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UNCSA brings you a night at the opera… and The Foreigner opens in Winston-Salem

by Mark Burger

The AJ Fletcher Opera Institute’s production of Thomas Pasatieri’s lighthearted opera The Hotel Casablanca will open Wednesday, May 11 in the Agnes de Mille Theatre, located on the main campus of the UNC School of the Arts.

This two-act romantic comedy is set in post-World War II Texas, and focuses on Tom and Tallulah Carter, the owners of the Double-T Ranch, and their nephew Charles, who’s paying a visit. They are joined by Raul and Lucy Perez, as well as Miss Pooder and Veronique from the Hotel Casablanca. Before too long, a series of mistaken identities results in a reign of comedic confusion.

The Hotel Casablanca boasts music and an original libretto created by Pasatieri, and is based on Georges Feydeau’s classic 1907 farce A Flea in Her Ear (Une Puce a L’oreille). The Hotel Casablanca enjoyed its world premiere in the summer of 2007, under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera program, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre.

This production is directed by Steven LaCrosse, with James Allbritten providing musical direction and Angela Vanstory Ward the vocal preparation. All three are faculty-artists from the Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA; LaCrosse is the managing director, Allbritten the artistic director and Ward the principal vocal coach.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday (May 11) and Friday (May 13); 2 p.m. Sunday (May 15). Tickets are $12 (adults) and $10 (students with valid ID and senior citizens), and reservations are suggested. For advance tickets or more information, call 336.721.1945 or visit www. uncsa.edu/performances. For more information regarding the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute, see www.fletcheropera.com.

The Stained Glass Playhouse’s production of Larry Shue’s award-winning comedy The Foreigner will open Friday at Marvin United Methodist Church.

David Piner headlines the cast as a British demolition expert on assignment at a military base in Georgia. Cameron Williams plays his pathologically shy pal Charlie, left to languish at a fishing lodge among people who believe he’s a foreigner and can’t speak a word of English. Needless to say, Charlie constantly finds himself in the right place at the right time — hearing every wrong word by those around him, who are oblivious to the fact that he can understand their every word.

The original Broadway production, directed by Jerry Zaks, opened in 1984 and won two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards (Best New American Play and Best Off- Broadway Production). Tragically, playwright Shue died in a plane crash only a year later.

Carolyn Hooper, Matthew Graunke, Holly Bostick, Robert Bailey and Guido Villalbe Portel round out the cast of this production, which is directed by Michael Burke, a Stained Glass Playhouse veteran whose directorial credits include God’s Favorite, The Wizard of Oz, Bus Stop and the William Gibson classic The Miracle Worker. He also portrayed Henry II in last season’s production of James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter at the Stained Glass Playhouse.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (May 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21); 3 p.m. Sundays (May 8, 15 and 22). Tickets are $12 (adults), $10 (senior citizens and students with valid ID). For tickets or more information, call 336.499.1010 or 336.661.4949.

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