Karla Burns Language Watch Edit Karla Burns December 24 1954 1 June 4 2021 was an American operatic mezzo soprano and actress who performed nationally and internationally in opera houses theaters and on television Her first major success was as Queenie in the Houston Grand Opera s 1982 revival of Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern s 1927 musical Show Boat This production premiered in Houston and then toured nationally and on Broadway For her portrayal of Queenie Burns won a Drama Desk Award and received a nomination for the Tony Award The role of Queenie became a pivotal part in Burn s career and she portrayed the character in many productions internationally for two decades For this part she became the first black person African American or otherwise to win the Laurence Olivier Award Britain s most prestigious award for theatre 1 Karla BurnsBorn 1954 12 24 December 24 1954 Wichita KansasDiedJune 4 2021 2021 06 04 aged 66 Wichita KansasOccupationActresssingerYears active1977 2020 Burns s career spanned a broad repertoire from musical theatre to opera and stage plays Her work included performances with the Metropolitan Opera Paris Opera the Teatro Real Cairo Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company On the opera stage she was particularly associated with the role of Addie in Marc Blitzstein s Regina She toured nationally for many years in her one woman show Hi Hat Hattie in which she portrayed Hattie McDaniel the first black entertainer to win an Academy Award Contents 1 Early life and education 2 A career defining role Queenie in Show Boat 3 Other performances 4 Later years 5 Death 6 Awards and honors 7 Recordings 8 References 9 External linksEarly life and education EditBurns was born and raised in Wichita Kansas to parents Ira Willie Lee Burns and Catherine S Burns 1 Burns credited her parents with inspiring her musical gifts Her father was a jazz and gospel pianist and her mother was a seamstress who sang spirituals and old hymns at church 2 3 Burns played the clarinet in a band while growing up and graduated from Wichita West High School 4 Burns attended Wichita State University WSU from which she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Education and a BA in Theater Performance 1 She made her professional stage debut in 1977 while still a college student at WSU at the old Victory Theatre in Wichita 5 She graduated from WSU in 1981 2 A career defining role Queenie in Show Boat EditThe part of Queenie in Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern s Show Boat became a pivotal role in Burn s performance career and she first performed the part in 1981 at the Lyric Theater in Oklahoma City 2 Her break through performance as an artist was in that role in the celebrated 1982 Houston Grand Opera HGO revival of the musical 6 Directed by Michael Kahn and starring Lonette McKee and Ron Raines the HGO production premiered at Jones Hall in Houston in June 1982 and then toured for performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D C and finally to the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway in 1983 7 6 8 Burns won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony Award for her work in this production 9 10 11 The HGO production also toured overseas to the Cairo Opera House in Egypt Burns commented in an interview that Egyptian audiences struggled to comprehend how a character with so little power could be important to the story 6 She stated I m of the belief that Queenie is a woman who just happened to have been born in a period that didn t allow her to speak her mind But in Egypt they took her name Queenie for Queen It did something to them culturally made them feel good about having dark skins When I was doing interviews there they really wanted to hear that she was more than just a boat s cook I was able to tell them she certainly was 12 The role of Queenie became a staple part in Burns performance repertoire after the Broadway production ended she went on to recreate that character in ten more productions during her career 6 Of these productions the most significant was the 1989 Opera North and Royal Shakespeare Company revival of Show Boat 6 When the show moved to the London Palladium in 1991 Burns won the Laurence Olivier Award the United Kingdom s most prestigious prize for theatre for her work in the show This was the first time a Black artist was awarded this prize 13 Burns again reprised the role of Queenie with Opera national du Rhin in Strasbourg France in 2002 14 She also recorded the role for EMI Classics with the London Sinfonietta and a cast that included Frederica von Stade Teresa Stratas and Jerry Hadley in 1988 15 Other performances EditAfter the Broadway production of Show Boat closed Burns was cast as Mary in Noa Ain s jazz opera Trio which premiered at the American Music Theatre Festival in Philadelphia in July 1984 at the Philadelphia College of Art 16 She reprised the role at Carnegie Hall the