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The Last Supper A Musical Enactment

A musical comes to the Phoenix

Music & Vocal Arrangements by Gary William Friedman
Book & Lyrics by Thomas Mitz

Based on an original concept by Andy Krey

March 23 - April 1, 2012

Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00pm • Sundays at 2:00pm

Leonardo da Vinci has been commissioned to create a mural of “The Last Supper.”  It is his first attempt at painting in ten years.  He fears he has lost his artistic vision by squandering his gifts. An angel/muse inspires him to invoke the Apostles and their last meal with Jesus.  By discovering what each was thinking and feeling at the moment of crisis, Leonardo confronts his own betrayal and learns that through love and faith he can rediscover the vision of divine inspiration and the purpose of life.

The Last Supper has been thrilling audiences with its story of Leonardo da Vinci’s struggle to complete his famous mural.

Directed by Sharon A. Wilcox

Musical Direction by TJ Thompson

The Last Supper Cast

In Order of Appearance

Leonardo DaVinci - Mark E. Rees

The Angel - Guisel Aldana

Peter - Ian Diedrich

Philip - Brian Elser

Bartholomew - Andy Sukovich

Little James - Bret Betkoski

Matthew - Leon R. Case II

John - Maynard Elliott

Mary - Marsha Gaylord

Martha - Nancy Sasso Janis

Simon - Moses Beckett

Thaddeus - Mike Elser

Andrew - Jamie Murphy

Judas - Lance Gaston

James - Rick Dufresne

Thomas - Ed Bassett

Jesus - Rob Richnavsky

Ensemble - Roseanne Elliott

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Nancy Sasso Janis March 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM
So that my readers would be able to read a review of this show by a impartial reviewer, the always wonderful Val Vitalo agreed to substitute for me. Ms. Vitalo makes frequent appearances on the Phoenix Stage. Some of these include The Ice Box (as Buella Webster) Beyond Therapy (as Charlotte) Love, Sex and IRS (as Vivian Trachtman) I Hate Hamlet (as Lillian Troy) and my favorite one of her roles, Mavis Flowers in Hallelujah Girls. She recently directed and appeared in the Reader's Theatre of If the Shoe Fits at the PSC. She has also appeared in productions at the Warner Theatre including Nunsense, Cinderella, Fiddler on the Roof (as Golde) and South Pacific (Bloody Mary.) She is a retired teacher from Torrington and probably my favorite actress to ever appear on the Phoenix Stage. I am honored to have her share her learned opinion of our production in this space.
Nancy Sasso Janis March 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM
The Last Supper – A Review by Val Vitalo Phoenix Stage Co., Naugatuck, CT March 21, 2012 What do you think of when you hear the term - THE LAST SUPPER? Jesus, his apostles, Easter, Leonardo DaVinci? – All of the above? Leonardo’s world-famous painting, begun in 1495 and completed in 1498, has been the cause of much research, theory, speculation and mystery throughout the centuries since it was commissioned as a mural for the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. Did it have a secret meaning? Was it purely religious in nature? What is the meaning of its composition? Who really were the Apostles? Why did they give up all to follow Jesus? How does this painting really depict these men? So many questions! The Phoenix Stage Company, appropriately during Lent, presents a musical answer to the image of the Da Vinci painting through THE LAST SUPPER, book and lyrics by Thomas Mitz, with music by Gary William Friedman and directed by Sharon Wilcox and music direction by TJ Thompson.
Nancy Sasso Janis March 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM
This production gives the audience time to get to know each apostle individually through the eyes of Leonardo (Mark Rees) as he is guided through the sketching of his creation by an angel (Guisel Aldana). Usually done in a Greek Chorus format for the voices, this production has each of the apostles themselves singing and delivering their monologues with back-up singing by the other apostles and women. The images of the characters change from black, on a blank canvas, to colorful robes as each apostle comes to life and take his place in the painting. These monologues serve as Leonardo’s ponderings and analysis of each Apostle and the inspiration they may give him to paint his first piece of art work in 10 years. Leonardo gives a compelling view of his artistic dilemma to start the piece, indicating, ”I must find out what brought each one of them to the table.” Following this, the theatrical piece leaves a loose connection between Leonardo, his angel muse and the apostles during the middle of the production. The apostles themselves, in their monologues, tell of their connection to Jesus and their musings of each other – all wondering about the betrayer. Though the monologues, as written, do not leave an actor with much fodder for interpretation, Leonardo, the Apostles, Mary (Marsha Gaylord) and Martha (Nancy Sasso Janis), still have heartfelt delivery. The most notable apostolic monologues are delivered by Little James (Bret Betkowski) and Peter (Ian Diedrich).
Nancy Sasso Janis March 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM
The music, though interesting and accompanied well by TJ Thompson, can be quite dissident at times and lacking the lyrical harmony of a defined melody. The Angel, soloist Guisel Aldana, truly has an angelic voice which pleases in even the most difficult of numbers. The choral songs are perhaps better served by a larger chorus but, the soloists do a respectable job of holding the music together. Of special note are the solos delivered by Rosanne Elliott, Marsha Gaylord and Moses Beckett, and the group gospel number which the audience is encouraged to join with once again at the end of the show. In the final vignette, Jesus (Rob Richnavsky) enters to deliver the Passover prayer and the DaVinci image is complete, with his inspiration and artistic journey attained. The Last Supper serves as a reflection piece of theater at the appropriate time of year at the Phoenix Stage Company.

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