By Kyle Peter Rotolo
Fame and stardom can bring riches and rewards, but for many the pressure and exposure bring loneliness and sorrow. Some of America's most famous starlets have struggled with depression, addiction, abuse, or all of the above and the public can't seem to get enough. Marilyn's Room explores the world around the star, the people behind the scenes whether they are calling the shots or just cleaning the sheets. These are the people who see the real star, the real human being underneath the fancy gowns and facades. They are the individuals who get to experience fame at its worst every day, but leave it at work every night.
The crooked agents, the awe-struck young wannabe starlets, the stubborn old servants to the A-listers who've had enough of their lifestyle, Marilyn's Room pulls back the curtain and shows us a glimpse at what Hollywood can really look like. Rotolo chooses to focus on those invisible who are see the impact of fame day in and day out, and for many, care about those celebrities more than even their closest friends.
A featured composer in the 2014 American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Readings, Kyle Peter Rotolo (b. 1986) has been called “a very talented young composer with much to look forward to in the future” (Paula Brusky, Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition, Inc.), whose music is “mesmerizing” and possesses “a strong sense of propulsion and transport” (Tobias Fischer, tokafi.com). He is a multi-faceted composer and conductor who grew up on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, just across from the City That Never Sleeps.
In 2013, Kyle’s String Quartet No. 1: Macchiato was recorded by the New England String Quartet and released on the album Perceptions: Points of View for Small Ensemble (Navona Records NV5909). In 2016, his chamber opera "Marilyn's Room" was commissioned by Bloomington, Indiana's New Voices Opera and is set to premiere in May 2017. He has been awarded the Audience Award from the 2014 American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood Readings, the 2016 Leonard Newman Prize from the Just Made in Indiana Music Festival, the Ada Arens Morawetz Memorial Award in Composition, third prize in the Prix d’Ete chamber music composition competition (the latter two from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University), and was a finalist in both the BMI Student Composer Awards and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (2014, 2015).
Kyle is an alumnus of the Peabody Institute (M.M. 2013), the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Brevard Music Center, and a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. His mentors have been Kevin Puts, Liviu Marinescu, and N. Lincoln Hanks. He has also studied privately with Samuel Adler, Derek Bermel, and David Dzubay. He wishes to thank the Peabody Institute for supporting him with two Peabody Career Development Grants. He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Music degree at Indiana University – Bloomington’s Jacobs School of Music, where he is a recipient of a Barbara and David Jacobs Fellowship.
Cast of Marilyn's Room
Anne Slovin (Brigitte), soprano, is a first-year masters student in voice at the Jacobs School of Music, studying with Patricia Havranek. An avid performer of contemporary opera, her recent roles include the world premiere of Mica Segal in Wlad Marhulets’s The Property (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Mabrouka in Mohammed Fairouz’s Sumeida’s Song, and Irena in Richard Wargo’s The Seduction of a Lady. In 2014, Anne was an artist-in-residence at Pensacola Opera, where she performed the roles of Frasquita in Carmen, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte. She has won first prize in the FAVA Grand Concours de Chant and second prize at both the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition and the Czech and Slovak International Vocal Competition in Montreal; she is also a recent recipient of a Farwell Trust Award from Chicago’s Musicians Club of Women and an international study grant from the Frank Huntington Beebe Foundation for Musicians. This summer, Anne will travel to Harrogate, UK to sing the role of Phyllis in Iolanthe at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival as a recipient of the Georgina Joshi International Fellowship from IU. Anne is a proud alumna of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music.
An Iowa native, Chad DeMaris (Sellman) completed his education at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, studying under the tutelage of Dr. Raymond Feener. Chad holds a Master of Music and Arist Certificate from UMKC, along with a Bachelor of Music from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Previous operatic performances include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Laurie in Little Women, Sam Kaplan and Lippo Fiorentino in Street Scene, Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Camille in Die lustige witwe, and Mayor Upfold in Albert Herring. In 2015, Chad performed the role of Xu Xian in a concert performance of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Madame White Snake, sung at the request of the composer, Zhou Long. As an in-demand soloist, Chad has recently performed the St. Matthew Passion with the UMKC Choirs and Orchestra, The Creation as guest soloist at Avila University, along with Rejoice in the Lamb, St. John Passion, Litaniae Laurentanae, Messiah, and various Bach Cantatas with UMKC. In addition, Chad has sung with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a member of the chorus, and has sung in the productions of La traviata, Silent Night, Don Giovanni, and Carmen. Chad currently works as a freelance tenor in Bloomington, and sings with the Christ Church Cathedral Choir in Indianapolis.
Michelle Lerch (Diane), soprano, is currently a first year Master’s student studying under the direction of Timothy Noble at Indiana University, where she studies Vocal Performance. She recently graduated from East Carolina University in May 2016 where she received her Bachelors in Vocal Performance and Music Theory. She has performed in multiple ECU operas, the most recent being the role of Elisetta in Il Matrimonio Segreto by Domenico Cimarosa. Apart from IU and ECU, Ms. Lerch studied at the prestigious Oberlin in Italy opera festival, where she performed in a production of Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, as well as worked with many renowned coaches. In addition, this summer she will be performing in the Chicago Summer Opera Program as the role of Abigail in Robert Ward’s The Crucible. She is looking forward to her second performance with IU’s New Voices Opera as Diane in Kyle Peter Rotolo’s Marilyn’s Room.
Emily Warren (Joan), mezzo-soprano, is a first year master’s student at Indiana University studying with Patricia Stiles. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance in May 2016 from Baldwin Wallace University. At Baldwin Wallace, she performed in several main stage productions, including appearances as Ramiro in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, and Carmen in the Peter Brook adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen. Warren has attended the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Périgueux, France, where she performed as L'enfant in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, and has also attended the CoOPERAtive Program at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.