The National Operetta Theatre â€śIon Dacianâ€ť
â€śA Medley of Sondheimâ€ś â€” a special concert tribute performance
Featuring Broadway star performers Joan Almedilla, Ali Ewoldt,
Angel Desai, Jose Llana and Orville Mendoza
â€śSondheim and Afterâ€ť â€” a listening party & lecture by Randy Gener
Tuesday, 17th of November 2011
within the International Festival for Musical Performing Arts
â€śLife is Beautifulâ€ť
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA â€”Â Continuing the success gained in 2010 of the international collaboration between New York producer Randy Gener and the National Operetta Theatre â€śIon Dacianâ€ť, Romania celebrates Broadway composer/lyricistÂ Stephen SondheimÂ with a special concert performance, entitledÂ A Medley of Sondheim, and a conference, entitledÂ Sondheim And After: A Listening Party on Americaâ€™s Greatest Living Composer, within the framework of the 4th edition of theÂ International Festival for Musical Performing Arts â€śLife is Beautifulâ€ťÂ in Bucharest.
This festival is unique in Romania, organized by theÂ National Operetta Theatre â€śIon Dacian,â€ť a public cultural institution funded by that countryâ€™s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Â The fourth edition of the festival takes place November 10 to 20, 2011 in several locations in Bucharest. The diversified program includes musicals, operetta performances; ballets; concerts of international artists likeÂ The Tiger Lillies,Â Emma ShaplinÂ (France),Â Richard GallianoÂ (Italy),Â Ornella VanoniÂ (Italy); workshops for children; book launches; exhibitions and conferences, performed and presented by Romanian and foreign artists from more than 10 countries around the world.
â€śA MEDLEY OF SONDHEIMâ€ť Â â€” Â A CONCERT TRIBUTE PERFORMANCE:
Performing 7PM on November 17th at the Metropolis Theater in Bucharest, A Medley of Sondheim is a concert tribute performance devoted to iconic musicals of Stephen Sondheim. This sexy Sondheim celebration features an impressive cast of Broadwayâ€™s top musical talents and Sondheim specialists, all of whom have made their marks on Broadway in leading roles:
Joan AlmedillaÂ (Miss Saigon,Â Les Miserables);
Angel DesaiÂ (Sondheimâ€™sÂ Company);
Ali EwoldtÂ (Les Miserables,Â West Side Story);
Jose LlanaÂ (The King & I,Â Spelling Bee,Â The Flower Drum Song,Â Wonderland); and
Orville MendozaÂ (Sondheimâ€™sÂ Road Show,Â The Romance of Magno RubioÂ in Romania).
With Jose Llana serving as director, this ensemble of five Broadway stars will perform a repertoire that includes songs from Sondheimâ€™s iconic musicals such asÂ Anyone Can Whistle,Â Company,Â A Little Night Music,Â Sunday in the Park with George,Â Sweeney Todd,Â West Side Story,Â Road Show, among others. Â Specially produced by Randy Gener for the International Festival for Musical Performing Arts,Â A Medley of SondheimÂ is a Broadway showcase based on (and independent from) an original idea for a gala concert by director Victor Lirio at the prestigious Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York.
â€śSONDHEIM AND AFTERâ€ť Â â€” Â A LISTENING PARTY AND CONFERENCE:
Sondheim considers himself â€śa playwright in song.â€ť Â How he arrived at this unique description is the subject ofÂ Sondheim And After: A Listening Party on Americaâ€™s Greatest Living Composer, which will take place on the 17th of November 2011 at 4 p.m. at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bucharest. Â The conference is an intimate forum and listening party organized by Randy Gener, the renowned American editor, theater critic and artist.
Taking Sondheimâ€™s own comments and music as a starting point, and joined by Broadway talents and Sondheim specialists from A Medley of Sondheim, Gener pulls aside the curtain on Sondheimâ€™s creative universe to reveal the many influences that have established Sondheim as one of the greatest dramatic composers of the twentieth century. Gener will discuss also Sondheimâ€™s impact on current developments of the musical performance genre within American and European cultural contexts.
