Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tucson Women's Chorus presents "Pardon My English: Gershwin by Ira"


Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 4:59 AM
Subject: Re: [tucsonstage] Tucson Women's Chorus concert


Tucson Jazz Society  fans can raise some $$$ by attending this event. $15 of every ticket purchased by a fan of TJS goes to Tucson Jazz Society.

I thank you for helping us spread the word!




Harry Clark

Tel. 860-888-5621

Chamber Music PLUS

8322 East Snyder RD

Tucson, AZ 85750

Tel. 520-400-5439

Press Release

(Tucson, AZ) On Sunday, November 29 @ 3:00 PM on the stage of the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 West Speedway Blvd., Chamber Music PLUS launches its seventh season of their unique programs Rhythms of LFE: the melding of dramatic narratives with dynamic singing and luscious melodies: "Pardon My English: Gershwin by  Ira" starring Robert Picardo.


Harry Clark, cellist and playwright, Artistic Director of Chamber Music PLUS Southwest, has created more than 30 similar "portraits" of famous composers from Charles Ives to Tchaikovsky, conceived "A Gershwin Portrait" as an "entertainment of substance," as he describes it.


Clark employs a familiar dramatic convention - the exploration of a main character through the eyes of a close associate - and in "Pardon My English " he uses the character of the protective older sibling/collaborator Ira, as narrator. Identified by Clark as "one of America's greatest wordsmiths," Ira was also the greatest admirer of his kid brother's talents. An acute observer of all that occurred in their meteoric rise to fame, Ira was left to carry on the Gershwin legacy after George's tragically early death. With this dramatic device firmly in place, the path is opened to the famous team's familiar and lesserknown music and songs.


Vocalist Katherine Byrnes, pianist Jeff Haskell join Robert Picardo (Ira) for a program that includes "Summertime" and "Bess, You Is My Woman" from "Porgy and Bess," "Nice Work if You Can Get It," "The Man I Love," "Love Walked Right In," and Jeff Haskell’s own take on "Rhapsody In Blue," among others.


The production is under the direction of Howard Allen.


Clark determined early in the research phase of the piece, that the great joy in creating this stirring production was the exploration of the "patter song," as he refers to it. Influenced by his idols, Gilbert and Sullivan, Ira's lyrics often paid homage to their unique style of writing.


Tickets are $35, $24 for CMPSW subscribers and are now available online at or call the Reservation Line (520) 400-5439.

Robert Picardo will do a limited number of interviews on a first come first serve basis. To schedule an Interview contact: Harry Clark @ 860-888-5621 or via e-mail:

For a high resolution jpg:

or here- a different shot also large and in color:

About the artists


Robert Picardo


Bob" entered Yale University as a pre-med student, not know knowing he would someday portray doctors in three separate productions: first as Dr. Dick Richard on the ABC series "China Beach," then as Dr. McCaskill in the theater production "In the Waiting Room" and finally as The Doctor on "Star Trek: Voyager."

While at Yale, Bob landed a role in Leonard Bernstein's "Mass," a musical theater piece originally commissioned for the 1972 opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 1974, armed with a B.A. in Drama from Yale, he enrolled at the Circle in the Square Professional Theater Workshop (fellow alumni include Kevin Bacon and Ken Olin). He waited tables for a couple of years, and then his theatrical work prospered (in 1976) when he appeared in the David Mamet play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago," and with Diane Keaton in "The Primary English Class."


In 1977, Bob made his Broadway debut in the leading role in in the comedy hit "Gemini" with Danny Aiello. He went on to co-star with Jack Lemmon in "Tribute".

The awards and recognition continued as Bob became involved in television. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role as Mr. Cutlip on the ABC series "The Wonder Years." Furthermore, Bob was awarded the Viewers For Quality Television Founder's Award for his outstanding performances in "The Wonder Years" and as military surgeon Dr. Dick Richard on "China Beach."


