Roger Rees to Direct Joplin's Treemonisha at Alice Tully Hall

News   Roger Rees to Direct Joplin's Treemonisha at Alice Tully Hall Tony Award winner Roger Rees will direct a semi-staged concert performance of Scott Joplin's Treemonisha March 9 at Alice Tully Hall.
Roger Rees
Roger Rees Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The 8 PM concert of Joplin's opera will feature Anita Johnson as Treemonisha, Marietta Simpson as Monisha, Arthur Woodley as Ned, Robert Mack as Remus and Terry Cook as Parson Alltalk. The one-night-only performance — part of the American Masters series — will also boast The Collegiate Chorale, under the direction of Robert Bass, as well as the New York premiere of T.J. Anderson's 1971 orchestrations.

Treemonisha is the only surviving Joplin opera. Written in 1911, the work did have a brief run on Broadway in 1975, playing six previews and 64 regular performances at the Uris and Palace Theatres. That production, which was directed by Frank Corsaro, featured Carmen Balthrop in the title role.

In the opera, according to press notes, "Ned and Monisha, who were based on Joplin’s own parents, long for a child and ‘Tree-monisha’ is the name of the baby girl, whom they find under a tree. Through education, she becomes her peoples’ enlightened leader. The opera is a mythical story of African American slaves’ emergence into the modern world, extolling the virtues of learning, the transcendence of strife through wisdom."

Roger Rees received a Tony Award for his work in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; he was also nominated for his performance in Indiscretions. He was recently on the New York stage in A Man of No Importance, and his other theatre credits include Uncle Vanya, The Rehearsal, The End of the Day, The Uneasy Chair and The Misanthrope. An associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, his work there includes Hamlet, Love's Labours Lost, Cymbeline, Much Ado About Nothing, The Suicide and Nicholas Nickleby. His film and television appearances are numerous.

Tickets for the production, priced $25-$60, are available by calling (212) 875-5050 or (212) 721-6500 or by visiting www.collegiatechorale.org. Alice Tully Hall is located at Lincoln Center, Broadway and 65th Street.