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  Master Class at Stage 773

Master Class

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave Chicago

This glorious, raw, and bittersweet look at one of opera's most formidable talents was the Tony Award winner for Best Play in 1996. Witness a master class conducted by legendary opera diva Maria Callas. Glamorous, demanding, and unapologetically herself, Callas critiques and regales a new crop of opera's finest. Both frustrated and amazed by the students thrust before her, she escapes into recollections of the glories and failures of her past, remembering her rise as one of opera's biggest underdogs. This authentic and musically rich MASTER CLASS presents a portrait of a faded star who refuses to be

Presented by TimeLine Theatre

Thru - Dec 9, 2018

Price: $42.50 - $56.50

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 773-327-5252

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins; one intermission

Stage 773 Seating Charts

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  Master Class Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Ulrich Brooks is one of most distinguished actors playing one of the contemporary theater's toughest roles: On the night I was there, anyway, the issue with the performance was that it tends to stay in the middle zone when, in fact, it is written more on the extremes. To put that another way, McNally wants you to be be scared stiff of Callas in a way that Brooks and Bowling don't show you here, and then, in the next moment, to be overwhelmed by the love she feels both for her art and for her fellow singers, a sudden tenderness and affection that also never quite does come through. It all comes from her heart, but it involves a great deal of risk."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...In Nick Bowling's superb staging for TimeLine Theatre, Molly Hernández, Keirsten Hodgens, and Eric Anthony Lopez are excellent as the students, alternately inspired and intimidated by an aging star who reigned supreme when they were still in diapers. Stephen Boyer, as the class's starstruck pianist, provides fine accompaniment on the Steinway grand."
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Albert Williams

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...The beauty of McNally's script and this production is that it takes no sides. Callas is right to note that too many of us are "looking for an easy way out." Her insistence that her students really listen to the music and do their homework is spot-on—singing is a form of acting. And yet, despite saying that the classes aren't about her ("Poof! I'm invisible!"), inevitably every encounter Brooks' Callas has with the students strips away part of them as well as herself, leaving them exposed and vulnerable. Is she there to help them, or is she more interested in making them—and us—see her as more than a fading legend?"
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Kerry Reid

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...135 minutes after its sweeping opening, director Nick Bowling’s masterful rendering proves itself an artful cross between travesty and tour-de-force. Unwilling to play along with a supposedly dignified “master class,” a few boorish bullies in the opening night crowd clearly sided with Brooks’s meaner moments. (Silence, as usual, remains golden.) The real Callas would have slaughtered them with Medusa-like efficiency but, understandably, Brooks stuck to the script."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Timeline Theatre is noted for bringing history to its stage(s), both at their Wellington location ( main theater), and of late using smaller venues on Belmont. Currently they are bringing to Stage 773’s larger stage “Master Class”, Terrence McNally’s riveting play depicting the teaching days of legendary opera diva, Maria Callas ( a remarkable performance by Chicago favorite, Janet Ulrich Brooks). This production is staged by Nick Bowling, who does so with all the heart and feeling of one who both admired this star and deep down resented her “assumed perfection over all others”. McNally captures this woman as her life is changing."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Callas is a bold and imperfect teacher, and McNally asks us to question whether the projection of her own experiences onto her wide-eyed students is really to their benefit. Regardless of our answer, Callas’ experiences are very real and very present, a lifetime of navigating “the people who are everywhere in our lives, but don’t wish us well.” In Brooks’ hands, we are swept up, not in the personalities and rivalries, but in Callas’ profound love affair with her “fire” and excellence."
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Erin Shea Brady

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This brilliant production is an important play for anyone involved in the arts, especially the field of music. It leaves the audience with the image of a great artist, a perfectionist who expected nothing less from her students. Hoping to impart her wisdom from years of experience to the future generation of opera, the theatergoer leaves, having beheld a woman who was first and foremost a hyper-critical artist, and whose personal happiness blossomed only when she was on a stage performing for her adoring public."
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Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...More than 40 years after her death, Maria Callas remains one of the most acclaimed (and perhaps infamous) opera stars ever to grace stages from Rome to New York and back again. It’s Chicago’s luck that in addition to an insightful, intimate documentary about her, this season we also get this impressive staging of an acclaimed show that delves into both her psyche and her lasting impact on generations of performers and audiences alike."
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Lisa Trifone

The Hawk Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Since its Broadway premiere in 1995, Terrence McNally’s Master Class has been a popular pick on the high school speech team circuit; after all, McNally’s biting portrayal of real-life opera singer Maria Callas lends itself well to the short, humorous two-person scenes common in those competitions. Yet, as TimeLine Theatre Company’s production of the piece illustrates, the play is full of laughs but short on substance, even when presented with an insanely talented cast."
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Emily Schmidt

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...In this fictionalized account of a master class in operatic singing based on real ones the great Maria Callas taught at Julliard, the diva demands of her students not merely technical perfection, but heart. She finds herself both frustrated and inspired by her young charges as their work draws her back into memories of her own successes and failures."
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...“Master Class” delivers the lessons of a lifetime to three students, expertly cast as Tenor Tony (Eric Anthony Lopez), First Soprano Sophie (Molly Hernandez) and Second Soprano Sharon (Keirsten Hodgens), composites from the 25 of Callas’ students who participated in the Julliard events and based on McNally’s firsthand observations. A magnificent 12 foot Steinway grand piano is the centerpiece of the sweeping design by Arnel Sancianco that engulfs the thrust space to bring Callas, her students and accompanist Manny (Stephen Boyer) eye-to-eye with the audience."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Fans of the Metropolitan Opera movie The Audition that so aptly captures the drive and vulnerability of would-be opera greats might feel a sense of déja vu. Opera lovers—and especially those who have taken the Lyric’s backstage tour and learned of Callas’ historic role in Chicago opera history—will likely find Master Class totally engaging, as will fans of biographies brought to life on the stage."
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Amy Munice

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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