Michael Presser to Guest Narrate Phil. Concert Operetta Theater's Opener

The Concert Operetta Theater will open its 9th season with a concert, Remembering Romberg! honoring the great American composer. Philadelphian Michael Presser, founder of New York City's leading Broadway non-profit organization Inside Broadway will be the guest narrator. The performance will be held on Sunday, January 30 at 4PM in the Helen Corning Warden Theater of The Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $20 ($10 for students) and can be purchased at the door. For more information call 215-389-0648 or visit www.concertoperetta.com.

Sigmund Romberg is one of American's greatest composers of Operetta and classic Broadway. This concert will feature singing selections from his mega-hits The Student Prince (1924), Desert Song (1926), and New Moon (1928), along with songs from movies Viennese Nights (1930) and The Night is Young (1935). Michael Presser is on the honorary board of Concert Operetta Theater and will return to his home town to make his local debut as the narrator for this concert. He commissioned NYC playwright Donald Yonker to write the script for the narration. Presser and Yonker have collaborated in recent years on narrations for cabaret presentations at The Players Club and University Club both in New York City with recent productions on Lerner & Loewe, David Merrick and The Gershwins. This season they will premiere a cabaret on Rodgers and Hart.

Concert Operetta's season includes two one-act operetta in March - The Lovely Galatea (1863) by Karl von Suppé, the father of German operetta, and the Philadelphia premier of The Carp by Quade Winter. The Carp with music by Alfred Cellier was first used in 1886 as an opener for The Mikado and Ruddigore. A copy of Frank Desprez's libretto was found, but not the written score. In 1998 Quade Winter composed a new score for the Gilbert and Sullivan Archives. The season ends with Victor Herbert's eternal classic Sweethearts (1913).

Remembering Romberg, a concert including works from Maytime (1917), The Student Prince (1924), Desert Song (1926), My Maryland (1927), New Moon (1928), Viennese Nights (1930) and The Night is Young (1935) is Produced by Concert Operetta Theater (Daniel Pantano, Executive and Artistic Director, José Meléndez, Musical Director and Pianist) will take place on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 4PM at The Helen Corning Warden Theater at The Academy of Vocal Arts 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $20.00 ($10.00 for Students). For Information you can call 215-389-0648 or visit www.concertoperetta.com.

 

Sigmund Romberg was born to a Jewish family in the West-Hungarian provincial town of Nagykanizsa during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy period. He went to Vienna to study engineering but also took composition lessons while there. He moved to the United States in 1909 and, after a brief stint working in a pencil factory, was employed as a pianist in cafés. He eventually founded his own orchestra and published a few songs, which, despite their limited success, brought him to the attention of the Shubert brothers, who in 1914 hired him to write music for their Broadway theatre shows. That year he wrote his first successful Broadway revue, The Whirl of the World. Romberg's adaptation of melodies by Franz Schubert for Blossom Time (1921, produced in the UK as Lilac Time) was a great success. He subsequently wrote his best-known operettas, The Student Prince (1924), The Desert Song (1926) and The New Moon (1928), which are in a style similar to the Viennese operettas of Franz Lehár. He also wrote Rosalie (1928) together with George Gershwin. His later works, such as Up in Central Park (1945), are closer to the American musical in style, but they were less successful. Romberg also wrote a number of film scores, including Viennese Nights (1930) and The Night is Young (1935), as well as adapting his stage works for film. Much of Romberg's music, including extensive excerpts from his operettas, was released on LP during the 1950s and 1960s, especially by Columbia, Capitol, and RCA Victor. Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, who appeared in an MGM adaptation of New Moon in 1940, regularly recorded and performed his music. There have also been periodic revivals of the operettas. Romberg died in 1951 in New York City and was interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

 

Michael Presser in the Founder and Executive Director of Inside Broadway, a New York City based non-profit professional theater company for youth now celebrating its 29th anniversary season. The organization was officially established in 1982 at the invitation of Bernard B. Jacobs, the late President of The Shubert Organization, Inc., as an effort to create a student ticket program for the Broadway musical Cats. Today, Inside Broadway develops and produces touring musical productions as well as a wide range of educational programs that allow students to interact with professionals in the field and experience theater hands-on in the classroom. More than 30,000 students in 85 schools in all five boroughs participate each year in Inside Broadway's programs. Recent shows include Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies, Smokey Joe's Café, Richard Rodger's Broadway, On the Town, Bye Bye Birdie, Pirates of Penzance, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown and R&H's Cinderella. Mr. Presser has worked extensively in the commercial concert and artist management fields, having served as a consultant to the Geneva Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, The National Theater in Prague, Theatre des Westens in Berlin, Theater Aachen and Gaudi Musicals, Cologne. He has also served such notable artists as Karl Richter, Carlos Montoya, Peter Nero and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. He has been an active participant in New York City community affairs for over 29 years as a member of Manhattan Community Planning Board #5 and has previously served as its Chairman. Currently he sits on the board of the Times Square Alliance, Mayor's Midtown Citizens Committee, The Broadway Association and is a trustee of The Town Hall Foundation. He is the recipient of the 2000 Heart to Heart Award for service in the Times Square Theater District and the 2005 Theater Museum Award for Arts in Education. He has also been honored by The Broadway League and the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds for over 25 years of service to the Broadway industry and the 2010 TRU Humanitarian Award for his efforts in developing new audiences for the theater. Mr. Presser is also a member of The Broadway League, The Producers League of Theater for Young Audience, Inc. (PLOTYA); The New York City Arts in Education Round Table (AIE); Alliance of Resident Theaters/New York 9A.R.T./New York). A Philadelphia native, he is a graduate of Temple University, and a member of The University Club of NY, The Players Club and The Metropolitan Opera Club. He is a longtime resident of Greenwich Village.

Donald Yonker is a New York City playwright. His musical The Gospel According to Mama Sweet Love was part of the Broadway Tomorrow series. Recent revues, Musical Manhattans was performed at the Theater Arielle, Chorus Boy and Celebrity, both performed at Don't Tell Mama, and the musical The Spare Seraphim, was work shopped at The Producers Club. His short story, Everything I know I learned from Musical Comedy was a prize winner in the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Short Story Fiction Competition. His plays Deer Season was part of the NJ Repertoire Theater Seven Deadly Sins Festival, and An Exaltation of Larks was recently performed at the Barestage Theater in Red Bluff, Ca. Mr. Yonker and Mr. Presser have collaborated in the past few seasons with narration for cabaret productions at The Players Club and The University Club with narrations on David Merrick, Irvin Berlin, Lerner & Lowe and The Gershwin's. Their newest cabaret on Rodgers and Hart will be premiered in March 2011.

 



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