Wolf Trap Opera

The Future of Opera

WTC 1971: A Musical Theater Cavalcade

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Welcome to August 1971, with the first performances of the Wolf Trap Company, at the original Filene Center.

1971: A Musical Theater Cavalcade
Spanning the history of musical theatre from Beggar’s Opera through Hair

A Musical Theater Cavalcade, by Robert Lewis & John Green, was a fitting vehicle for the inauguration of this ambitious undertaking by Catherine Filene Shouse, Wolf Trap’s founder. She wanted to create a program that would give young people a chance to experience the demands of a professional career in the performing arts. That first summer there were 60 (!) aspiring performing artists, and their showcase performance of the Cavalcade included excerpts from operetta and American musical theatre.

The 1971 Wolf Trap Company wasn’t just for singers – there were dancers and instrumentalists.  The Company rehearsed and lived at the nearby Madeira School (at left), as there were no rehearsal spaces available at Wolf Trap. Wolf Trap was a different kind of place back then, but I like to believe that the spirit behind Kay Shouse’s creation of this company is still very much with us.

Members of the 1971 Company went on to sing with the Met, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Savonlinna Festival, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Opéra National de Paris, and many others. They taught on the faculties of  institutions including Notre Dame University and James Madison University, and some are still active teachers.  They sang and danced on Broadway, and one particularly precocious 17-year-old dancer named Kevin McKenzie went on to become the Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre.

Members of the 1971 Wolf Trap Company

Stephanie Bates

Marianne Benson

Dolores Brown

Melvin Brown

Richard Stephen Brown

Stephen Mark Brown

Diane Caldwell

Cheryl Carty

Ashley Chappell

Naomi Chernick

John Coffman

David Coon

Candace Cotlove

Sandra Cryder

David Daniel

Cherie Davis

Osceola Davis

LeRoy Dorsey

Robert Ergenbright

Deneen Ford

Elaine Freedman

Patricia George

Carol Gericke

Estelle Gibbs

Guillermo Adolfo Gonzalez

Robert Hallock

Ray Harrell

Susan Harrison

Jeffrey Hildner

Paul Holcheck

Thomas Holliday

Mary Lou Jamison

David Cale Johnson

Donald Johnson

Cortlandt Jones

Karen Kimble

Linda LeBarron

Rebecca Littig

Sherry Londe

Deborah Lucas

Roger Lucas

Kathryn Luster

Elena Malfitano

Kevin McKenzie

Susan McLeod

Ken Miller

Stephen Myrick

Georgine Resick

Glenda Rosenbloom

Laurie Skinner

Nance Smreker

Kenneth Thompson

Ken Titus

Karen Tumas

Eloise Ullman

Enid Ward

Robert Williamson

Cynthia Winkler

Linda Wonneberger

Lorna Yelavich

Sandra Zancan

One Comment

  1. Hi! I was in this original cast and happened on your wonderful website today. Just yesterday I was telling a friend about the Wolf Trap experience and decided to poke around and see if anything had been written about those first couple of years. I was fortunate to be in the company the 2nd year when we performed The Most Happy Fella! I moved to Los Angeles in the late 70′s, continued dancing and singing and started a production company of my own performing theme musical revues for convention audiences as well as producing Industrial shows. I will always remember my Wolf Trap days – they were so exciting and nurturing. Thanks for this website! Would love to see more photos! Susan Harrison

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