Victoria Clark and Ted Sperling
Victoria Clark received the 2005 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as a Drama League honor for her luminous portrayal of protective but domineering mother Margaret Johnson in the critically-acclaimed Craig Lucas/Adam Guettel musical The Light in the Piazza, directed by Bartlett Sher at Lincoln Center?s Vivian Beaumont Theater. Her virtuoso performance in the Tony Award-winning musical has made her a favorite among audiences and critics, including The New York Times? Ben Brantley, who called Clark?s work in Piazza ?the best musical performance by an actress this season.? She garnered equally enthusiastic reviews for her performance at Chicago?s Goodman Theater in 2004, earning the prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award.
Last season, Clark was reunited with her colleagues Craig Lucas and Bartlett Sher for the Playwrights Horizons production of A Prayer for My Enemy. Other off-Broadway credits include The Marriage of Bette and Boo by Christopher Durang (directed by Walter Bobbie for the Roundabout Theater Company), the Nicky Silver play The Agony and the Agony (Vineyard Theatre), and Tres Niñas, a musical by Michael John La Chiusa (directed by Jonathan Butterell at the Zipper Theater). Miss Clark has been a favorite of the City Center Encores series, starring in Bye Bye Birdie, Juno, and Follies in which she co-starred with Donna Murphy, Christine Baranski, and Victor Garber. Ben Brantley raved in the New York Times, ?Ms. Murphy and Ms. Clark prove again that they are two of the finest portraitists working in musicals.?
Clark recently sang with the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Keith Lockhart and with Sun Valley Symphony Orchestra in a program co-starring Paolu Szot and conducted by Ted Sperling. Clark has starred in one-woman concerts at the Allen Room as part of the ?American Songbook Series,? at the Kaplan Penthouse in New York City, and at the Kennedy Center?s Terrace Theater in Washington, DC as part of the acclaimed ?Barbara Cook Broadway Cabaret Series.? Her solo album ?Fifteen Seconds of Grace,? produced by PS Classics, was musically directed by Mr. Sperling. Critic Steven Suskin praised the CD saying, ? ?Fifteen Seconds of Grace? is 46 minutes of joy.?
Ms. Clark and David Hyde Pierce co-starred in a Cole Porter evening with music director Rob Fisher at the Allen Room for the ?American Songbook Series,? a concert which they reprised at the Ravinia Festival outside of Chicago this summer.
The talented actress, teacher, and director began her love affair with the theatre as a child growing up in Dallas. At age six, with her grandmother?s guidance and encouragement, she started singing and taking piano lessons. At age 16, she was accepted into the musical theatre program at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Michigan, one of the nation?s premier performing arts high schools and summer programs. Following graduation from The Hockaday School in Dallas, she studied opera and early music at the internationally renowned American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria.
Clark continued her music studies at Yale University, where she starred in and directed several of the acclaimed productions by the University?s Gilbert and Sullivan Society. During her summers, she worked at the Chautauqua Opera in New York, enthusiastically performing a wide variety of jobs ranging from choreographer and chorus member to assisting the company?s artistic director Cynthia Auerbach. Following her graduation from Yale in 1982, Clark moved to New York where she assisted the renowned music historian Robert Kimball, her former professor at Yale.
Bitten by the directing bug, Clark applied for and was accepted into New York University?s Musical Theatre Master?s Program as a stage director. She was one of six directors ? and one of only two women ? chosen for this innovative new program designed to foster the collaboration of aspiring directors and composers. During her first year in the graduate program, Clark started receiving directing offers from the Texas Opera Theater, the Philadelphia Opera, and other reputable opera companies throughout the country. She left the program to pursue these opportunities, but found herself on the acting path again in 1985 when casting director Ira Weitzman, who had seen Clark perform at NYU, invited her to audition for the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George.
Clark joined the company of Sunday in the Park with George in 1985, and has been a Broadway regular ever since. She made a splash in Titanic when she created the role of Alice Beane, a second-class passenger with first-class dreams. She delighted audiences as sassy secretarial sidekick Smitty in the 1995 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally, and starred in director Jerry Zaks? Tony Award-winning revival of Guys and Dolls with Faith Prince and Nathan Lane. Clark also appeared on Broadway as Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown, Fraulein Kost in Sam Mendes? revival of Cabaret, and in the Rodgers and Hammerstein revue A Grand Night for Singing, directed by Walter Bobbie.
Regionally, Clark starred in the world premieres of The Light in the Piazza, The Secret Garden, States of Independence, and Adventures in the Skin Trade. She has delighted audiences as matchmaker extraordinaire Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. At PCLO, she also wowed audiences as the endearingly sniffly bachelorette Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and telephone operator with a heart of gold Ella Peterson in Bells are Ringing.
Clark?s film credits include Cradle Will Rock (directed by Tim Robbins), The Happening (directed by M. Night Shyamalan), Tickling Leo (the debut of actor/film maker Jeremy Davidson) and two upcoming films: Harvest by Marc Myers, and Main Street (Horton Foote?s last screenplay, directed by John Doyle.) Her television appearances include Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and the PBS special Sweeney Todd in Concert featuring Patti LuPone, George Hearn, and the San Francisco Philharmonic. Clark?s voice can be heard in many animated feature films including Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Anastasia, Beauty and the Beast, Christmas Belle, and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, and she has been a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor?s Prairie Home Companion on Minnesota Public Radio.
While Clark has maintained a remarkable dual career as a sought-after actress and teacher, she has also enjoyed an illustrious career as a director, receiving numerous honors and fellowships for her work. In February 2005, she headed her first major New York directing project, Serenade in Blue: The Lyrics of Mack Gordon, a salute to the Academy Award-winning composer that was presented as part of the popular ?Lyrics & Lyricists Program? at the 92nd Street Y.
Victoria Clark studied acting with renowned acting teacher Michael Howard, and continues her vocal training with Edward Sayegh. Her own teaching takes her across the country and abroad helping many aspiring actors train for Broadway roles and a life in the theatre. Clark resides in New York City with her son Thomas Luke, their golden retriever Angel, and their cat named Dare.
One of today's leading theater artists, TED SPERLING is a director, music director, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, singer, pianist and violinist.
Mr. Sperling?s Broadway and off-Broadway credits as music director include the recent Broadway revivals of Guys and Dolls and South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza (for which he won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Fully Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Kiss of the Spider Woman, My Favorite Year, A Man of No Importance, Wise Guys, A New Brain, Saturn Returns, and Floyd Collins.
Mr. Sperling?s work as a stage director includes the off-Broadway productions of Striking 12 and See What I Wanna See as well as the premiere of Charlotte: Life? Or Theater? and a revival of Lady in the Dark in Philadelphia. He has conducted the scores for the films The Manchurian Candidate and Everything Is Illuminated, and directed the short musical film, Love Mom.
Mr. Sperling made his professional acting debut as an original cast member of the Broadway musical Titanic.
Mr. Sperling has an active concert career as well, working with Audra McDonald, Victoria Clark, Deborah Voigt, Patti Lupone, Kelli O?Hara and Paulo Szot. He has conducted the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony orchestras, and at the Houston Grand Opera. He has put together many programs for Lincoln Center?s American Songbook series and the 92nd Street Y.
Mr. Sperling is the recipient of the Shen Family Foundation?s Musical Theatre Leadership Award. He currently holds the post of Director of the Music Theater Initiative at the Public Theater.