When the French philosopher Voltaire wrote Candide, his most famous (and at one time banned) work, he managed to satirize every nasty thing going on in his 18th century world. There was death and destruction, religious blasphemy, beatings, burnings, hangings, earthquakes and characters that ranged from the most simplistic of optimists to the cruelest men of the Inquisition.
So one has to be in awe that 200-plus years later some stars of American literature and theater (Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and James Agee) thought about turning it into – a musical!
In 1956, that is exactly what happened, when a comic operetta of the same name opened on Broadway. Directed by the famed Tyrone Guthrie, the original production did not meet with great acclaim. The music, however, by Leonard Bernstein, America’s great composer, did.
It is rare to see a staged performance of this fast-paced comic operetta, and there hasn’t been one in New Orleans in several years. On Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Jan. 20 at 3 p.m., Loyola University will present a new production complete with the largest Loyola Symphony Orchestra ever organized for a Loyola Opera Theatre production.
A complimentary wine and cheese reception sponsored by the Loyola Alumni Association will precede Friday’s performance at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $40 for preferred seating, $25 for reserved seating and $15 for Loyola students, faculty and staff. For tickets and information, visit montage.loyno.edu or call 504-865-2074.
Sharon Litwin is president of NolaVie.