Stage & Screen Stars Jonathan Freeman, Chris Sullivan and Jeffrey Schecter Join MasterVoices' BABES IN TOYLAND

Stage & Screen Stars Jonathan Freeman, Chris Sullivan and Jeffrey Schecter Join MasterVoices' BABES IN TOYLAND

As previously announced, MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale), closes its 75th anniversary season with Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland on April 27, 2017 at 7pm at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall (57th Street and 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019).

The production will be conducted by MasterVoices' Artistic Director Ted Sperling and will feature previously announced stars Kelli O'Hara, Bill Irwin, Lauren Worsham, Christopher Fitzgerald - with Jonathan Freeman, Chris Sullivan, and Jeffrey Schecter just joining the lineup - alongside 130 singers of MasterVoices, with Orchestra of St. Luke's.

A huge hit when it premiered in New York in 1903, Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland hasn't seen a major revival in New York City in over 85 years. Full of glorious melodies, Babes in Toyland tells a story that is both amusing and scary: villainous Uncle Barnaby plots the deaths of his young niece and nephew, Alan and Jane, in order to gain their inheritance. After many twists and turns, the siblings, with the help of several Mother Goose characters, thwart his efforts and bring happiness back to Toyland. MasterVoices will present the original score in its full orchestration, including beloved songs "Toyland", "March of the Toys", and "I Can't Do the Sum", giving the audience a rare chance to experience this musical extravaganza afresh. MasterVoices' Babes in Toyland will enchant and amuse adults and children (ages 8+) alike!

"Victor Herbert was by far the most popular and successful composer in America at the turn of the 20th Century - not just 'Andrew Lloyd Webber successful,' but 'Beatles popular!' His music for Babes in Toyland is widely considered among his very best, with familiar titles like "Toyland" and "March of the Toys", and also stirring instrumental pieces to accompany shipwrecks, attacks by giant spiders, and the making of deadly potions. For MasterVoices' revival, we are debuting several musical numbers that were cut on the road to Broadway. As James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim did many years later with Into the Woods, librettist Glen MacDonough and Victor Herbert invent two new characters, in this case the siblings Alan and Jane, as the protagonists who interact with familiar Mother Goose characters, including Contrary Mary, Tom-Tom the Piper's Son, Jack and Jill, Little Bo-Peep, and Mother Hubbard." - Ted Sperling, Artistic Director

Babes in Toyland tickets ($20-$150) are available at Carnegie Hall (carnegiehall.org | CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 | Box Office at 57th and Seventh). For tickets and more information, visit mastervoices.org.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Ted Sperling is the artistic director of MasterVoices and principal conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. Mr. Sperling won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director. Other Broadway credits include the rapturously received revivals of Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, and South Pacific; Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, My Favorite Year, and Sunday in the Park with George. Off- Broadway credits include A Man of No Importance, A New Brain, Saturn Returns and Floyd Collins. Opera work includes two NYC premieres by composer Ricky Ian Gordon: 27 starring Stephanie Blythe, and The Grapes of Wrath, starring Nathan Gunn; Dido and Aeneas starring Kelli O'Hara and Victoria Clark; and La Voix Humaine starring Audra McDonald. Mr. Sperling's work as a stage director includes the world premieres of The Other Josh Cohen, See What I Wanna See, Striking 12, and Charlotte: Life? Or Theater?, as well as a revival of Lady in the Dark. Recent gala performances include Show Boat with Vanessa Williams and Julian Ovenden, The Making of A Chorus Line with Zachary Quinto and Jonathan Groff, The Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline, Glenn Close and Martin Short, Cabaret with Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, Song of Norway with Judy Kaye, She Loves Me with Santino Fontana, and The Mikado with Christopher Fitzgerald. Mr. Sperling received the 2006 Ted Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater, headed the Music Theater Initiative at The Public Theater, and is Creative Director of the 24-Hour Musicals. For more, visit tedsperling.net.

MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) was founded in 1941 by the legendary American choral conductor Robert Shaw, and is currently under the artistic direction of Ted Sperling. For 75 years, the organization has presented varied programming, with emphasis in three areas: choral masterpieces, operas in concert, and musical theater. Choral classics performed by MasterVoices have included Bach's St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, Brahms' Requiem, Britten's War Requiem, Fauré's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Haydn's The Creation, Mozart's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Verdi's Requiem. The company has presented several important premieres, including the U.S. premieres of Dvorak's Dmitri and Handel's Jupiter in Argos, and the NY premieres of Respighi's La Fiamma, Glass's The Juniper Tree, and Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath. Other rarely heard operas presented in concert have included Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda, Tchaikovsky's Maid of Orleans, Rossini's Moïse et Pharaon, and Joplin's Treemonisha.Throughout its history, MasterVoices has specialized in presenting rarely heard works of musical theater and standard works with a fresh approach, including Bernstein's A White House Cantata,Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and Weill's The Firebrand of Florence, Knickerbocker Holiday,and the world premiere of a concert version of The Road of Promise.

MasterVoices has performed in prominent NYC concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, and Geffen Hall, under the batons of many esteemed conductors, including Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Alan Gilbert. The company has also attracted many world-class soloists, including Bryn Terfel, René Pape, Stephanie Blythe, Deborah Voigt, Eric Owens, Thomas Hampson, Kelli O'Hara, Paulo Szot and Victoria Clark. Because of its reputation of excellence, MasterVoices has been hired to perform with many top orchestras over the years, including the NBC Symphony, The New York Philharmonic and The Israel Philharmonic, and has been invited to appear abroad, in Israel and at the Verbier and Salzburg festivals.

MasterVoices considers education and outreach to be important aspects of its work. Its Side-by-Side program offers gifted high school students the opportunity to rehearse and perform with guidance from singing members and professional artists in New York and abroad. Additionally, MasterVoices gives complimentary tickets to hundreds of high school students and seniors from New York each season, and invites young soloists to perform at top venues as a part of the Faith Geier Artist Initiative. In June 2016, MasterVoices launched "Bridges: Connecting Communities Through Music", a new outreach program that provides people in a New York community the opportunity to come together to make music with MasterVoices, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.

In August 2015, the organization transitioned from The Collegiate Chorale to MasterVoices, a name that better represents the current mission of the company as a performing arts organization that celebrates storytelling through the masterful voices of its chorus and world-class soloists, and the creative voices of composers, librettists, designers and directors. For more information, visit mastervoices.org. Connect with MasterVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mastervoicesny).

Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) is one of America's most versatile and distinguished orchestras, collaborating with the world's greatest artists and performing approximately 80 concerts each year-including its Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series, Chamber Music Series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and summer residency at Caramoor Music Festival. In its 41-year history, OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works, has given more than 175 world, U.S., and New York City premieres; and has appeared on more than 100 recordings, including four Grammy Award winners and seven releases on its own label, St. Luke's Collection. Pablo Heras-Casado is OSL's principal conductor. OSL grew out of a chamber ensemble that began giving concerts at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village in 1974. Today, the 21 virtuoso artists of St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble make up OSL's artistic core. OSL owns and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan, where it shares a building with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The DiMenna Center is New York City's premier venue for rehearsal, recording, and learning, having quickly gained a reputation for its superb acoustics, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordability. Since opening in 2011, The DiMenna Center has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors, including more than 400 ensembles and artists such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, James Taylor, and Sting. OSL hosts hundreds of neighbors, families, and school children at its home each year for free community events. Through its Education & Community programs, OSL has introduced audiences across New York City to live classical music. OSL brings free chamber concerts to the five boroughs; offers free interactive music programs at The DiMenna Center; provides chamber music coaching for adult amateurs; and engages 10,000 public school students each year through its Free School Concerts. In 2013, OSL launched Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL), an intensive in- and after-school instrumental coaching program emphasizing musical excellence and social development, in partnership with community organizations and public schools in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.

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