UNCSA students and faculty to perform Pirates of Penzance with N.C. Symphony
Singers and actors from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts will perform with the North Carolina Symphony in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic masterpiece The Pirates of Penzance in Raleigh and Wilmington May 5-7.
Maestro Grant Llewellyn conducts the orchestra. Carl Forsman, Dean of the UNCSA School of Drama, directs nearly two dozen students and two faculty members for performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6, and 3 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 7 at the Wilson Center of Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. Tickets are available online, or at the door one hour before concert start time.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating once again with the North Carolina Symphony, whose members are among the state’s most accomplished artists,” said Forsman. “This partnership between North Carolina’s premier orchestra and its premier arts conservatory is a gift to audiences, and certainly to the students who will perform with top-caliber musicians.”
UNCSA last performed with the N.C. Symphony in 2015 for a semi-staged concert production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Plans are underway for an additional collaboration next year.
The Pirates of Penzance presents the story of tender-hearted pirates and the daughter of a modern major-general.
“Gilbert and Sullivan were brilliant in the marriage of words and music,” said Llewellyn. “Their works are stunningly elegant, tuneful, and very, very funny—Pirates of Penzance is a laugh a minute! We’re delighted to be collaborating once again with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for this semi-staged production.”
Carl Forsman became Dean of the School of Drama in 2012. During his tenure, The Hollywood Reporter ranked the school #18 worldwide, and applications have doubled. Prior to joining UNCSA, he founded the award-winning off-Broadway theater Keen and Company, which produced 27 plays over its first 12 seasons, working with some of America’s greatest stage actors. Forsman was nominated for a best director Drama Desk award for his work on Voice of the Turtle, Keen Company’s second play. He won an Obie Award for Sin: A Cardinal Deposed at the New Group. Forsman directed UNCSA’s October 2016 production of Arthur Miller’s After the Fall, as well as productions of Arcadia, Romeo & Juliet, The Matchmaker, Street Scene (with Matthew Bulluck), La Dispute, and Detective Story. In 2018, he will begin teaching and directing full-time in the School of Drama.
Mezzo-soprano Janine Hawley has achieved accolades for her critically acclaimed performances of roles ranging from Carmen to Cherubino in opera houses throughout the United States. Hawley has distinguished herself in several productions of Carmen, where Opera News noted that "she placed her stamp on Bizet's Gypsy at her first entrance, a tough provocative Carmen providing the sensual centerpiece for the evening, negotiating all the arias with lithe grace, her portrayal gaining in tragic stature as the opera reached its climax." She has worked with the Washington Opera (Kennedy Center), Opera Company of Philadelphia, New Orleans Opera, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Boston Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, Connecticut Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Sacramento Opera, Chautauqua Opera, among others. Her performances have garnered great critiques that praise her lush quality, dark timbre, technical facility and charming stage presence. Hawley was born in Nebraska and is a graduate of Indiana and Columbia universities. She began teaching full-time at UNCSA in 2013.
Greg Walter is an associate professor in the School of Drama, where he has taught since 2004. He is the recipient of the 2014 Encore Award for Alumni Excellence from the Belmont University School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in voice and piano and was the Theodore Presser Scholar in Music in 1986. He won the Joseph Jefferson Award for best ensemble in 1995 for Forever Plaid in Chicago. In 1998, he was nominated for a Jefferson Award as best actor in an ensemble for The Irish and How They Got That Way at the Mercury Theatre in Chicago, a performance about which the Chicago Sun-Times said, “And when Greg Walter—the superb music director who sits at the piano like a wizened and somewhat suspect leprechaun throughout the show—launches into a ravishing version of Wild Irish Rose, romanticism lives.” He was the recipient of a UNCSA Teaching Excellence Award for 2015-16.