Monthly Archives: February 2011

Maria Callas to Play in Peoria to Benefit Opera Illinois

Maria Callas (Susan Somerville) insructs the First Soprano (Rebecca Myer) as Manny (Anthony Roberts) plays during Peoria Cabaret Theatre's "Master Class"

Peoria Cabaret Theatre at The Waterhouse proudly presents MASTER CLASS March 4, 5, 11, 12 to benefit Opera Illinois League.  MASTER CLASS is Terrence McNally’s Tony winning masterpiece about Maria Callas. Inspired by a series of master classes the great diva conducted toward the end of her career, this drama puts Maria Callas at center stage again as she coaxes, prods, and inspires students into giving the performances of their lives while revealing her own. Dazzling theatricality comes from Callas’s cunning wit, her emotional explosions, & the soaring music as each student sings an aria that exposes the Divina’s vulnerabilities …and her genius.

 A Tony winner for Best Play, MASTER CLASS stars Susan Somerville (courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association) as Maria Callas. The cast also includes local opera favorite Elisabeth Richter as Second Soprano (Sharon), the role that won a Best Supporting Actress Tony for Audra McDonald. Rounding out the cast are Jarod Hazzard as Tenor (Tony), Rebecca Myer as First Soprano (Sophie), Anthony Roberts as Accompanist (Manny) and Ed Peck as the Stagehand (Monotone).

 THE STORY: The play is a portrait of the opera diva told through her recollections of the glories, triumphs, and tragedies of her own life and career. Her voice is gone, her lover is long departed, and her sanity could possibly be next. All she has is a lonely itinerary of master classes and luggage packed full of the memories that are her only travel companion. Her students are the hapless targets of her sharp tongue, while she remains the picture of innocent aristocracy. Master Class shows that while the actress may have left the stage, she will never give up her audience.

 Admission is $45 per person (tax included) for a plated dinner and show.  $7.50 from every full admission will be donated to Opera Illinois League! The plated dinner will include Regina Salad with choice of house creamy citrus or balsamic vinaigrette dressing, your choice of Prime Rib au jus or Herb Crusted Salmon with twiced baked potato and spring vegetables, and Tiramisu for dessert. 

 Reservations can be made by calling The Waterhouse office at 309.494.9100 or ONLINE HERE. The doors will open at 6pm for cocktails and dinner service starting at 6:30pm. The show will begin promptly at 8:00pm.

 SUSAN SOMERVILLE (MARIA CALLAS) Peoria native Susan Somerville (aka Brown) was on the professional musical theater stage for 20 years.  In the Chicago area (1984-92), she appeared in over 40 productions including Nunsense (Amnesia), The Music Man (Marion), Dames At Sea (Ruby), Grease (Sandy), Patent Leather Shoes (Becky), and Anything Goes (Hope).     Other roles throughout the Midwest include Maria in The Sound of Music, Julie in Show Boat, and Eliza in My Fair Lady.  In 1992, Susie joined the national tour of Cats, and in 1995 was put into the Broadway Company where she was seen as Jellylorum/Griddlebone, Jennyanydots/Gumbie, and Grizabella, and was part of the final cast in 2000.  While in New York, Susie was the Director of Sunday Morning Worship at Trinity Baptist Church, and also did voice-over, commercial, television, recording, and concert work.  She moved back to Peoria in 2004 to marry her high school sweetheart Charlie Brown, and is now Director of Music at University United Methodist Church.  Susie has served as musical director for local productions including Cats, Dreamgirls, Little Women, Evita, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and – coming soon – The Drowsy Chaperone.   For Peoria Cooperative Academy she has directed and choreographed Gilbert & Sullivan’s PRINCESS IDA and THE MIKADO.  With husband Charlie she writes and assists with Prairie Folklore Theatre.   Susie also has a private voice studio, and teaches drama at Masterworks Festival and The Salvation Army’s TAM Conservatory.  She is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and a member of Actors’ Equity Association.  She dedicates this performance to her mother, Alma Somerville, a beautiful singer and Maria Callas fan.  Soli Deo Gloria!

