Denyce Graves: Breaking the Rules

WHYY/TV at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts • June 19, 2003

Scenic Design: Boyd OstroffStage Director: Mario Corradi • TV Director: Alan Skog • Lighting Designer: Rick Siegel • Executive Producers: David Perry, Paul Gluck and Craig Hamilton • Conductor: Steven Mercurio

Special Guests: Patti LaBelle, Take 6, Jessica Swink and Vincent Thomas • Orchestra: Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia • Chorus: The J. Donald Dumpson Singers



“Although this is the first major “pledge program” that WHYY has produced, the jazz, gospel and classical show featuring Patti LaBelle is the third such effort Graves, 37, has originated through her own company, Carmen Productions.

And this production will be more elaborate than others like it. The program is not terribly unusual for PBS: a middlebrow mixture of popular songs and operatic arias, plus a duet with LaBelle, a local celebrity whom Graves has long idolized.

The stage set looks like a portion of Baz Luhrmann’s Broadway production of La Boheme, which closes June 29. The Three Tenors had elaborate sets, but never truly interacted with them – or much else, least of all one another. Not so with the ever-tactile Graves, who is moving front and center toward the seating area on what some call “the Judy Garland runway,” built over the orchestra pit to allow maximum rapport with the audience.” – David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/19/2003



Design Evolution





Final Design Sketches




Production Photos




Backstage Photos




Design and Technical Drawings




denyce_dvdOpera Company Staff

Shop Carpenters: John Callahan, Timothy Callahan, Paul Lodes, John Damiani,

Scenic Artist: Vanessa Fenton

Props Master: Cindy Felice




Scenery Data

  • Built June, 2003 for WHYY/TV at the Opera Company of Philadelphia Production Center / Frankford Arsenal
  • Scenery construction budget: $17,500 • Actual cost: $14,901 • Scenery rental income (for use of OCP stock units): $10,000
  • This production no longer exists



Comments are closed.