The current show at 2nd Story Theatre is "Master Class" by Terence McNally, with incidental music by Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, and Vincenzo Bellini. The show was inspired by a series of master classes conducted by the late, great diva, Maria Callas, at Julliard in 1971. This sparkling, rich, mercurial play puts la divina back onstage as she coaxes, prods and inspires her "victims" into giving the performance of their lives, while she rivetingly regales us with the secrets both professional and personal of her own. The original Broadway show opened on November 15, 1995 and ran for 598 performances, winning the Tony Award. Director Ed Shea casts a stunning actress as Maria Callas who delivers a tour-de-force, show stopping performance, winning her a standing ovation at the curtain call.
He always has his cast delve into the roles they play and in this one, he has Gloria Crist as Callas run roughshod over her three students, delivering her dialogue in a masterful manner. She shows the inner demons of this talented woman who tries to control the lives of her students. Callas says it's not about her in the show but it definitely is about her. Gloria delivers the goods in a dramatic performance that has to be seen and savored, running the gamut of emotions in this role. Her dynamic monologues are brilliantly performed, crackling with the intensity this role needs. Gloria inhabits this role perfectly. Brava on a job well done.
Playing the three aspiring opera students are Stephanie Morgan, Jacqueline Pina and Josh Cristenson as the opera singers who deliver the goods not only with their arias but with the dialogue with Gloria, creating a magnificently performed piece of theatre. Bob Colonna is a hoot as Aristotle Onaiss, swearing up a storm in this role. Ed is aided in his task by set designer, Trevor Eliot (the set looks like a classroom at Julliard) with costumes by Ron Cesario. So for a fantastic evening of a theatrical spectacle, get thee to 2nd Story Theatre where you will be mesmerized by "Master Class".