About the Artists

2014-2015 Season

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Valerie Anastasio

Valerie Anastasio, soprano, performs in cabaret venues throughout the Boston area and New England with pianist Tim Harbold.  The duo has also appeared with Benjamin Sears and Bradford Conner in Noël & Cole – Together with Music (songs of Noël Coward and Cole Porter), and Fred & Ethel – Great Songs of Astaire and Merman, two critically-acclaimed original revues that have drawn capacity audiences to area venues in Boston, New York, and greater New England.  In 2010 she joined with fellow American Classics regulars Mary Ann Lanier, Heather Peterson and pianist Rob Humphreville to create the quartet Goody Goody which celebrates the Great American Songbook with 3-part girl-group harmonies.  Anastasio has also been a featured comic player in six AC revivals, Irving Berlin’s Watch Your Step (2000), Howard Dietz & Arthur Schwartz’s The Bandwagon (2001), Berlin’s Stop! Look! Listen! (2002), George & Ira Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band (2004), Berlin’s Music Box Revues 1921-1924 (2005) and Cole Porter’s Fifty Million Frenchmen (2005).  She is featured on five recordings:  Saving Daylight Time – New American Songs (Albany Records, Troy 343), Noël & Cole – Together with Music (Oakton Recordings ORCD1001), Fred & Ethel – Great Songs of Astaire and Merman (Oakton Recordings ORCD1002), Everybody Step – Irving Berlin’s Music Box Revues (Oakton Recordings ORCD 0008), and Marching Along With Time – Irving Berlin Songs, 1935-1945 (Oakton Recordings ORCD 0010).  www.valerieandtim.com

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Eric Bronner

Eric Bronner, tenor, marks his 17th  appearance with American Classics.  He has performed as a soloist at the Aldeburgh Music Festival (England) and rôles nationally at First Coast Opera (St. Augustine, FL), Townsend Opera (Modesto, CA), and the Napa Zarzuela Festival (CA).  His area rôle credits include Opera Providence, Longwood Opera, Longfellow House Opera, and Ocean State Light Opera.  Favorite rôles include Mozart’s Ferrando, Tamino, Pedrillo; and G&S’s Frederick, Ralph, Nanki-Poo; and Alfred (Die Fledermaus).  With an M.M. from the Longy School of Music, an M.S. from Ohio University, and a B.A. from Purdue University, Bronner now teaches at Roger Williams University and Salve Regina University.  He is a Certified McClosky Voice Technician-Master Teacher and Certified in LoVetri Somatic Voice Work, Level III. Press reviews include “terrific”-St. Augustine Record (FL), “impressive”-Stockton Record (CA), “a beautiful voice that sailed with ease”-Providence Journal (RI), and “deft comic acting”-Boston Globe (MA).

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Bradford Conne

 

Bradford Conner, baritone and Music Director, is a Producing Director and one of the founders of American Classics.  For over 25 years, he has appeared regularly in cabaret with Benjamin Sears, including appearances in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, Oxford (England), Paris (France), throughout New England, and most recently in Transylvania.  As lecturers Sears and Conner were invited to be guest speakers in a pre-concert talk given at Symphony Hall (Boston) for a Barbara Cook concert presented by the Fleet/Boston Celebrity Series.  Sears and Conner have thirteen CD releases (Oakton Recordings), including Noël & Cole and Fred & Ethel with cabaret duo, Valerie Anastasio and Tim Harbold.  In 2013 they released the fifth and sixth volumes in their series of seven of songs by Irving Berlin, Reaching for the Moon with Norton Award winning actress, Leigh Barrett, and Marching Along with Time with Anastasio and Harbold.  Also with Anastasio and Harbold, Sears and Conner created a new musical revue, Fred & Ethel – Great Songs of Astaire and Merman which played to a capacity audience at Scullers Jazz Club.  Conner helped create and was music director for It’s Magic – Songs of Sammy Cahn for American Classics which was released as a commercial recording in 2013.  With Sears, Conner has restored and performed in American Classics’ concert revivals of Irving Berlin’s Watch Your Step (2000), Stop! Look! Listen! (2002), Music Box Revues (2005), Yip! Yip! Yaphank! and Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz’s The Band Wagon (2001).  For those productions and the American Classics presentations of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s Peggy-Ann (2003), George S. Kauman and George & Ira Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band (2004), and Cole Porter’s 50 Million Frenchmen (2005), he was also co-music director and chorus master.  As Music Director in the Boston area, he has also worked with the Publick Theatre (Boston, MA) the New Repertory Theatre, and is currently Director of Music at the First Parish Church in Bedford (MA).  www.benandbrad.com

