Broadway performer Alexander Gemignani will discuss his experiences performing in the musicals of Stephen Sondheim in a conversation held as part of Professor of Theater Stacy Wolf’s fall course, “The Musical Theatre of Stephen Sondheim: Process to Production.” The discussion will take place on Monday, October 22 at 11:00 a.m. in the Godfrey Kerr Theater Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Presented by the Lewis Center for the Art’s Program in Music Theater, the event is free and open to the public.
Wolf’s course examines a different musical by Stephen Sondheim each week, analyzing his influences and inspirations as well as how the elements of musical theater — from music to dance to design — cohere in his creations. Students are reading libretti, listening to music, viewing taped and live performances, researching production histories, analyzing popular, critical, and scholarly reception to Sondheim’s works, as well as hearing first-hand from visiting professionals.
Alexander Gemignani starred in the title role of the 2005 Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and in the 2007 national tour of the show. He also performed in other Sondheim shows including Passion co-starring with Patti LuPone, Michael Cerveris, and Audra McDonald; the 2008 Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George; and as John Hinckley in the Roundabout Theatre’s 2004 production of Assassins. Gemignani has also starred as Jean Valjean in the 2006 revival of Les Misérables, as Billy Flynn in the 2013 revival of Chicago, and King George III in the Chicago production of Hamilton. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor for his performance in Carousel, as well as earning a Theatre World Award for his work in Assassins. Gemignani is currently the artistic director of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Music Theater Conference.
Gemignani will also present a masterclass for theater and music theater certificate students while visiting Princeton.
Wolf teaches courses in American musical theater history, dramaturgy and dramatic literature, histories of U.S. performance, performance theory, and performance studies. She is the author of Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical (recently named one of the “top ten books every theater lover should read” by Marissa Friedman); A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical; and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical. She is currently working on Beyond Broadway: Four Seasons of Amateur Musical Theatre in the U.S., which examines amateur musical theater at high schools, summer camps, community centers, and afterschool programs across the country. Wolf is also director of the Princeton Arts Fellows program in the Lewis Center.
The Program in Music Theater will be hosting the final discussion in this three-part series on Sondheim’s musicals on November 7 with librettist John Weidman, who will discuss his work collaborating with Stephen Sondheim. All talks in the series are free and open to the public.
Princeton’s Program in Music Theater is a collaboration among the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater and Program in Dance and the Department of Music. The program brings together students, faculty, and guest artists in the creation, study, and performance of all forms of music theater; that is, any theatrical form that combines singing, acting, and movement.
For more information on the Program in Music Theater and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, and lectures presented by the Lewis Center, most of them free, visit arts.princeton.edu.