St. Finbar Church of Burbank Premieres Lost and Found – The Trial of St. Bernadette, a Musical in One Atypical Act


Lost And Found (LAF) will premiere at St. Finbar Church in two performances on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m. The original musical by L.A. composer Rhonda Kess puts Bernadette of Lourdes on trial, with key testimony by other well-known saints, including Joan of Arc and St. Francis of Assisi, and a surprise witness, the Virgin Mary herself. Using song and satire, music and miracles, LAF shows that the road to sainthood is not necessarily a done deal.

Presented in the sanctuary of St. Finbar, the two performances feature a cast of 6 actor/singers playing multiple roles. There are no singing nuns in LAF, but a lot of singing saints, as Bernadette of Lourdes is put on trial by St. Thomas More, Patron Saint of Lawyers, and is challenged to provide testimony about the miracle at Lourdes. What really happened in the grotto that still attracts millions every year? And why, when Mary could have appeared to anyone, did she choose to appear to Bernadette, a poor French peasant?

Versatile L.A. Soprano Judi Siirila, who has recorded for films that include Mulan, Pocohantas, and Good Will Hunting, as well as performing with Opera A La Carte, Long Beach Opera, and the Roger Wagner Chorale, will sing the part of Bernadette. Actress Danielle Rayne, best known for her starring roles in Portal:No Escape, Breaking Down, and The Phantom Chronicles, plays the part of the Virgin Mary. Yoav Paskowitz portrays the role of St. Thomas More, Steve Sharp plays St. Anthony, Greg Fong is St. Francis, and Heidi Lesemann portrays Joan of Arc.

Composer/Conductor Rhonda Kess, former Assistant Conductor for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director of the L.A.-based New Music Settings Ensemble has presented numerous American and British premieres with New Music Settings, including Music Theater works by Kurt Weill, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, John Tavener, and John Adams. Ms. Kess was the first woman to conduct in Mexico City, guest conducting the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico.

Lost and Found — The Trial of St. Bernadette is based on an original idea by Southland writer Dale Kiken and Rhonda Kess, and the book, music, and lyrics are by Rhonda Kess.

Tickets are $15 and $25 and benefit youth activities at St. Finbar Center. To purchase tickets and for further information, please call (818) 846-6251.

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