An impressive ensemble of Broadway leading men and women are traveling to Romania to perform A Medley of Sondheim, a concert presentation of Stephen Sondheim's iconic musical numbers, presented within the framework of the 4th edition of the International Festival for Musical Performing Arts "Life is Beautiful."
Performing 7 p.m. Thursday November 17th at the Metropolis Theater in Bucharest, this sexy Sondheim concert celebration puts forward the award-winning musical talents of
Joan Almedilla (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables);
Angel Desai (Sondheim's Company);
Ali Ewoldt (Les Miserables, West Side Story);
Jose Llana (The King & I, Spelling Bee, The Flower Drum Song, Wonderland); and
Orville Mendoza (Pacific Overtures, Sondheim‘s Road Show, The Romance of Magno Rubio in Romania).
Jose Llana serves as the director of A Medley of Sondheim. Randy Gener, an internationally renowned editor, critic and artist, serves as the show's American producer.
With Albin Konopka serving as musical director, A Medley of Sondheim includes songs from such legendary Sondheim musicals such as Anyone Can Whistle, Company, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, among others. A Medley of Sondheim is based on and independent from an original idea for a gala concert by director Victor Lirio (who has given his blessings) at the prestigious Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.
In addition, Gener will give a lecture presentation, entitled Sondheim And After: A Listening Party on America's Greatest Living Composer, within the framework of the International Festival for Musical Performing Arts "Life is Beautiful." This forum and listening party takes place 4 p.m. Thursday November 17 at the Intercontinental Hotel Bucharest.
Taking Sondheim's own comments and music as a starting point, and joined by several Sondheim specialists from A Medley of Sondheim, Gener's lecture presentation Sondheim and After pulls aside the curtain on Sondheim's creative universe to reveal the many influences that have established Sondheim as one of the greatest dramatic composers of the twentieth century. "Sondheim styles himself as the maverick king of Broadway, the rebel genius who didn't just write classic songs," Gener states in his lecture. "He fashioned modernist scores that took advantage of dissonance and urban angst about love, sex, family and marriage to challenge the mind, not soothe it. For Sondheim, the art of writing smart lyrics rhymes with his restless search for dramatic and narrative truths."
Continuing the success gained during their 2010 international collaboration, the National Operetta Theatre "Ion Dacian" has partnered again with Randy Gener to produce and present A Medley of Sondheim and Sondheim and After: A Listening Party, both of which will represent the USA in Eastern Europe this fall.
This international musical festival is unique in Romania, organized by the National Operetta Theatre "Ion Dacian," a public cultural institution funded by that country's Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. This fourth edition of the festival takes place November 10 to 20, 2011 in several locations in Bucharest. The diversified program includes musicals, operetta performances; ballets; concerts of International Artists like The Tiger Lillies, Emma Shaplin (France), Richard Galliano (Italy), Ornella Vanoni (Italy); workshops for children; book launches; exhibitions and conferences, performed and presented by Romanian and foreign artists from more than 10 countries around the world.
in 2008 (the first edition), and now, perhaps more than ever, the International Festival of the Musical Performing Arts aims to offer the public a series of shows and events under the sign of Beauty in Music and Theater, proving that life is still beautiful.
Tickets are now on sale at the National Operetta Theatre "Ion Dacian" and online (www.opereta.ro), the sites www.eventim.ro and www.vandbilete.ro .
Joan Almedilla has performed the leading role of Kim in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. She played Fantine in the National tour of the Broadway musical Les Miserables and as Soul Girl/Mary Magdalene in the National Broadway tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. She performed the role of Imelda Marcos in David Byrne and DJ Fatboy Slim's Here Lies Love at Carnegie Hall. She will appear in the feature film Commencement in 2012. www.joanalmedilla.com.
Ali Ewoldt just returned from a year on the road as Maria in the National Tour of the Broadway musicAl West Side Story (music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), directed by David Saint and Arthur Laurents. She made her Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of Les Miserables in the role of Cosette. Her other credits include Les Miserables (National Tour, Cosette), West Side Story (Maria, Pittsbirgh CLO, Joey McKneely's international tour), Disney's Aladdin (Jasmine), Encore! (Tokyo DisneySea), The King and I (Tuptim), The Fantasticks (Luisa), and workshops of the musical version of the film Giant (written and composed by Michael John LaChiusa).
Angel Desai recently completed the world premiere of Phaedra Backwards at the McCarter Theater. She played Marta in the 2007 Tony Award ®-winning Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company. Off-Broadway credits include The Tempest, opposite Mandy Patinkin, and The Winter's Tale with David Strathairn, both at CSC; Playwrights Horizons, NYTW, Ma-Yi, Public/NYSF, and MCC. Her recent TV credits include "The Good Wife," and recurring roles on "The Event," "Dollhouse," "Kings," and all three "Law and Order"'s. She holds an MFA in Acting from NYU.
Albin Konopka has enjoyed a long and successful international career. Besides his credits on numerous Broadway shows, he has performed in over 24 countries on 6 continents. He has worked as a producer, composer, musical director/supervisor, vocal and dance arranger and orchestrator. He has written two musicals: Ambra (in Italian) and She Schtups To Conquer. He is fluent in 5 languages and has a Masters from the Juilliard School of Music.
Jose Llana most recently appeared on Broadway as El Gato in Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland. Other Broadway: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling as Chip Tolentino (dir. James Lapine, Drama Desk Award), Wang Ta in Flower Drum Song (dir. Bobby Longbottom), Angel in the Broadway musical Rent (dir. Michael Grief), and Lun Tha in the 1996 Revival of The King and I opposite Lou Diamond Phillips and Donna Murphy. Off-Broadway: Adam in Falling For Eve at The York Theatre, Gabey in the musical On the Town (dir. George C. Wolfe, Delacorte Theater in Central Park) and Adam Guettel's Saturn Returns (dir. Tina Landau, Public Theater). This is Jose's second consecutive participation in the International Festival for Musical Performing Arts "Life is Beautiful!" in Bucharest. www.josellana.com
Orville Mendoza is thrilled to be back in Bucharest having performed in 2008 at the Odeon Theater and the Sibiu International Theatre Festival with Ma-Yi Theatre Company's production of The Romance of Magno Rubio. A professional actor in the U.S. for over 15 years, Orville has performed everything from Shakespeare to Chekhov to Rodgers & Hammerstein to Sondheim. He has appeared on Broadway and many Off-Broadway theatres in New York. He had the great honor of being in the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's newest musical, Road Show, which premiered at The Public Theatre in NYC and recently had a successful run at London's Menier Chocolate Factory this year.
RANDY GENER is the Nathan Award winning editor, writer, critic and artist based in New York City. He is the author of the plays Love Seats for Virginia Woolf, Wait for Me at the Bottom of the Pool, and other theatre works. His visual-art installation, in the garden of One World, recently debuted at LaMaMa La Galleria in New York. Widely acclaimed in the U.S. press as "an internationalist, a champion of cultural exchange and dialogue" (New York Daily News) and as "unequaled among his contemporaries" (American Theatre magazine and Theatre Communications Group), Gener has received grants from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and the Ford Foundation/Institute for International Education for his international advocacy of U.S. performing art and its performing arts in Eastern Europe. Gener's website is theaterofOneWorld.org.