Press Room

World Premiere Recording of Anna Christie from Broadway Records, Thomas Z. Shepard, Edward Thomas, Joseph Masteroff, Encompass New Opera Theatre, & Trinity Church Wall Street Available Friday, Aug 16

New York, NY: Broadway Records, Thomas Z. Shepard, Encompass New Opera Theatre and Trinity Church Wall Street today announce the release of Anna Christie (World Premiere Recording). This music drama from composer Edward Thomas is the last known work of the Tony-winning librettist Joseph Masteroff, who died during final rehearsals of the stage production. The double-disc recording will be released digitally and in stores on Friday, August 16. The recording is now available for pre-order at and

Anna Christie explores the lost relationship of a woman and her father, and the sailor she falls in love with. Anna has suffered a life of hardship and carries a dark secret from her past. An emotionally charged reunion with her father, the captain of a coal barge, intensifies when a merchant sailor is pulled from the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic on a foggy night. When the fog clears, Anna, the sailor and her father are caught in a riveting struggle between love and the sea, changing their lives forever. The sea is a powerful symbol in the play and serves to heal Anna. O’Neill, having lived by the docks on New York City’s waterfront, was well acquainted with the sailors, saloons and night life that he wrote about with such passion and authenticity. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1922, having made its Broadway debut at the Vanderbilt Theatre. It was later adapted into a 1930 Hollywood film starring Greta Garbo in her first talking picture.

Anna Christie is a story of survival that explores family, forgiveness and fierce feminism long before its time. This new and vibrant musical interpretation is evocative of old New York, while straddling both the dramatic leitmotifs of opera and the immediacy and forward momentum of musical theatre writing.

Following the successful world premiere stage production by Encompass New Opera Theatre, music director Julian Wachner, NOVUS NY and the original cast gathered for two days at Bunker Studio in Brooklyn with legendary producer Thomas Z. Shepard (Sondheim, Bernstein) to record this dynamic score.

The creative team for Anna Christie includes Edward Thomas (Composer, Grammy Nominee), Joseph Masteroff (Librettist, Tony Winner), Julian Wachner (Conductor, Grammy Nominee), NOVUS NY (Orchestra), Thomas Z. Shepard (Producer, 12-time Grammy Winner), and Nancy Rhodes (Artistic Director, Encompass New Opera Theatre); and features Melanie Long (Prototype Festival, Oslo Opera) as Anna Christie, Frank Basile (Metropolitan Opera) as Chris Christopherson, Jonathan Estabrooks (Carnegie Hall, Seattle Symphony) as Mat Burke, Joy Hermalyn (Fiddler on the Roof, Sound of Music Live!) as Marthy Owens, and Mike Pirozzi (All About Walken, The Boychick Affair) as Larry the Bartender.

For more information, please visit:

Facebook: /BwayRecords
Twitter: @BwayRecords
Instagram: @BwayRecords


EDWARD THOMAS (Composer) was born in Chisholm, Minnesota. He studied composition and orchestration with Tibor Serly. In the 1950s, his early musical life was spent performing as a guitarist and ensemble singer appearing on various network television programs. Later he composed the score for Return to Oz for national television. In 1967, his String Quartet was premiered by the Harold Kohon String Quartet at New York’s Town Hall. In 1968 his jazz album, The Eddie Thomas Singers, was released by Saga Records of London and currently can be heard on YouTube through Naxos. In 1972, Thomas began to compose his opera Desire Under the Elms, completed in 1978, set to a libretto by Joe Masteroff. It was given its world premiere at New York’s City Center. It was later recorded by the London Symphony under the direction of George Manahan, produced by Tom Shepard, and released internationally on the Naxos American Opera Classics series and nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award. His Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra was premiered at Lincoln Center, performed by Sidney Fell and conducted by Gene Forrell. Images for Oboe and Strings received its world premiere at the American Music Festival in 1993. Fantasy for Two Clarinets was recorded in 2011 by Stanley and Naomi Drucker with the American Composers Orchestra conducted by George Manahan. Also in 2011, Glenn Dicterow recorded his Reflections for Violin and Piano. His one-act opera A Sunny Morning was recorded in 2012 by Judy Kaye and Tim Jerome. The musical Six Wives, a Thomas/Masteroff collaboration, was produced by the York Theatre. His score for Mata Hari with lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Jerome Coopersmith was premiered by David Merrick in Washington, DC and later performed in New York City. His opera Anna Christie, with a libretto by Joe Masteroff, produced by Encompass Opera, was given its world premiere at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, Rose Nagelberg Theatre, in 2018.

JOSEPH MASTEROFF (Librettist, 1919-2018) was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Temple University, majoring in Journalism. During World War II he served in the United States Air Force. He studied with the American Theatre Wing from 1949-1951 and began his career as an actor making his Broadway debut in the 1953 production of The Prescott Proposals. Following a national tour, Masteroff’s first play, The Warm Peninsula, opened on Broadway in 1959 with Julie Harris, June Havoc, Farley Grainger, and Larry Hagman, and played 86 performances. In 1963 he wrote the book for the Sheldon Harnick-Jerry Bock musical She Loves Me, which garnered him a Tony Award nomination for Best Author of a Musical. Three years later, when Harold Prince gained control of the rights to John Van Druten’s play I Am a Camera and The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, Prince discarded the book for a musical adaptation already written by Sandy Wilson and instead hired Masteroff to write his own. With lyrics and music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and book by Joseph Masteroff, Cabaret won the Tony for Best Musical and became a mega-hit on the Broadway stage and in film. Masteroff has written the libretto of an operatic adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s play Desire Under the Elms, and the book and lyrics for the musical Six Wives, both with composer Edward Thomas.

