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APRIL 24 AND 25

Co Sponsors:
Sharon & Rick Ellingsen

Jennifer Diener
Christopher Reed

Ann & Robert Ronus

 

LIVE IN PERSON OPERA IS BACK AT HERITAGE SQUARE MUSEUM LAWN!

 

Choose the performance time that is best for you. The 7:30 performances allow time before the show for picnicking and for checking out the historic homes on the property. The Sunday matinee will of course be in full daylight, but might be best for patrons who do not like driving at night. The 8:45 show on Saturday is sure to be the party crowd.

Saturday April 24 7:30 SOLD OUT

(Gates open at 6:30)

Saturday April 24 8:45

(Gates open at 8:30)

Sunday April 25 5:30

(Gates open at 5:00)

Sunday April 25 7:30

(Gates open at 6:30)

Heritage Square Museum

3800 Homer St. Los Angeles, CA 90031

(Just off the 110 Highway in Highland Park)

Tickets $25-$40. You are welcome to bring your own picnics and drinks (wine and beer only)! BRING YOUR OWN CHAIRS OR BLANKETS for Section 2 seating. Chairs will be provided for Section 1, but you are welcome to bring your own. 

Trouble in Tahiti has a run time of around 50 minutes.

Seating will be spaced and designated. "Pods" must be from the same household or everyone in the pod must be fully vaccinated. No more than five people in a pod. Masks required at all times, except when eating.

Tickets for this event are sold directly through POP. If the shows are canceled due to Covid-19, refunds will be possible.

 
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CAST

Directed and Designed by Josh Shaw

Music Directed by Kyle Naig

Costumed by Maggie Green

Assistant Director Carson Gilmore

Cast

Megan Potter as Dinah

Andrew Potter as Sam

Robert Norman as Boy 1

Eleen Hsu-Wentlandt as Girl

Ryan Reithmeier as Boy 2

 
 
 

CAST AND STAFF

MEGAN POTTER

Dinah

ANDREW POTTER

Sam

ELEEN HSU-WENTLANDT

Girl

ROBERT NORMAN

Boy 1

RYAN REITHMEIER

Boy 2

KYLE NAIG

Music Director

JOSH SHAW

Director/Designer

 

Trouble in Tahiti

Music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein

Runtime: 50 minutes

Ticket holders are welcome to arrive early to picnic and view the historic homes on the premises. 

Produced by arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Sole Agent for Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company LLC, publisher and copyright owner. 

Click Here for Information on COVID-19 Safety

POP returns to the show that started it all, Trouble in Tahiti, with the first live, in-person (non-drive-in) production since January of 2020. With just five singers, a simple set, and a short run-time, this production seems to be an ideal start as we carefully test the waters of reopening. Join us on the lawn of Heritage Square Museum in Highland Park, just off the 110 Highway. Picnic and enjoy a bottle of wine with your pod, safely distanced from others and nestled between the historic homes and buildings at Heritage Square. 

Chairs will be provided for Section 1 ticket holders. Section 2 patrons should bring a blanket or low lawn chair. Picnics are encouraged and wine and beer are allowed. Please pack out everything you bring in. Ample parking and restrooms are on sight. 

Background

Leonard Bernstein was on his honeymoon in 1951 when he began composing his one-act opera, Trouble in Tahiti, a candid portrait of the troubled marriage of a young suburban couple. Written between his biggest Broadway successes— On the Town in 1944 and Candide and West Side Story in 1956 and 1957, respectively— Trouble in Tahiti draws upon popular songs styles to deliver an uncompromising critique of post-war American materialism. Beneath the couple's marital discord is a profound longing for love and intimacy. Their spiritual emptiness, in contrast to a veneer of happy consumerism, creates the heart of the drama and is emphasized by sudden stylistic shifts in the music. Bernstein dedicated the piece to his close friend Marc Blitzstein, who had led him toward music theater.

The opera begins with a vocal trio singing of idyllic middle-class life in 1950s suburbia. Their close harmonies, jazz rhythms and idealized representation of American life are evocative of radio commercials of the era. Throughout the 45-minute opera, the Trio functions as a contemporary Greek chorus, providing satirical commentary to the drama.

The opera focuses in on the domestic conflict of Sam and Dinah, a young couple who, in contrast to the perfect picture of suburban life painted by the Trio, are desperately unhappy. Starting with an argument over breakfast, the piece explores a day in their life—Sam's as a successful businessman, and Dinah's as a frustrated housewife. They argue about their son Junior, who is never seen or heard from. As the day continues, the competitive and over-confident Sam shows his prowess at the office and at the gym. Dinah visits her psychiatrist and recounts a dream of a beautiful, unattainable garden, then spends the afternoon at an escapist movie called "Trouble in Tahiti." At the end of the day, profoundly aware of their unhappiness, Sam and Dinah try to have a frank discussion about their relationship. Unable to communicate without blaming and arguing, Sam suggests they go out to see a new movie—"Trouble in Tahiti."

