The Opera-Musical Theatre Special Interest Group

Leonard Lehrman, Director
Helene Williams, Asst. Director
33 Court St., Valley Stream NY 11580

"a whale of a show!"
--Bob Sherman
, 6/7/07

our newest CD:
Songs for Naturists:
Live from the Naked Front

performed by

Helene Williams & Leonard Lehrman

with Cary Bair

produced with the kind assistance of
The Naturist Education Foundation

"inventive, funny, engaging, and absurd, sometimes all at once...
compiles material recorded in several places, including
The Naturist Society's Eastern Gathering and Northeast Festival....
Some of the fun lies in Lehrman's explanations to the crowd.
He is a born raconteur as well as composer, pianist, conductor, stage director, producer, and critic.
Did you know he has written over 175 compositions, from one-minute songs to over a dozen operas and musicals?
Among those is a Requiem for Hiroshima, with words by Lee Baxandall, the founder of The Naturist Society!

The music offered here, by many composers, moves amongst three themes:
nudity, Judaism, and politics. Sometimes naturism shows up in unexpected guises,
like songs to words by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats
and the American actor Marlon Brando.
It may even be mixed with politics, as in a song about the possibilities of
peace through nudity. That one [by Mark Levy] offers such immortal lines as
'Take off your clothes to those you oppose' and
'Here's the surest way to end a running feud:
simply approach your adversary in the nude.'

How's that for subversive!

Further impishness inhabits Tom Lehrer's 'Chanukkah in Santa Monica,'
with uproarious rhymes for quirky places to hold Jewish holidays.
Noticing that Lehrer omitted many, Leonard wrote his own
addendum, globally dislocating a bunch more holidays....
The highlight is three songs from The Booby Trap, an extended,
in-progress musical with words by Sydney Ross Singer (author of
Dressed to Kill, an extended argument against wearing bras) and
music by Leonard Lehrman. In these songs we get an extended invitation
into a fine musical mind--of a composer of songs in the tradition
of Kurt Weill, Marc Blitzstein, and Leonard Bernstein,
all of whose music Leonard Lehrman knows well.

The star performer is Helene Williams.
A fine singer, she masters a variety of styles with colour, finesse, and substantial theatricality....
Naturist Cary Bair sings a few numbers too, clearly and valiantly....
Where else will you hear 'The Little Jewish Ladies for Buchanan' or 'The Naturist Anthem'?
The latter uses the tune 'Simple Gifts.'
That melody became well known in Aaron Copland's music for the ballet
Appalachian Spring. Leonard's own superb text deserves equal fame:
he's as talented a wordsmith as he is a composer."

--Paul Rapoport, Going Natural


History of the SIG

Performances thru 2012

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th International Naturist Opera Workshops 7/89, '90, '92, '94, '96
Domaine Naturiste de Bélézy - Bédoin, France [7/89 with Judy Morris & Bill Reynolds;
first four with chorale & instrumentalists; first three with water ballet]
incl. Mermaid Operas of Dvorak, Dargomyzhsky (Eng. tr. Lehrman),
and Elie Siegmeister (adaptation L.Lehrman) (French premiere)

Sydney Naturally (Sydney, Australia) 1/19/02 An Australian Odyssey (excerpts) (+ Naked Verses)
(partially broadcast on Australian National Radio, 2/02)

Concerts, Plays & Operas at Eastern (U.S.) Naturist Gatherings, Festivals & Resorts

6/20/92 Tom Cushing's Barely Proper (adaptation L.Lehrman), Camp Barrett, The Poconos (PA)
[with Barry Plaxen, Diane Reese, Peter Kacalanos,
Cary Bair, Lois Horowitz, Tracy Philipps, John Cobb]
& 7/6/92 WBAI-FM (NY) [w/Plaxen, Philipps, Kacalanos, Bair, Horowitz, Cobb, Don Bensen]

8/21/93 Potpourri, The Phoenix, Greenwich NY
[w/Kacalanos, Bair, Reynolds, Amy Vail, et al]

1/9/94 Naturist Cabaret, Cypress Cove, Kissimmee FL

8/20/94 John Bramhall's Stark (adaptation L.Lehrman), Empire Haven, Moravia NY
[w/Bair, Vail, Reynolds, Lenora Eve]

6/24/95 Stark and Adam & Lilith & Eve by L.Lehrman, after Manya Pruzhanskaya Lackow & Jacques Drouet,
Bucksteep Manor, Washington MA
[w/Kacalanos, Bair, Jill Salazar, Eve, Reynolds, Vail, Reese, Pacer & Perkins Families]

7/5/97 The Creation & Other Pieces, Camp Ramblewood, Darlington, MD
[w/Kacalanos + Rosanna Prothro]

6/24/98 A Faun in the Forest by Gerald Cockschott, Eastover, Lenox MA
[w/Kacalanos, John Holly]

