Babes in Toyland
With Music by Victor Herbert and Libretto by Glen MacDonough
Featuring Kelli O’Hara, Bill Irwin, Christopher Fitzgerald,
Lauren Worsham, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Jonathan Freeman, Chris Sullivan, Jeffrey Schecter, Michael Kostroll, and Blair Brown
with MasterVoices and Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Ted Sperling, Conductor and Director
Musical Staging by Andrew Palermo
Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 7pm
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale), closes its 75th anniversary season with Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland on April 27, 2017 at 7pm at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall (57th Street and 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019). The production will be conducted and directed by MasterVoices’ Artistic Director Ted Sperling and will feature Kelli O’Hara (Contrary Mary), Bill Irwin (Master Toymaker), Christopher Fitzgerald (Alan), Lauren Worsham (Jane), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Tom Tom), Jonathan Freeman (Uncle Barnaby), Chris Sullivan (Gonzorgo), Jeffrey Schecter (Roderigo), Michael Kostroff (Chief Inspector Marmaduke), and Blair Brown (The Narrator), with the 130 singers of MasterVoices and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Musical Staging by Andrew Palermo, Costume Consulting by Tracy Christensen, and Concert Adaptation by Joe Keenan and Ted Sperling.
A huge hit when it premiered in New York in 1903, Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland hasn’t seen a major revival in New York City in over 85 years. Full of glorious melodies, Babes in Toyland tells a story that is both amusing and scary: villainous Uncle Barnaby plots the deaths of his young niece and nephew, Alan and Jane, in order to gain their inheritance. After many twists and turns, the siblings, with the help of several Mother Goose characters, thwart his efforts and bring happiness back to Toyland. MasterVoices will present the original score in its full orchestration, including beloved songs “Toyland”, “March of the Toys”, and “I Can’t Do the Sum”, giving the audience a rare chance to experience this musical extravaganza afresh.
“Victor Herbert was by far the most popular and successful composer in America at the turn of the 20th Century – not just ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber successful,’ but ‘Beatles popular!’ His music for Babes in Toyland is widely considered among his very best, with familiar titles like “Toyland” and “March of the Toys”, and also stirring instrumental pieces to accompany shipwrecks, attacks by giant spiders, and the making of deadly potions. For MasterVoices’ revival, we are debuting several musical numbers that were cut on the road to Broadway. As James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim did many years later with Into the Woods, librettist Glen MacDonough and Victor Herbert invent two new characters, in this case the siblings Alan and Jane, as the protagonists who interact with familiar Mother Goose characters, including Contrary Mary, Tom-Tom the Piper’s Son, Jack and Jill, Little Bo-Peep, and Mother Hubbard.” – Ted Sperling, Artistic Director
Babes in Toyland tickets ($20-$150) are available at Carnegie Hall (carnegiehall.org | CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 | Box Office at 57th and Seventh). For more information, visit mastervoices.org.
MasterVoices’ Babes in Toyland is recommended for ages 8 and up.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ted Sperling is the artistic director of MasterVoices and principal conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. Mr. Sperling won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director. Other Broadway credits include the rapturously received revivals of Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, and South Pacific; Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, My Favorite Year, and Sunday in the Park with George. Off- Broadway credits include A Man of No Importance, A New Brain, Saturn Returns and Floyd Collins. Opera work includes two NYC premieres by composer Ricky Ian Gordon: 27 starring Stephanie Blythe, and The Grapes of Wrath, starring Nathan Gunn; Dido and Aeneas starring Kelli O’Hara and Victoria Clark; and La Voix Humaine starring Audra McDonald. Mr. Sperling’s work as a stage director includes the world premieres of The Other Josh Cohen, See What I Wanna See, Striking 12, and Charlotte: Life? Or Theater?, as well as a revival of Lady in the Dark. Recent gala performances include Show Boat with Vanessa Williams and Julian Ovenden, The Making of A Chorus Line with Zachary Quinto and Jonathan Groff, The Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline, Glenn Close and Martin Short, Cabaret with Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, Song of Norway with Judy Kaye, She Loves Me with Santino Fontana, and The Mikado with Christopher Fitzgerald. Mr. Sperling received the 2006 Ted Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater, headed the Music Theater Initiative at the Public Theater, and is Creative Director of the 24-Hour Musicals. For more, visit tedsperling.net.
