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News Release

Original Jazz Opera a First for Moravian's Musical Theatre

"The Real Book of Gig," will make its world premiere

Bethlehem, Pa., October 28, 2011--"The Real Book of Gig," an original jazz opera, makes its world premiere in Foy Hall November 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. The collaborative effort between the Moravian College Theatre Company and the music department has been in the works for more than 18 months. The work is composed by Tony Gairo, with libretto by Lou Lanza. It is co-produced by Christopher Shorr (who also directs) and Neil Wetzel (who also is conducting the work)--all Moravian faculty members.

The production tells the story of a musician, Gig Wright, who seems to have it all together. His music career is becoming wildly successful, and he has a growing family with a wife and two kids. "He's similar to Frank Sinatra," says Wetzel. "He is charismatic and talented. He loves life."

When his wife commits suicide, Gig's thriving lifestyle begins to crumble around him as he takes an emotional rollercoaster ride down to the most tragic of ends. Suddenly, Gig is left with guilt, stress and two children to care for. Stricken with overwhelming grief, a demanding music career and his kids, Gig takes a turn no one will see coming.

The production, which features more than 30 students, three Moravian College jazz ensembles, talented Moravian students, and alumni, brings together the theatre program and the music department in one large, full-scale production.

"This is rare that a school of our size would commission and stage a full opera, let alone a jazz opera," says Shorr. "From the actors and actresses to the jazz musicians, the entire show will be performed by Moravian students, with alumna Jessica Smith Pomeroy as the female lead and guest performer Anthony Connell in the title role."

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for seniors and non-Moravian students. The show is free for Moravian College students with ID and $5 for faculty and staff. Reduced rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Foy Hall is located on Moravian's Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus in downtown Bethlehem. For further information or ticket reservation, call 610-861-1489. For more information visit www.moravian.edu/theatre. Moravian College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. Anyone who anticipates needing any type of accommodation or who has questions about the physical access provided should contact Kathi Roman at katro@moravian.edu or 610 625-7880 at least one week prior to visiting Moravian.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College's Web site at www.moravian.edu.