MASTER CLASS is a 1995 Tony award-winning play by Terrence McNally. The story follows Maria Callas, a world-renown opera singer, as she conducts a masterclass in the 1970s. Lyric is presenting the show at the Myriad Botanical Gardens from September 15 through October 3. MASTER CLASS is directed by Michael Baron, Lyric Theatre’s producing artistic director.
Viviana Goodwin, music theater/vocal performance senior at Oklahoma City University, is playing “Sophie de Palma” in the first week of performances.
Goodwin recently played “Fiordiligi” in Così fan tutte at OCU, which was directed by Matthew Sipress, Lyric’s production/company manager.
Goodwin has worked with Lyric Theatre in the past, serving as an understudy for Nunsense in 2021.
Goodwin said she is excited to be working with Lyric again, as well as working with OCU students outside of school.
“I love OCU, but to be working outside that environment is exciting, especially working with Michael Baron for the first time,” Goodwin said. “The Lyric setting and environment is professional, and it will be a great place for us to work.”
Goodwin said she had known about the play MASTER CLASS since high school.
“I was obsessed with Audra McDonald, so I was researching all of the shows she had done in the past. I found clips of the production that had been done with Zoey Caldwell, so there’s a super old reel with clips from the performance,” she said. “It was great to find a show I could do because It is a black person singing classical, and that’s exactly my thing.”
McDonald won the 1996 Tony Award for featured actress in a play for MASTER CLASS. Zoey Caldwell also won the 1996 Tony award for actress in a play, and the show itself won both Tony and Drama Desk awards.
Goodwin said her favorite opera is Marnie by Nico Muhly. The show was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and premiered in 2017.
“It used to be a movie and then it was turned into an opera. The lead character was played by Isabel Leonard, and the show was fantastic,” she said. “I had never seen opera done in that way, and this was a show that really got me into this. Storytelling is so important.”
Troy Freeman, music theater alumnus of OCU, is playing “Anthony Candolino” in the third week of MASTER CLASS performances. This is Freeman’s first production with Lyric.
“I hadn’t heard about the show before, but my roommate knew about the auditions. This was either the week of graduation or the week after. I spent five days just cramming for the audition. I was finally singing without a mask at the audition because we were all outside and distanced. It was a fantastic experience.”
Freeman is currently pursuing his masters in vocal performance at OCU.
“As a junior at OCU, I did a production of Lucia di Lammermoor, and I fell in love with opera. I auditioned for the vocal performance master’s program with the help of my teacher Dr. Catherine McDaniel.”
Since discovering his love for opera, Freeman attended the Taos Opera Institute in New Mexico this summer.
“I studied for a month under many talented teachers and got to sing in a masterclass for tenor David Portillo from the MET,” he said.
Freeman said he was immediately blown away when he read MASTER CLASS.
“I admired how earnest it was. It’s so raw in not only its love of the art, but the love of the people who do it,” Freeman said. “It showed me that it’s ok to not have it all figured out. At the end of the play, they all learn from each other, and I think it’s worth it going into my professional career knowing that I don’t have to know everything.”
MASTER CLASS is Lyric’s fourth show of the 2021 season, running September 15 to October 3, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Myriad Gardens. The production contains adult language and content.
Click here to buy tickets to MASTER CLASS.