â€śSondheim styles himself as the maverick king of Broadway, the rebel genius who didnâ€™t just write classic songs,â€ť Gener states. Â â€śHe fashioned modernist scores that took advantage of dissonance and urban angst about love, sex, family and marriage to challenge the mind, not soothe it. As Sondheim himself philosophizes, â€™If you think of a theatre lyric as a short story, as I do, then every line has the weight of a paragraph.â€™ Â It is for this reason that Sondheimâ€™s creative journey strives to reach the heights of a total dramaturgy within musical structures. For Sondheim, the art of writing smart lyrics rhymes with his restless search for dramatic and narrative truths.â€ť
Beginning withÂ ARTE (American Romanian Theatre Exchange) ProgramÂ betweenÂ Odeon Theatre of BucharestÂ andÂ Lark Play Development Center Â of New York, Gener has collaborated numerous times with leading Romanian artists, prominent critics and theater professionals to build and promote mutual understanding and connections among artists, arts organizations and public communities in the U.S. and Romania.
- In 2007, Gener led and presented â€śNew Waves in Romanian Theatre,â€ť featuring directors Radu Afrim and Gabor Tompa at theÂ Romanian Cultural Institute in New York.
- Gener wrote the introduction toÂ roMANIA after 2000Â (Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Press), the first-ever book anthology of new Romanian drama published in the USA.
- In 2008, Gener co-produced (with Alina Moldovan, Odeon Theatre and Ma-Yi Theatre Company of New York) the European premiere of the Obie Award-winningÂ The Romance of Magno RubioÂ at Odeon Theatre and Sibiu International Theatre Festival.
- In 2009, Gener served as Series Editor ofÂ Saviana Stanescu: New York Plays, a play collection published by NoPassport Press.
- In 2010, Gener presented a conference, â€śMusical Theatre in the U.S.A.,â€ť featuring Broadway performer Jose Llana and Broadway musical composer Michael John LaChiusa, as part of the International Festival for Musical Performing Arts â€śLife is Beautiful!â€ť
In the spirit of a promise madeÂ in 2008 (the first edition), and now, perhaps more than ever, the International Festival of the Musical Performing Arts aims to offer the public a series of shows and events under the sign of Beauty in Music and Theater, proving that life is still beautiful.
Tickets are now on sale at the National Operetta Theatre “Ion Dacian” and online (www.opereta.ro), the sitesÂ www.eventim.roÂ and Â www.vandbilete.roÂ . For more information or to obtain press credentials, please contact us at the addressÂ madalina.matei @ opereta.roÂ or the number of Â phone 021/314.11.87.
The National Operetta Theatre â€śIon Dacianâ€ť
One of the major goals of theÂ International Festival for Musical Performing Arts â€śLife is Beautifulâ€ťÂ is to contribute to the international cultural scene and to promote the Romanian culture and the musical performing arts from Romania abroad. Given the European Union integration, the National Operetta Theatre â€śIon Dacianâ€ť has initiated a series of projects and partnerships in order to open its gates to European dialogue and cultural cooperation, promoting diversity and multiculturalism as well as the free circulation of artists and creation.
The artistic strategy of the festival consists of attracting valuable artists, perfecting and motivating the artists within the institution by choosing a repertoire that enhances their value, and artistically meeting the standards and requests of the international cultural markets in the field, given the Operettaâ€™s major responsibility as an unique institution at a national level. Â The programs and projects that the Operetta develop, their diversity and heterogeneity are meant to transform an institution that has the responsibility to the only Romanian to the ambassador for this delicate and valuable field of artistic action, in an active participant on both national and international cultural scenes. The promotion of contemporary creation, of interdisciplinary modes and multiculturalism, of the free movement of values and promotion of eternal human values â€” these are the main directions of the festivalâ€™s artistic strategy.
