ArtsEmerson to Feature Marc Kudisch's Baritones UnBound
By Carey Purcell
ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage will present Baritones UnBound: Celebrating the UnCommon Voice of the Common Man, a new musical work conceived by Marc Kudisch and created by Kudisch with Merwin Foard, Jeff Mattsey and Timothy Splain.
Performances, featuring Kudisch, Jeff Mattsey and Ben Davis, will be held Oct. 8-20 at Boston's The Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage.
The production is directed by David Dower, ArtsEmerson's director of artistic programs and includes music by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Gilbert and Sullivan, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Stephen Sondheim, Paul Robeson and more.
"Three dynamite baritones take the stage to give us a captivating musical tour of the baritone voice throughout history," press notes state. "Veteran singers Jeff Mattsey and Ben Davis join Kudisch in an illuminating performance studded with classics from Broadway, opera and beyond. From Gregorian chants to well-known arias ('Ah! Per sempre,' 'Largo') including show tunes ('I am a Pirate King,' 'Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,' 'Pretty Women') and popular music ('It Was a Very Good Year,' 'It's Now or Never'), Baritones UnBound: Celebrating the UnCommon Voice of the Common Man is a celebration of the baritone voice and its emergence as the revolutionary sound of the common man in one enchanted evening ringing with music, laughter and showmanship."
"When Marc told me he wanted to create this evening in defense of the baritone voice, focusing on the history and character of the baritone in popular and classical music, I thought he was making up things to take offense at," Dower said in a statement. "The idea that we had somehow moved away from the baritone voice for the last 30-plus years seemed like a stretch. These songs, from the early opera arias right up through the Sondheim, are some of the most popular songs ever written. They are in our cultural DNA. How could the baritone be an endangered species? But the deeper we went with this project, the more evident it became that this shift has happened. I am now fully on board for his quixotic quest to recover the baritone. It's my vocal range, too. I'm taking it personally."
Three-time Tony nominee Kudisch's stage credits include 9 to 5, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Assassins, The Wild Party and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Mattsey has performed at the Metropolitan Opera and at opera companies across the U.S., in Canada and in Europe.
Davis has appeared in La Bohème as well as A Little Night Music, Les Miserables and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
ArtsEmerson was established by Emerson College to program the Paramount Center Mainstage, the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre (“The Jackie”), the Bright Family Screening Room (all located within the Emerson/Paramount Center and the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre). Under the leadership of Rob Orchard, ArtsEmerson brings live professional American and international stage work to Boston audiences.
Tickets and more information are available by calling (617) 824-8400 or visiting artsemerson.org.
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