New Opera Libretto Adapted from Ray Bradbury's THE HALLOWEEN TREE Gets ALT Reading Today
Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director of American Lyric Theater (ALT), present the company's libretto workshop and upcoming presentation of THE HALLOWEEN TREE today, October 30, 2015, will feature actors Glenn Seven Allen, Etai Benson, Daniel T. Curran, Jesse Geguzis, Emma Grimsley, Conor Guzman, Adam La Faci, Thia Stephan, and Rocky Vega.
Written by librettist Tony Asaro and composer Theo Popov, THE HALLOWEEN TREE has been commissioned by ALT, in cooperation with the Ray Bradbury estate, under the auspices of the company's Composer Librettist Development Program.
"THE HALLOWEEN TREE manages to combine the light humor of Alice in Wonderland with the adventurous narrative of the Odyssey and the moral underpinning of A Christmas Carol," Tony Asaro and Theo Popov explain. "A spoonful of mystery and a carefully-measured cup of magic are the last ingredients that make this story universally exciting."
Adapted from Ray Bradbury's beloved children's novel, THE HALLOWEEN TREE is a new opera commissioned by American Lyric Theater with music by Theo Popov and libretto by Tony Asaro. Traveling across space and time, from Egypt to Mexico, from antiquity to modern times, a group of children undertake an epic journey to find their friend Pipkin. Through their search, the children learn about the cultural and historical traditions that have led to the celebration of Halloween today.
The October 30th reading will be presented as part of American Lyric Theater's The Living Libretto series, which features public readings of opera libretti (read, not sung) by professional actors, and includes an informal wine and dessert reception for attendees to mingle with artists. The event will conclude with a Critical Response Session with the writers, moderated by ALT's Producing Artistic Director, Lawrence Edelson.
IF YOU GO:
The Living Libretto:
THE HALLOWEEN TREE
Tonight, October 30th, 2015
Includes wine and dessert reception
The National Opera Center, 330 7th Avenue / New York, NY 10001
A multi-talented artist, Tony Asaro has worked as a librettist, lyricist, conductor, vocalist and producer throughout New York City and the Bay Area. He is a co-founder of The FOGG Theatre, where he currently serves as Artistic Director. In 2008, he was honored with the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust Award for songwriting. As a composer/librettist, Tony wrote the award-winning Our Country, with Dan Collins, which premiered in 2009 with the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Our Country went on to win four Planet Connections awards, including Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, and Outstanding Book, Music & Lyrics of a Musical, and was subsequently published by NYTE Small Press in the anthology, "2010: Plays and Playwrights." The hit show then enjoyed a successful run in at the New York Musicals Theatre Festival in 2010. Tony has self-produced every iteration of Our Country, including the concept album, which is available on iTunes. In addition, he has self-produced multiple readings of his show The Many, Many Men of Tony Asaro in both New York City and San Francisco, and has co-produced concerts of his own work on both coasts. Tony's first musical, Family has enjoyed two productions-one at SCU in 1999 and one at the Ryan Repertory Theatre in New York City in 2000. An accomplished librettist, Tony has received commissions from choirs and opera companies to pen libretti for multiple operas and oratorios, including his opera All Wounds Bleed, with music by composer Christopher Cerrone (a 2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist). Developed under the auspices of ALT's Composer Librettist Development Program and published by Schott Music, the opera was selected for showcase in OPERA America's 2012 New Works Forum, and received its world premiere at Tulsa Opera in 2013. Tony holds an undergraduate degree in Theatre and Music from Santa Clara University, and a Masters Degree in Musical Theatre Writing from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU: Tisch School of the Arts. In 2010, he joined American Lyric Theater's Composer Librettist Development Program as a Resdident Artist, where he currently is working on his first full-length opera commission, THE HALLOWEEN TREE.
