PODCAST: Inside Berklee—Peter Eldridge, Rene Pfister, Cheryl Coons
Gustav Klimt’s enigmatic painting The Kiss is one of the most famous and recognizable works of art of the past century. Despite that, little is known about the woman he depicts. Intrigued by her, playwright Cheryl Coons of the Chicago Dramatists set out to find out more, and imagined who she might have been. The result is the musical The Kiss, which she cowrote with Peter Eldridge, a professor in Berklee’s Voice Department.
“We seek to take a web of facts that are somewhat sketchy and interpret the ‘what might have been’ of the story. So, all the characters of the piece are people who actually lived and we have fragments of their stories and have woven them together with a narrative that is our creation,” Coons says.
The Kiss will premiere at the Berklee Performance Center on April 26 and April 27 and is the first original musical theater production to be part of the Signature Series at Berklee. It will be directed by Rene Pfister, an assistant professor in the Voice Department and coordinator of musical theater at Berklee.
In advance of the show, Berklee hosted a salon on April 8 featuring singing, a talk about early 20th-century Austrian fashion, and a lesson on Viennese waltz. There, Eldridge spoke about the writing of the piece.
In this episode of Inside Berklee, Coons calls in from Chicago to join Eldridge and Pfister in talking about the mystery of The Kiss, what inspired them to create the show, and the rise of musical theater at Berklee.
Producer: Kimberly Ashton
Engineer: Andres Gonzalez Cardona
Recorded at the BIRN Studios