The downtown Farnsworth Art Museum, in partnership with Everyman Repertory Theatre, will present a dramatic reading of Terrence McNally’s “Master Class.” Saturday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. in the auditorium. It is the first in a series of three dramatic readings titled The Play’s the Thing.

The series will continue Saturday afternoon, Feb. 13, with “Time Stands Still” by Donald Margulies. “Lucky Guy” by Nora Ephron will round out the series Saturday, March 12.

“Master Class” finds famed opera singer Maria Callas teaching a master class. She is glamorous, commanding, larger than life — and drop-dead funny. Callas' first "victim" is Sophie, a ridiculous, overly-perky soprano. Sophie chooses to sing one of the most difficult arias, the sleepwalking scene from “La Sonnambula,” an aria that Callas made famous. Before the girl sings a note, Callas stops her; she clearly can't stand hearing music massacred. And now what has started out as a class has become a platform for Callas. She enters her memories, and we learn about the sacrifices that must be made in the name of art.

“Master Class” won both the 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play and the 1996 Tony Award for Best Play; Zoe Caldwell won the 1996 Tony for Actress in a Play, and Audra McDonald won the for Featured Actress in a Play. Note that this play contains adult language and themes and may not be suitable for young audiences.

This reading will feature Marcus Carter as the Accompanist, Ryan Martin as the Stage Manager, Gretchen Donchecz in the role of Maria Callas, River Lombardi as the First Soprano, Julia Clapp as the Second Soprano and Ryan Jackson as the Tenor. The reading is directed by David Troup.

Fee for this program is $12, $10 for museum members. Advance tickets are for sale in the Farnsworth museum store or main lobby admission desk. Will-call tickets may be purchased at

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or