JOAN ALMEDILLAÂ has performed the leading role of Kim in the Broadway musicalÂ Miss Saigon. She played Fantine in the National tour of the Broadway musicalÂ Les Miserables and as Soul Girl/Mary Magdalene in the National Broadway tour ofÂ Jesus Christ Superstar. She performed the role of Imelda Marcos in David Byrne and DJ Fatboy Slimâ€™sÂ Here Lies LoveÂ at Carnegie Hall. She will appear in the feature film Commencement in 2012.Â www.joanalmedilla.com.
ALI EWOLDTÂ just returned from a year on the road as Maria in the National Tour of the Broadway musicalÂ West Side StoryÂ (music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), directed by David Saint and Arthur Laurents. She made her Broadway debut in the 2006 revival ofÂ Les MiserablesÂ in the role of Cosette. Her other credits includeÂ Les MiserablesÂ (National Tour, Cosette),Â West Side StoryÂ (Maria, Pittsbirgh CLO, Joey McKneelyâ€™s international tour), Disneyâ€™sÂ AladdinÂ (Jasmine),Â Encore!Â (Tokyo DisneySea),Â The King and IÂ (Tuptim),Â The FantasticksÂ (Luisa), and workshops of the musical version of the filmÂ GiantÂ (written and composed by Michael John LaChiusa).
ANGEL DESAIÂ recently completed the world premiere ofÂ Phaedra BackwardsÂ at the McCarter Theater. She played Marta in the 2007 Tony Award Â®-winning Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheimâ€™sÂ Company. Off-Broadway credits includeÂ The Tempest, opposite Mandy Patinkin, andÂ The Winterâ€™s Tale with David Strathairn, both at CSC; Playwrights Horizons, NYTW, Ma-Yi, Public/NYSF, and MCC. Regional theater includes Cincinnati Playhouse, Yale Repertory, Long Wharf, and Arena Stage. Her recent TV credits include “The Good Wife,” and recurring roles on “The Event,” “Dollhouse,” “Kings,” and all three “Law and Order”‘s. She holds an MFA in Acting from NYU.
ALBIN KONOPKAÂ (Musical Director) has enjoyed a long and successful international career. Besides his credits on numerous Broadway shows, he has performed in over 24 countries on 6 continents. He has worked as a producer, composer, musical director/supervisor, vocal and dance arranger and orchestrator. He has written two musicals:Â AmbraÂ (in Italian) andÂ She Schtups To Conquer. He is fluent in 5 languages and has a Masters from the Juilliard School of Music.
JOSE LLANAÂ (also Director) most recently appeared on Broadway as El Gato in Frank Wildhornâ€™sÂ Wonderland. Other Broadway:Â The 25th Annual Putnam County SpellingÂ as Chip Tolentino (dir. James Lapine, Drama Desk Award), Wang Ta inÂ Flower Drum SongÂ (dir. Bobby Longbottom), Angel in the Broadway musicalÂ RentÂ (dir. Michael Grief), and Lun Tha in the 1996 Revival ofÂ The King and IÂ opposite Lou Diamond Phillips and Donna Murphy. Off-Broadway: Adam inÂ Falling For EveÂ at The York Theatre, Gabey in the musicalÂ On the TownÂ (dir. George C. Wolfe, Delacorte Theater in Central Park) and Adam Guettelâ€™sÂ Saturn ReturnsÂ (dir. Tina Landau, Public Theater). This is Joseâ€™s second consecutive participation in the International Festival for Musical Performing Arts “Life is Beautiful!” in Bucharest.Â www.josellana.com
ORVILLE MENDOZAÂ is thrilled to be back in Bucharest having performed in 2008 at the Odeon Theater and the Sibiu International Theatre Festival with Ma-Yi Theatre Companyâ€™s production ofÂ The Romance of Magno Rubio. A professional actor in the U.S. for over 15 years, Orville has performed everything from Shakespeare to Chekhov to Rodgers & Hammerstein to Sondheim. He has appeared on Broadway and many Off-Broadway theatres in New York. He had the great honor of being in the original cast of Stephen Sondheimâ€™s newest musical,Â Road Show, which premiered at The Public Theatre in NYC and recently had a successful run at Londonâ€™s Menier Chocolate Factory this year.
