A diva holds court. Inspired by the legendary Maria Callas, this Tony Award–winning play opens in a master class at Juilliard, where the world’s greatest soprano is more interested in teaching life lessons than opera. The tempestuous yet vulnerable diva muses on her past—her transformation from stocky to sleek, triumphs at La Scala, feuds with rival singers, and a doomed affair with billionaire Aristotle Onassis. Not only a tribute to the star, Master Class is also a statement on the nature of art and the sacrifices we make for it. Gina Chiarelli stars as the singer Leonard Bernstein called “The Bible of opera,” with Meg Roe making her Arts Club directorial debut.
Roe says, “I came into the project knowing very little about Callas’s story and found the script fascinating right from the first read. McNally is talking about passion and art and commitment in the piece, and he uses Callas as a tool for that. He knows Callas inside and out, and he presents her in such a way that we walk away from the play feeling like we’ve really gained an insight into her person, and not just into her history. The fun of this production is that it should feel like you’re a fly on the wall of this master class, a witness to this epic, artistic genius trying to impart a piece of her magic to the next generation.”
Terrence McNally is a much-lauded playwright and screenwriter based in New York. Equally at home writing drama or musical theatre, he draws on his expansive knowledge of Broadway history and opera for both storylines and musical inspiration. His works include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1987), Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992), Ragtime (1997), and Corpus Christi (1997).