Live theatre thrives in Santa Cruz

by Terrence McNally
Directed by Susan Myer Silton

MARCH 10 - APRIL 3, 2016

Maria Callas, one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century, is teaching a master class at Juilliard. She's glamorous, commanding, larger than life—and drop-dead funny. Alternately dismayed and impressed by the students who parade before her, she retreats into recollections about the glories of her own life and career.

"…rich, vivid, satisfying theater… " – NY Times


This production is funded, in part, by grants from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation; Community Foundation Santa Cruz County; Arts Council Santa Cruz County; and Monterey Peninsula Foundation, host of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am..


Susan Myer Silton (Director) has directed five season openers for Jewel: Saint Joan, Arcadia, Mary Stuart, House of Blue Leaves and Clouds. She was Jewel's dramaturge for The Price, Woman in Mind, Three Days of Rain, What the Butler Saw, and Arcadia, as well as the dramaturgy associate for Fallen Angels. A visual artist her entire life, Susan took her first theatre class in 1990 and hasn't looked back. She trained with the National Shakespeare Conservatory under a Merit Scholarship and acted with, among others, Pacific Repertory, Central Coast Theatre Works and Actors Theatre. In 1999, she co-founded Pisces Moon Productions, Inc., where she was Artistic Director for 12 years. A producer and director with more than 30 plays to her credit, Susan has served on the advisory committee for the Arts Council's Arts in Education program, is a Rydell Visual Arts Awardee, received the Gail Rich Award in 2009 and is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.


Lucas Brandt (tagehand) is tickled pink to be returning to Jewel Theatre Company, where he previously played Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls. Lucas recently graduated from UCSC with a BA in Theater Arts and is a current Master's candidate in Theater Arts at UCSC. University Credits: George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life... (SSC/UCSC), Constantine in Big Love, and Moritz in Spring Awakening. Lucas has also worked with Santa Cruz Shakespeare, Cal Shakes, San Jose Rep's Emerging Artist Lab, Boxcar Theatre, Berkeley Playhouse and Shotgun Players. Lucas would like to extend his thanks to his friends, family, and girlfriend for their undying support.

Patty Gallagher* (Maria Callas) is thrilled to be working with Jewel Theatre Company. Patty is an Artistic Associate of The Rogue Theatre (Tucson, AZ) and Professor of Theatre Arts at UC Santa Cruz where she teaches movement, mask, Balinese dance, and clown traditions. Favorite roles include Rosencrantz in Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Mabel in The Lady in the Looking Glass, Madame Moiselle in Dante's Purgatorio, Hannah Jarvis in Arcadia, Kali in Mistake of the Goddess (Hayavadana), Red Peter in Kafka's Monkey, Mrs. Samsa in Metamorphosis, Monkey King in Journey to the West, Autolycus in The Winter's Tale, Player 1 in Shipwrecked!, Alibech in The Decameron, Ariel in The Tempest, Rani in Naga Mandala, Emilia in Othello, the Player in Act Without Words, Orlando in Orlando, Sonnerie and Scarron in Red Noses, Winnie in Happy Days, Ranevskaya in The Cherry Orchard and Shen Te in The Good Woman of Setzuan. She has worked with Santa Cruz Shakespeare, The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, The New Pickle Circus, Ripe Time Theatre, Two River Theatre, Teatro Cronopio and Grupo Malayerba. She has performed, choreographed and directed workshops in Asia, South America, Europe, and the U.S. In 2006 she was Fulbright Scholar in Quito, Ecuador. In 2014 she was awarded the Pavel Machotka Chair in Creative Studies at UCSC's Porter College. She holds a doctorate in Theatre from University of Wisconsin–Madison. From 2002 to 2010, she was Director in Residence at the Clown Conservatory, San Francisco Circus Center.

Jennifer Mitchell (First Soprano – Sophie) is delighted to make her Jewel Theatre debut in Master Class. Her credits include The Light in the Piazza (Clara – SFBATCC nomination) and Carousel (Julie) at Spreckels Theatre Company, Le nozze di Figaro (Barbarina) at Opera San José, Where's Charley? (Kitty Verdun) and The Boy Friend (Polly Browne – SFBATCC nomination) at 42nd Street Moon, Così fan tutte (Despina) at Pocket Opera, Les Misérables (Cosette) at Woodminster, Fiddler on the Roof (Tzeitel) at Cinnabar Theater, Die Fledermaus (Ida) at Lamplighters Music Theatre, and La traviata (Annina) at Livermore Valley Opera. Jennifer also sings in the educational outreach programs at Opera San José and West Bay Opera and teaches voice. M.A. (Vocal Performance): San José State; B.A.s (Music, Italian): Wellesley College. See for upcoming engagements!

