Jane Lapotaire Revives Callas TributeDate: 29 September 1999
Jane Lapotaire will revive the role of opera diva Maria Callas in Terrence McNally's Master Class on this side of the pond. The play was a hit on Broadway but had only a limited run in the West End, starring Patti Lupone, in 1997. This new production is mounted by Theatre Royal Bath Productions and opens at the Richmond Theatre next week on Wednesday, 6 October at the start of a seven-week regional tour.
It's New York in 1971 and Callas is leading a masterclass in opera singing. In five years' time, her death will transport her to legendary status, worshipped as the greatest diva of them all. For now, she is witty, bitchy and flamboyant, demanding and insecure. She recalls the soaring highlights of her career and her disastrous private life, from her childhood in Nazi-occupied Greece to her treatment at the hands of Aristotle Onassis, her lover and one of the richest men in the world.
Lapotaire's stage credits include her award-winning performances in Piaf (in London and New York) and in Shadowlands. Most recently, she appeared in Henry VIII for the RSC and toured the UK and abroad in her own one-woman show Shakespeare as I Knew Her.
Master Class won three Tony Awards, including Best New Play, in 1996. Terrence McNally's other plays include Love! Valour! Compassion!, Bad Habits, The Ritz and the controversial 'gay Christ' story Corpus Christi. He was also the librettist for the musicals Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Pal Joey.
Master Class is directed by Di Trevis and designed by Ashley Martin-Davis. After Richmond, it continues to Bromley, Malvern, Bath, Cambridge and Brighton.