Dixie Carter has taken over the role of opera diva Maria Callas in Terrence McNally's Tony-winning play Master Class on Broadway. Please review her performance, and the show. Is she convincing as Callas? If you've see the show previously, how does she compare to Zoe Caldwell and Patti LuPone in the role? Please describe Carter's "take" on the character.
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I just returned from NYC, where I took a group of twenty people to see several shows. We saw Master Class on Saturday evening, February 22. Everyone in the group was quite taken with Carter's performance. I would have to agree. As a matter of fact, I offered an apology to the group ahead of time, because LuPone was no longer in the role. Yet, that wasn't necessary, because the group considered her performance one of the highlights of their trip.
I saw LuPone in the role last fall and I thought she was very good. In comparison with Carter, I would say that LuPone had more emotional variety in the long monologues than Carter. Carter always seems to be at the same high-pitched level. There were other times, when LuPone showed a tad more nuance in interpreting the role. Still, I would say that Carter did a very fine job in carring off the role. She was quite able to connect the music being sung by the students with Callas' own life experiences.
I'm sorry I didn't get to see Caldwell in the role. From what I hear, she was utterly ruthless in her intimidation of the students.
I know you didn't ask for this comparison, but I can't help but say that Carter was far more comfortable than Whoopi in their respective roles. While they both had only been performing for about a week, Carter seemed quite comfortable. Whoopi, on the other hand, looked like a fish out of water. She seemed out of place in a Broadway musical, almost intimidated. To a person, everyone in my group agreed that Goldberg's performance was the most dissappointing performance they saw. (2/24/97)