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) was founded in 1941 by the legendary American choral conductor Robert Shaw, and is currently under the artistic direction of Ted Sperling. For 75 years, the organization has presented varied programming, with emphasis in three areas: choral masterpieces, operas in concert, and musical theater. Choral classics performed by MasterVoices have included Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, Brahms’ Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Verdi’s Requiem. The company has presented several important premieres, including the U.S. premieres of Dvorak’s Dmitri and Handel’s Jupiter in Argos, and the NY premieres of Respighi’s La Fiamma, Glass’s The Juniper Tree, and Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. Other rarely heard operas presented in concert have included Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, and Joplin’s Treemonisha. Throughout its history, MasterVoices has specialized in presenting rarely heard works of musical theater and standard works with a fresh approach, including Bernstein’s A White House Cantata, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Weill’s The Firebrand of Florence, Knickerbocker Holiday, and the world premiere of a concert version of The Road of Promise.
MasterVoices has performed in prominent NYC concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, and Geffen Hall, under the batons of many esteemed conductors, including Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Alan Gilbert. The company has also attracted many world-class soloists, including Bryn Terfel, René Pape, Stephanie Blythe, Deborah Voigt, Eric Owens, Thomas Hampson, Kelli O’Hara, Paulo Szot and Victoria Clark. Because of its reputation of excellence, MasterVoices has been hired to perform with many top orchestras over the years, including the NBC Symphony, The New York Philharmonic and The Israel Philharmonic, and has been invited to appear abroad, in Israel and at the Verbier and Salzburg festivals.
MasterVoices considers education and outreach to be important aspects of its work. Its Side-by-Side program offers gifted high school students the opportunity to rehearse and perform with guidance from singing members and professional artists in New York and abroad. Additionally, MasterVoices gives complimentary tickets to hundreds of high school students and seniors from New York each season, and invites young soloists to perform at top venues as a part of the Faith Geier Artist Initiative. In June 2016, MasterVoices launched “Bridges: Connecting Communities Through Music”, a new outreach program that provides people in a New York community the opportunity to come together to make music with MasterVoices, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.
In August 2015, the organization transitioned from The Collegiate Chorale to MasterVoices, a name that better represents the current mission of the company as a performing arts organization that celebrates storytelling through the masterful voices of its chorus and world-class soloists, and the creative voices of composers, librettists, designers and directors. For more information, visit mastervoices.org. Connect with MasterVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mastervoicesny).
Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) is one of America’s most versatile and distinguished orchestras, collaborating with the world’s greatest artists and performing approximately 80 concerts each year—including its Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series, Chamber Music Series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and summer residency at Caramoor Music Festival. In its 41-year history, OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works, has given more than 175 world, U.S., and New York City premieres; and has appeared on more than 100 recordings, including four Grammy Award winners and seven releases on its own label, St. Luke’s Collection. Pablo Heras-Casado is OSL’s principal conductor. OSL grew out of a chamber ensemble that began giving concerts at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village in 1974. Today, the 21 virtuoso artists of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble make up OSL’s artistic core. OSL owns and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan, where it shares a building with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The DiMenna Center is New York City’s premier venue for rehearsal, recording, and learning, having quickly gained a reputation for its superb acoustics, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordability. Since opening in 2011, The DiMenna Center has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors, including more than 400 ensembles and artists such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, James Taylor, and Sting. OSL hosts hundreds of neighbors, families, and school children at its home each year for free community events. Through its Education & Community programs, OSL has introduced audiences across New York City to live classical music. OSL brings free chamber concerts to the five boroughs; offers free interactive music programs at The DiMenna Center; provides chamber music coaching for adult amateurs; and engages 10,000 public school students each year through its Free School Concerts. In 2013, OSL launched Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL), an intensive in- and after-school instrumental coaching program emphasizing musical excellence and social development, in partnership with community organizations and public schools in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
Kelli O’Hara has unequivocally established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies. Her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of The King and I garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Drama League and Outer Critics nominations. Recently, Ms. O’Hara starred as Mrs. Darling in NBC’s live telecast of “Peter Pan” alongside Allison Williams and Christian Borle and made her Metropolitan Opera debut in The Merry Widow with Renee Fleming. Other Broadway credits include The Bridges of Madison County (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, OCC nominations), Nice Work If You Can Get It (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, OCC nominations), South Pacific (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), Pajama Game (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), The Light in the Piazza (Tony & Drama Desk nominations), Sweet Smell of Success, Follies, Dracula, and Jekyll & Hyde. Regional/Off Broadway credits include Far From Heaven (Playwrights Horizons and WTF), King Lear (Public Theater), Bells Are Ringing (City Center Encores), Sunday in the Park with George (Reprise), and My Life With Albertine (Playwright’s Horizons). Concerts span from Carnegie Hall to Capitol Hill. Film and television credits include Masters of Sex, Sex & The City 2, Martin Scorsese’s The Key to Reserva, Blue Bloods, Alexander Hamilton, N3mbers, and the animated series Car Talk. She is a frequent performer on PBS’s live telecasts and the Kennedy Center Honors. Her solo albums, Always and Wonder in the World are available on Ghostlight Records. Kelli O’Hara has appeared with MasterVoices many times, most notably in Kurt Weill’s Knickerbocker Holiday (2011), Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (2012), and Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (2016).