Synopsis

Prelude – A smiling jazz Trio sings of perfect life in Suburbia, with its little white houses and happy, loving families.

Scene I – Sam and Dinah talk over breakfast, alternating between habitual bickering and lyrical moments of longing for kindness. Dinah accuses Sam of having an affair with his secretary, which he denies. She also reminds Sam that their son Junior's play is that afternoon, but Sam insists that his handball tournament at the gym is more important. They continue to argue until Sam leaves for the office.

Scene II – At work, Sam exudes confidence as he deftly handles business by telephone and promises to lend money to a friend. The Trio extols Sam's virtues.

Scene III – In her analyst's office, Dinah recalls a dream of an untended garden, choked with weeds ("I was standing in a garden"). In the dream, she hears a voice calling to her, describing a beautiful garden, a place of love and harmony, and she tries desperately to find it. Meanwhile, at Sam's office, he questions his secretary about their relationship, and when reminded of an incident, he insists that it was an accident and that she forget it ever happened.

Scene IV – Sam and Dinah accidentally run into each other on the street. Uncomfortable, each makes up an excuse so they won't have to have lunch together. After parting, they privately reflect in duet on the confusing and painful course their relationship has taken, and yearn for their lost happiness.

Interlude – Inside the house, the Trio sings of lovely life in Suburbia, detailing the comforts of the American dream.

Scene V – At the gym, Sam has just won the handball tournament. He sings triumphantly about the nature of men ("There's a law")— how some try with all their might to rise to the top, but will never win; while others, like him, are born winners and will always succeed.

Scene VI – Dinah has spent the afternoon at the cinema watching a South Sea romance movie called "Trouble in Tahiti." At first she dismisses it as sentimental drivel. But as she recounts the story and its theme song "Island Magic," backed by the Trio ("What a movie!"), she gets caught up in the escapist fantasy of love. Suddenly self-conscious, she stops herself, and prepares dinner. On his way home, Sam sings of another law of men— that even the winner must pay for what he gets—as he reluctantly returns to the discomfort of his home.

Scene VII – The Trio sings of evenings of domestic bliss in Suburbia. Sam and Dinah try half-heartedly to talk about their relationship, but their effort turns into yet another argument that devolves into uncomfortable silence. Neither of them has gone to Junior's play. Sam suggests they go to the movies, to see a new film about Tahiti; Dinah consents. As they leave, they each long for quiet and communion, but not knowing if it's possible to rediscover their love for one another, they opt for the "bought-and-paid-for magic" of the silver screen. The Trio makes its final ironic comment, echoing the movie's "Island Magic" theme song.

 

Trouble in Tahiti at Heritage Square F.A.Q.


Q:  Where is Heritage Square?
A:  Just off the 110 Freeway in Highland Park. 3800 Homer Street | Los Angeles, CA 90031. Heritage Square also has a Gold Line stop.

Q:  How long is the show?
A:  Trouble in Tahiti is only about 50 minutes long. However, we encourage you to come earlier (see gate opening times above) to picnic and to explore the grounds.

Q:  Why the weird show times?
A:  We're working with a few factors -- sunset, a 10pm cutoff, and safely moving groups of people in and out during Covid. We wanted to give everyone an option to see the show, thus the 5:30 matinee. This performance will of course be in the daylight, negating all lighting cues. But for patrons would do not drive at night, this is a great option. 

Q:  What is the seating like?
A:  Most importantly, the seating is spaced out to comply with Covid guidelines. Beyond that, think of this as "Shakespeare in the Park". Bring blankets and low lawn chairs. If you are not in Section 1, you need to bring something to sit on.

Q:  Can I sit with my friends?
A:  That depends. If you are all vaccinated or from the same household, you can sit in pods of up to five people. The exception is Section 1, which is only sold in pairs.

Q:  Can I bring my own food and drink?
A:  Yes! You can bring anything except hard alcohol. Please be prepared to take your trash with you.

Q:  What happens if the show is canceled due to Covid-19?
A:  This show, unlike a few we had scheduled in 2020, is ticketed by POP, not the venue. So potential refunds or transfers will not be an issue.

Q:  Is there a stage/will I be able to see?
A:  Yes, there will be a stage about 4ft high. Site lines should be better than ever, considering how spaced out everyone will be. 

Q:  Is there an orchestra?
A:  The show will be presented with a jazz trio (keyboard, bass, and percussion)

Q:  How's the parking?
A:  Easy and free, just outside the gates.

Q:  Can I arrive earlier than the gate times.
A:  No. Gates will open at the specified times and not before. Guests will also need to leave immediately after the show so that the next audience can arrive or so the park can close.

 
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©2021 by Pacific Opera Project