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‘Divine Madness’ on Corona Radio Theater - Candace Johnson: FitnesSing - Tribute to Robin Sutherland

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts in Times of Corona, we welcome back artists from The Marsh onto the virtual stage of our Corona Radio Theater, with Julia McNeal and Charles Shaw Robinson performing an excerpt from Lynne Kaufman’s new play, Divine Madness. Host David Latulippe also talks with soprano and fitness trainer Candace Y. Johnson, about her program CJ’s FitnesSing!, combining physical activity with vocal training; and with people from the Ross McKee foundation, about a tribute concert for pianist Robin Sutherland, who passed away last December.

The Marsh starts off the new year with playwright Lynne Kaufman’s new work, Divine Madness, as part of the MarshStream programming on January 30 and 31. The play is inspired by the true story of poet Robert Lowell and writer Elizabeth Hardwick, who were famously divorced when Lowell, who suffered frequent debilitating bouts of manic depression, left Hardwick after 23 years of marriage, to marry an English heiress. 

Lowell, who is widely considered to be one of the most important American poets of the postwar era, documented the end of his marriage in a volume of poetry, The Dolphin, that scandalized the literary world and won him the Pulitzer prize. Divine Madness follows the couple as they consider reuniting, and invites the questions: Is art worth that much? Can love survive madness and betrayal? 

Also on the show, courtesy of The Marsh, is Oakland-based soprano and fitness trainer Candace Y. Johnson, guest singer at Carnegie Hall, U/C vocal professor and fitness trainer extraordinaire, to talk about her program CJ’s FitnesSing!, a truly out-of-the-ordinary virtual class for all levels that combines physical activity with vocal training. 

Offered free at 12:30pm every Friday by The Marsh via its MarshStream, CJ’s FitnesSing! requires no prior singing or workout experience. Participants work on vocal technique and corresponding body exercises that are adaptable to all levels, and they learn an inspiring song each session. 

Plus, from the Ross McKee Foundation, we talk with executive director Nicholas Pavkovic, pianist Christopher Basso, and recording engineer Lolly Lewis, about a tribute concert for Robin Sutherland, principal pianist of the SF Symphony for 45 years, who passed away last December at age 69. 

The tribute concert, on February 5 at 5pm, will feature performances by Christopher Basso, Britt Day, Elizabeth Dorman, Jeffrey Kahane, Jeff LaDeur, Keisuke Nakagoshi, and Marc Shapiro. The pianists, friends and colleagues of Sutherland’s, each perform short works with a connection to Robin and share their special remembrances. 

Open Air, with host David Latulippe, can be heard live on Thursday, January 28 at 1pm, and will be archived at this location afterwards. Listen now or never…