Once again music fans in the Rim Country get to enjoy an evening of the “Best of Broadway Show Tunes” and benefit the Payson Institute of Learning.
Due to a anonymous donation to PIL, tickets to this program are only $15 per person. In the past, the benefit program has cost between $45 and $75.
Tickets for the Oct. 22 program are on sale at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce or by calling (928) 472-3393. The evening of music is at 7:30 p.m. at the Payson High School auditorium.
The show will feature professional stage singers and an 18-piece theater orchestra conducted by John Massaro and is produced by Ken Brooks of Payson. The singers are Jennifer Nagy, Lisanne Norman, Francisco Renteria and Earl Wellington Hazell Jr.
About the artists
John Massaro has conducted major symphony orchestras around the world. He first conducted the Phoenix Symphony in 2002 and is the former chorus master and assistant conductor for the Arizona Opera Company. Massaro was a coach for the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Development program and was the conducting assistant for Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic in the production of Madama Butterfly in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. He was also the musical director for several productions at the Phoenix Theatre.
Massaro is a noted recitalist accompanying many singers of distinction throughout the United States. He is an award-winning composer and arranger and a member of the board for arts organizations across the country including ART of New York and Arizonans for Cultural Development.
Two years ago he founded the Phoenix Opera and is the managing director.
Jennifer Nagy, soprano, has had a wide variety of performing experience. She has been trained for the musical stage, opera and solo work.
Her experience includes being a featured singer with several symphony orchestras as well as works for Broadway theater. She is originally from Fresno, Calif. and received her bachelor’s of arts in music from Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash.
She received her master’s in vocal performance from Arizona State University and has completed some doctoral course work at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She currently resides with her husband Rob and their two children in Gilbert, Ariz.
The voice of Lisanne Norman, a coloratura soprano, has been described as one of “limitless power and faultless technique.”
She possesses a versatile sound that lends itself to all forms of musical theater. She has enjoyed performing leading roles in several shows written for the Broadway stage as well as with leading opera companies.
Her solo performances with symphony orchestras have been acclaimed. She has had several opportunities to do concert work in Prague, Budapest, Romania and Salzburg, Austria. Presently, she resides in the Phoenix area with her family.
Francisco Renteria, tenor, was born in Hermosillo, Mexico. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance from the University of Arizona.
He has won many awards including first prize in the Green Valley Concert Association Piano Competition in 1999. He has also had a passion for singing. He participated with the U of A Opera Theatre singing in several productions as well as its musical theater programs.
In 2003 he began taking his singing talents seriously and has studied with several international voice instructors. Recently he has had engagements with musical theater companies and opera organizations singing featured roles.
He looks forward to performing selections from the Broadway stage this fall.
Earl Wellington Hazell Jr., bass baritone, is a graduate of the La Guardia High School of the Arts at Lincoln Center and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.
Hazell is a native New Yorker. He is developing a multi-faceted career, which embraces modern jazz, literature and opera. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic numerous times under the batons of Zubin Mehta and James Levine.
He has sung most of the major roles in “Porgy and Bess,” not only in the United States, but also in Western Europe, England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean. He has performed with leading companies in San Francisco, Chicago, Tulsa, Utah and Phoenix in productions of “Showboat” and “Ragtime.”
He has also sung many operatic roles and will make his debut as Zuniga with Phoenix Opera in the upcoming production of “Carmen.” He says he always enjoys performing songs from the Broadway theater.