The University of Findlay’s Concert-Chorale will present a semi-staged performance of the classic 1953 operetta “Kismet: A Musical Arabian Night” at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 1, at Findlay High School in the R.L. Heminger Auditorium.
The performance will feature the 65-voice Concert-Chorale, a 38-piece orchestra, six professional soloists and dancers from the Findlay Academy of Ballet.
Tickets are free but a limited number are available. Call the Box Office at 419-434-5335 to reserve tickets.
The story of “Kismet” takes place in during a single 24-hour period in the city of Baghdad. A clever beggar-poet arrives and pretends to be a man named Hajj, who works his way into the confidence of the power-crazy Wazir of Police, who is plotting to have the young Caliph of Baghdad wed three wealthy princesses. However, the Caliph meets and falls in love with a young peasant girl, Marsinah (the poet’s daughter) but loses track of her. The poet does not realize that by aiding the Wazir, he is risking the loss of a royal son-in-law. After several dramatic ups and downs and a visit to the Wazir’s harem, the young lovers are reunited, the villainous Wazir is killed, and the poet is exiled to an exotic desert oasis with the Wazir’s beautiful widow, Lalume.
“Kismet” opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Dec. 3, 1953, and ran for 583 performances. It won the Tony award for best musical, best libretto, best musical score, best conductor and best actor (Alfred Drake). The original production starred Joan Diener, Doretta Morrow and Richard Kiley. In 1955, MGM released the film version starring Howard Keel, Dolores Gray, Ann Blyth, Vic Damone and Sebastian Cabot.
Some of the famous songs include “Stranger in Paradise,” “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” and “And This Is My Beloved.”
Micheal F. Anders, Ph.D., is music director and conductor. Heather Williams, Ph.D., is stage director. Judy Reading is choreographer for the Findlay Academy of Ballet, and Gregory Griffin is sound and lighting designer.
Featured vocalists are Lance Ashmore, baritone, as Poet; Audra Casebier, soprano, as Marsinah; Elizabeth Gray, spinto soprano, as Lalume; Bob Schirmer, baritone, as Omar Khayyam; Geoff Stephenson, bari-tenor, as Wazir of Police; and Jake Wilder, tenor, as the Caliph.
Ashmore is a member of the voice faculties at The University of Findlay, Bowling Green State University and Ohio Northern University. A native of Ohio, Ashmore has a repertoire that includes many leading roles in operas and operettas. He has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in vocal performance from BGSU.
Casebier recently completed a bachelor’s degree from the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University and will begin working toward a master’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in fall 2012. Casebier has several professional performance credits to her name.
Gray sings classical, musical theater and pop music. A native of Detroit, Gray holds a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is a seasoned concert artist, having performed in Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Rome, among other venues.
Schirmer is the University archivist at Findlay and was reference librarian and director of the Shafer Library for 32 years. Schirmer frequently performs on area stages. He resides in Bluffton with his wife, Sheryl.
Stephenson is lecturer of musical theatre, vocal performance and history in the College of Musical Arts and Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University, where he has served for seven years. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Kent State University, and both a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from BGSU. He has worked in musical theater and education for more than 30 years.
Wilder, a native of Van Wert County, is studio master for First United Methodist Church and director of Wilder Voice Studios. He completed a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at Bowling Green State University, where he performed in many productions.