October 19 - December 9, 2018

This glorious, raw, and bittersweet look at one of opera’s most formidable talents was the Tony Award winner for Best Play in 1996.

Witness a master class conducted by legendary opera diva Maria Callas. Glamorous and demanding, Callas critiques and regales a new crop of opera’s finest. Both frustrated and amazed by the students thrust before her, she escapes into recollections of the glories and failures of her past, remembering her rise as one of opera’s biggest underdogs. This authentic and musically rich Master Class presents a portrait of a fading star who refuses to be anything but unapologetically herself.

TimeLine’s production stars Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks, a six-time Jeff Award nominee for roles at TimeLine (including 33 Variations, A Walk in the Woods, and All My Sons), where she mostly recently appeared last season as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience.

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Production Team


* Member of Actors Equity Association

# Member of United Scenic Artists

~ Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

+ TimeLine Company Member

^ TimeLine Associate Artist

§ TimeLine Playwrights Collective


  • Chicago Sun-Times

    October 26, 2018

    ★★★ “Engrossing. Like opera itself, TimeLine’s staging is filled with huge emotions. There’s ecstasy and agony in Master Class, both writ huge … the performances Bowling gets from his cast are impressive, the stories they tell fascinating. … [TimeLine] has created something beautiful and troubling and fascinating. Callas’ bright, short life is at its white-hot center. The students in her orbit get burned. But like the audience, they emerge from class with a deeper appreciation of art, beauty and the elusive quest for greatness.

    —Catey Sullivan

  • Chicago Tribune

    November 28, 2018

    “[Janet Ulrich Brooms] is one of the [the] most distinguished actors playing one of the contemporary theater’s toughest roles … The hugely talented young actress Molly Hernández … is terrific.”

    —Chris Jones

  • Chicago Reader

    October 31, 2018

    RECOMMENDED. “[Brooks’] magnetic, mercurial performance anchors TimeLine’s portrait of Maria Callas … A superb Master Class.

    —Albert Williams

  • Newcity

    October 29, 2018

    RECOMMENDED. “Is this a story that we need to continue to tell? With Janet Ulrich Brooks in the role, under Nick Bowling’s heartfelt and purposeful direction, the answer is a resounding yes. … In a transcendent performance without a false moment, Brooks clears every hurdle, with sharp wit and total honesty. … It is far too easy to say that TimeLine’s production is a master class in making art, but it is also true.

    —Erin Shea Brady

  • Broadway World

    October 30, 2018

    “Chicago favorite Janet Ulrich Brooks schools the audience with her commanding performance as famous opera singer Maria Callas. … Brooks has always struck me as something of an acting chameleon; she truly changes her shape with each and every role she assumes. … Master Class assuredly earns its title.”

    —Rachel Weinberg

  • Stage and Cinema

    October 26, 2018

    “Contradictory, volatile, capricious and caustic, Brooks’ bella donna manages to suck up all the air in the room. … She did it with intensity and immediacy: As much a queen as she ever was in TimeLine’s The Audience, Brooks captures the mercurial moodiness and perplexing insecurities of a one-woman constellation. … Viva La Callas!”

    —Lawrence Bommer

  • Around the Town Chicago

    October 26, 2018

    ★★★★★ “[Janet Ulrich] Brooks … is one of Chicago’s treasures and in this tour de force, proves just how talented she is. If you love history and opera, you should find away to get to Stage 773 for this one.

    —Alan Bresloff

  • Picture This Post

    October 26, 2018

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “There are many reasons to change your schedule to make sure you see TimeLine’s production of Master Class … By this writer’s lights, what we see – and hear!‑ are talents that make you eager to re-read the program notes to try to discern if they are Lyric regulars. … Bravo Director Nick Bowling and Music Director Doug Peck—BRAVO!”

    —Amy Munice

  • Third Coast Review

    October 27, 2018

    Funny, moving and insightful … Brooks rises to the occasion, channeling every bit of her petite frame into becoming the legend herself. … [An] impressive staging of an acclaimed show that delves into both [Callas’] psyche and her lasting impact on generations of performers and audiences alike.”

    —Lisa Trifone

  • Chicago On Stage

    October 27, 2018

    Master Class is indeed masterful… Nick Bowling may have been the perfect director for this production. … The result is something that even a non-opera-aficionado such as I found entrancing. When the singers ‘get it right,’ they transport us to some other plane.”

    —Karen Topham

  • Picks in Six

    October 30, 2018

    Master Class delivers the lessons of a lifetime … Uniformly the voices of the students are exceptional. … It is Brooks, however, who is captivating… Callas’ legacy is summed in her teaching of the art – be passionate, feel it in your gut, show up prepared, be willing to sacrifice and give everything to the work and, ultimately, to the audience.”

    —Ed Tracy


  • Pro Media Magazine

    October 23, 2018

    Pro Media Magazine sat down with Master Class singer and actor Eric Anthony Lopez for an illuminating interview on Eric’s experiences in Chicago, his past projects and the “crazy” way he won his role in this acclaimed production.

    Read the full feature

Discussions & Events

  • Opening Night Celebration: MASTER CLASS
    October 25, 2018 at 7:30pm

    Opening Night for this acclaimed hit, the second production of our 2018-19 Season.

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  • Cabaret Connexion: An Evening with Faith Prince
    Tuesday, October 30 at 7:30 pm

    A cabaret on the set of TimeLine’s production of MASTER CLASS with Broadway star Faith Prince.

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  • Open Captioned Performance of MASTER CLASS
    Saturday, November 10 at 4:00 pm

    Featuring a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance.

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  • MASTER CLASS: PRE-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for an informal sneak peek into MASTER CLASS with members of the production team.

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  • MASTER CLASS: Company Member Discussion
    Sunday, November 18

    Join us for an informal chat with TimeLine’s Company Members after today’s performance.

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  • MASTER CLASS: Sunday Scholars Series
    Sunday, December 2 • 4:15 - 5:15pm

    This one-hour post-show panel discussion features experts on the themes of the play.

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  • MASTER CLASS: Post-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for informal post-show discussions with members of the production team and cast.

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  • MASTER CLASS Closing Night
    Sunday, December 9

    Closing night for the second production in TimeLine’s 2018-19 season.

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Sponsors of Nick Bowling’s 30th TimeLine production Master Class