Cape Symphony and Cotuit Center for the Arts Collaborate for Unique Presentation

Season Opener “Passport to America” to feature the immigrant story and local actors

The moving story of the American immigrant coming to the shores of America will be told through a multimedia experience with a live symphony orchestra, eight actors, and hundreds of rare historic photographs. The Cape Symphony and Cotuit Center for the Arts are excited to announce their collaboration for a powerful presentation of Passport to America: The Immigrant Story for the Cape Symphony’s 2018-19 season opener.

The Symphony’s latest “Passport” concert features the music of composers that immigrated to the United States, including Igor Stravinsky, Ernest Bloch and Franz Waxman. The performance also includes an original composition from GRAMMY-nominated composer Peter Boyer called “Ellis Island: The Dream of America.” The multimedia piece, for actors and orchestra, was nominated for a GRAMMY award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and was filmed live in concert with Pacific Symphony for PBS’ “Great Performances,” having aired on June 29, 2018 in celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month. The episode is available on PBS on demand during the month of July.

Casting for this unique presentation has now been completed and includes many local actors. Each of the “characters” is based on real immigrants found in the Ellis Island Oral History Project. Boyer listened to over 100 interviews and selected seven to adapt into his composition. Director Nina Schuessler has cast the following actors in these roles, plus “Lady Liberty.”

  • Deborah Stringham of Sharon, MA, Polish Immigrant Helen Lansman Cohen, arrived in 1920
  • David Wallace of Dennis, MA, Greek Immigrant James Apanomith, arrived in 1911
  • Sandy Cerel of Johnston RI, Italian Immigrant Lillian Galletta, arrived in 1928 (Sandy is also mother of the composer, Peter Boyer)
  • Philip Scudder of Barnstable, MA, Hungarian Immigrant Lazarus Salamon, arrived in 1920
  • Carryl Lynn of Brewster, MA, Polish Immigrant Helen Rosenthal, arrived in 1940
  • James P. Byrne of Truro, MA, Irish Immigrant Emanuel “Manny” Steen, arrived in 1925
  • Sherrie Smith Scudder of Barnstable, MA, Russian Immigrant Katherine Beychok, arrived in 1910
  • Christine Rathbun Ernst of Sandwich, MA, Lady Liberty

“What will make this performance so profound and moving is the combination of music and story,” said Cape Symphony Artistic Director & Conductor Jung-Ho Pak. The tales these people told are extraordinary, and the multimedia experience includes authentic Ellis Island photos and video for a full immersion effect.”

The Cape Symphony and Cotuit Center for the Arts will present Passport to America: The Immigrant Story on Saturday, September 22 at 7: 30 p.m. & Sunday, September 23 at 3:00 p.m. at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center, 744 West Main Street, Hyannis. For more information or to purchase tickets visit capesymphony.org or call 508-362-1111.


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