John Lithgow Leads NSO's TRUMPET OF THE SWAN 3/27


The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) presents The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony starring John Lithgow, based on the book by E.B. White, adapted for the stage by Marsha Norman, with music by Jason Robert Brown, who will also conduct. The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony will appear for two performances only in the Concert Hall March 27, 2011 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The performance for families is recommended for audiences ages seven and up.

The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony is a Kennedy Center-commission, which premiered in 2008. These performances star two-time Tony®-winning actor John Lithgow as the boy Sam, and will also feature local award-winning actors Naomi Jacobson as Mother Swan, Jason Lott as Louis' Thoughts, Jenna Sokolowski as Serena, Craig Wallace as Father Swan, and Michael Willis as Man. The role of Louis will be performed by trumpeter Christopher Venditti.

Based on the popular children's novel by E.B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony tells the story of Louis, a young Trumpeter swan who is born without a voice. Though handsome and graceful, Louis could not trumpet the mighty Ko-Hoh like the other swans, and so would never be able to find a mate, or even rule the lake, the way Trumpeters are supposed to do. So Louis's father risks his life to get him a real trumpet, and then his human friend Sam teaches him how to play it and gets him his first job playing Reveille for a boys' camp. Having found his voice, Louis journeys on to find friends, fame, fortune, true love, and the admiration of music lovers all over the northeast.

These performances mark Tony Award®-winning actor John Lithgow's second appearance with the NSO in its Family Concert Series. Mr. Lithgow's Broadway credits include The Changing Room (Tony®), M. Butterfly, The Front Page, Retreat from Moscow, All My Sons, Sweet Smell of Success (Tony®), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He has appeared in more than 30 films including The World According to Garp (Oscar® nomination), Terms of Endearment (Oscar® nomination), All That Jazz, Footloose, Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Harry and the Hendersons, and leant his voice to the film Shrek. His work on television, including roles on both 3rd Rock from the Sun and Dexter, has earned him five Emmys, two Golden Globes, and two SAG Awards. He has authored numerous New York Times best-selling children's books, which garnered multiple Grammy® nominations; released several children's albums; and performed concerts for children with the Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, San Diego, and Pittsburgh Symphonies. Most recently, he has appeared in his one-man show, John Lithgow: Stories by Heart at Lincoln Center London's National Theatre and the Music Center in Los Angeles in winter 2011.

Playwright Marsha Norman is the winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize, Blackburn Prize, Hull-Warriner, and Drama Desk Awards for her play ‘night, Mother. In 1992 she won a Tony Award® and a Drama Desk Award for her book for The Secret Garden. Other credits include the book The Color Purple, and plays such as Getting Out, Third And Oak: The Laundromat, The Pool Hall, The Holdup, Traveler In The Dark, Sarah And Abraham, Loving Daniel Boone, Trudy Blue, and Last Dance. Her television and film credits include ‘night, Mother, The Laundromat, The Pool Hall, Face of a Stranger, Cooler Climate, Audrey Hepburn, Custody of the Heart, and most recently, Samantha, An American Girl Holiday.

Composer Jason Robert Brown won a 1999 Tony Award® for his score to Parade. Jason is the composer and lyricist of The Last Five Years, Songs for a New World, and most recently 13, which opened on Broadway on October 5, 2008. Jason is the composer of the incidental music for David Lindsay-Abaire's Kimberly Akimbo and Fuddy Meers, Marsha Norman's Last Dance, David Marshall Grant's Current Events, Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery, and the Irish Repertory Theater's production of Long Day's Journey Into Night. He received a Tony® nomination for his contributions to the score of Urban Cowboy the Musical. Additional New York credits include Dinah Was and A New Brain.

Joe Calarco is the adaptor/director of Shakespeare's R&J which ran for a year Off- Broadway, becoming the longest running version of Romeo and Juliet in New York history. He also directed the play's premieres in Chicago, Washington, D.C., London's West End, and Tokyo. Other Off-Broadway credits include In Transit, The Burnt Part Boys, The Summer of the Swans, and the world premiere of the musical Sarah, Plain and Tall. He also directed the song cycle Fugitive Songs which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revue. He is an Artistic Associate at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia where he has directed numerous productions including Walter Cronkite is Dead, Assassins, Nijinsky's Last Dance, Side Show, and Urinetown, all of which earned him a Helen Hayes Award for Best Director.

The original production of The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony was first seen on December 4, 2008 in the Eisenhower Theater as part of the Kennedy Center initiative Broadway: The Third Generation. It featured Kathy Bates, Zayd Dohrn, Edward Gero, Lauren Kennedy, Peggity Price, Richard Thomas, Christopher Venditti, Fred Willard, and was conducted by Jason Robert Brown.

There will be an instrument "petting zoo" in the Terrace Gallery between the two performances, from 3-4:40 p.m., as well as a post-concert Kids' Chat with the conductor, guest artists, and some NSO musicians immediately following the 5 p.m. performance.

Ticket Information

Tickets cost $15-$18 and may be purchased at the Kennedy Center Box Office or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600. Those patrons living outside the Washington metropolitan calling area may dial toll-free at (800) 444-1324 or visit

Funding Credits

Washington Gas is the proud sponsor of the NSO Family Concerts.

The NSO Family Concerts are supported through a generous endowment from the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation.

Performances for Young Audiences is made possible by Bank of America.

For more information about the National Symphony Orchestra please visit

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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