kate Rosen has an absolutely stunning voice and a serious career ahead of her. Gerard Michael D'Emilio is solid in his bass role with only song that seemed to be written too low for his range (unfortunate, because otherwise a strong performance). Christopher Rice sang the opening number with some vocal pyrotechnics that really set a high mark for the rest of the cast to achieve. Vocally, these three performers met and exceeded that mark.

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