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Brian DeLorenzo

Brian De Lorenzo, tenor, is equally at home in theatres, concert halls, and cabaret rooms including venues in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Provincetown, Puerto Vallarta, and London, as well as cruise ships in Alaska, the Mediterranean, and crossing the Atlantic.  Cabaret Scenes Magazine said: “There are good shows and there are great shows, but once in a blue moon you’re at a cabaret and you know something extraordinary is going on. De Lorenzo is at the top of his game.”  In October, Brian performed in Boston’s North End, celebrating Italian Heritage Month and at Boston’s Lyric Stage in “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime – Celebrating the Music of Dean Martin & the Rat Pack.”  He has performed tributes to Sinatra & Tony Bennett (“Sinatra, Tony, & Me”) and to Nat King Cole at New York’s Metropolitan Room & Boston’s top jazz club, Scullers.  His CD Found Treasures was nominated for the 2000 “Recording of the Year” Award by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC).  Earlier this year, Brian appeared in the Pulitzer and Tony award-winning musical Next to Normal at Nextdoor Theater in Winchester.  He is Talent America’s 2001 “Performer of the Year.”  Visit www.BrianDeLorenzo.com.

David Frieze, director, has directed seven productions in American Classics’ series of concert revivals of Broadway musicals, beginning with Irving Berlin’s Watch Your Step in 2000.  In addition to many other musicals and non-musical plays at numerous theaters, he directed Curley – The Musical, which ran for three months at the Black Rose Pub in Quincy Marketplace and another year at the InStages Theater in Boston’s Theater District.  He was the Boston area reviewer, columnist and feature-writer for BackStage (1994-2006), and the Regional Reviews Editor of the New England Theater Journal (2006-2009).  He has directed his own adaptation of Moliere’s Sganarelle (published by Baker’s Plays), has written an updating of Moliere’s The Miser (titled The Skinflint of the Silver Screen), and in collaboration with Jim Quinn has written eleven children’s plays, all of which have been produced at Bridgewater State University (as was Skinflint). He served for many years on the board of the New England Theatre Conference and, since 2008, has been the administrator of the John Gassner Playwriting Awards.

Lauren Frick

Lauren Frick

Lauren Frickmezzo-soprano, is currently a GPD Opera student at the Longy School of Music of Bard College under the tutelage of Donna Roll.  Her favorite roles include, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, the Old Lady in Candide, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Ma Moss in The Tender Land, and Principessa in Suor Angelica.  Frick recently performed in the world premiere of the chamber opera, Bobok, as The Lady Z with Thompson Street Opera.  She has participated in several summer festival programs including Miami Summer Music FestivalThe Frost School of Music at Salzburg, Opera Viva!BASOTI, and the Johanna Meier Opera Theatre Institute.

 

Davron S. Monroe

Davron S. Monroe

Davron S. Monroetenor, returns for his third appearance with American Classics.  His musical theatre performances include The Mikado, Avenue Q, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Sweeney Todd with Lyric Stage Boston; GodspellHairsprayDreamgirls, Jesus Christ SuperstarChildren of EdenKey West Symphony’s Broadway Across America premier of Songs for a New WorldSmokey Joe’s Cafe, CinderellaStreakin’ 70’s Musical Revue, Sweet Charity, Brigadoon, Show Boat, and The All Night Strut.  In Opera, Monroe has been featured with the Key West SymphonyHouston Ebony Opera GuildBrevard Music CenterConnecticut OperaOpera Providence, the Longy School Orchestra, the New England Spiritual Ensemble, and Juventas where he premiered the role of Thomas Edison in Light and Power.  He has been a featured soloist in Judas Maccabeaus, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Schubert’s Mass in Eb, Dvorak’s Mass in DMesse Solennelle (“Saint Cecilia”) and The Chariot Jubilee with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.  Full opera productions includeCarmenTreemonisha, Mozart’s Impresario and La Finta GiardinieraCabildoRigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du Regiment,  L’elisir d’amore, Cosi fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte, Die Fledermaus, The Tailor of Gloucester, Fidelio, Cardillac, Maria Padilla, and Beatrice and Benedict.  Monroe is the first recipient of the Bob Jolly Award which honors up-and-coming New England theatre talent.

