Show Photographs

32nd Festival Season - 2010


Music by: Alexander Borodin
Lyrics & Adaptation by: Robert Wright & George Forrest
Book by: Charles Lederer & Luther Davis

ACT I: Beggars gather at dawn to begin a day’s work. Missing is senior beggar Hajj, who arrives in disguise as a self-professed poet, joined by his daughter Marsinah. After sending her off to steal some food, his craftiness—through rhymes and idle threats—elicits some coins from the passersby. A band of brigands abducts the poet, believing him to be Hajj, and brings him before their elderly leader, Jawan, who seeks revenge on Hajj for the disappearance of his son. The poet does some fast talking and, securing 100 gold pieces and his freedom, promises Jawan that his son will return that day. Baghdad’s horrid and debt-ridden Wazir of the Police welcomes home his flirtatious wife Lalume, who has returned from Ababu with camel-loads of gold in exchange for a promise that the Caliph of Baghdad will wed the three daughters of the Ababu potentate. Marsinah has captured the eye of the Caliph, who, in the disguise of a gardener, follows her to the Widow Yussef’s home and professes his love. Meanwhile, the Wazir’s police, while searching for Jawan, find Hajj with the brigand’s gold and arrest them both. Jawan recognizes the Wazir as his long-lost son. When the Caliph announces that he has found a bride and has no intention of marrying the three foreign princesses, the Wazir is furious and orders Hajj to halt the wedding, even though the procession is underway. Hajj, feeling helpless and fearing for his reputation and life, has no choice but to put himself into the hands of Fate.

ACT II: In the garden of the Widow Yussef, Hajj warns Marsinah that both their lives are at risk from the Wazir if the Caliph weds his intended; he orders his daughter to escape to Damascus. The Caliph arrives for her, but is disheartened—and leaves empty-handed—when the Widow Yussef tells him of a man (of course, just her father) who had his arms around Marsinah. The Wazir revels over the news that the Caliph’s intended bride has disappeared, and credits this outcome to the magical powers of the poet. Believing that he can be of great service to him, he orders Lalume to make the poet happy at any cost. Marsinah to her father, and the Caliph to the Wazir, both plead for help in reconnecting—neither realizing that they are both in the Wazir’s palace. The Wazir tries to interest the Caliph in the three Ababu princesses, but when the Caliph peers through a peephole in the harem wall, he sees only Marsinah, who has been brought there for safekeeping. Distraught, he agrees to marry anyone, while the Wazir proclaims Marsinah his newest wife. Hajj finally realizes that it was his daughter whom the Caliph wished to wed and that he has been duped into “cooperating with the enemy.” Only some very fast thinking by Hajj dispenses with the Wazir, reunites the lovers, and provides himself an oasis holiday with Lalume.

Production Team
ConductorSteven Byess
Stage DirectorSteven Daigle
ChoreographyCarol Hageman
Costume DesignCharlene Alexis Gross
Scenic Design Kimberly V. Cox
Lighting DesignKrystal Kennel
Imam of the Mosque Anthony Maida
Muezzin No. 1 Jon Gerhard
Muezzin No. 2 Justin Bills
Muezzin No. 3 Will Perkins
Muezzin No. 4 Max Nolin
Omar David Kelleher-Flight
A Public Poet, later called Hajj Cory Clines
Marsinah, his daughter Chelsea Basler* Erin Schmura**
Hassan-Ben, a brigand Mark Snyder
Jawan, master brigand Nicholas Wuehrmann
Chief Policeman Gary Moss
Second Policeman Logan Walsh
A Jocular Merchant Geoffrey Kannenberg
The Wazir of Police Boyd Mackus
Wazir’s Policeman Adam VonAlmen
Lalume, wife of wives to the Wazir Raina Thorne* Alta Dantzler**
The Caliph, young commander of the faithful Drake Dantzler* Kyle Knapp**
Widow Yussef Jacqueline Komos
Bangle Man Max Nolin
Pearl Merchant Michael Davis Smith
Silk Merchant No. 1 Jon Gerhard
Silk Merchant No. 2 Ezra Bershatsky
Slave Merchant John Callison
Ayah to Lalume Caroline Bassett Miller
Slave Girl Solos Karla Hughes
  * June 19, 26, July 6, 9, 17, 28
  **June 24, July 2, 8, 11, 24, August 5
Ensemble: Natalie Ballenger, Ezra Bershatsky, Sarah Best, Cecily Ellis-Bills, Justin Bills, Lori Birrer, John Callison, Malia French, Jon Gerhard, Chelsea Hart, Karla Hughes, Geoffrey Kannenberg, Jacqueline Komos, Sarah Levering, Tania Mandzy, Caroline Bassett Miller, Emily Neill, Max Nolin, Will Perkins, Madeline Piscetta, Michael Smith, Adam VonAlmen, Logan Walsh