Welcome to August 1971, with the first performances of the Wolf Trap Company, at the original Filene Center.
1971: A Musical Theater Cavalcade
Spanning the history of musical theatre from Beggar’s Opera through Hair
A Musical Theater Cavalcade, by Robert Lewis & John Green, was a fitting vehicle for the inauguration of this ambitious undertaking by Catherine Filene Shouse, Wolf Trap’s founder. She wanted to create a program that would give young people a chance to experience the demands of a professional career in the performing arts. That first summer there were 60 (!) aspiring performing artists, and their showcase performance of the Cavalcade included excerpts from operetta and American musical theatre.
The 1971 Wolf Trap Company wasn’t just for singers – there were dancers and instrumentalists. The Company rehearsed and lived at the nearby Madeira School (at left), as there were no rehearsal spaces available at Wolf Trap. Wolf Trap was a different kind of place back then, but I like to believe that the spirit behind Kay Shouse’s creation of this company is still very much with us.
Members of the 1971 Company went on to sing with the Met, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Savonlinna Festival, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Opéra National de Paris, and many others. They taught on the faculties of institutions including Notre Dame University and James Madison University, and some are still active teachers. They sang and danced on Broadway, and one particularly precocious 17-year-old dancer named Kevin McKenzie went on to become the Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre.
Members of the 1971 Wolf Trap Company
Richard Stephen Brown
Stephen Mark Brown
Guillermo Adolfo Gonzalez
Mary Lou Jamison
David Cale Johnson