By Amanda Osborn
The SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film and the SDSU School of Music and Dance combine forces this December for a mega concert, Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. Broadway star André Ward has been tapped to perform the key role of Celebrant, joining a company of over 250 students vocalists and instrumentalists onstage at the Don Powell Theatre December 6-9, 2018.
SDSU Theatre professor Stephen Brotebeck performed in a touring company with Ward, and when considering who might sing the Celebrant role for SDSU’s Mass, Brotebeck knew that André would be perfect, and persuaded him to come to San Diego.
“When we worked together on the National Tour of Pippin, André played the Leading Player,” said Brotebeck. “As a member of the ensemble I was able to watch him seduce the audience every night. He drew them in with his magnetic personality and brilliant voice. It was thrilling.”
Ward’s Broadway credits range from the original Broadway companies of Escape to Margaritaville, Something Rotten, Rock of Ages, Xanadu, and Saturday Night Fever, and the National Tours of Pippin, The Producers, Ragtime, Cinderella, Dreamgirls, to regional credits in Ain’t Misbehavin’, Putting it Together, and Lucky Duck. His TV and film credits include Master of None, High Maintenance, My Dead Boyfriend, How to Follow Strangers, The Big Gay Movie Musical, World Trade Center, Elementary (CBS), Difficult People (HULU), Broad City (Comedy Central), and presently, a reoccurring role on the TV revival of Murphy Brown with Candice Bergen.
Not only will Ward be playing a lead role in the SDSU’s production, but he will be teaching a Master Class as well. Six Master’s students will be given the opportunity to perform a few songs for Ward and then be given feedback, tips, and coaching on how to improve their performance.
With Ward coming into San Diego for only one week, rehearsals and preparation looks different than usual. Ward has already been given his part and between finishing up filming for Murphy Brown, and traveling, he is already rehearsing his part. Using Skype, Ward will be able to see a few of the rehearsals leading up to the performance. The week before the show, Ward will be worked into a few rehearsals until the curtains go up and it is time to perform.
SDSU’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass will have four performances: Thursday, Dec. 6, Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2:00 p.m. Performances will be open to the public. For more information or to purchase tickets visit theatre.sdsu.edu.
The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.News List