News Release

Cast announced for comic opera 'Too Many Sopranos'

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Opera/Music Theatre Workshop has announced the cast for its March production of “Too Many Sopranos,” a hysterically funny opera about four dead divas facing the ultimate audition from hell.

     The comic two-act opera, scheduled March 21-24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ralph R. Pottle Music Building Auditorium, will be guest-directed by Brand Blocker, a successful music director, stage director, actor, singer and producer from New Orleans.

     Composed in 2000 by Edwin Penhorwood, a member of the opera faculty of the Indiana University at Bloomington’s Jacobs School of Music, “Too Many Sopranos” is about four sopranos who go to heaven – and get some really bad news from St. Peter.

     Because so many tenors and basses have been condemned to hell, there is room for only soprano in the heavenly choir. So, the divas must audition for St. Peter to determine who will make it through the Pearly Gates and who has to go to hell.

     “Massive diva fits ensue,” said Opera/Music Theater Workshop Director Charles Effler. “None of them ever had to demean themselves by something so common and low as an audition during their earthly careers -- or so they claim.”

     Eventually the singers submit to the indignity of auditioning, but then St. Peter can’t decide which diva should get the heavenly nod. The Angel Gabriel steps in, reminding St. Peter of the “redemption clause.” If the divas go to hell for 24 hours and perform a selfless act, they can bring back as many tenors and basses as needed to balance adding all four of them to the celestial chorus.

     But, if they fail, they will have to spend the rest of eternity in the netherworld.    

     The divas take the chance and make the descent to hell where they meet a womanizing tenor and bass and a librettist and director, both roasting for the unpardonable sin of making opera boring.

     “In the end, all is well, and as the entire company prepares to return to heaven, they join in the finale, ‘We’ll Never Sing Opera Again.’” Effler said.

     Starring as the divas are Southeastern voice students Christina Babin of Prairieville and Sarah Kennemer of Mandeville as “Madame Pompous,” Jessica Davis Bryan of Ponchatoula as “Miss Titmouse,” and Cassie Arnold of Ponchatoula and Emily Stokes of Covington as “Just Jeanette.” Southeastern voice faculty member Kay Schepker of Hammond rounds out the temperamental quartet as “Dame Doleful.”

     Scott McDonough of Slidell and Brian Martinez Jr. of Montz will sing the roles of St. Peter and Gabriel, respectively. Colby McCurdy of Slidell is cast as the sinfully boring opera director “Orson,” while Brandon Wear of Slidell is the equally mind-numbing librettist “Nelson Deadly.” Chris Griffin of Baton Rouge is the unnamed bass in hell for womanizing, and Blair Abene of Hammond has the role of “Sandman.”

     General admission tickets, available at the door, are $14, adults; and $10, senior citizens, Southeastern faculty, staff, and alumni, and non-Southeastern students. Southeastern students are admitted free with their university I.D.

     For more information contact Effler at or (985) 549-2249.

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