The Dallas Opera has announced that Broadway legend and Drama Desk and Tony Award-winning director, producer, playwright, and lyricist Jack O'Brien has been engaged to direct the company's world premiere production of GREAT SCOTT, a new, full-length opera by acclaimed American composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick) and the Tony Award-winning playwright/librettist Terrence McNally (Master Class) in their first joint opera since their groundbreaking masterpiece, Dead Man Walking.
The Dallas Opera commission, with generous underwriting support from The Eugene McDermott Foundation and The Hoblitzelle Foundation, is slated to open the Dallas Opera's 2015-2016 Season Friday, October 30, 2015 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District.
GREAT SCOTT is based on an original story by Mr. McNally and will star luminous American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. The opera will be conducted by one of the fastest-rising young artists on the podium today: Maestro Evan Rogister.
While Jack O'Brien directed the "smart and effective" (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times) 2007 production of Il trittico for New York's Metropolitan Opera, in addition to critically acclaimed productions of The Magic Flute in San Francisco, Tosca in Santa Fe, Street Scene in New York, and his groundbreaking HGO production of Porgy and Bess which toured for the next decade, he is chiefly known for his work in the theater, both on-and-off Broadway. Mr. O'Brien is the winner of three Tony Awards (and nominated for seven more), as well as five Drama Desk Awards for a wide range of works including Hairspray, The Piano Lesson, and Tom Stoppard's epic trilogy of revolutionary ideas, The Coast of Utopia.
The extraordinarily accomplished Mr. O'Brien served as Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego for more than a quarter-century, where he directed more than 60 productions, including a revival of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth televised in 1983 as part of the PBS "Great Performances" series. It was there that O'Brien co-produced Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods (1986) before moving the musical to Broadway the following year. Other notable highlights include A.R. Gurney's The Cocktail Hour (1988), Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 starring John Goodman and Hamlet, starring Campbell Scott, cited by Time magazine as the "finest classical revival" of 1990.
Mr. O'Brien took time out in 2012 to pen the first volume of his projected three-volume theatrical memoir, Jack Be Nimble, which will be published later this year by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.
Jack O'Brien made his official debut with the Dallas Opera in 1968, when the company performed his lively adaptation of Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld. His opera directorial debut occurred in 1972-here at the Dallas Opera-when he replaced stage director Ellis Rabb at the helm of Dido and Aeneas, featuring a cast of stars that included Tatiana Troyanos, Graciella Sciutti and Jon Vickers! Mr. O'Brien returned fifteen years later in 1987, with George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, the Dallas Opera's first production of this twentieth-century masterpiece.