Cynthia Mork

Cynthia Mork

Cynthia Mork, mezzo-soprano, performs classical music, American popular song and jazz, in greater Boston and beyond in a variety of concerts, recitals, opera roles and other engagements. This is her 6th appearance with American Classics, and on occasion she also joins the Ben Sears and Brad Conner duo in themed programs featuring music of the American Songbook and classical repertoire.  She can be heard on their 2013 CD release Reaching for the Moon Moon– Songs of Irving Berlin (1925-1935), as well as on American Classics’ recent CD,  It’s Magic – A One Hundredth Birthday Salute to Sammy Cahn.  Mork is a long-time student of soprano Sue Ellen Kuzma.

 

Caroline Musica

Caroline Musica

Caroline Musicasoprano, made her American Classics series debut in Up Close and Presidential (2008) and appeared in Recognize the Tune (2009) andFabulous Fenway (2012).  She appeared with the ensemble in a Shubertiad at the First Parish Church in Bedford, singing selections from Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly’s Blossom Time.  Recent performances include La Chauve-Souris in L’Enfant et les Sortileges with MetroWest Opera, soprano soloist with Masterworks Chorale in Handel’s Messiah and in the Mozart Requiem under the direction of Steven Karidoyanes, Longwood Opera’s summer concert series, guest singer with the Longy Large Jazz Ensemble, Siren in the Boston premier of Odysseus and as Mme. Silverpeal in The Impresario at the Natick Center for the Arts and Longy.  Musica has performed in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus and in concert with Maine Grand Opera and in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, as a member of Boston Opera Collaborative. She has appeared as Maria in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music at Community Little Theatre, and in the premier of Beth Weimann’s opera Deeds as leading lady, Mary, at the University of Maine, where she was also seen as Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Sally in Gesner’s You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.  Musica received her B.M. in Vocal Performance from theUniversity of Maine with honors in 2004.  She has been a part of the CrittendenHarrower and Key West Symphony Young Artist Programs and is a student of Robert Honeysucker.

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Ethan Sagin

 

Ethan Sagin, baritone, is making his American Classics debut.  A native of Western Maryland, Sagin has appeared onstage and in concert throughout the Boston area.  This summer he made his operatic role debuts as Uncle 3 and Potato-Face Blind Man in the world premiere of Rootabaga Stories with Thompson Street Opera and Dr. Gregg in Gallantry with the Nahant Music Festival.  He also appeared as a soloist with the Nahant Festival in J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 12 Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Sagen, wit the Calliope Collaborative Ensemble in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and the Longy Conservatory Orchestra in Gabriel Faure’s Requiem.  Upcoming engagements include the role of the Tailor in The Tailor of Gloucester with the Longy Opera Studio, as a soloist for C. P. E. Bach’s Magnificat with the Philharmonic Society of Arlington, and appearances with the Cantata Singers conducted by David Hoose.  Sagin received his B. A. in Music with high honors from Carleton College in 2013 and is currently a M. M. Candidate in Opera Performance at the Longy School of Music.

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Benjamin Sears

Benjamin Sears, baritone, is one of the Producing Directors and founders of American Classics. With Bradford Conner he performs in cabaret with appearances at Scullers Jazz Club, Club Café, Don’t Tell Mama (New York, NY), The Gardenia (Los Angeles, CA) and many venues throughout the Northeast.  They have thirteen CD releases of Berlin, the Gershwins, E.Y. Harburg, and three with Valerie Anastasio & Tim Harbold.  Sears & Conner made their European debut in 2008 in Oxford, England, performing at Fred Astaire – The Conference, and have also performed at the American Cathedral in Paris, France, and in Romania.  Sears has appeared with American Classics as one of the lawyers in Irving Berlin’s Watch Your Step in 2000, in various rôles in Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz’s The Band Wagon in 2001, as Rob Ayers in Stop! Look! Listen!, in the Ensemble of Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart’s Peggy-Ann, as Colonel Holmes in George S. Kaufman and George & Ira Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band, as Michael Cummins in Cole Porter’s 50 Million Frenchmen, and in Yip! Yip! Yaphank!  He has appeared with the Publick Theatre, Act I Arena Theatre, and other Boston-area groups in musicals and operas.  He studied voice with Diana Cole and acting with June Judson.  Sears is the editor of The Irving Berlin Reader from Oxford University Press and is currently writing a chapter for a book on the MGM film The Wizard of Ozwww.benandbrad.com

