News Release| Opera Production; Cal State L.A.


Note to news directors or reporters:

Director Mark Lamanna can be reached for interviews at the following –
or 323-665-6643. (See calendar listing below.)


‘This Is The Rill Speaking’ gets a singing treatment

Drawn from Wilson’s rural play, Hoiby’s opera

comes to Cal State L.A. April 8-10

Los Angeles, CA –
Rural America comes through operatically in a Cal State L.A.
production of “This is the Rill Speaking,” which plays at the
University’s State Playhouse April 8-10.

Crafted as a one-act opera by Lee Hoiby, the production is based on the
play by Lanford Wilson.

Performances will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; and
Saturday at 2:30 p.m. They will feature CSULA student performers Steve
Chavez, Joseph Garate, Jessica Gonzalez-Rodriguez, Christie Lawrence,
Stephanie Lynn, Lynda Reynolds, Tara Riccelli, Irene Salazar, Nandani
Sinha, Chad Viator, and Sarah Wheeler.

Directed by Mark Lamanna, with musical direction by Ben Makino, the
story captures the everyday happenings of rural America. (See below for
Lamanna’s biography.)

One of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wilson’s early works, This
Is the Rill Speaking
is a non-narrative, multi-vocal evocation of a
20th century small town. It is a genre embodied in such works as Dylan
Thomas’s Under Milkwood, Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River
, the stories of Sherwood Anderson, and Thornton Wilder’s
Our Town.

Tickets are $16 general; $12 for seniors and students; and $8 for CSULA
students. They are available at

. For details, call
(323) 665-6643

#  #  #

Calendar listing:

“This is Rill Speaking.”

Thursday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 10, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

State Playhouse, on the Cal State L.A. campus.

Campus map and directions:


Tickets: $16, general; $12, seniors and students; $8, CSULA students only.

Available at


For details, call (323) 665-6643.

About Mark Lamanna:

Mark Lamanna (stage director) was named Classical Singer Magazine’s
2007 Stage Director of the Year. He has become known for imaginative
productions that have both dramatic and musical integrity—La Tragédie
de Carmen
, La Traviata, The Mikado, and Die
(Intimate Opera Company), a concert version of La
for Bakersfield Symphony, and Dido and Aeneas at
USC’s Jeanette MacDonald Hall. His musical theater concerts for Opera
New Jersey were highlights of four consecutive summer seasons. For the
Ridgefield Opera Company, he created A Bernstein Celebration. His
various staged opera scenes programs include Opera New Jersey, Songfest,
and Webster University. He directed a world-premiere excerpt of Leanna
Primianni’s Truman for Opera Americain Seattle.

Lamanna was in the original cast of the Alan Jay Lerner/Charles Strouse
Broadway musical Dance a Little Closerr, in which he was also
personal dance assistant to lead Len Cariou (the original Sweeney
). He acted, sang and danced his way through regional and off-broadway
musical theater productions for over ten years. Lamanna trained
theatrically in New York City, where he studied voice with Jim Carson
and Lynne Vardaman, trained as an actor at the T. Schreiber Studio, HB
Studio, and the Actor’s Studio, and danced on full scholarships to the
Joffrey Ballet School and Balanchine’s School of American Ballet.



Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 210,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six
Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12.
Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.


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