Aubrey Scarr (Second Soprano – Sharon) has been lauded as "a compelling dramatic soprano" by the Los Angeles Times. Lauri's List of Los Angeles describes her voice as "strong, one to watch: her sweet, youthful sparkle is captivating". Fresh from her Master of Music program at UCLA, Aubrey connected with the professional opera scene. Having been privileged to work with many companies, she has shared such leading ladies as Nedda in I Pagliacci, Micaëla in Carmen, Pamina in The Magic Flute, and Helena in Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream. Aubrey is thrilled to be playing with the Jewel Theatre Company and the incredible cast of Master Class.

Mete Tasin (Tenor – Tony) was born in Würzburg, Germany and raised in Turkey. He studied at Istanbul University State Conservatory, at Brooklyn College (Master of Music) and with the Conservatori del Liceu Barcelona (Master of Performing Classical Music). His career began in Minnesota USA, with Carmen (Don Jose) and Lucia di Lammermoor (Arturo). Mete has been in many leading roles in Turkey, Europe, and, most recently, in the U.S. Mete reprises his breath-taking role as Bizet Don Jose in Carmen at Mira Theater, Verismo Opera, and New York City Lyric Opera - Carnegie Hall in New York City. He sang Tybalt in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette and Guillot in Massenet's Manon at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space as a New York Lyric Opera Theatre Resident Artist. Aside from composing music for Ali Baba and 40 Thieves which premiered in New York, he also played a Sultan role, which hailed "fabulous" reviews from the Turkish Community as well as the audience. He also composed "Bald Boy" for Turkish American Repertoire Theater Entertainment. Mete also had a lot of solo performances at one of the most important concert halls in Europe - the "Palau de la Musica" in Barcelona. Mete collaborated with Istanbul Opera House as the solo tenor in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy. He performed at Izmir Symphony Orchestra, Ankara State Chorus, and Vasif Adiguzel's Canakkale Oratorio as a tenor soloist. He has collaborated with well known conductors and coaches such as: William Hicks, Joan Dornemann, Deborah Birnbaum, John Yaffe, Gaetano Colajanni, Pier Calmelet, Ibrahim Yazici, Serdar Yalcin, Gokcen Koray, Rengim Gokmen, Koji Kawamoto, Cesar Ulloa, Sheri Greenawald, Ricardo Estrada, Carmen Bustamante, Roberto Accurso, Mark Nicolson, Giacomo Aragall and Montserrat Caballe.

Diana Torres Koss* (Music Director/Accompanist) was most recently seen as Saunders the maid in Jewel's Fallen Angels, and before that was thrilled to open the Colligan Theatre as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Jewel's Guys and Dolls. Other Jewel roles include Muriel (Woman in Mind), The Dresser (Enter the Guardsman), Rhetta (Pump Boys and Dinettes), Queen Elizabeth (Mary Stuart), Madame Arcati (Blithe Spirit), Bunny (House of Blue Leaves), Joanne (Company), Woman 2 (Starting Here Starting Now) and Peggy's Mother (Peggy, The Musical - staged reading). She composed original music and designed sound with her husband, John Koss, for Jewel's Arcadia and Saint Joan, co-directed Blithe Spirit with Julie James, directed the huge comedy hit Sylvia, accompanied the duet musical I Do! I Do! and was musical director for Gunmetal Blues. Other favorite regional roles: Theatreworks - Prism (Being Earnest), Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Mary Todd Lincoln (A Civil War Christmas); Palo Alto Players - Margaret (Light in the Piazza); San Jose Stage Company - Pennywise (Urinetown), Betty (Great American Trailer Park Musical). Diana is a music and theatre teaching artist for the non-profit Starting Arts, and is a director, music director, piano teacher, and vocal and acting coach for performers in the Bay Area. Member of Actors Equity since 1992.

*Member, Actors' Equity Association.