Recording Artist Fantine to Lead ONE WAY TRIP TO MARS - A ROCK OPERA at Waterville Opera House
International recording sensation Fantine will star as "Casssandra," the lead female role, in the world theatrical premiere of One Way Trip to Mars - A Rock Opera at the Waterville Opera House August 24 through 27.
One Way Trip to Mars is a Broadway-hopeful spectacular, musical and cinematic production that takes audiences on a virtual journey into space and the surface of Mars. The story is told entirely through songs written by Maine musicians Peter Alexander and Johannah Harkness and is directed by Dennis St. Pierre. Fantine is joined on stage by a cast of professional New York actors, and supported by an 11-piece rock orchestra. For a complete list of performers, visit www.onewaytriptomars.org.
Fantine is a singer-songwriter who has worked with pop stars Gloria Estefan and Wyclef Jean. She made her musical debut in 2010 when she lent her vocals to Australian Group Space Invada's soulful jazz-inspired single "Super Sweet." Her career skyrocketed in 2013 when she moved to Miami and began working on her debut album, I Am Fantine, with 19-time Grammy Award-winning producer Emilio Estefan and seven-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan (who also co-wrote two of her songs). Emilio Estefan curated and helped develop Fantine's most popular songs, including "Bachata de Rosa" and "Reservation for Two." In September 2014, "Reservation for Two" peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Dance Club Songs list.
One Way Trip to Mars is set in 2033 and tells a fictional story about Paolo "Cruze," the first human chosen to fly a solo, one-way mission to establish a human colony on Mars. Harkness conceived of this idea and she and Alexander began writing songs for rock opera in 2015. In the fall of 2016, they produced a series of multimedia concert performances of the show with their Hollowbody Electric Band and an 18-voice chorus. Since that time the show has been re-worked for musical theater with 10 additional songs and theatrical book by Dennis St. Pierre.
Accompanying the show will be an educational STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) program. This educational outreach will culminate in the form of an Art/Science Fair in which local students will explore through the arts many facets of science involved in space exploration and establishing a human colony on Mars. Alexander, Harkness, and St. Pierre intend for this educational outreach program to travel with the show. Audiences will be able to visit the Art/Science installation created by the students before each performance of the show.
Alexander (also known as Peter Blachly) comes from a family of classically trained musicians. His musical career has included performances with Chuck Berry, Poco, Tim Hardin, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and other legends of folk and rock music, and one of his songs was recorded by Rod Stewart in 1986. After moving to Maine in 2008, Peter served as Executive Director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education and president of the Maine Songwriters Association. In May, Alexander was asked to perform songs from One Way Trip To Mars - A Rock Opera at The Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, D.C., the world's largest event dedicated to human exploration of Mars, where Buzz Aldrin and several other astronauts participated.
Harkness is also an accomplished artist and songwriter. One Way Trip to Mars as a rock opera was her original conception, and she was the artistic director for the show's multimedia concerts last fall. Harkness, who has a private psychology practice, has a particular interest in the human condition. She brings a theatrical sensibility to her work, some of which can be seen on YouTube in a recent Hollowbody Electric Band music video, Wicked Witch, and in video excerpts of One Way Trip to Mars. Two of Hollowbody Electric Band's earlier CDs have competed in the Grammys and received international praise.
In October 2016 Alexander and Harkness teamed up with dramatist and director Dennis St. Pierre to re-work their rock opera concept into a fully developed musical theater piece to prepare it for the Broadway stage. St. Pierre is a professional performer and interdisciplinary artist and educator with an MFA in Intermedia from the University of Maine at Orono and a B.A. in Theater from Franklin Pierce University. He is a member of Actors Equity and Screen Actors Guild and has worked for television production companies and more than 30 theater companies throughout the U.S. St. Pierre has recruited an "A-team" production staff that includes Raymond Bailey as music director, Jeff Buchsbaum as assistant director, Chad Lefevbre as lighting and scenic designer, Courtney Babbidge as assistant music director, Mike Gudroe as lighting tech, Devin Cromwell as sound engineer, and Paulette Carter and Lauren Parrow as costume designers.
IF YOU GO:
One Way Trip to Mars - A Rock Opera
Tickets: $24 adults, $22 seniors and students. $1 from every ticket will be donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children. Tickets available at www.operahouse.org. For more information, visit www.onewaytriptomars.org.