Composer Theo Popov joined American Lyric Theater's Composer Librettist Development Program in 2011, and is currently collaborating with librettist Tony Asaro on an operatic adaptation of Ray Bradbury's beloved novel, THE HALLOWEEN TREE. His first opera, Nero Artifex, received a full stage production at Princeton University to enthusiastic acclaim in March 2010. A three-act drama in Classical Latin with libretto by Mariah Min and Veronica Shi, the opera presented one of history's most notorious emperors as a well meaning but incapable ruler, a gullible dreamer and unfortunate artist. Since then, Theo has focused primarily on writing for the theater stage. In May 2012, his second opera Once Upon the Wind, based on the Russian folktale, "The Soldier Who Captured Death," with libretto by Kate Light, was developed under the auspices of the Composer Librettist Development Program at the ALT during the first year of his residency. The one-act opera was subsequently performed by The Secret Opera in New York City in 2014, after being selected as a winner in the company's inaugural Composers Competition. In addition, Theo has written two puppet shows, a number of choral and orchestral pieces, art songs, chamber and electronic music. He completed his composition degree at Princeton University, where he studied with Steve Mackey, Peter Westergaard, Bill Whelan, Barbara White, Paul Muldoon and Kofi Agawu. He has also studied theremin with Lydia Kavina, voice with David Kellett, piano with Edmund Niemann and dramaturgy with Cori Ellison.
GLENN SEVEN ALLEN has been seen on Broadway and in New York City in The Light in the Piazza (Lincoln Center Theatre), The Long Christmas Dinner (Alice Tully Hall), Carousel (Avery Fisher Hall/PBS Great Performances), and with City Center Encores, York Theatre, Queens Symphony, and Carnegie Hall. He is a Helen Hayes Nominee for Best Actor and can be heard on multiple cast albums in both opera and theater. He holds degrees from University of Washington PATP and University of Michigan, and serves on the Faculty at the Yale School of Drama. Recently, he was featured in the world premiere opera, The Bonfire of the Vanities. Upcoming performances include a principal role, Off-Broadway in Di Goldene Kale. He is proud to have participated in multiple wonderful projects with American Lyric Theater since 2011.
ETAI BENSON is a New York-based actor. He is best known for playing the lovelorn munchkin Boq in the smash musical Wicked on Broadway, a role he also performed in the San Francisco and First National Tour companies. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan's acclaimed BFA Musical Theatre Department and the Moscow Art Theatre School. Recent theatre: The Fortress of Solitude (world premiere, Dallas Theater Center); My Name is Asher Lev (GableStage); Next to Normal (Weston Playhouse); She Loves Me (Caramoor); A Room with a View (world premiere, The Old Globe); Windows (premiere, American Opera Projects); Les Miserables, Annie, Gypsy, High School Musical (The Muny); Fiddler on the Roof (Kansas City Starlight). Readings and workshops: Newsies, Little Miss Sunshine, Nobody Loves You. Film: Under the Bed, Seeking, The Mere Exposure Effect, and the upcoming horror short, Sticks.
A graduate of The Juilliard School, tenor DANIEL T. CURRAN most recently made his Virginia Opera debut as Pluto in Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld. Past performances include soloist in Vaughan Williams' Hodie at Carnegie Hall, Tonio, Donizetti's La fille du regiment (Pittsburgh Opera), Nebuchadnezzar, Britten's Burning Fiery Furnace (Ballet-Opera-Pantomime, Montreal), First Jew, Strauss' Salome (Opera San Antonio), Gilbert Griffiths, Picker's An American Tragedy (Glimmerglass Festival), Cegeste, Glass' Orphée (Pittsburgh Opera) Paul, Spears' Paul's Case (Pittsburgh Opera), Cassio, Verdi's Otello (Pittsburgh Opera), Peter Quint, Britten's The Turn of the Screw (West Edge Opera), Orphée, Charpentier's La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers (Gotham Chamber Opera), Policeman, Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (San Francisco Opera), Ferrando, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte (NYCO), Electrician, Ades' Powder Her Face (NYCO), Ensemble, Carousel (New York Philharmonic/Live from Lincoln Center), Ensemble, Most Happy Fella (Encores! at NYC Center).
