An Evening of Sondheim Songs
This program is a collaboration between MacPhail faculty, MacPhail students and community artists. It reflects MacPhail’s commitment to push educational boundaries and cultivate community as it creatively moves from a top-down approach to education to one that embraces teaching artists and performing artists within and outside of our walls. Faculty members David Kozisek and Walter Tambor along with student, Chris Andersen have conceived a program that celebrates the genius of the recently deceased Stephen Sondheim, a giant of the American musical theater, in a review of selections from 12 of his shows. The show includes three additional outside artists and will be performed at both MacPhail Minneapolis and MacPhail Austin plus a cabaret-style show in a private venue. It’s truly a reflection of MacPhail’s mission to create and share inspiration musical experiences.
More About the Program:
Stephen Sondheim was one of the most important figures in twentieth-century musical theater. He is credited for having reinvented the American musical with shows that tackled unexpected themes that range far beyond the traditional subjects. When he died last year he left behind 18 musicals and hundreds of additional songs for television and movies. In this performance of Stephen Sondheim Songs, MacPhail faculty join other Minneapolis musicians to celebrate his legacy with a performance of selections from 12 of his musicals that span decades of his career. Join us for an evening that will be full of songs of both familiar and rarely performed work. You will leave with a new appreciation of this giant of American music.
About the Performers
A Kentucky native, Janet moved to the Twin Cities in 1988 to pursue a career on the stage. She’s worked steadily for the past three decades in several local theatres, including The Children’s Theatre Company, The History Theatre, Theater Latte Da, Park Square Theatre, YellowTree Theatre and had the privilege of debuting two of Chris Andersen’s plays. Janet also works as an executive assistant at a Fortune 500 company in Minneapolis. She lives in St. Paul with two color coordinated cats, and enjoys good books, long walks, solitude, and gathering with friends. She is delighted to be singing with such wonderful musicians. They are all good eggs; Janet sat on an egg once when she played a duck.
Chris Andersen loves to sing. He has been a life-long musician with a focus on choral music through college choirs and symphonic choruses. More recently he has transitioned to solo and small ensemble performance and is delighted to be a part of this Sondheim review with such talented musicians. He thanks his voice teachers, Audrey Stottler and David Kozisek and his many choir directors for helping him find his voice and in turn his soul. Chris is also a practicing playwright.
Dr. David Kozisek is on faculty at MacPhail Center for Music, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and holds degrees from DePauw University, University of Michigan, and University of Minnesota. Before moving to Minneapolis, he appeared frequently at the Kennedy Center with the Washington National Opera, Washington Chorus, Washington Concert Opera, Cathedral Choral Society, and the National Symphony Orchestra among others. David has also performed with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and in various theatrical programs at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. David is also the Director of Music and Worship at Hamline Church United Methodist in St. Paul where he conducts a variety of ensembles and curates and produces their Music and Arts Series. He is thrilled with the opportunity to perform alongside his student, colleagues, and new friends.
Walter Tambor currently serves as Director of Contemporary and World Music at The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis; Assistant Conductor/Accompanist for the Minneapolis Youth Chorus, an education program of the Minnesota Chorale; and music director of LeagueAires, a women’s choir who bring the joy and healing power of music to older adults and those with special needs. Before coming to Minneapolis in 2004, Walter was a faculty member at the Chicago Children’s Choir Academy, DePaul University Community Music Division, and an active musical director for Chicago theatres. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and DePaul University.
Pat Norton chose the cello because of its emotive power, its range of warm low tones to bright high notes and the human voice that can be found within its steel strings. It’s also the instrument that was handed to her in elementary school. She studied cello and voice at the University of Minnesota and finds her greatest joy in collaboration with other musicians and in finding connections with audiences through music. She plays with the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis and is thrilled to be bringing the lyrical cello to Stephen Sondheim’s music in duets with the other very human voices in this show. Oh, and she likes puns.
Dance artist Penelope Freeh sits in the question of how aesthetics shape content and meaning, working particularly with heightened theatricality and intimate gesture. A McKnight Fellow for Choreographers welcomed by musical theater and opera groups, she has worked with Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Mu Performing Arts, Nautilus Music Theater, Skylark Opera Theatre, and Theater Latte Da among others. Freeh danced with James Sewell Ballet for seventeen years, serving as Artistic Associate from 2007-11. She is a Lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Adjunct Assistant Professor at St. Olaf College, and additionally teaches at St. Paul Ballet, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, TU Dance, and Zenon. Freeh holds a Dance MFA from Hollins University. She is thrilled to be part of this exciting project!