JOHN BEEMAN

Opera and Musical Theater

 

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The Answering Machine
One-act opera. Created with librettist Carla Brooke. (Premiere May 13, 2000 at the Palo Alto Art Center.) Listen to Mp3 -"Answering Machine, Scene One"
Law Offices
(1996) Full-length opera, libretto by the composer.
Foam
(1996) Musical-dramatic work for six actors and four instrumentalists (flute/clarinet/alto sax, trumpet, violin., cello). Created with co-author (text) Carla Brooke.
El Condor
(1993) Musical play. Created with co-librettist Carla Brooke.
The Great American Dinner Table
(1978) One-act opera, libretto by the composer.

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FOAM

A Musical Drama

Script: John Beeman and Carla Brooke
Music: John Beeman

Foam -- A Musical Drama premiered August 23-24, 1996 in San Francisco as a theatrical-musical work (with script by John Beeman and Carla Brooke). It goes far beyond a play with incidental music in that the music is intimately tied to the drama and characters. Some of the movements are, in fact, musical "character sketches." The sixth movement, "Duo for Daniel and Richard," portrays the macho intellectual sparring of the two characters with bull-fighting music. Ethereal jazz harmonies are used in "Reflections on Crystal and David" to depict new-age types.

The action of this contemporary social comedy takes place in a coffee house cafe where much of the interactions have about as much solidity as cappuccino "foam."

Characters:

  • Crystal: Age 32
  • David: Age 29
    a couple

  • Jennifer: Age not revealed -- Residence: Mill Valley, California
  • Meaghan: A friend

  • Daniel: A professor, early 40's
  • Richard: A colleague
Instrumentation:

Clarinet in B flat tripling Alto Sax and Flute
Trumpet in B flat
Violin
Cello

Duration: approximately 27 minutes
Score in C

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EL CONDOR

An Environmental Musical in One Act

El Condor is about saving the endangered species of our times -- the feathered ones that used to soar freely and the legged ones that used to stay true to their child spirits. The story tells of a ten year old boy who lives with his single mother in southern California while his father is busy excavating Inca ruins in the Andes. After disappointing news that his dad is too busy with work to see him over vacation, they each encounter a condor in a dream sequence and are reminded about what is most important in life. The musical brings out human conflict with nature and the necessity of healing the wounds of man cut off from nature.

Characters:
  • Jamie
  • Michael
  • Susan
  • Luis
  • Robert
  • Imelda
  • Damaris
  • Mrs. Kincaid
  • The Condor
boy's friend
boy, age 10-11
Michael's mother, an architect
Robert's friend and co-worker
Micheal's father, an archeologis working in South America
Luis' wife
Luis' ten year old daughter
Susan's mother
played by male or female actor


    Laborers, Chorus, Dancers and Spirits (16-30 children)

Premiered: Springer School Theatre
Mountain View, California
April 23, 1992

Duration: ca. 1 hour, 30 minutes

    Also available: TWO SONGS FROM EL CONDOR -- for Children's Chorus --

  • 1. CONDOR CHORUS (2-PART)
    Duration: 2:1
  • 2. FLYING DANCE (SSAA)
    Duration 2:08

Premiered: Cantabile Children's Chorus
Palo Alto, Calif.
April 1995

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THE GREAT AMERICAN DINNER TABLE

A Tragi-Comedy in One Act

The Great American Dinner Table is set in the Viet-Nam War era, an important time in our country's history. The story chronicles a family's farewell dinner for their son on the eve of his departure for military service.

The opera takes place in 1967 when dramatic changes in political, social and moral areas were causing turmoil for many Americans. In no other aspect of our lives were these currents of change more shaped than in that sensitive organism of society, the American family.

The opera premiered at The University of Washington in 1978 and was also produced at the California Music Center Festival in 1980.

Setting: A "nice" restaurant, Polynesian theme

Characters:

  • Mr. James Rustin -- Dramatic Baritone
  • Mrs. Susan Rustin -- Mezzo-soprano
  • Danny Rustin -- Tenor
  • Sal Rustin -- Soprano
  • Uncle Jack -- Bass-baritone
  • Waitress -- Lyric Soprano
  • Peter (Danny's friend) -- Tenor or Baritone
  • Maitre D' -- Spoken role

Duration: ca. 30 minutes
Composed in 1978 (revised 1980)

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