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Ian Michael

Tenor

is Mario Lanza

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Maria Kesselman

Soprano

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The Kramer Durcan

Ensemble

Musical Direction

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Susan Sussman

Libretto

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Barry Reuben

Producer

Ian Michael - Tenor, studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the Oren Brown voice seminary at New York’s Juilliard School of Music. He trained with Tenors Nicolai Gedda and Carlo Bergonzi.

 

In the early 1990’s Ian was given an award by the Mario Lanza Foundation and became a lifelong fan.

 

Michael’s career was paused when, as the result of surgery, he was instructed not to sing for at least a year. At 30 he set aside his music career to focus on business and family. 

 

In 2019, Michael began singing again following an impromptu concert during a Dinner and Cabaret in Miami, Florida. Michael’s rich Italian tenor voice brought the house down as he sang a medley of famous arias.

Maria Kesselman trained at the Arts Educational School, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama & The Royal College of Music. She studied singing with Marion Studholme, repertoire with Robert Sutherland and Piano with Peter Element, gaining her ARCM and dip. RCM diplomas.

 

Maria played Christine opposite Michael Crawford in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Jenny Lind in Barnum and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. She received a Time Out award for her performance of Melinda Coverdale in A Judgement in Stone with Sheila Hancock at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith.

 

Maria has sung and recorded with The Royal Philharmonic, The English National Orchestra and The BBC Concert Orchestra, and has given recitals for The English National Opera at The London Coliseum. Maria is a regular star singer on Friday Night is Music Night for BBC Radio 2.

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Lee Barnett

Actor and

Production Assistant

Lee Barnett has appeared as a regular cast member in two BBC BAFTA award winning childrens' shows. Appearing in over 160 episodes of BBC's 'Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow' and he then went on to star in four series of BBC's 'The Slammer'. Since then Lee has appeared in several commercials and also in shows like Dad's Army ‘The Lost Tapes’, HBO’s 'The Nevers' and Gurinder Chadha’s 'Blinded by the Light' as well as several commercials and other short films.

Miriam Kramer began studying the violin aged four. By the age of seven, she had already given her first public performance - Mozart’s Concerto in G Major. Her teachers included Charles Castleman, Yfrah Neaman and Henryk Szeryng. Miriam is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music. She has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center (USA) Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall, St David’s Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, (UK) Vienna Konzerthaus and Theatre Champs Elysees (France). Miriam has also been included in David Milson’s book, A-Z of String Players, 300 Great String Players. She performs regularly on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and has appeared on BBC television in a tribute to Yehudi Menuhin.

 

Nicholas Durcan studied the piano with Hamish Milne and the organ with Alan Harverson at the Royal Academy of Music. His first appointment was at the Westminster Cathedral as assistant organist, and as an organist, he has given recitals at the cathedrals of Westminster, St Paul's, Southwark and Lincoln. He has performed at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Mozart Players and at other well known London venues such as Royal Albert Hall, St. John's Smith Square, St Martin-in the-fields, St. James of Piccadilly, and the Purcell Room. In addition to performing throughout the UK, he has played throughout Europe, the Middle East, Hong Kong and the USA. Nicholas has also broadcast on Classic FM,Radio 2, 3 and 4, and on BBC TV programmes.

Miriam and Nicholas have brought together an ensemble of fine musicians especially for this show.

Susan Sussman, the author of many best-selling books, is an eclectic writer. She began as a journalist writing for newspapers and magazines, wrote music in California in the 60’s, won an EMMY for her film adaptation of one of her children’s books, won awards for her non-fiction science books, and wrote a musical produced in San Francisco.

 

Susan's adult novels have been translated into many obscure languages, none of which she can read. Born and raised in Chicago, Sussman currently lives in Miami with her husband of many years where she writes in a windowless office and fights iguanas for dominance of her garden.

 

Of this play Susan Sussman says, “When I was growing up, Mario Lanza was larger than life. It seemed the whole world knew and loved him. We played his records at home and when Lanza began making movies we saw them all. Writing this playscript of his life has been a sheer delight, like visiting a beloved old friend. I enjoyed every minute!”

Barry Reuben - at 19 produced and directed, for Charity, the first Rock Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, starring The Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield amongst other pop stars of the era. Barry staged numerous events around the World from the Royal Albert Hall London, Gleneagles Scotland, Palais de Versailles Paris to Broadway New York & Caesars Palace Las Vegas including Productions in Scandinavia, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, France and Monte Carlo.

 

He has worked with many personalities of stage and screen including, Jerry Lewis, Lorna Luft, Tommy Steele, Mary Tyler Moore, Lionel Blair, Bonnie Langford, Mandy Patinkin in addition to being one of the Miss World judges.Barry jointly produced two documentary films in Hawaii on the Life of Father Damian (Saint Damien of Molokai), a missionary who dedicated his life to working with lepers.

2. THE LOVELIEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR
00:00 / 03:51

ANNOUNCING A STUNNING NEW MUSICAL!

We are thrilled to announce a Stunning New Musical celebrating the life of Mario Lanza, renowned tenor and mega-movie star of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Featuring tenor Ian Michael as Mario Lanza, with soprano Maria Kesselman. These two exhilarating, award-winning operatic singers perform the libretto by acclaimed USA author Susan Sussman.

 

Join us for a sensational, uplifting theatrical evening of music, laughter and drama.

CAST AND PRODUCTION

You may not remember him. You may not have heard of him . . .  but you definitely know his wonderful music: O Sole Mio (The 'Cornetto Song'), With a Song in My Heart and Be My Love, to name just a few of the fabulous songs that made him famous across the world.