by Len Lear
In the play “Man and Superman,” legendary British playwright George Bernard Shaw has a character named Bob saying that he is discouraged because his teacher told Bob that his writing is “hopeless.” Bob’s girlfriend, Jane, tells him to ignore what his teacher said because “those who can, do; and those who can’t, teach.”
This snide remark, which has been repeated countless times since “Man and Superman” was first staged in London 114 years ago, is clearly an unfair attack on the many teachers we have all had who can both “do” and teach at a high level. A perfect example is Meghan Curry Rogers, who is currently finishing her fourth year teaching at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH). She is the director of Players, the high school theater group at SCH, but she also teaches theater in the upper school and choir to lower school boys and middle school girls and boys, and she co-directs the high school honors choir, Chamber Singers.
But Rogers is also a supremely talented soprano whose most recent performances include the “Young Maiden” (Mazepa) with the Russian Opera Workshop at the Academy of Vocal Arts; “Lucy” (The Telephone) with Opera Upper West, and in the quartet of the world premiere of “Marie Begins,” performed at the New Works Forum at Opera America.
And Rogers will be starring as Elsie Maynard, the strolling singer, in The Savoy Company’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Yeomen of the Guard” at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St., this Friday, May 17, 8 p.m., and Saturday, May 18, 2 and 8 p.m., as well as at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square on June 7 and 8.
“My favorite role from both an acting, comedic and singing standpoint would have to be playing Patience in ‘Patience’ by Gilbert and Sullivan,” said Rogers, who asked that her age not be mentioned, is an interview earlier this week. “I have sung the role twice in my life, most recently with The Savoy Company, and found her to be a goofy, honest, direct and joyful character. I would also say that Adele in ‘Die Fledermaus’ is also still one of my favorite roles! She is conniving, adventurous and aching for fun, and Strauss’s music is wonderful to sing!”
Curry was born in Detroit, Michigan, and moved to Philadelphia with her family when she was in third grade. She was raised in West Mt. Airy and attended Springside School from third grade until she graduated in 2003. Rogers then graduated from Penn State with a Bachelors of Music in 2007 and from the University of Delaware with a Masters of Music in Voice Performance in 2011.
Rogers’ talent was quite obvious to all who heard her. As a result, she was awarded First Place, Advanced Upper, Delaware District NATS Student Auditions; an Opera Graduate Assistantship at the University of Delaware; and the Jury Honors Recognition Award at Penn State University. She also lived in Florence, Italy, for three weeks while attending a summer program for opera called the Florence Voice Seminar.
“I would love to return and live there for a summer!” she said. “Some of my favorite composers to sing include Mozart, Poulenc and Strauss. They write music that is not only beautiful, nuanced, compelling and sometimes complex, but also feels very accessible and comfortable in my voice.”
This summer, Rogers will be participating in the Broadway Teachers Workshop through Music Theater International in New York City, and “I will get the chance to meet and learn from Alan Menken and Jason Robert Brown, two of my favorite musical theater composers.”
What is the best advice Rogers has ever received?
“To find moments of peace and stillness to re-focus and re-energize your mind, heart and body. To live in the moment onstage and experience each scene and interaction as if it were the very first time, for it is the first time for the audience.”
Rogers and her husband, whose name “would rather not be mentioned, thank you,” have “two wonderful dogs – Henry, who is a 12-year-old Boston Terrier, and Oliver, a 5-year-old French Bulldog Puggle mix!”
The singers that Rogers admires and listen to the most are Barbara Bonney, Joyce Didonato and Maria Callas. In addition to her stunning operatic talent, she also loves painting watercolors and “would enjoy improving my skills at painting real life objects, flowers and landscapes.”