Artistic Team

Philip A. Kraus......................................................................Stage Director
Barnard Jones........................................................................Conductor
Amy L. Kekst.........................................................................Choreographer
John Rodriguez, U.S.A.A......................................................Scenic Designer
Kerry Fleming........................................................................Costume Designer
Mark S. Mongold...................................................................Lighting Designer

Cast

Voltaire, Dr. Pangloss...........................................................William T. Wronski
Chinease Footman, Westphalian Soldier.............................Clyde Crewey
Candide................................................................................... David Huff
Huntsman, Bulgarian Recruting Officer.............................. Alejandro G. Abraham
Paquette.................................................................................. Kerry Thompson
Baroness, Penitente............................................................... Sally Braswell
Cunegonde.............................................................................. Elizabeth Gottlieb
Maximillian, Executioner..................................................... Nat Chandler
Maximillianís Servant, Bulgarian Soldier............................ Daniel Hurtado
Chief Inquisition Cleric........................................................ James Hinton
Gothic Window, Don Isaachar The Jew............................... Jerrold Franklin
Corpse, Penitenete................................................................ Barbara Joy Gray
Gothic Window, Citizen, Whore......................................... Virginia Croskery
Gothic Window, Harpist, Citizen......................................... Jean M. Braham
Inquisition Agent, Xitizen Governorís Aide........................ Frank McCormick
Executioner, Spanish Don, Citizen....................................... John E. Giles
Westphalian Soldier, Penitente............................................ Bob Fitzgerald
Citizen, Whore, Houri, Farmer..............................................Liza Woodruff
Corpse, Citizen, Cartagenian, Sheep......................................Joy Huston
Heckler, Citizen, Cartagenian, Belly Dancer........................Julia M. Parks
Corpse, Heckler, Citizen....................................................... Elizabeth Gelman
Heckler, Citizen, Waitress.................................................... Loretta Haskell
Old Lady................................................................................. Marcy Anthony Weckler
Governor of Columbia, Turkish Sultan................................ Darrell Rowader

Philip Kraus had produced Leonard Bernstein's satirical operetta Candide at Northwestern in 1976 using the Harold Prince Chelsea Theater version which he had revised. It was the first performance of this new chamber version in the Chicago area, and the first revival of the any version of the work in the city in quite some time. So it was only natural for Kraus to give his particular vision of the Bernstein masterpiece the professional treatment at Light Opera Works.

The Chelsea Theater version had been a hit on Broadway and had brought the operetta back to the stage after many unsuccessful attempts to revive the 1956 work. A downside of the Broadway production had been the casting of theater actors who really couldn't sing Bernstein's mature score. Kraus would instead cast young opera singers who could both act and do vocal justice to the delicious music. Additionally, Kraus decided to split the Voltaire/Pangloss/Governor of Columbia/Turkish Sultan part played by one singer on Broadway and have two artists; a baritone playing Voltaire/Pangloss and a tenor playing the
Governor/Sultan role. This was a particularly necessary decision in the fact that the vocal ranges of all these parts simply didn't fit one voice. The Broadway player had had to sing all the Governor's high Bb's in falsetto which killed the effect achieved in 1956. Lastly, as he had done at Northwestern, Kraus restored several pieces cut from the Chelsea version included the trio "Quiet", Pangloss's Syphilis Song and the ensembe "What's the Use" which had been unfortunately left out of the new version.

The Chelsea Theater in New York had been gutted for the production. Seats were placed
in the center and all around the stage space giving the chamber show an "environmental theater" feel to it. This was simply not possible in Cahn Auditorium so Kraus had designer John Rodriguez create what he called "Baroque Chutes and Ladders"; a set on the stage of Cahn that bled into the house and had all sorts of slides, ladders, rolling platforms etc.
Candide is a piece with many locales which need to be generalized in order for a smooth transition from one scene to another. Building the set out over the orchestra pit also necessitated putting the orchestra upstage of the set and using monitors to see conductor Barney Jones. With Kerry Fleming's expert costumes, the production looked like an 18th century commedia del arte circus.

A terrific ensemble of young professionals was engaged. Bill Wronski had done the Voltaire/Pangloss for Kraus at Northwestern and returned to give his hilarious portrayal at LOW. Newcomers David Huff and Elizabeth Gottlieb made a charming and vocally pliable
set of romantic leads. Marcy Weckler was back from her highly praised performance as Public Opinion in the previous season's Orpheus, to play the eastern European tinged Old Lady. Tenor Darrell Rowader, also returning from Orpheus, gave the Governor just the right amount of Errol Flynn swagger with a ringing, operatic voice. Northwestern graduate Nat Chandler made the most with his handsome looks as the vain Maximillian and would eventually leave for New York where he worked on Broadway and various tours.

Candide received good reviews from all the papers; one of the few times there was general consensus from Chicago's vacuous newspapers. Kraus had planned a production of the NYC Opera version of the piece before his departure, but when the Lyric Opera mounted it, the plans were scrapped. Curiously, Kraus appeared in that Lyric Opera production directed by Hal Prince.


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Candide
Leonard Bernstein

December 1982