"Kiss Me, Kate" will be guest-conducted by Helen Hayes Award winner Larry Vote and performed by the Interact Theater Company.
ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (June 26, 2008) - Romance and laughter take center stage during the June 27 River Concert Series at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM). "Kiss Me, Kate," guest-conducted by Helen Hayes Award winner Larry Vote, will be performed by the Interact Theater Company. Cole Porter's 1948 Broadway hit is a musical within a play about Shakespeare's romantic comedy, "The Taming of the Shrew." Returning for the RCS's tenth anniversary season is Susan Bender, soprano, playing the role of "Kate."
The free outdoor concerts overlook the St. Mary's River and begin at 7 p.m. with grounds opening at 5 p.m.
Interact Theater Company was founded in 1988 by a group of Irish and American actors. Their goal was to create an acting troupe that promoted "cultural exchange" in education, the workplace, and the community. Interact's plays take audiences to foreign countries and often explore global issues.
Larry Vote, accomplished vocal soloist and conductor, serves as resident musical director to Interact Theater Company. He has performed and directed the company's productions in Washington for the National Gallery of Art, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Landsburg Theater, Arena Stage, and for a tour in the United Kingdom. Vote has also performed throughout the United States and Europe as a member of the Tidewater Ensemble. He is the founding member of the Maryland Bach Aria Group.
Vote has conducted or performed as baritone soloist in the premiers of works by Gian Carlo Menotti, William Thomas McKinley and David Froom, among others. He won the award for Best Musical in the 1994 Helen Hayes Awards for "The Pirates of Penzance." He also holds the Norton Dodge Award for Creative and Scholarly Achievement presented by SMCM. Vote is provost and choral director at SMCM.
Susan Bender, soprano and teacher, was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Winner in 1986. From 1985-1989, Bender was a member of the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters in Washington, and toured with the band's premier wind ensemble as soloist. She has appeared as a featured soloist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Washington Opera (Washington National Opera), the Graz, Austria Festival Orchestra, and with the Interact Theater Company, among others. Her work on the stage earned her two Helen Hayes nominations from the Washington Theater Awards Association (for Mabel in "Pirates of Penzance" and for Johanna in Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd"). Bender's concert and oratorio work consistently receive high marks. The Washington Post called her performance of Olivier Messiaen's "Pomes pour Mi" "nothing short of breathtaking," and The New York Times proclaimed her as possessing "charming, lyric coloratura."
The River Concert Series' goal is to assist in economically enhancing the region and cultivating a cul-tural tourist destination by organizing arts and historical offerings. In 1999, the Chesapeake Orchestra came into a residency relationship with SMCM with the initiation of the River Concert Series. Since then, the Chesapeake Orchestra has sought to provide musical programming to reach the broadest pos-sible audience.
The River Concert Series has become the cornerstone of growing arts activities at SMCM and throughout St. Mary's County. St. Mary's is ranked one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Newsweek and Kiplinger's. With roots going back to 1840, SMCM is the state's only public honors college, offering the academic excellence of a top private college with the openness and affordability of public education.
Also This Week
SMCM graduate Robin Martinez, soprano, will perform "Night and Dreams" for River Series: Up Close, Sunday, June 29, at 3:00 p.m. at the Auerbach Auditorium in St. Mary's Hall.