Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulos was best known as Maria Callas, and Maria Callas was celebrated as one the opera's greatest prima donnas. Her fascinating life has been chronicled in novels, biographies, documentaries, and even a Tony-award winning Broadway play. That play, Master Class, will open at Hofstra University's Monroe Lecture Center Theatre Aug. 4 in Long Island, New York. The show will run weekends until Aug. 20.
Master Class, written by Terrence McNally, (Love! Valour! Compassion!, Kiss of the Spider Woman) is oddly enough, a non musical. (It does have music in it.) The play sets up the audience as students attending a "master class" being taught by Callas, whom actually did teach such a class at Juilliard in 1971. Throughout the play, she reminisces about her childhood in Greece, where she lived with her mother and her sister, and studied singing with the money her father sent from the United States. She also reflects on her rise to international celebrity, her triumphs, and her romance with another Greece native, Aristotle Onassis.
Playing the dynamic diva in the Hofstra production is Lorraine Serabian. Nominated for a Tony for her role as the Leader in Broadway's Zorba!, Serabian is also no stranger to McNally's work. She was cast in the original workshop production of Kiss of the Spider Woman and played Anna in the revised workshop production of The Rink. Serabian won the 1994 Helen Hayes Award for Show Me Where the Good Times Are.
To attend the Master Class, you can purchase tickets at the Hofstra box office, in Hempstead, Long Island by calling (516) 463-6644. The Monroe Theater is located on the South campus at Hofstra. Tickets are $18-$20.
-- by Ernio Hernandez