BLOW-ME-DOWN FARM, CORNISH, NH
AUGUST 1, 2020; 6:00pm
PRODUCERS: Marilyn Crichlow, Sylvia and Bill Paxton,
Linda and Rick Roesch, Jane and Bill Stetson
BROADWAY AND BLUEGRASS SPONSOR: Merrill Lynch
MICHAEL RICE, PIANO
PAUL HORAK, BASS
and special guests: POOH SPRAGUE AND THE FOUR HOARSEMEN
TECHNICAL AND LIGHTING DESIGNER: Tiger Stanley
SOUND DESIGN: James R. McCartney
KLEA BLACKHURST is an actress, singer and comedienne known for her award-winning tribute to Ethel Merman, Everything The Traffic Will Allow. Most recently she appeared Off-Broadway with Hayley Mills in the comedy, Party Face, at City Center Stage 2. She starred in Hazel during its world premiere production at Drury Lane in Chicago, as Dolly Levi in the highly acclaimed Fiftieth Anniversary production of Hello, Dolly! at The Goodspeed Opera House and as Miss Lemon in The Nutty Professor, which premiered in Nashville, directed by legendary comedian, Jerry Lewis and featuring a score by Marvin Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes. Klea also played Rose in Drury Lane Chicago’s production of Gypsy, garnishing rave reviews in 2012.
She’s performed with symphony orchestras and in theatrical productions across the country and abroad including the London Palladium presentation of Jerry Herman’s Broadway with Angela Lansbury, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tribute to Marvin Hamlisch,, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, 15 Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Conventions, New York’s Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y Lyrics & Lyricists, The Chicago Humanities Festival and as Ado Annie in the BBC Proms concert of Oklahoma! in London’s Royal Albert Hall. In addition to regular appearances at New York’s famed Birdland, Klea’s nightclub engagements include tributes to the Broadway career of composer Vernon Duke at the Café Carlyle with a subsequent sold-out engagement at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater and “Dreaming of a Song: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael,” a collaboration with Billy Stritch.
On television she has appeared in Ryan Murphy’s Pose and The Knick, on Showtime. She spent two seasons as former prosecutor, Shelby Cross, on the IFC Channel comedy series, Onion News Network. She’s done the requisite Law and Order: SVU, spent a week on Sesame Street and was a musical guest on The Rosie O’Donnell Show.
Theatre credits include: in New York – A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Bingo, By Jupiter, Radio Gals, Oil City Symphony; Regionally – Ragtime, Call Me Madam, Chicago, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Red Hot and Blue and Anything Goes.
Klea’s albums are on the Ghostlight Records label and available at ghostlightrecords.com and cdbaby.com . She’s featured on “Jule Styne in Hollywood” on PS Classics; the original cast recordings of Bingo and Radio Gals; “Lost in Boston IV,” “Unsung Irving Berlin,” and “The Best of Off Broadway.” Klea is a Distinguished Alumna of The University of Utah and created Klea Blackhurst’s Old School, a 4 week master class, a practical application of the American Musical Theatre. Participants learn theatre history, anatomy, acoustics, physiology and the joy of standing up and singing out!
Arkansas native MICHAEL RICE studied piano under Sister M. Genevieve, a Benedictine nun in McGehee, Arkansas. His first professional job was in the summers of his high school years playing ragtime piano at the tourist theme park Dogpatch, USA, in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. In 1971 he entered the University of Arkansas where he focused on classical piano. While in college he was a member of the Razorback Marching Band, The Uarkettes, (a vocal performance ensemble), the University Symphony, and the Lambda Chi Alpha social fraternity.
Upon graduation in 1977, he relocated to New York City where he continued composition studies with Elie Sigmeister and Lehman Engel through his BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. In New York he was pianist for the National Dance Institute, founded by Jacques d’Amboise and appears performing in the Emile Ardolino film He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing, highlighting d’Amboise and his dance program- the 1983 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Film. He was the original musical director and arranger for the off-Broadway hit Nunsense which won the Outer Critic Circle Award for Best Musical in 1985 and was musical director for Dick Gallagher’s Have I Got A Girl For You. As a conductor/pianist he also worked on the national Broadway tours of Cats, Peter Pan (starring Cathy Rigby), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Camelot. In regional theatres he has conducted at Ford’s Theatre, The Alley Theatre, The Muny, ACT, Sacramento Music Circus, Signature Theatre, Meadowbrook Theatre, Papermill Playhouse, The Cape Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, and Providence’s Trinity Rep, where he is resident musical director.
He composed dance music arrangements for the 1983 production of Radio City Music Hall’s Gotta Getaway, directed by Larry Fuller, and for the 1988 film Bert Rigby, You're a Fool, directed by Carl Reiner, starring Robert Lindsay.
As a composer/lyricist, he adapted with Eric Bentley, Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan (1985) and American Beauty (1988-a valentine to Southern beauty pageants), both of which premiered at the Arkansas Rep and were directed by Cliff Fannin Baker. He recently (2017) premiered his musical drama During Wind and Rain, (A Delta Family Album) with libretto by Margaret Jones Bolsterli. The story is set in both author’s hometown of Watson, Arkansas and chronicles a ten year period of librettist Jones' family history. (The featured Yancopin Bridge over the Arkansas River on his home page is a mile from the setting of the work.)
Rice continues to perform and work in the New York City area with vocal artist Klea Blackhurst, and has done musical arrangements for soprano Deborah Voigt.
OPERA NORTH'S REIMAGINED 2020 SEASON IS ALSO MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF THESE CORPORATE PARTNERS, FOUNDATIONS, AND INDIVIDUALS INCLUDING:
Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation
Saint Gaudens National Historic Park
National Park Service
National Endowment for the Arts
New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
Ruth and Pete Bleyler
The Couch Foundation
Hypertherm HOPE Foundation
Sally and Jerry Rutter
Virginia Gwynn and Jon Bellis
Bar Harbor Bank and Trust
King Arthur Flour
Summit Wealth Group
2020 ANNUAL FUND DONORS
Opera North gratefully acknowledges the gifts of all who have helped to sustain the company in this extraordinary year. Please see the full list our supporters here.
With their help—and yours—we are truly able us to SING ON!
OPERA NORTH STAFF AND PRODUCTION TEAM
Evans Haile, General Director
Louis Burkot, Artistic Director
Maria Laskaris, Director of Development
Martene Maytum, Finance Director
Cece Rooney, Development and Marketing Intern
Stephanie Seacord, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
Tiger Stanley, Technical Director
Jeremiah Brophy, Master Carpenter, Assistant Technical Director
Lily Ten Eyck, Master Electrician
Julia Hautaniemi, Company Manager
Maria Kennelly, Stagehand
Sam Leggett, Stagehand
James R. McCartney, Sound Design
Craig Mowery, Production Supply Coordinator
Nicole Sanborn, Stagehand
Violet Stanley, Props Assistant
Miles Sturges, Stagehand
Pickles Sullivan-DuPuis, Stagehand
Jean Louis Thauvin, Master Sound