Bob's extensive television work has included a starring role opposite Helena Bonham-Carter, the HBO movie "White Mile," and the NBC mini-series "Deadly Matrimony." He has had recurring roles in "Stargate SG-1,"  "The Lyon's Den,", "Home Improvement," "L.A. Law," and "Alice," and has  guest-starred in such series as "The Dead Zone," "The Practice," "Frasier," "Crossing Jordan," "Seven Days," "Ally McBeal," "Outer Limits," "Early Edition," "ER," "Tales From The Crypt," "Amazing Stories," and "Taxi." Bob recently appeared in the feature films "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" and "Small Soldiers."





Katherine is extremely happy to be paying tribute to one of the greatest lyricists who ever lived, Ira Gershwin! A graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in music, Katherine has established herself as a prominent fixture in the Tucson jazz & blues scene.  While at the University, she performed with many ensembles, most notably being the vocalist for the U of A Studio Big Band!


After two years in New York and studying in Paris, Katherine has returned to Tucson and expanded to many other musical genres.  In addition to her blues/early rock & roll band, Backbeat, Katherine is also the host of Arizona Public Media’s new local music show, "In Tune".  One of her favorite current projects is singing with a 15-piece Mambo/Rock band called "Sergio Mendoza Y la Orkesta". She has opened for such bands as Calexico, Ozomatli, and the Neville Brothers. Her self-titled album can be found at




Co-founder and musical director of the Tucson Jazz Orchestra and, as a senior faculty member in the School of Music & Dance at the University of Arizona, Haskell is the Area Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Director of the Recording Studio.

Haskell has won three Los Angeles Emmy Awards for his work on the much celebrated children's TV program, "Dusty's Treehouse", and critics praised his theme and underscore for the "IT Show" for ABC, for which he received a Los Angeles Emmy nomination. Some of his recent Hollywood music include arrangements on two Linda Ronstadt albums, cues for "Dudley Do-Right" and "Fight Club". "Pastiche Americana", a composition written for chorus and orchestra, was performed by The Little Orchestra in Lincoln Center. His "Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra" debuted with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. And he conducted the world premiere of Billy Taylor's suite for jazz trio and big band, "Fiesta In Tucson".

A veteran of hundreds of "jingles", he has orchestrated an album for UP WITH PEOPLE!, has recorded a legendary synthesizer album for Capitol Records, and has served as music director, arranger and conductor for country music legend Buck Owens, with whom he recently completed an album with the Bakersfield Symphony.


Howard Allen, director


Howard Allen has worked for many years as a professional actor, playwright, director, screenwriter and literary manager/dramaturg -- as well as a reporter, reviewer and editor in his journalistic career. Latest news: he was a Star Speaker at L.A. Screenwriters Expo 6 because of his skills at (rated 4th nationally by Creative Screenwriting magazine) and his CoyoteMoon Films (.com), a production company aiming to honor the storyteller, just finished shooting it’s first film Se Habla Espanol.  Look for him acting in films Red 71 and The Decoy and as Script Consultant on The Good Boy and The Graves.


As a member of Actor's Equity and the Screen Actor's Guild, he has performed in LORT B theatres and in movies directed by Michael Landon and others. He won awards for editing, reporting and for reviewing film and theatre at the Tucson Weekly. He won a scholarship to attend the Critics Institute at the prestigious O'Neill Theatre Conference. He has benefited from workshops with August Wilson, Eric Overmyer, Horton Foote, Edit Villareal and others. With an MFA in Playwriting and Screenwriting, he teaches college level courses in Writing for Film and Television, Film Acting, Art Of Cinema, Theatre History -- as well as Humanities. His adaptation of "Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde" was given a professional theatre production. Credits: co-writer on screenplays “Renaissance,” top 10% at Heart of Austin Film Festival and “Line In the Sand” has been optioned; His latest theatre events: directing “I Hate Hamlet,” Pinter’s “The Birthday Party,” London hit “Humble Boy,” and this spring “Mesmeric Mozart,” “and “A Beautiful Deception” for Chamber Music PLUS  with Robert Picardo and Armin Shimerman. (



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