Bill Irwin is an original member of Kraken and San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus, and his original works include “Fool Moon”, “Largely New York”, “The Harlequin Studies”, “Mr. Fox: A Rumination”, “The Happiness Lecture”, and “The Regard of Flight”. He was the Playwright-in-Residence for Signature Theatre in 2003-2004. His theatre credits include: Old Hats, Show Boat (SF Opera), Endgame, Bye Bye Birdie, Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Waiting for Godot (2009 Drama Desk Nomination), the Broadway/West End revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (2005 Tony Award, Helen Hayes Award), The Goat or Who is Sylvia, King Lear, Accidental Death of An Anarchist, 5-6-7-8 Dance!, Waiting For Godot at Lincoln Center, Scapin, The Tempest, Garden of Earthly Delights, Texts for Nothing, A Flea In Her Ear, The Seagull, A Man’s A Man, 3 Cuckolds. His television credits include: PBS Great Performances: Bill Irwin, Clown Prince, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Northern Exposure, Sesame Street, Elmo’s World, The Regard of Flight, Closing Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games, The Cosby Show, The Laramie Project, Subway Stories, Bette Midler: Mondo Beyondo, Law and Order, Life on Mars, A Gifted Man, CSI, The Good Wife, Lights Out, Monday Mornings, Law & Order: SVU, Elementary, Quarry, Sleepy Hollow and the new series Legion on FX. His film credits include: HBO’s Confirmation, Bastards, Interstellar, Identity Theft, Rachel Getting Married, Higher Ground, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Definitely, Maybe; Igby Goes Down, Lady in the Water, Dark Matter, Raving, Across The Universe, Popeye, Eight Men Out, Silent Tongue, Illuminata, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, My Blue Heaven, A New Life, Scenes from a Mall, and Stepping Out. Irwin’s awards include National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer’s Fellowship, a Guggenheim, a Fulbright, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Bill Irwin will make his MasterVoices’ debut in Babes in Toyland.
Christopher Fitzgerald’s Broadway credits include Waitress (Tony nomination; Outer Critics’ Circle Award and Drama Desk Award winner for best featured actor in a musical), An Act of God, The Merchant of Venice, Finian’s Rainbow (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Young Frankenstein (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Wicked original cast, Amour (Drama Desk nomination), and Chicago. His Off-Broadway credits include The Winter’s Tale (Public), Gutenberg! The Musical! (Actors’ Playhouse), Observe the Sons of Ulster… (Lincoln Center), and Die Fledermaus (Metropolitan Opera). Fitzgerald starred opposite Steven Pasquale in DirecTV’s series Almost There. He starred in the film Girl Most Likely opposite Kristen Wiig, and in Max Mutchnick/David Cohan series Twins. He also guest starred on The Good Wife and NBC’s pilot Next Caller with Dane Cook. He makes recurring appearances on Godless for Netflix. Christopher Fitzgerald has appeared with MasterVoices many times, most notably in Kurt Weill’s Knickerbocker Holiday (2011) and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (2012).
