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Obituaries

Obituaries

Soignée, witty actress and lyric soprano, Anne Jeffreys; playwright and opera critic Albert Innaurato; poet, theater critic, blogger and travel writer Charlene Baldridge.

Obituaries Anne Jeffreys lg 1217
Anne Jeffreys as Lilli in Kiss Me, Kate
Photofest

ANNE JEFFREYS
Goldsboro, NC, January 26, 1923 — Los Angeles, CA, September 27, 2017  

A SOIGNÉE, WITTY actress and lyric soprano, Jeffreys was singing Tosca for impresario Alfredo Salmaggi at the Brooklyn Academy of Music when Kurt Weill heard her and chose her to create the role of Rose Maurrant in his opera Street Scene on Broadway in 1947. Jeffreys’s other Broadway credits included the opera diva Madame Cavallini in My Romance (1948), by Sigmund Romberg; Lilli Vanessi in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, which she also sang on tour in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago; and Maeve in Three Wishes for Jamie,by Ralph Blane (1952). Jeffreys was also a memorable Lalume in the 1965 revival of Kismet for the Music Theater of Lincoln Center. Although Jeffreys appeared in more than thirty feature films, including Dick Tracy (1945), Dillinger (1945) and Panic in the City (1968), she is best remembered for her work on television, which included Marion Kerby, the “ghostess with the mostest” who haunts a banker’s home, in the situation comedy Topper (1953–55); a recurring role on Baywatch during the 1990s; and a long-running stint as Amanda Barrington on the daytime soap operas General Hospital and Port Charles (1984–2004).

ALBERT INNAURATO
Philadelphia, PA, June 2, 1947 — September 24, 2017  

A PLAYWRIGHT, CRITIC, theater director and teacher, Innaurato studied at Temple University, the California Institute of the Arts and the Yale School of Drama. Innaurato was still in his twenties when his dark comedy Gemini was first staged, at Playwrights Horizons, in 1976. The story of a Harvard student navigating cultural and sexual tension at his twenty-first birthday celebration, Gemini reached Broadway the following year and ran for 1,819 performances, making it one of the longest-running nonmusicals in Broadway history. Masterfully crafted and savagely funny, Gemini was to be Innaurato’s biggest commercial success as a playwright, although several other Innaurato works, including The Transfiguration of Benno Blimpie and Coming of Age in Soho, can be counted among the most daring and intelligent American comic dramas of the late twentieth century. Innaurato’s work for television included his Emmy-nominated script for Verna: USO Girl, a 1978 adaptation of a Paul Gallico story.

At various times in his career, Innaurato taught playwriting and criticism at Columbia University, Princeton University, Yale School of Drama, Temple University and Rutgers. For several seasons, Innaurato was artistic director of creative development projects at Center City Opera in Philadelphia, working as dramaturge and director on the production of new operas in successive workshops. 

Innaurato made a number of lively appearances in the 1980s and ’90s as a panelist on the Texaco Opera Quiz, the popular intermission feature of the Met’s Saturday-afternoon radio broadcasts, and his writing on opera, theater and other subjects appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Newsday, among other publications. Innaurato recorded sixteen titles in the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s “Talking About Opera” CD program; his last release in the series was in 2005. 

From 1990 through 2001, Innaurato was a frequent contributor to opera news, where his published work included profiles of Cecilia Bartoli, Grace Bumbry and Mirella Freni, as well as a two-part story in 1999 about the political workings of La Scala. Innaurato’s most significant professional association in recent years was with the e-zine Parterre Box, where he was a frequent and popular contributor; Innaurato’s recent Parterre Box reviews of performances in Philadelphia stand with his most perceptive work on the subject of singing and opera production.  —F. Paul Driscoll 

CHARLENE BALDRIDGE
Evanston, IL, April 26, 1934 — San Diego, CA, September 9, 2017  

A POET, THEATER CRITIC, blogger and travel writer, Baldridge was the San Diego correspondent for opera news. Composer Jake Heggie set two of Baldridge’s poems to music in his song cycle Winter Roses, written for Frederica von Stade, and later used another Baldridge poem in his cycle Facing Forward / Looking Back. After the 2011 death of her daughter, poet Laura Jeanne Morefield, Baldridge created The Warriors’ Duet, a theater piece about their relationship that was based on Morefield’s poetry. The Warriors’ Duet was presented at the 2013 San Diego Fringe Festival. spacer



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