STEPHEN SONDHEIMÂ is an American composer and lyricist for stage and film. He has written the music and lyrics forÂ PassionÂ (1994),Â AssassinsÂ (1991),Â Into the WoodsÂ (1987),Â Sunday in the Park with GeorgeÂ (1984),Â Merrily We Roll Along (1981),Â Sweeney ToddÂ (1979),Â Pacific OverturesÂ (1976),Â The FrogsÂ (1974),Â A Little Night MusicÂ (1973),Â FolliesÂ (1971; revised in London, 1987),Â CompanyÂ (1970),Â Anyone Can WhistleÂ (1964),Â A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumÂ (1962), andÂ Saturday NightÂ (1954; first production in London, 1997; New York, 2000), as well as lyrics forÂ West Side StoryÂ (1957),Â GypsyÂ (1959),Â Do I Hear a Waltz?Â (1965), and additional lyrics forÂ CandideÂ (1973). For films, he has composed the scores ofÂ StaviskyÂ (1974) andÂ RedsÂ (1981) as well as songs forÂ Dick TracyÂ (1990), for which he won an Academy Award. He has won Tony Awards for Best Score for a Musical forÂ Passion,Â Into the Woods,Â Sweeney Todd,Â A Little Night Music,Â Follies, andÂ Company. On September 15, 2010, in honor of his 80th birthday, the Henry Millerâ€™s Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
RANDY GENERÂ is the Nathan Award winning editor, writer, critic and artist based in New York City. Â He is the author of the playsÂ Love Seats for Virginia Woolf,Â Wait for Me at the Bottom of the Pool, and other theatre works. Â His visual-art installation,Â in the garden of One World, recently debuted at LaMaMa La Galleria in New York. Â Widely acclaimed in the U.S. press as â€śan internationalist, a champion of cultural exchange and dialogueâ€ś (New York Daily News) and as “unequaled among his contemporaries” (American TheatreÂ magazine and Theatre Communications Group), Gener is the Broadway editor and theater critic ofÂ The New York Theatre Wire, which he co-founded in 1995. He is the U.S. editor ofÂ Critical Stages, a web journal on world theater, recently launched by the International Association of Theatre Critics, a UNESCO organization. For his editorial work and critical essays as the senior editor and contributing writer ofÂ American TheatreÂ magazine, Gener has received, among many others, the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, the highest award for dramatic criticism in the USA and one of the most distinguished awards in the American theatre; the 2010 Deadline Club Award for Best Arts Reporting awarded by the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists â€śfor shedding light of the government censorship and repression of artists”; a Trust for Mutual Understanding grant; and was named NLGJA Journalist of the Year 2010. Â Generâ€™s website isÂ theaterofOneWorld.org.
- Stephen Sondheim to receive NYC arts award (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Sondheimâ€™s ‘Porgy and Bessâ€™ slam: Producers respond (popwatch.ew.com)
- ArtsBeat Blog: Sondheim to Receive New York City Arts Honor (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Sondheim objects to ARTĂ˘Â€Â™s Ă˘Â€Â?PorgyĂ˘Â€Â™ (boston.com)
- Bernadette Petersâ€™ Dark Road Returns to Broadway (abcnews.go.com)
- Sondheim snowed in, will miss Saturdayâ€™s Orange County appearance (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Stephen Sondheim can do no wrong, right? (chicagoreader.com)
- Sondheim to receive arts honour (bbc.co.uk)
- Sondheim pans Porgy stage remake (bbc.co.uk)