Lauren Worsham is a Drama Desk Award-winning and Tony-nominated actress and singer. She was nominated for a Tony for originating the role of Phoebe in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical). Other favorite roles include Lisa in Dog Days at Montclair Peak Performances, Fort Worth Opera and LA Opera for director Robert Woodruff; Flora in Turn of the Screw at New York City Opera for Sam Buntrock; Amy in Where’s Charley for Encores! at New York City Center for John Doyle; Cunegonde in New York City Opera’s Candide, and Olive in the first national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In addition to her work in theater and opera, Lauren performs frequently in concerts at such venues as Carnegie Hall, 54 Below, Caramoor, Merkin Hall, Oregon Bach Festival, Joe’s Pub, Galapagos Art Space and New York City Opera’s VOX Program. Lauren placed second in the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya competition. She is co-founder and executive director of the downtown opera company The Coterie, and is a founding member of the band Sky-Pony. For more, visit http://laurenworsham.com/. Lauren Worsham has appeared with MasterVoices several times, most notably in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (2012) and Eric Idle and John Du Prez’s Not The Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy) (2014).
Jay Armstrong Johnson can currently be seen on the ABC series “Quantico.” Broadway credits include the recent revival of On The Town, Hands On A Hardbody, Catch Me If You Can, and Hair. Off-Broadway credits include Wild Animals You Should Know (MCC) and Working (Drama Desk Award; Prospect Theater Co.). Other New York credits include Candide (NYCO), Sweeney Todd (New York Philharmonic), and The Most Happy Fella (City Center Encores!). Jay was in the First National Tour of A Chorus Line. Regional appearances include The Last Goodbye (The Old Globe), On The Town (Barrington Stage Co.), 42nd Street (MUNY), Hands On A Hardbody (La Jolla Playhouse), Pool Boy (Barrington Stage Co), and Hairspray (Weston Playhouse). Concert appearances include 35mm: A Musical Exhibition (on iTunes). TV/Film appearances include Sex & the City 2 and Law & Order: SVU. Jay made his solo cabaret debut at 54 Below last April; the live album is currently available on CD and iTunes. Jay Armstrong Johnson will make his MasterVoices’ debut in Babes in Toyland.
Jonathan Freeman is the voice of the evil vizier, Jafar, in Disney’s animated feature Aladdin. Broadway credits include Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Producers, 42nd Street, On the Town, How to Succeed in Business…, Platinum, Sherlock Holmes (RSC) and She Love Me (Tony Award Nomination). Other NYC appearances include The Irish Repertory Theatre, The Manhattan Theatre Club, City Center Encores, and concert versions of Sail Away and The Mikado (MasterVoices) at Carnegie Hall. Regional appearances include The La Jolla Playhouse, Houston Grand Opera, Williamstown and Berkshire Theatre Festivals, and in Seattle Repertory Theatres. Television & Film appearances include The Hoax, The Ice Storm, Too Big to Fail (HBO), Law and Order, Shining Time Station (PBS), and Remember Wenn (AMC). Jonathan is proud to be part of the 2017 Oscar nominated documentary Life Animated, and can currently be seen on Broadway in Aladdin recreating his 1992 film role as Jafar.
Chris Sullivan has been seen on Broadway in Chicago, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Lombardi. Off-Broadway credits include Hadestown, Mystery of Irma Vep (Jefferson Award nomination), and The Illusion. His national tours include Defending the Caveman. Select films include Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Live By Night, Morgan, and Imperium, and television appearance include This is Us, The Knick, and Stranger Things, among others. Chris Sullivan will make his MasterVoices’ debut in Babes in Toyland.
Jeffrey “Shecky” Schecter was last seen at City Center as “Carl” the “Mu Cha Cha boy” in Bells are Ringing. Most recently, Jeff co-starred as Mendel, “The Rabbi’s son” in Fiddler on the Roof. He has also appeared on Broadway in Nice Work If You Can Get It, A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, and Beauty and the Beast. His TV credits include The Good Fight, Braindead, Elementary, and Boardwalk Empire. Jeff is also the creator and artistic director of I CAN DO THAT NYC: Dance & Theater for Kids. Jeffrey Schecter will make his MasterVoices’ debut in Babes in Toyland.
