LEWISTON — “Muse of Fire,” a one-man play about the art of conducting with music written and performed by David Katz, will be presented Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Franco-American Heritage Center.

The play is directed by Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway director Charles Nelson Reilly,

Based on true events, “Muse of Fire” dramatizes the playwright’s experiences studying with Charles Bruck (1911-1995), the notorious master teacher of the Pierre Monteux Conducting School in Maine, who ruled over that world-renowned institution for more than a generation.

Bruck was a maestro from the “old school,” tyrannical, demonic in his fury. He intimidated students, insulted them, screamed at them. Even as his rages became legendary, so, too, was his acerbic wit and his uncompromising belief in the power and importance of music.

Undeniably one of the 20th century’s greatest teachers of conducting, Bruck was also one of the most feared.

Although there is only one actor on-stage, “Muse of Fire” is a two-character tour-de-force, with Katz deftly and swiftly shifting from teacher to student and back again. From the moment the young novice first experiences the wrath of the man who would become his mentor until he visits him on his deathbed years later, “Muse of Fire” forms perfect arcs — from hatred to love, failure to triumph, life to death.

Integral to the on-stage drama are beautifully recorded musical excerpts by more than a dozen composers, including Wagner, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Schoenberg and Ravel.

Since premiering at Acadia Repertory Theater in Bar Harbor in 2005, “Muse of Fire” has played to critical raves throughout the Northeast and Atlantic Canada and in an extended engagement in Chicago. The play will tour Maine, New England and the Midwest this year before a planned off-Broadway opening and an international tour.

The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16, $14 for seniors and students. They may be purchased by calling 689-2000 or visiting www.francoamericanheritage.org.


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