ELISABETH RICHTER (SHARON) American Soprano Elisabeth Richter is an emerging artist of the first order with a powerful, beautiful dramatic voice and a luscious, rich tone quality. In the 2009/10 season, Ms. Richter returned to Annapolis Opera under the baton of Maestro Ron Gretz to sing the title role of Puccini’s Tosca, where in spring 2009 she had performed the role of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana to critical acclaim. Other recent performances include the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica at Opera Illinois under the baton of Maestro Kevin Class. Principal roles in Ms. Richter’s repertoire include Liù in Turandot, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Sarah Good in Robert Wards’ The Crucible. She has also performed the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at Illinois State Opera and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro at Bradley Opera Theater. As a recitalist, Ms. Richter has frequently performed at the Indiana University Chamber Music Festival where she has sung Mozart’s Requiem, Dominic Argento’s To be Sung Upon the Water and premiered Jeffrey Hoover’s Soul and Fire for which she was recognized as an audience favorite in 2004. In addition, she was a featured soloist with the St. Martin’s Chamber Players at Merkin Hall in New York City. Elisabeth Richter has participated as a young artist at the Utah Festival Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Opera Illinois Young Artist Ensemble. She was a five-time winner for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Award, a finalist for the Quad Cities Opera Company Competition and a Concerto Award winner at Western Illinois University. Leonora – Il Trovatore Tosca – Tosca Ellen Orford – Peter Grimes ! Aida – Aida Santuzza – Cavalleria Rusticana Soprano – Verdi’s Requiem

 

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Spend Your Weekend With Us at PCT!

The final two performances of  I Love You Because continue this weekend on our main stage. This musical comedy valentine is the perfect “date show” with romance for the ladies and plenty of crude humor to keep the guys entertained as well. If you are a fan of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Friends” then I Love You Because is the musical for you!

Admission is $35 per person and includes tax and a BUFFET DINNER featuring*Roast Beef au jus, Boneless Chicken Breast in a creamy white wine sauce with mushrooms, Tossed Mixed Greens Salad, Smashed Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Glazed Baby Carrots, & New York style Cheesecake for dessert. *Vegetarian option is pasta primavera with a light alfredo sauce. You must indicate this at time of reservation!

Doors open at 6:00pm for cocktails, dinner is at 6:30pm and the show starts at 8:00pm.  Call (309)494-9100 for reservations, or make your reservations ONLINE HERE.

Stick around after the Friday, February 18th performance for our Musical Theatre Open Mic Night –FREE ADMISSION!  Just bring yourself and some music (or check out ours!), and we’ll supply the accompanist. For those of you needing a “shot” of courage, the bar will also be open. Come perform your favorite show tunes in a friendly, supportive, fun environment.  Who knows, you might even see a guest appearance by our very own PEORIA BOYS!

 Our Late Night Cabaret series continues after the Saturday, February 19th performance with HOPE GRANDON: “What Do You Do With a B.A. in Theatre?” Doors open after the Main Stage shows at 10pm. Shows start at 11pm on Bar Stage. $5pp admission. Bar is open until midnight!

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PCT Serves Up the Perfect Romance with “I Love You Because”

Peoria Cabaret Theatre is proud to present the Central Illinois premiere of I Love You Because February 11-12 and 18-19, starring Jarod Hazzard, Erin Durbin, Adam Sitton, Dedra Kaiser, Kyle Motsinger, & Kates Sitton. It is directed by Ed Peck with musical direction by Tony Roberts.

 This musical comedy valentine is the perfect “date show” with romance for the ladies and plenty of crude humor to keep the guys entertained as well.  (C’mon guys, there is a song called “We’re Best Friends (with Benefits)”, how can you go wrong with that?) If you are a fan of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Friends” then I Love You Because is the musical for you!

 THE SHOW: I Love You Because follows Austin Bennet, a young greeting card writer whose life is turned upside down when he finds his long-term girlfriend Catherine in bed with another man. Forced back out into the treacherous New York dating scene, Austin meets Marcy Fitzwilliams, a flighty   photographer whose spontaneity is matched only by her ability to drive him insane. This new musical comedy explores the ‘rules’ and nuances of modern dating and learning how to love someone, not in spite of their differences, but because of them.

 Admission is $35 per person and includes tax and a BUFFET DINNER  featuring*Roast Beef au jus, Boneless Chicken Breast in a creamy white wine sauce with mushrooms, Tossed Mixed Greens Salad, Smashed Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Glazed Baby Carrots, & New York style Cheesecake for dessert. *Vegetarian option is pasta primavera with a light alfredo sauce. You must indicate this at time of reservation!

 Doors open at 6:00pm for cocktails, dinner is at 6:30pm and the show starts at 8:00pm.  Call (309)494-9100 for reservations, or make your reservations ONLINE HERE. The best way to tell your sweetheart “I Love You” is with tickets to I Love You Because!

 Listen to the radio commercial for I LOVE YOU BECAUSE

Listen to song clips from I LOVE YOU BECAUSE

Read Gary Panetta’s Peoria Journal Star article on I LOVE YOU BECAUSE

Jarod Hazzard and Erin Durbin discuss I LOVE YOU BECAUSE on 1470WMBD

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