Michael Kostroff was the original Thénardier in the recent 25thanniversary tour of Les Misérables. He previously toured with The Producers, understudying Max Bialystock, a role he’s since assailed seven times, most recently at Paper Mill Playhouse. Kostroff was also in Paper Mill’s Can-Can, Lend Me a Tenor and A Comedy of Tenors, Goodspeed’s Carnival, and Sacramento Music Circus’ Nice Work if You Can Get It. An established television actor, he’s best known for his five seasons on HBO’s The Wire, his current role on Luke Cage, and his many guest appearances, including those on The Blacklist, The Good Wife, Louie, Banshee, Damages, Elementary, and Madam Secretary. He’s the author of Letters from Backstage and creator of the Audition Psych 101 workshop (auditionpsych101.com). Coming up, he’ll be seen in HBO’s Wizard of Lies and their new series, The Deuce, and in the Aaron Sorkin film, Molly’s Game. Kostroff makes his MasterVoices’ debut in Babes in Toyland.
Blair Brown has been seen on Broadway in Copenhagen (Tony Award Winner), James Joyce’s The Dead, Cabaret, The Secret Rapture and The Threepenny Opera. Her Off-Broadway/regional credits include Mary Page Marlowe, Nikolai: The Others, The Clean House, Arcadia, The Tempest (McCarter Theatre), A Little Night Music (Kennedy Center), Humble Boy (MTC), Camino Real (Williamstown), My Life as a Fairy Tale (LCF), Comedy of Errors (NYSF), The Skin of Our Teeth (Old Globe), and seasons at Stratford-Ontario and Guthrie Theater. Film appearances include Speed of Thought, Dark Matter, The Sentinel, Dogville, Space Cowboys, The Astronaut’s Wife, Altered States, Continental Divide, Strapless, Stealing Home and A Flash of Green. TV credits include Orange Is The New Black, Elementary, Limitless, Forever, Person of Interest, The Affair, Fringe, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, (5 Emmy Nominations), ER, ED, The Ultimate Life, Kennedy, A Season in Purgatory, The Good Policeman, Hands of a Stranger, Follow the Stars Home, In His Life: The John Lennon Story, Convictions, Gifts of Love, To Walk Again: The Eddie Keating Jr, Story, Missing Parents, Majority Rules, Extremely Close Up, and Those Secrets, Space. Directing credits include Rosemary and I (Passage), Lovely Day (Play Co.), and A Feminine Ending (PCS). Brown has been the narrator of more than 50 documentary films and audio books. Blair makes her MasterVoices’ debut in Babes in Toyland.
Andrew Palermo’s choreographic credits include Allegiance (Broadway, Longacre Theatre and The Old Globe), Nickel Mines (Co-author/Director, The Duke on 42nd St/NYMF), The Other Josh Cohen (Paper Mill and Soho Playhouse), Kristin Chenoweth/Carnegie Hall, The Frank Loesser Songbook/New York Philharmonic (Lincoln Center), The Mikado (Carnegie Hall), Ace (The Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theater of St. Louis), Miss Julie (Geffen Playhouse), Lyrics and Lyricists (92nd St. Y), Bright Lights, Big City (Prince Music Theater), Vices (Theatre Aspen), The Aluminum Show (international tour), Aida (Music Theater Wichita), Man of La Mancha (Sacramento Music Circus). Andrew has choreographed multi-million dollar industrials for Toyota, episodes of Comedy Central’s Stella, promos for Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union and commercials for Showtime Network and G-Shock watches. Along with Taye Diggs, Andrew is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of dre.dance, a contemporary dance company, as well as the Founding Artistic Director of The SpringSpace: A Broadband Theatre Lab.
ADDITIONAL UPCOMING MASTERVOICES PERFORMANCES
Babes in Toyland at Tilles Center
MasterVoices will reprise Babes in Toyland
April 29, 2017 at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, Brookville, NY
For more information and tickets, visit tillescenter.org.
Major funding for MasterVoices’ Babes in Toyland has been generously provided by The Geier Foundation; the Howard Gilman Foundation; Frank and Mary Skillern, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.