Tyne Daly, making her West End debut as Maria Callas, wowed the audience with a moving performance that delved into the opera singer’s personal struggles as well as her teaching philosophies.
Produced by Tom Kirdahy and directed (at Daly’s request) by Stephen Wadsworth, the play sees Callas instructing three fictional students through individual master classes in front of an audience. This lends an interactive quality to the play in which many witty lines (and withering put-downs) are addressed to the students and viewers alike.
The opera singers provide conflict and humour as Callas barks orders over their songs. Wicked’s Dianne Pilkington along with Naomi O’Connell and Garrett Sorenson make a perfect set of students that are fun to watch and create fantastic on-stage chemistry with Daly.
A compelling performance by Tyne Daly and the cast was followed by a wonderful Q&A with Daly and the creative team...
After the curtain fell, 100 WOS theatregoers were joined by McNally, Wadsworth and Kirdahy, with Daly arriving minutes after to another round of applause.
Q&A topics included casting and how the play made its way to the West End. When asked what lessons she'd teach her younger self in a master class, Daly responded that she "never should have stopped dance lessons" (due to physical demands of the play). Playwright McNally revealed his strong love for the opera and how, after sitting in on several master classes at the Juilliard himself, he'd made the play up based entirely on what he already knew about the iconic Callas.
As always, please feel free to email your comments and thoughts about the play, as well as any of your favourite insights from last night to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you and look forward to seeing you soon.
- McKenzie Kramer