The revival of “Master Class,” playwright Terrence McNally’s 1995 bio-drama about opera diva Maria Callas, opened July 7 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre with Tyne Daly in the lead role.
Daly previously played Callas in the 2010 Kennedy Center staging of the production, and reprises the role again here for New York theatre audiences. The play takes a fictional look at one of Callas’ real-life master classes of the 1970s, wherein she prods and guides young singers, while reflecting on her own career and sacrifices made in the name of art.
Daly’s stage counterparts, who are called upon to sing in their respective roles as students of Callas’ master class, are Sierra Boggess, Alexandra Silber and Garrett Sorenson. Also appearing are Clinton Brandhagen, as a stagehand, and Jeremy Cohen, as Callas’ accompanist.
The limited engagement, directed by Stephen Wadsworth, will now run through September 4. The drama’s close-date — first set down as August 14 and then extended to August 21 — was pushed back yet again to September thanks to critics’ enthusiastic opening night reviews.
Since previews began June 14, “Master Class” audiences have grown from 68 to 95 percent capacity at the 641-seat playhouse. Regular ticket prices for the limited engagement are $57 to $121, with a four-week total gross of $872,217.
“Master Class” runs two hours and 15 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. The drama is staged Tuesday at 7 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre is located at 261 West 47th Street in New York, NY. More details about “Master Class” can be found on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “Master Class”
|New York Times||Ben Brantley||“‘Master Class’ is not, by even a generous reckoning, a very good play, though it can be an entertaining one. … Yet Ms. Daly transforms that script into one of the most haunting portraits I’ve seen of life after stardom.”|
|The Wall Street Journal||Terry Teachout||“[Daly’s] acting, though it’s a bit broad, smolders with remembered heartbreak, and her three hapless students…all pierce the veil of caricature and give effective performances.”|
|New York Daily News||Joe Dziemianowicz||“Daly’s work is terrific enough to nudge you past the play’s built-in contrivances.”|
|New York Post||Elisabeth Vincentelli||“If you think [Daly] is a curious casting choice, you’re right. And the gamble doesn’t quite pay off.”|
|New York Magazine||Scott Brown||“Stephen Wadsworth’s production is disciplined and clean, and the timing is impeccable; but it also feels a little arid and reveals the play’s roots as a glorified sketch.”|
|Washington Post||Peter Marks||“Daly’s performance can safely be diagnosed as top of the line.”|