following October 17 That same month she was a featured performer at the Centenary Gala celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Jerome Kern at The Town Hall 18 In 1985 1986 she starred in a 22 week run in Joan Micklin Silver and Julianne Boyd s A My Name Is Alice at the Alley Theatre in Houston which later transferred to the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco 19 She portrayed Bloody Mary in Rodgers and Hammerstein s South Pacific at the Darien Dinner Theatre in 1986 20 In 1988 she portrayed Sister Robert Anne in Dan Goggin s Nunsense at the Roxy Theatre in Atlanta 21 Burns also appeared in numerous William Shakespeare plays including as the Duke of Ephesus Luce in the 1987 Lincoln Center production of The Comedy of Errors at the Vivian Beaumont Theater with the The Flying Karamazov Brothers 22 That production was filmed for PBS s Live from Lincoln Center 23 She appeared in The Comedy Of Errors again this time as Nell with New York s Shakespeare in the Park starring Marisa Tomei in 1992 24 She returned to Shakespeare in the Park in 1993 as Mistress Overdone in Measure for Measure with Kevin Kline Blair Underwood and Andre Braugher 25 On the opera stage Burns achieved success as Addie in Marc Blitzstein s Regina which she first performed at the Long Wharf Theatre in 1988 26 She reprised that role with several opera companies during her career including Opera Pacific in 1996 and the Chautauqua Opera in 1997 27 28 In 1989 Burns appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Lily in George Gershwin s Porgy and Bess 1989 29 30 Burns is known for the one woman musical Hi Hat Hattie which was written by Larry Parr and examined the life of actress Hattie McDaniel 1 Burns debut performance of Hi Hat Hattie was at the Players Theater of Columbus Ohio in 1991 She went on to perform the role in several other cities including off Broadway in New York and the Florida Studio Theater in Sarasota Florida She performed the show in 2006 in honor of the Hattie McDaniel stamp and as late as the spring of 2018 after recovering from health issues 31 Burns regional theater productions include roles in several plays and musicals Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly Katisha in The Mikado Berenice Sadie Brown in The Member of the Wedding Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird Mother Shaw in Regina Taylor s Crowns Jeanette in The Full Monty and Mother Superior Robert Anne and Sister Hubert in Nunsense among others 32 In 2003 she starred in Andy Razaf s Tan Manhattan at the Chicago Humanities Festival held at Northwestern University 33 In addition to her appearance on Live from Lincoln Center Burns television credits include the role of Hottie Joseph in the 1984 TV movie The Parade with Geraldine Page 34 She appeared as Karla the Klown in the children s program One of a Kind and the crime drama True Blue with Robert Earl Jones 32 For the dedication of the refurbished Orpheum Theater in Wichita Burns performed with 53 children Boogie with Burns Broadway Revue in 2003 35 Later years EditBurns taught private voice lessons in Wichita utilizing a piano that was once played by Duke Ellington 2 In 2007 she had surgery to remove an almost ten pound goiter from her neck 36 The surgery significantly affected her speaking and singing voice and she worked with therapists and vocal coaches to regain her singing voice 37 After four years of working to recover her voice she returned to the stage in 2011 as Pseudolus in Stephen Sondheim s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in Wichita 2 Burns was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2016 from Wichita State 38 She resided in Wichita and was active as a performer in regional theatre productions up until 2020 1 Death EditBurns died in Wichita on June 4 2021 following a series of strokes at age 66 2 39 Awards and honors EditBurns was nominated for the Tony Award for featured actress in a Musical for the 1982 83 season for Show Boat 40 Burns won the Drama Desk Award for the role of Queenie in Show Boat in 1983 11 Burns received the Olivier Award in 1991 for her role as Queenie in Show Boat 41 Burns received the Kansas Governor s Arts Award for Individual Achievement as an Artist in 1991 42 Burns received the Kansas African American Museum Trailblazer Award in 2000 1 Burns was named one of the top Forty faces that changed Wichita State University in the Millennium 43 Burns was given the Wichita Arts Council Award for Performance and Education in 2012 42 December 17 through December 24 was declared Karla Burns Week in the city of Wichita by mayor Carl Brewer in 2013 42 Burns was a 2016 inductee to the Wichita State University Fine Arts Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from this university in the same year 38 Recordings EditSongs of New York 1984 44 Jerome Kern Show Boat conducted by John McGlinn EMI 1988 6 Cole Porter Kiss Me Kate with the London Sinfonietta EMI 1990 as Hattie 45 