New libretto of "Candide" given regional premiere

"Candide (Adam Fieldson), Dr. Pangloss (Sam Hartley), Maximilian (Nolan Henkle) and Cunegonde (Kendall Reimer) — students gathered around the globe with their teacher.
"Candide (Adam Fieldson), Dr. Pangloss (Sam Hartley), Maximilian (Nolan Henkle) and Cunegonde (Kendall Reimer) — students gathered around the globe with their teacher.

New libretto of "Candide" given regional premiere

calendar icon08 Feb 2013    

The UNL School of Music and the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film present the regional premiere of Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of "Candide," Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 operetta. Performances are February 21, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and February 24 at 3:00 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall, 11th and Q streets.

Tickets are $20 general admission, $10 students with ID and senior citizens. Tickets are available at the Lied Center Ticket Office, 301 North 12th Street, (402) 472-4747 or (800) 432-3231 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m Monday through Friday and one hour prior to performances in the Kimball Hall lobby.

All seating is general admission. Reservations for a particular performance are strongly recommended.

“What do you get when you combine an iconic composer, a Nebraska-born award-winning playwright and a highly talented cast and crew of students?" According to UNL professor Alisa Belflower, "It’s a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart!” Belflower is the director of the production. "Candide" is a collaboration of the School of Music and the Carson School sponsored by the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, the same collaboration that produced "Carousel," "Guys and Dolls," "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Oklahoma!" Students from both schools are performing, and UNL Orchestra conductor Tyler G. White will conduct.

Belflower explained that the operetta has undergone numerous changes and adaptations since its opening in 1956. Bernstein not only modified the musical score, but brought in various lyricists such as Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman and Stephen Sondheim to aid in the show’s development. Now, Mary Zimmerman, a Lincoln Neb. native, with permission from the Bernstein Estate, has created a new libretto by going back to the Voltaire novella first published in 1759. According to Belflower, “She updated the humor to be more contemporary, changed the order or location of some of the hero’s travels and disasters then incorporated Bernstein’s music, selecting from the multiple existing scores. The UNL production will be the first presentation of Zimmerman’s work with full orchestration.”

Belflower calls the production, “Musically and visually vibrant…that retains the basic storyline and all the Bernstein musical favorites, such as 'Glitter and Be Gay,' 'The Best of All Possible Worlds' and 'Make Our Garden Grow.'” She believes the story of "Candide" represents “a celebration of the human spirit, which is never more magnificent than when tested by adversity.”

Cast and Crew

Candide (Adam Fieldson) is the illegitimate nephew of the Baron (Ryan Rabstejnek), and lives in the Baron’s castle with Maximillian (Nolan Henkle), the Baroness’s (Anne Gray) son, and Cunegonde (Kendall Reimer), the Baroness’s daughter, whom Candide loves. All three are pupils of Dr. Pangloss (Sam Hartley), the world’s greatest philosopher. After Candide angers the Baron, he is exiled and begins an odyssey that takes him around the world. Throughout, Candide attempts to live by Pangloss’s philosophy that, no matter what happens, this is the “best of all possible worlds.”

The cast is made up entirely of University of Nebraska–Lincoln students, and in addition to the above includes, Harper Anderson, Thomas Boyle, Christian Cardona, Kamerin Churchman, Kourtlin Churchman, Matthew Clegg, Jay Colwell, Deanna Davis, Rebecca Duncan, David Michael Fox, Angela Gilbert, Lauren Hackenmiller, Jared Hiscock, Bryan Howard, Lauren Huston, Shade Ingraham, Brian Jeffers, Kayla Klammer, Hannah Kurth, Timothy Madden, Cody Meyer, Meghan Modrovsky, Brette Petersen, Deanna Pina, Jaimie Pruden, David Rubio, Devon Schovanec, Emily Solo, Jenny Smith, Trip Snyder, Justin Strong, Jamie Unger, Nathaniel Sullivan, Sara Warner, Rachael Washington, and Kayla Wilkens.

The production is created by graduate students Michaela Lynne Stein (scenic), Mallory Maria Prucha (costumes), Clayton Andrew Van Winkle (lighting), undergraduate student Michael Fortkamp (technical direction), and instructional staff member Jeff O’Brien (sound), and is stage managed by undergraduate Megan Kraft. Ms. Prucha is fulfilling requirements for her Master of Fine Arts degree with her responsibilities to this production.