By Drew Youmans
Phantom of The Opera closed in April to unprecedented media coverage—and unending applause. The audience refused to end their ovations at the closing show on April 16th, forcing the cast to return for a 6th and 7th curtain call – even though they were already out of costume. Though we are unlikely to see another Broadway production run for 35 consecutive years in our lifetime, we do get to experience the genesis of an adjacent project based right here in Greenwich Village.
Conductor & Artistic Director Carmine Aufiero. Photo credit: Gregory Mills
Terpsikord, an organization we at WestView introduced you to in our April issue, has taken the lightning bolt of energy from the closing of Phantom, and is rapidly building a new platform for pit musicians and Broadway cast members to share their art. Featuring an educational branch, a salon concert series, and a full orchestral roster keyed to perform at Symphony Space on August 2nd, Terpsikord is positioning themselves to become a serious and established presence in our city. Within a week of our April issue going live, and Terpsikord launching their own social media campaign, they have sold out their forthcoming salon show featuring cast members of Phantom singing duets with young artists on May 17th at Don’t Tell Mama in midtown (343 W 46th St, New York, NY).
Overwhelmed by this huge demand from both performers and audience, Terpsikord has already booked another event at the same venue for Wednesday, June 7th at 7 pm. There will be a different theme than the May event (Phantom Forever), however the format will be the same—young artists will take the stage with a Broadway star and perform some of the most beloved duets in show biz. Current themes being tossed around the boardroom at Terpsikord include another Phantom themed event, “Wicked Duets” featuring cast members from Wicked, or possibly a gender-bender program featuring a wider array of Andrew Lloyd Webbers works, with performers taking on roles that are the opposite of their voice type/gender identity. Suffice it to say, Terpsikord is establishing a brand of forward-thinking programming with world class talent on stage….while unapologetically having fun. Further details can be found at Terpsikord.com.
If you cannot wait until June 7th to get connected with this exciting project, Terpsikord has two masterclasses this month in The Village that are open to the public. On May 13th Joyce Hamman, the longtime concertmaster of the Broadway production of Phantom will be leading a class for young professional violinists who will play excerpts and important violin solos from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s catalogue. This event will be at St. Johns in the Village (224 Waverly Place) from 2:00-4:30 pm with a short Q&A with Ms. Hammann following the class. On May 17th, Tom Cipullo (winner of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship in composition) will be teaching a cadre of young professional singers various roles from his award-winning opera Glory Denied, which premiered in 2010 at the Chelsea Opera with Carmine Aufiero, artistic director of Terpsikord, conducting. Ticketed seating for audience members is available for each class for $20, and is available at the door the day of the event as well as online at Terpsikord.com
Final Bows, Broadway production of Phantom of The Opera
Beyond these listed offerings, Terpsikord is focusing their fundraising and brand-building efforts on goods & services that are available for hire. From multi-sensory curated events in your home or venue of choice (featuring their team of Culinary Institute trained chefs) to hiring a string quartet or Broadway cast member from their team to perform at a wedding or corporate event, Terpsikord is working to increase the general public’s accessibility to top level artists. While currently focused on fundraising for their August 2nd concert uptown at Symphony Space, Terpsikord isn’t ‘just another new music group’ that is trying to make ends meet from concert to concert. Terpsikord has a grander vision of obtaining their own building (St. Veronicas in the Village has been touted) to serve as a home base in the coming years, and to extend their educational and outreach efforts far beyond masterclasses and salon concerts. While it may be months or years before Phantom of The Opera returns to Broadway–this project is building steam to become a cornerstone of our community, and we hope you will join us in welcoming the participating artists to the stage.