Journal of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, 2012
Day One: Fellows are Introduced to the Estate
Last evening we welcomed our 2012 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows, Master Teacher Joel Grey, and Musical Director Rob Fisher to Ten Chimneys for the start of our Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship week. After a champagne toast of welcome on the Cottage Porch, we toured the estate, sharing favorite stories from the Lunts' career on the Broadway stage and from their time at Ten Chimneys, and ended with dinner, featuring some of Alfred's favorite dishes, in the Lunts' Dining Room. Before leaving the estate for the evening, Rob and Joel gathered all of the Fellows around the Noël Coward piano and played a favorite Sir Noël song as an after-dinner introduction to the beautiful piano the Lunts so cherished. It was a night so like those the Lunts shared with their dear friends; it was a night we were honored to share with our new friends.
Day Two: Fellows Begin Their Exploration and Past Fellows Return
Master Teacher Joel Grey began the first Master Class session in the Lunts' Drawing Room on Monday morning singing his signature piece, “Willkommen” from Cabaret, and then invited each Fellow to share a favorite song of his or her own. Their song choices spanned from childhood memories to career star turns, each one telling a personal story of each Fellow's life. The day ended with Alumni Lunt-Fontanne Fellows joining our current Fellows for a shared dinner together where stories from past years Fellowships wove easily with the stories that are just beginning.
Several Alumni Fellows joined the 2012 Fellows in a toast.
2012 Fellows take some time to learn more about the work of our dear Alfred and Lynn from our miniature theatre exhibit.
From left to right, Nick Gabriel (American Conservatory Theater), Sarah Litzsinger (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Brad Oscar (Arena Stage), and Susan Moniz (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).
2012 Musical Director, Rob Fisher (left), and Master Teacher, Joel Grey (right).
Day Three: Broadway Duets
During Tuesday's Master Class sessions, Master Teacher Joel Grey and Musical Director Rob Fisher paired the Fellows together, to tackle great Broadway duets from Candide, Chicago, Cabaret, and the like. Fellows greeted their characters enthusiastically, using a standard Alfred Lunt approach of peeling back the layers of their characters, and finding their souls. How gratifying it is to see Alfred's legacy of excellence continues on with our 2012 Fellows.
The Fellows are frequenting the Lunts' pool in this warm weather.
Day Four: A Day the Lunts Would Have Loved
Our 2012 Fellows enjoyed Wednesday morning by and in the pool the Lunts so loved and shared so often with those who came for a visit. The afternoon and evening found our Fellows hard at work in the Lunts' Drawing Room as Master Teacher Joel Grey and Musical Director Rob Fisher guided them through the worlds of Finian's Rainbow, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, and Chicago. It was a full day filled with laughter, camaraderie, and great songs; it was a full day the Lunts would have loved.
Day Five: What a Day
Thursday was a busy, but beautiful day for our 2012 Fellows - sunshine, picnic lunch by the pool, navigating new material, and working together in the Lunts' Drawing Room on a group song they will share at Saturday evening's Public Program. Master Teacher Joel Grey and Musical Director Rob Fisher deftly directed and nurtured and challenged the Fellows through works both familiar and new - all under the roof of the first couple of the American stage. As had been the case all week, it was a day filled with laughter, wonder, and joy. For us all, it was a busy day, but for us all, what a day.
From left to right Musical Director Rob Fisher, Master Teacher Joel Grey, and accompanist Jamie Johns
From left to right, Sarah Litzsinger (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Master Teacher Joel Grey, and Brad Oscar (Arena Stage).
Day Six: Mr. Grey Charms Us All
After a full day of Master Class sessions, with a bit of pool time nestled in between, the 2012 Fellows, Musical Director Rob Fisher, and Master Teacher Joel Grey returned to Ten Chimneys for an 8pm, sold-out Conversation with Joel Grey. Mr. Grey shared personal stories from his early childhood theatre experiences to his successes on the Broadway stage. Not to disappoint, Mr. Grey also regaled the audience with a handful of favorite Broadway songs. From the moment he took the stage to his final bow, Mr. Grey, under the photos of the Lunts from their own Broadway triumphs, entertained and surprised and charmed us all.
Mr. Grey was interviewed by 2009 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow, Mr. Lee Ernst.
Mr. Grey performing "Mr. Cellophane" from the musical Chicago.
Day Seven: The Concluding Presentation of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program
Our Lunt-Fontanne Fellows, under the talented tutelage of Musical Director Rob Fisher and Master Teacher Joel Grey, took to the stage on Saturday night to share with the sold-out crowd a rare glimpse into the work they explored during their immersion experience this past week at Ten Chimneys. Mr. Grey opened the evening and charmed us all with a customized version of his legendary Broadway turn, “Willkommen” from Cabaret. Fellows shared light moments and re-imagined duets and new pieces they explored before our eyes, and ended the night with “Make Our Garden Grow” – so appropriate at the estate of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne who knew a thing or two about growing gardens.
Hollis Resnik (Goodman Theatre) and David St. Louis (Center Theatre Group) perform a scene and song from Sondheim's "A Little Night Music."
Sarah Litzsinger (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and Brad Oscar (Arena Stage) entertained our audience with "A Little Priest" from Sweeny Todd.
Day Eight: Goodbye Dear Friends
Today, we bid our dear Fellows a fond farewell, knowing that they leave our hearts full and our souls fed by their talent, by their warmth, and by their Lunt-like devotion to the craft they so love. Safe travels, dear friends. We hope you’ll find your way back “home” again very soon.
Master Teacher Joel Grey and Ten Chimneys Foundation Interim President Karen Robison share a conversation near the Cottage.
A final toast in the Drawing Room.
All photos by Jim Brozek Photography © Ten Chimneys Foundation