Trinity Church Wall Street’s new music orchestra, NOVUS NY, is a key player on the contemporary music scene and has forged strong links with many of today’s leading composers. Under the leadership of director of music Julian Wachner, its “expert and versatile musicians” (The New Yorker) perform new music from all corners of the repertoire, meeting “every challenge with an impressive combination of discipline and imagination” (New York Classical Review). In its annual appearances at the Prototype Festival, NOVUS NY has helped pioneer several major new operas including Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves, named “Best New Opera for 2016” by the Music Critics Association of North America, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning operas Angel’s Bone by Du Yun (2017) and Ellen Reid’s p r i s m (2019). NOVUS NY’s recent recordings include Reid’s p r i s m, Paola Prestini’s The Hubble Cantata, Du Yun’s Angel’s Bone, Trevor Weston Choral Works, Elena Ruehr: Averno, and a three-CD set of Wachner’s orchestral works. Albums soon to be released will feature Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5 and music by Terry Riley, Julian Wachner, and Luna Pearl Woolf.

Multi-Grammy-nominated conductor, composer, and keyboardist JULIAN WACHNER—named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Professionals for 2018—serves as director of music at Trinity Church Wall Street, overseeing an annual season of hundreds of events. Besides serving as principal conductor of NOVUS NY, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, he was recently appointed as artistic director of the Grand Rapids Bach Festival. Wachner also enjoys an active schedule as a guest conductor, including recent and upcoming performances with the Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Beijing Music Festival, The Shed, Philharmonia Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, Kansas City Symphony, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Lincoln Center Presents, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Metropolitan Museum, Carnegie Presents, and the Prototype Festival. As a leading impresario of new music, Wachner collaborated on the development, performance and recording of three Pulitzer Prize-winning works: Du Yun’s Angels Bone (2017), Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields (2015), and Ellen Reid’s p r i s m (2019). Wachner’s own compositions have been variously described as “jazzy, energetic, and ingenious” (Boston Globe), “a compendium of surprises” (Washington Post) and “bold and atmospheric,” demonstrating “an imaginative air for allusive text setting” (The New York Times). He is published exclusively by E.C. Schirmer and represented worldwide by Opus 3 Artists.

A 12-time Grammy Award winner, THOMAS Z. SHEPARD has produced recordings of many Sondheim musicals including Sweeney Todd, Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures, Side by Side by Sondheim and Merrily We Roll Along. He also produced the original cast recordings of 1776, La Cage aux Folles, 42nd Street, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Raisin, as well as the 1985 New York Philharmonic concert and recording of Follies. Mr. Shepard has produced hundreds of classical recordings, working with Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Vladimir Horowitz, Leontyne Price, James Levine, Sir Georg Solti, André Previn, Seiji Ozawa, Plácido Domingo, and others. Among his classical recordings, he produced works of Mahler, Schubert, and Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck. Currently, Mr. Shepard works as an independent recording and concert producer, composer, arranger, expert legal witness, educator, and pianist.  He also wrote, narrated, and produced The WQXR/MCA Classics Listener’s Guide.  

Co-founded in 1976 by artistic director Nancy Rhodes and producer Roger Cunningham, ENCOMPASS NEW OPERA THEATRE is one of the nation’s leaders in the creation and production of adventurous new music drama and contemporary opera. Encompass quickly established a reputation for its performances, noted as “rare theatrical experiences” by The New York Times, which hailed Encompass’s award-winning productions of The Mother of Us All and Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land as “…staged with unusual distinction by Ms. Rhodes.” As part of its mission to discover and develop emerging composers, librettists, singers, and instrumentalists, as well as to premier ground-breaking new productions and dynamic revivals, Encompass has produced more than 65 full-scale operas with orchestra. These include Marc Blitzstein’s Regina, Benjamin Britten’s Phaedra, Robert Ward’s Pantaloon, and Michael Stewart’s Elizabeth and Essex, a new musical starring Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons. In addition, Encompass has staged readings of 165 new works from jazz and cabaret to musicals and opera.

BROADWAY RECORDS (Van Dean, President) is the Grammy®-winning record label dedicated to preserving musical theatre and theatre vocalists. Recent releases include the Grammy®- and Tony Award-winning The Color Purple (2015 revival), the Grammy®-nominated Matilda The Musical and Fiddler on the Roof (2015 revival), the Tony Award®-winning revival of Once On This Island, Anastasia, Bandstand, My Fair Lady, Groundhog Day, The Lightning Thief and NBC’s television events, “The Wiz Live!” and “Peter Pan Live!”. The label’s critically-acclaimed “Live at Feinstein’s/54 Below” series features top Broadway stars including Patti LuPone, Aaron Tveit, Annaleigh Ashford, Norbert Leo Butz, Sierra Boggess, Laura Benanti, Emily Skinner & Alice Ripley, Adam Pascal & Anthony Rapp, Micky Dolenz and many others. Broadway Records launched the Broadway for Orlando initiative (in partnership with creators Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley) culminating in the all-star benefit single, “What the World Needs Now is Love,” which leaped to #1 on iTunes with no radio airplay. Broadway Records philanthropic endeavors also include the From Broadway With Love benefit concerts for Sandy Hook, Orlando (Emmy Award for Sound) and Parkland. To learn more, visit

© 21C Media Group, July 2019

Return to Press Room