Karla Burns A Spiritual Mosaic 1998 46 Karla Burns and Earnest Alexander A Christmas Celebration 2001 47 Burns By Request 2004 La Burns A Red Hot Momma s Tribute with Mark Foley JC Combs and Bill Thompson 2005 References Edit a b c d e f g Leiker Amy Renee June 4 2021 Karla Burns music theater trailblazer who won coveted Olivier award dies at 66 The Wichita Eagle a b c d e f Alex Vadukul June 14 2021 Karla Burns Who Broke a British Tonys Color Barrier Dies at 66 The New York Times Bonnie Bing June 30 2015 Brunch with Bonnie Karla Burns Wichita Magazine Bonnie Bing February 26 2012 Successful Wichita natives praise their schooling here The Wichita Eagle Last Rites Happenings Salute Wichita Theatre Boxoffice 112 October 31 1977 p C4 a b c d e f Todd Decker 2012 Queenie s Laugh 1966 1998 Show BoatPerforming Race in an American Musical Oxford University Press Victor Gluck August 27 1982 B WAY RECYCLES CLASSIC WARES Back Stage 23 35 39 40 42 44 Legitimate Show Out Of Town Show Boat Variety 307 June 30 1982 p 84 Teri Mott June 2013 For Karla Burns Life Is A Wild Ride Women s Focus A Tony Award Nominee 250 Pound Karla Burns Makes It Big on Broadway People 19 22 June 6 1983 a b Legitimate DRAMA DESK AWARDS AT RAINBOW ROOM Variety 311 5 70 June 1 1983 Sarah Gristwood July 27 1990 A rounded performance The Guardian p 31 COHNwsltrFall2002 PDF Archived from the original PDF on June 7 2014 Retrieved April 1 2008 OPERA Show Boat after 75 years International Herald Tribune March 27 2002 Jonathan Yardley November 7 1988 Can t Help Loving That Show Boat The Washington Post p B2 Harry Harris July 25 1984 Legitimate Philly Fest Has Its Moments But Overall It s A Bit Sluggish Variety 315 13 83 86 Will Crutchfield October 14 1984 CRITICS CHOICES MUSIC The New York Times John S Wilson October 17 1984 MUSIC SONGS OF KERN The New York Times Legitimate Alley Theater s Alice Sets Booking In Frisco Variety 322 3 111 February 12 1986 Alvin Klein September 28 1986 Darien Gets South Pacific Half Right The New York Times p CN23 Beverly Parker February 14 1988 Nunsense Is Full Of Laughs And Fun Atlanta Daily World p 7 Mel Gussow June 1 1987 The Stage Comedy Of Errors The New York Times p C12 Frank Cullen Florence Hackman Donald McNeilly 2007 Vaudeville Old amp New An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America Volume 1 Routledge p 394 ISBN 9780415938532 CS1 maint multiple names authors list link Mel Gussow August 17 1992 Review Theater The Comedy of Errors Broad Farce Made Even Broader With Acrobats and Sound Effects The New York Times Frank Rich July 19 1993 The Very Human Mix of Benign and Malign Measure for Measure A Very Human Mix of the Benign and Malign The New York Times p C11 John Rockwell May 9 1988 Mixing Opera and Pop in Regina The text is adapted from Lillian Hellman s drama The Little Foxes The New York Times p C14 Daniel Cariaga July 1 1996 In review Costa Mesa CA Opera News 61 p 53 53 COTTON CLASH Buffalo News July 11 1997 Nikki Hansson December 2 1999 Opera singer Karla Burns scheduled to visit WSU Inside WSU 16 8 Donal Henahan September 29 1989 Review Opera Porgy and Bess Catfish Row at the Met The New York Times Carla Eckels April 12 2018 Karla Burns Reprises Role Of Famous Wichitan Hattie McDaniel In Hi Hat Hattie KMUW NPR a b Archived copy Archived from the original on May 27 2007 Retrieved April 1 2008 CS1 maint archived copy as title link Lawrence Van Gelder November 6 2003 ARTS BRIEFING HIGHLIGHTS The New York Times p E2 Karla Burns IMDb Broadway To Vegas May 30 2004 www broadwaytovegas com Bonita Gooch June 4 2021 Wichita Native and Broadway Star Karla Burns Dead at 66 The Community Voice Bob Curtright October 9 2011 Classic Forum farce to help Forum Theatre debut The Wichita Eagle a b Eckels Carla December 9 2016 WSU To Honor Opera Stars Karla Burns And Samuel Ramey www kmuw org Retrieved June 6 2021 Lawson George June 4 2021 Broadway actress Wichita native Karla Burns dies at 66 KFDI Retrieved June 5 2021 Lee Alan Morrow 1987 The Tony Award Book Four Decades of Great American Theater Abbeville Press p 257 IN FOCUS 15th Olivier Awards Honor London s Best Back Stage 32 15 2 April 12 1991 a b c Carla Eckels December 17 2013 Mayor Carl Brewer Proclaims Karla Burns Week KMUW NPR Wichita State University Karla Burns College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame Retrieved June 6 2021 SONGS OF NEW YORK Library of Congress Retrieved June 7 2021 Richard Traubner March 30 1991 Porter Kiss Me Kate Josephine Barstow Kim Criswell Karla Burns Thomas Hampson George Dvorsky Damon Evans Ambrosian Chorus London Sinfonietta John McGlinn Opera News 55 14 33 A spiritual mosaic in libraries WorldCat catalog A Christmas celebration in libraries WorldCat catalog External links EditKarla Burns discography at Discogs Karla Burns at IMDbRetrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Karla Burns amp oldid 1028819266, wikipedia, wiki, book,


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