The Grapes of Wrath
Composer: Ricky Ian Gordon
Composer Bio: Ricky Ian Gordon was born on May 15, 1956 in Oceanside, NY and raised on Long Island. After studying composition at Carnegie Mellon University, he settled in New York City, where he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Mr. Gordon's songs have been performed and or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica Von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley, among many others.
Librettist: Michael Korie
Librettist Bio: Michael Korie writes librettos to operas and lyrics to musicals. His libretto to composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath premiered to acclaim at Minnesota Opera followed by productions at Los Angeles Disney Concert Hall, Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Carnegie Hall. Librettos with composer Stewart Wallace include Harvey Milk (San Francisco Opera), Kabbalah (BAM Next Wave Festival) and Where’s Dick? (Houston Grand Opera). Lyrics include award-winning Broadway musical Grey Gardens, and this season’s Far From Heaven (Playwrights Horizons) and the UK production of Finding Neverland, all with composer Scott Frankel. He teaches lyric-writing at Yale Drama School, and serves as an artistic advisor to emerging opera and theater composers and librettists at the American Lyric Theater and The Dramatists Guild.
Other Artistic Personnel: Grant Gershon (Conductor)
Eric Simonson (Stage Director and Dramaturg)
Doug Scholz-Carlson (Assistant Director)
Allen Moyer (Set Designer)
Kärin Kopischke (Costume Designer)
Robert Wierzel (Lighting Designer)
Wendall Harrington (Projections Designer)
C. Andrew Mayer (Sound Designer)
Doug Varone (Choreographer)
Heidi Spesard-Noble (Assistant Choreographer)
Tom Watson & Associates (Wig Master & Makeup)
Alexander Farino (Production Stage Manager)
Angie Spencer and Casey Martin (Assistant Stage Managers)
Original Cast: Brian Leerhuber (Tom Joad)
Deanne Meek (Ma Joad)
Kelly Kaduce (Rosasharn)
Roger Honeywell (Jim Casy)
Peter Halverson (Pa Joad)
Robert Orth (Uncle John)
Rosalind Elias (Granma)
Dan Dressen (Grampa)
Andrew Wilkowske (Noah)
Joshua Kohl (Al)
Jesse Blumberg (Connie Rivers)
Maeve Moynihan (Ruthie)
Henry Bushnell (Winfield)
Premiere Date: February 10, 2007
Producing Company: The Minnesota Opera
Description: John Steinbeck’s classic tale of the Joad family’s odyssey from drought stricken Oklahoma to the illusory “green pastures” of southern California is one the great stories of survival. Full of fully-rounded, three-dimensional characters, some of whom die on the way and some of whom suffer and grow on the road to the “promised land,” the opera is remarkably faithful to the book. From the stirring opening chorus, “The Last Time There Was Rain,” to the remarkable final scene in which Rosasharn, whose baby has been stillborn, nurses a dying man, this large-scale opera preserves the biblical and socially progressive underpinnings of Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning book.
courtesy of Carl Fischer, Inc.
Character List (Major): Tom Joad, a released prisoner (bar)
Ma Joad, family matriarch (mz)
Rosasharn, Tom’s pregnant sister (s)
Jim Casy, a lapsed preacher (t)
Pa Joad, a tenant farmer (bar)
Uncle John, Pa’s brother (bar)
Granma, Pa and John’s mother (mz)
Grampa, her husband (t)
Noah, Tom’s slow-witted brother (b-bar)
Al, their younger brother (t)
Connie Rivers, Rosasharn's husband (bar)
Ruthie, their younger sister (child)
Winfield, their younger brother Henry (child)
Video Clip:
Length: 03:15
Total Acts: 3
Chorus: SATB Chorus
Orchestration: 2 (picc.)/2 (eng. hn.)/2 (b. cl.)/2 (cbn.), a. sax., t. sax (b. sax.); 4/3/3 (b. trb)/1; timp., perc. (2), gtr. (banjo), harmonica, synth., hp.; str.
Contact: Carl Fischer, Inc.
Address: 65 Bleecker Street, 8th Floor New York, NY 10012
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-777-0900
Composer Web Site:
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
Award Category: 2003 Repertoire Development Consortium
Awardee: Utah Symphony & Opera
Director: Eric Simonson
Conductor: Grant Gershon
Award Category: 2006 Repertoire Development
Project Name: The Grapes of Wrath
Awardee: Minnesota Opera, The
Director: Eric Simonson
Conductor: Grant Gershon
Award Category: 2007 Audience Development Project
Project Name: THE GRAPES OF WRATH: Communtiy Outreach
Awardee: Minnesota Opera, The
Schedule of Performances Listings
The Grapes of Wrath (Gordon)
Saturday, November 5, 2011 - Anchorage Opera
The Grapes of Wrath (Gordon)
Monday, March 22, 2010 - Collegiate Chorale, The
The Grapes of Wrath (Gordon)
Saturday, November 15, 2008 - Pittsburgh Opera
The Grapes of Wrath (Gordon)
Saturday, May 12, 2007 - Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
The Grapes of Wrath (Gordon)
Saturday, February 10, 2007 - Minnesota Opera
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