JESSE GEGUZIS is an actor, writer and fight director at Unkle Dave's Fight-House. His plays have been produced by Your Name Here: A Queer Theatre Co., Fresh-Produced and Organs of State. Fight Direction credits include; Broadway: Disgraced (Tony Nominated), An American in Paris (Tony Award). Off-Broadway: Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait, Everything You Touch, The Long Shrift, To The Bone, Basilica, The Hilltown Plays (Obie Award), (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Smoke (The Flea), Underland (terraNOVA Collective), The Muscles in our Toes (Labyrinth), The Spoils, Sticks and Bones, Intimacy (The New Group), The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, The Liquid Plain, And I and Silence (Signature Theatre), The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters (Playwrights Horizons), Natural Affection (TACT), Se Llama Christina, Good Grief (INTAR), Small Engine Repair (MCC Theater), Five Times in One Night, Sisters in Blizzard (EST), School for Wives (Two River Theater), upcoming projects at Lincoln Center. Jesse has most recently been seen performing at The Foundry Theater, The Barrow Group, and Cherry Lane Theater. More at JesseGeguzis.com and UnkleDaves.com
EMMA GRIMSLEY, soprano, debuted professionally last year as Lucia in Vespertine Opera Theater's production of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. She has recently been seen in Ash Lawn Opera's Candide as Cunegonde, as Guenevere in Camelot and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel at the Seagle Music Colony, as Johanna in Sweeney Todd with Eugene Opera, and as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with Pacific MusicWorks. In addition she has appeared over the last year as the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte at Loyola University New Orleans and as Minette in the West Coast premiere of Hans Werner Henze's The English Cat at the University of Southern California. This season she will be a part of New York City's Friends in Theater Company's production of The Secret Garden. Grimsley is also a published writer and has a degree in English.
CONOR GUZMAN is thrilled to be a part of American Lyric Theater's reading of THE HALLOWEEN TREE! A New York-based actor/writer and University of Michigan Musical Theatre graduate, he recently wrote, directed, and co-produced his play Wasted at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. He's also recently appeared as Frankie in the NYC workshop of Allegiance - The Musical, as Randy Curtis in Lyric Stage's Lady in the Dark, and as a featured model on TV's Power. Many thanks to Merm, friends, and family for their support.
ADAM LA FACI would like to thank ALT for inviting him to join his third libretto workshop with the company. Adam is the Artistic Director of State of Play Productions, Inc. appearing in their NY Times critically-acclaimed The City That Cried Wolf at 59E59 Theaters. Film: Not Fade Away (2012) - Paramount Pictures, films at Big Apple Film Festival, Asian American Film Festival, and Shockerfest Film Festival. NY Theater: Mrs. Mayfield's 5th Grade Class Reunion (CapsLock Theatre), North to Maine (American Theater of Actors), and Snow White Zombie: Apocalypse (NY Fringe). Graduate of Bard College at Simon's Rock. www.adamlafaci.com
THIA STEPHAN is delighted to be part of this project, her second libretto workshop for ALT! Recent NYC area appearances include Lady Capulet for Harlem Summer Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth in Richard III for Boomerang, and the mother, Katherine, in Kooman and Dimond's musical Dani Girl for Open Hydrant. Extensive regional work, some film and TV, lots of voiceover. More at www.thiastephan.com
ROCKY VEGA is a NY-based artist. Selected credits include: Boleros for the Disenchanted in Richmond, VA, A Servant of Two Masters at Teatro Latea, NYC, and her solo show, Tangled in the Reins, performed at PRTT and TADA! Theater. Training: LAByrinth Theater Company, Shakespeare & Company, UCB, Bob Krakower, Wellesley College. www.Rockyvegaonline.com
American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 by Lawrence Edelson to build a new body of operatic repertoire for new audiences by nurturing composers and librettists, developing sustainable artistic collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT's focus is on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with larger producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire. Operas developed through the CLDP and by CLDP alumni have been presented by a wide variety of companies, including Tulsa Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Fargo Moorhead Opera, Urban Arias, Center City Opera, San Francisco Conservatory, New York City Opera VOX, and Beth Morrison Projects. In 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member - a testament to ALT's service to the field. For more information about American Lyric Theater, visit www.altnyc.org.