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Steve Sussman

Steve Sussman, piano, is an active pianist in the Boston Metropolitan area, playing classical, jazz, musical theater and New Music as a soloist, accompanist, chamber and orchestral musician.  He has previously appeared with American Classics in It’s Magic and Dizzy Fingers.  Sussman is on the faculty at the Rivers Conservatory of Music in Weston and at the St. Marks School in Southborough.  He also plays regularly at the First Parish Church (Bedford), St. Ignatius Church (Boston College) and Christ Church (Needham).  Sussman is the director of Opera Presto, an educational/performance group dedicated to introducing opera to young people.  He also maintains a private teaching studio in his home in Needham.

 

Stanley Wilson

Stanley Wilson

Stanley Wilson, tenor, was recently hailed by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Joyce Tamer in her review of A Worcester Schubertiad, “Stanley Wilson opened the program with three lieder which he sang expressively and with a relaxed and focused tone.”  “This is a real gem” states Henry Fogel in Fanfare magazine of Stanley Wilson’s latest CD, Art Songs of the British Romantics.  Mr. Wilson was also honored by the Minuetto Music Festival last June with their Rising Star Award.  Opera credits include Basilio and Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro, Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte, Mr. Angel in The Impresario, Bardolfo in Falstaff, Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos, El Rememdado in Carmen, Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Tinca in Il Tabarro, Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi, Gastone in La Traviata and Lorenzo in I Capuleti e I Montecchi and a cover of Jaquino in Fidelio with Opera Boston.  Please visit his website at www.stanleywilsontenor.com to see upcoming engagements and CDs releases.

Margaret Ulmer

Margaret Ulmer

 

Margaret Ulmer, piano, specializes in American music, including the ragtime compositions of Scott Joplin and colleagues, folk-based regional music, and piano music of the composer-pianists of Tin Pan Alley and Great American Songbook.  Solo piano concerts include Excursions – America’s Musical Landscapes; Gotham Swings;  Marches, Rags and Blues; Ragtime Musique; Rhythm Ventures; Sophisticated Ladies; Wayfaring Stranger; and the upcoming My Manhattan: Music of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, and Friends.  She is a co-founder and producing director of American Classics, now in its 17th year, directing music for their Musicals in Concert series, the Songs and Singers series, and creating their four ragtime concerts, Elite Syncopations: That’s Ragtime! (2005), the All About Ragtime Festival (The Easy Winners: A Ragtime Jubilee; American Beauties: Ragtime Melodies, 2006), and Celebrating Scott Joplin and 100 Years of Treemonisha (2011).  In addition to performing in multimedia events in Europe (Ars Electronica in Austria and Germany; The Athens Festival in Greece) and the U.S., Ulmer has directed music for productions at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and for most of Boston’s major repertory theatres.  She was the music director and pianist for two long-running improvisational revues in Cambridge, Boston and New York City: The Proposition Improvisational Revue and the New Opera Theater Ensemble (NOTE).  Ms. Ulmer teaches piano, improvisation for classical musicians, works as a collaborative pianist and solo recitalist, and coaches vocalists in the classical repertoire, the Great American Songbook, and European and American cabaret.

Stephanie Yoder

Stephanie Yoder

 

Stephanie Yoder, mezzo-soprano, is a former member of the choral music and voice faculty at Penn State University Abington.  After earning her Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Syracuse  University, Stephanie received her Master of Music in Pedagogy and Performance from the Westminster Choir College.  Stephanie has performed with Center City Opera Theater, Syracuse Opera, Oswego Opera, and at the Teatro Communale in Florence, Italy.  She is currently on the staff of the Longy School of Music of Bard College.