Stephen Wadsworth directs Master Class — the last play to open as part of the Kennedy Center's Nights at the Opera series celebrating McNally's work. The three-play series also includes the premiere of Golden Age and a revival of The Lisbon Traviata. Previews for Master Class began March 25.
Callas' "victims" (as she lovingly refers to them in the script) are portrayed by Laquita Mitchell (Porgy and Bess with San Francisco Opera) as fiery soprano Sharon, Ta'u Pupu'a as tenor Tony and Alexandra Silber (Carousel and The Woman in White in the West End) as first soprano Sophie. Jeremy Cohen is the accompanist, Manny, with Clinton Brandhagen as the Stagehand.
The play is inspired by Callas' Juilliard master classes, which were preserved on tape. For the stage production, McNally imagines the Greek soprano reliving her stage triumphs and personal tragedies as she interacts with young, hopeful performers.
Master Class has set design by Thomas Lynch, costume design by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by David Lander and sound design by Jon Gottlieb.
Daly earned a Tony Award for the 1989 revival of Gypsy and was Tony nominated for her performance in David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Rabbit Hole. Daly recently appeared Off-Broadway in Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Her screen roles include "Cagney and Lacey," "Grey's Anatomy," "Play It As It Lays," "John and Mary," "The Entertainer," "Judging Amy" and "Wings." Master Class, under the direction of Leonard Foglia, initially played the Kennedy Center prior to its 1995 Broadway bow. The play earned Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Actress (Zoe Caldwell) and Best Featured Actress (Audra McDonald).Since then, a host of women have inhabited the coveted role of Maria Callas in McNally's play, including Patti LuPone (who also starred in the London premiere), Dixie Carter and Faye Dunaway.
Performances continue through April 18 in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Visit Kennedy-Center.