Tyne Daly Will Offer Diva Talk in Broadway's Master Class

By Kenneth Jones
and Adam Hetrick
03 Dec 2010

Tyne Daly as Maria Callas in Master Class at the Kennedy Center.
Tyne Daly as Maria Callas in Master Class at the Kennedy Center.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Director Stephen Wadsworth's production of Terrence McNally's Master Class, seen at the Kennedy Center in spring 2010 starring Tyne Daly, is to be a Broadway reality in spring 2011, according to an Equity casting notice.

Manhattan Theatre Club is expected to produce the New York City engagement of the Tony Award-winning biographical play-with-music about opera diva Maria Callas teaching a master class for young singers.

The casting notice indicates a late May launch and a 13-week run at MTC's Broadway home, the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. MTC has not officially announced the production, but did confirm that "a new production of Master Class with Tyne Daly is one of the projects under consideration for MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre."

Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Daly (Gypsy) inhabited the legendary soprano for the Kennedy Center staging in Washington, DC. The Wadsworth staging opened April 1 following previews from March 25. The revival of the 1995 play was part of the Kennedy Center's Nights at the Opera series celebrating McNally's work. The three-play series also included the premiere of Golden Age and a revival of The Lisbon Traviata.



In DC, Callas' "victims" (as she lovingly refers to them in the script) were portrayed by Laquita Mitchell (Porgy and Bess with San Francisco Opera) as fiery soprano Sharon (Audra McDonald won a Tony Award for originating the role); 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 was 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.

In DC, Master Class had 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.