Part of the Act
A Comic Opera in One Act
Libretto by John Grimmett
Music by Liam Wade
Commissioned by the Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and first produced at the Kennedy Center during the 2012/2013 season. Part of the Act was awarded a Festival Award in Opera at the Boston Metro Opera 2014 International Composers’ Competition.
TIME AND PLACE:
A vaudevillian theater in New York City, 1924.
Ginger Taylor is, perhaps, the most famous actress on the Orpheum Circuit: her beauty and talent cause the hearts of even the most honorable men to beat a little faster. When Mabel McGinley, a crazed housewife armed with a revolver, breaks into Ginger’s dressing room and accuses her of having an extramarital affair with Mabel’s husband, Seamus, Ginger attempts to disarm Mabel with the truth: this sort of thing happens to beautiful actresses all the time, and it is an attempt by the husband to test his wife’s loyalty by seemingly having an affair in order to make her extremely jealous. When Seamus suddenly emerges from Ginger’s closet and explains himself, we must decide for ourselves what is the truth, what is a lie, and what is merely a “part of the act”.
The stage consists of a dressing room filled with flowers with a large vanity. Framing this dressing room is a structure outlining the proscenium that looks very much like a vaudevillian stage: round, exposed light bulbs face the audience to give the sense of a 1920’s traveling show. At the base of the stage are footlights. Overall, the set should feel as if the dressing room is a “part of the act” though most of the behavior of the characters feels as if we are witnessing something occurring offstage.
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
GINGER TAYLOR – Soprano – late 30s; a very beautiful and voluptuous Vaudevillian actress who is known for her sultry performances. She is calm and collected, although there is a sauciness that lies under her cool demeanor.
MABEL McGINLEY – Mezzo-soprano – mid-30s, although she looks much older; she is from the working class, stout, not terribly attractive. You can tell she is a good wife and provider, but all business and not much fun.
SEAMUS McGINLEY- Baritone or Tenor – late 30s/early 40s; a terribly attractive man despite his working class status. He has a mischievous air to him and is not completely trustworthy.
ORIGINAL WNO CAST:
Shantelle Przybylo – GINGER
Julia Mintzer – MABEL
James Shaffran – SEAMUS
Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, percussion, strings
Copyright © 2012 Liam Wade and John Grimmett.
Part of the Act 2015 Studio Recording
Recorded 03/25/15 by Ian DeNolfo and Lloyd Joseph Frank at Lion Media Creations,
Bryn Mawr, PA.
Produced by Liam Wade
Recording Copyright © 2015 Liam Wade and John Grimmett.