Kennedy Center Presents McNally 'Nights at the Opera' Event for 2010

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will present Terrence McNally's Nights at the Opera - an event showcasing three of the playwright's works including Master Class, The Lisbon Traviata, and Golden Age concurrently in Kennedy Center theaters from March 20 - April 18, 2010. Directors include Walter Bobbie for Master Class and Christopher Ashley for The Lisbon Traviata.

Playwright Terrence McNally has received four Tony Awards®, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Hull-Warriner Award, and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He won an Emmy Award® for his television film Andre's Mother in 1990. A year later, he returned to writing for the stage with Lips Together, Teeth Apart. In 1992, Mr. McNally collaborated with John Kander and Fred Ebb on the script for the 1993 Tony Award®-winning musical Kiss of the Spider Woman, as well as on the script for the musical The Rink. Additionally, in collaboration with Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, he wrote the book for the musical Ragtime for which he won the 1998 Tony Award® for Best Book of a Musical. His other plays include Love! Valour! Compassion! in 1994, Corpus Christi in 1997, and the play and screen adaptation of Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune.

Master Class, directed by Tony Award®-winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago), will appear in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater March 25 - April 18, 2010. The Tony Award®-winning play is Terrence McNally's homage to Maria Callas, world-renowned American-born Greek soprano. Inspired by a series of master classes she conducted at Juilliard, the play depicts the opera diva as she retreats into recollections about the glories, triumphs, and tragedies of her own life and career.

The Lisbon Traviata, directed by Christopher Ashley, will appear in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater March 20 - April 11, 2010. Deriving its title from an unauthorized recording of a 1958 Maria Callas performance in Lisbon which quickly became a collector's item, The Lisbon Traviata reflects on romantic obsession and diva worship. Terrence McNally's The Lisbon Traviata was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play.

A co-production with the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Kennedy Center presents Golden Age as part of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays March 12 - April 4, 2010, in the Family Theater. Terrence McNally's latest play, Golden Age takes place backstage at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris on the evening of January 24, 1835. The occasion is the premiere of Vincenzo Bellini's opera, I Puritani. Assembled are the composer and his faithful friend, Francesco Florimo, and the four singers for whom the opera was expressly composed known the world over as The Puritani Quartet. Bellini's rivalry with his fellow Italian composer, Gaetano Donizetti, for French favor was at its height. This opera was to cement his supremacy. It was to be his last.
The Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays will, each year, co-produce a new work of an American artist staged by an American theater company. Throughout its history the Fund has awarded grants totaling nearly $4 million to more than 126 playwrights, 61 not-for-profit theaters across the country, and 135 new works. The Fund awarded grants to Pulitzer Prize winners Tony Kushner for Angels in America, Robert Schenkkan for The Kentucky Cycle, and Wendy Wasserstein for The Heidi Chronicles. Recent grants include the upcoming co-production of Michael John LaChiusa's Giant appearing at Signature Theatre; last season's performance of Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter presented by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Mrs. Packard, written by Emily Mann and presented by the McCarter Theatre Company; and the 2006 performance run of Don DeLillo's Love-Lies-Bleeding presented by The Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

All artists and performances are subject to change.

Theater at the Kennedy Center is presented with the generous support of

Stephen and Christine Schwarzman.

For more information about the Kennedy Center, please visit


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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