Prior to the Broadway opening of her "comedy-of-arias" revue, B.J. Ward's solo show is playing a limited engagement at the John Drew Theatre in East Hampton, N.Y. through Sept. 5.
B.J. Ward's one-person tribute/spoof of opera, Stand-Up Opera, begins previews Oct. 9 at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre and opens there Oct. 18 for a 12-week stint. Lee Moskof is producing the show with Gene Wolsk, Daryl Roth and WM Productions. Ward's husband, television and stage director Gordon Hunt, will direct.
Ward, an actress and voice-over artist best known as the current voice of Betty Rubble on the animated cartoon "The Flintstones," staged the show for a week last November at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Moskof said soprano Ward is most easily described as "the Victor Borge of opera."
The show takes an irreverent look at opera in between 12 or 13 arias, which Ward will deliver straight. "She's honoring the music and poking fun at different aspects of opera at the same time," said Moskof. According to the Bill Evans press office, Ward ribs not only the operas themselves, but such peripheral necessities as divas, scandals and "Puccini's anti-feminist politics."
No microphone is used during the roughly 90 minute show, which features piano accompaniment by Joseph Thalken and a set design by James Noone. Moskof said Ward become hooked on opera several years ago. After taking serious study, the actress began to stage casual recitals in her living room under the title "Opera and Omelettes," eventually moving her act to a cabaret space. After transforming the piece into a theatrical evening, she performed Stand-Up Opera at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1992. Since then, she has presented the show in Chicago, Sante Fe, Sarasota, Des Moines, Winston-Salem and elsewhere.
The one-person show is quickly becoming a staple of the new Broadway season. In addition to Seinfeld's August gig at the Broadhurst, Sandra Bernhard is bringing her show I'm Still Here... Damn It! to the Booth in October.
B.J. Ward's Stand-Up Opera plays at Guild Hall's John Drew Theatre through Sept. 5. Tickets for the event are $35, for reservations call (516) 324-4050.