Weston Playhouse to Perform “Master
Class” at Middlebury College Concert Hall on Oct. 19 —
Performance is a Regional Premiere

The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company
(WPTC) will perform a production of “Master Class,”
a Broadway hit written by Terrence McNally, in the Concert Hall
of the Middlebury College Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on
Tuesday, Oct. 19. The play is loosely based
on a series of classes which the famed opera diva Maria Callas
offered at New York City’s Juilliard School in the early 1970s.
This performance is part of
the Weston Playhouse’s third New England tour and is a regional

Praised by the critics as “rich, vivid, satisfying
theatre,” a “total triumph,” and “mesmerizing,”
“Master Class” swept the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer
Critics Circle Awards for best play in 1996.

A tour de force of acting and singing, the play shows
the semi-retired Callas after
a string of downfalls. She has lost her singing voice and is
teaching talented but nervous young singers before a live audience.
As she chides, cajoles, demonstrates and
inspires, she often lets her mind wander to experiences from her
own fantastic life and career. The
play opens with Callas, who died in 1977, at the end of her life
after Aristotle Onassis has left her to marry Jacqueline Kennedy.

Callas will be portrayed by actress
Patricia Norcia, who has appeared in plays on Broadway as well
as in off-Broadway productions in many of the nation’s top regional
theaters. She has been in other Weston performances, including
“Fiddler on the Roof” and “Lend Me A Tenor.”
Norcia is particularly suited to play the
role of Callas. She was born into a family of Italian opera singers,
has herself directed and performed in numerous operas, and has
taught her own master classes in voice and speech. Further, she
has played her acclaimed solo show, “The World of Ruth Draper,”
countless times at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall, the inspiration
for the setting of the Broadway production of “Master Class.”

Norcia will be supported by performer and musical
director Michael Hicks in the role of Manny, the accompanist.
The three “victims,” as Callas half-jokingly calls
her students, will be played by newcomers Mardie Millit, Matthew
Nelson, and Melissa La France. The stagehand will be played by
Jerome Burke. The ensemble is under the direction of Weston Playhouse
Producing Director Steve Stettler, whose credits include the WPTC’s
first New England Tour, “Dancing at Lughnasa,” and its
recent triumphant revival of the opera house version of Bernstein’s
“Candide.” The set is by Russell Parkman, with lighting
by Stuart Duke, costumes by Martha Hally, and sound by Duncan
Edwards. Malcolm Ewen is production stage manager.

Based in Weston, the WPTC is Vermont’s
oldest professional theatre company. Honored by the New England
Theatre Conference with a 1998 Regional Achievement Award for
its contribution to the region’s theatrical life, the WPTC is
the first theatre company in its area to be given the rights to
perform “Master Class.”

Tickets for this Middlebury College
Concert Series performance are $9 general admission and $7 for
senior citizens. There is reserved seating for this event. To
order tickets, call the College box office at 802-443-6433.