Heart of Spain in Berkeley: SCW Musical Back in March

March 13, 2015

Heart of Spain – A Musical of the Spanish Civil War, created by ALBA’s Peter Glazer and Eric Bain Peltoniemi, a composer from St. Paul, Minnesota, comes to the stage for a special performance in Berkeley on March 30.

Peter Glazer. Photo Richard Bermack

Peter Glazer. Photo Richard Bermack

Back in the 1990s, the two collaborators won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce a new musical performance, based on the American volunteers in Spain. Their production had its successful world premiere at Northwestern University in 2000, directed by Glazer with a student cast. The score, a combination of newly written songs and some of the classics so many know and love, followed a group of US volunteers from their initial recruitment in New York, across the ocean, over the Pyrenees and into battle. 

Glazer, who has helped direct and write numerous commemorative events for ALBA on both coasts, is a playwright, director and Associate Professor of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He created the musical Woody Guthrie’s American Song, which has been produced scores of times since its premiere in 1988. Peltoniemi, a singer-songwriter with a long career, and composer of musical theater pieces, including Steven Dietz’s Ten November, is currently head of Red House Records, the Grammy-winning independent folk, roots, and Americana record label featuring some of the finest singer-songwriters in music. 

A rare opportunity to hear this amazing music in one of the best concert halls for acoustic and traditional music west of the Mississippi.

Never before heard on the West Coast, Glazer will present a concert reading of the music from Heart of Spain at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, March 30 at 8 PM, thanks to a grant from the Puffin Foundation. “This is a rare opportunity to hear this amazing music in one of the best concert halls for acoustic and traditional music west of the Mississippi,” Glazer says. UC Berkeley is slated to produce the entire musical in the fall of 2016, the 80th anniversary of the start of the war.

The cast will include a group of singers and musicians familiar to commemorative audiences on both coasts: Velina Brown, Eduardo Robledo, Michael Sullivan, Barrett Nelson—all alumni of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Lauren Hart, a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, and bassist Chuck Ervin. Peltoniemi will fly in from Minneapolis to oversee rehearsals, and the entire project will be musically directed by Glazer’s longtime collaborator Malcolm Ruhl.

For tickets and information, call the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse at 510-644-2020, ext. 120, or visit their website: www.thefreight.org