Background Information for Program: MARIA

Maria-Program Kravis_Rinker(PDF Version)

Setting and Disclaimer for “MARIA: The Life and Loves of Maria Callas”

SETTING: NOVEMBER 11, 1974: Maria Callas’ dressing room in Sapporo, Japan, the evening of her final public performance, a concert with Giuseppe di Stefano. The costume worn by Miss Davidson is a copy of the dress Callas wore that evening.

DISCLAIMER: This play comes from THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARIA CALLAS: A NOVEL by Alma H. Bond. Bill Taylor of Theater Conspiracy served as dramaturg. The events and ideas in the play are rooted in historical records, letters, diaries, interviews and other research. The work is based on the informed interpretation of Maria Callas’ character and events during her life and career.

MARIA: THE LIFE AND LOVES OF MARIA CALLAS, Alma H. Bond’s play which ran for several months in 2000 in Greenwich Village, N.Y., gave Davidson a second role as Maria Callas, the first being McNally’s Drama-Critics award winning play, MASTER CLASS.

In 2007 Davidson requested Dr. Bond to rewrite MARIA as a one woman drama. The new version of Bond’s astonishing play, for which Bill Taylor of Theatre Conspiracy has acted as dramaturge, director and set designer. Davidson gave a number of readings, most notably at the Dramatists Guild in New York and in several university settings. The hour-long monologue (with a question-and-answer period for audience and artist afterward) premiered as a full production February 2009 at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida and has since been seen in various venues.

The play is based on Bond’s book ‘The Autobiography of Maria Callas: A Novel”. Bond (alma_bond.tripod.com) is the author of 15 published books, including Margaret Mahler: A Biography of the Psychoanalyst, Camille Claudel, a Novel and Who Killed Virginia Woolf? A Psychobiography. She retired from a successful Manhattan practice as a psychoanalyst in 1991 to write full time. In researching her book on Callas, Bond listened exhaustively to tapes of the opera star and read everything she could find that had been written about her. After completing the book, she turned it into a play. The first version, with Davidson in the title role, featured a six-person cast.

In 2007 Davidson requested Bond rewrite the play as a one-woman drama in collaboration with Bill Taylor, artistic director of Theatre Conspiracy in Fort Myers, which has produced more than 30 world-premiere plays over the past 10 years. Curiosity concerning Maria Callas, one of the world’s most fascinating divas, has increased in the 30-some years since her untimely death in 1977 at age 53.

Spring 2010, Davidson premiered another tour-de-force, ALICE: AN EVENING WITH THE TART-TONGUED ALICE ROOSEVELT LONGWORTH, a one-woman play about the eldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, authored by Kitty Felde of National Public Radio. Both plays are works of fiction though the events and ideas are rooted in historical records, letters, diaries, interviews and other research.

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About Joy Davidson

Joy Davidson, mezzo-soprano, began her career with a professional debut in Rossini’s Cenerentola with Greater Miami Opera and went on to sing 45 roles throughout Europe and North America. Since her retirement from the operatic and concert stage, Joy has returned to the theatre with performances as Maria Callas in MASTER CLASS (Terrance McNally) and two one woman dramas: MARIA: The Life and Loves of Maria Callas (Alma H. Bond) and ALICE: An Evening with the Tart-Tongued Alice Roosevelt Longworth (Kitty Felde). Recent performances of these plays have been at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida, the Kravis/Rinker Center for the Arts, West Palm Beach, FL and Colorado State University in conjunction with Opera Fort Collins. ALICE sold out 5 performances at the Capital Fringe Festival, Washington D.C. July, 2011. Miss Davidson garnered rave reviews for her performance as the NURSE in MEDEA (Euripedes/Jeffers) for Theatre Conspiracy in March 2011. The Philharmonic Center for the Arts presented Miss Davidson in another one-woman tour de force, TEA AT FIVE (Matthew Lombardo), which captures the fiery spirit of Katharine Hepburn, March 11, 12, 2012.