6/24/99 Potpourri, Eastover, Lenox MA [w/Kacalanos, Bair, Carla Tarantola]
excpts, 12/98 Golden Fleece Square One [w/Kacalanos, Bair]

6/21/00 Tom Lehrer Song Festival, Eastover, Lenox MA [w/Kacalanos, Bair, Sarvamangala]

8/23/01 The Booby Trap of Off Our Chests by Leonard Lehrman & Sydney Ross Singer + Naked Verses
(on poems by Lois Ann Horowitz, Stephen Van Eck, Gene Peacock, Jr., and Melissa Pinol)
Eastover, Lenox MA;
--excerpts from The Booby Trap also performed
5/13/01 Golden Fleece Square One* [w/Kacalanos, Bair, Sarva] and telecast
2/02 Manhattan Neighborhood Network Ch. 34 2/22/02 2:10-2:30pm, 2/26/02 7:40-8pm
8/11/05 Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY [w/Susan Blake]

and as part of "Prevention Is the Cure" Week:
5/19/06 PeaceSmiths Forum, Amityville NY [w/Susan Blake & Cary Bair]
5/19/06 First United Methodist Church, Islip NY [also w/Blake & Bair, complete!]

additional performances
8/10/07 7pm Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY
8/25/07 8pm Custer Institute, Southold (Long Island) NY

and, with KathrynWieckhorst, in memory of Susan Blake (1953-2007):
5/17/08 2:00PM
Womanspace, at Great Neck Senior Center
80 Grace Ave., Great Neck NY
Info: Gladys Thompson Roth 516-466-3916
Suggested Donation: $5-8
as part of "Prevention Is the Cure" Week
featured speaker: LIU Prof. Scott Carlin

and as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

10/19/08 4:00PM
Puffin Cultural Forum, 20 E. Oakdene Ave., Teaneck NJ
Info: 201-836-8923 Suggested Donation: $5
featured speaker: Dr. Jeff Kopelson of the Schachter Institute

8/22/02 Naked Klezmer, incl. Jewish Haiku, Eastover, Lenox MA
[w/Bair, Kathleen Rooney, Bob Salzman]

12/31/02 Happy Nude Year Cabaret, Sunsport, Loxahatchee FL

8/8/03 Songs for Naturists, Empire Haven, Moravia NY [w/Sarva, Ed Thibault, Bob Salzman]

1/9/04 Songs for Naturists, incl. "A Coat," Sunsport, Loxahatchee FL

8/7/04 More Songs for Naturists, incl. "Brando Credo," Empire Haven, Moravia NY

1/21/05 Naturist Cabaret, Sunsport, Loxahatchee FL

Naturist Songs "en franglais"
8/11/06 Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY
8/18/06 Canadian Naturist Festival, La Pommerie, Québec
8/17/07 Canadian Naturist Festival, (with the Chorale of) La Pommerie, Québec
8/6/09 Canadian Naturist Festival, Bare Oaks, Ontario

2 Nudecades of Great Performances - with Cary Bair
8/8/08 Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY

Carried Away ~ In the Nude (Celebrating Anne Fisher's Birthday)
2/28/09 Sunsport, Loxahatchee FL

"Free Your Voice" workshop
and 20th Anniversary Naturist Concert Extravaganza
honoring the Elie Siegmeister Centennial and the memory of Lee Baxandall

8/8/09 Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY

3/20/10 First Day of Spring Cabaret
Sunsport, Loxahatchee FL

6/19/10 Return to Eastern Naturist Gathering, Camp Westmont, Poyntelle PA

8/6/10 Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY

3/11/11 The Broadway You Know & Don't Know, Sunsport, Loxahatchee FL

6/15/11 The Broadway You Know & Don't Know, Eastern Naturist Gathering,
Camp Westmont, Poyntelle, PA

8/4/11 Leonard & Helene play leads in, and Leonard directs,
radio play production of his adaptation of the Naturist classic
Barely Proper by Tom Cushing
at the Eastern Canadian Naturist Festival, Bare Oaks, Ontario
Hear the podcast by clicking here.

8/5/11 Songs of Broadway, Naturism & Protest
Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY

8/1/12 A Naturist Cabaret,
Eastern Canadian Naturist Festival, La Pommerie, Quebec

8/3/12 A Naturist Cabaret,
Northeast Naturist Festival, Empire Haven, Moravia NY

*reviewed in New Music Connoisseur 9:2 p16 "Dicks, Bras, Bars, and Other 'Disordered' Subjects"
by Barry L. Cohen, Linda Pehrson & Mark Greenfest:
"a musical which, for the first time in the history of medicine and theater,
deals with bras as the major cause of breast cancer....
We heard the earnest cast of Helene Williams, Peter Kacalanos, Sarvamangala, and Cary Bair
(with Lehrman at the keyboard) sing eight of the songs, all cleverly ironic little gems, entitled
'Barbie Blues,' 'Baby Breasts,' 'Boobs Blues,' 'Silicone Sal,'
'Breast Play,' 'The Test,' 'Working It Out,' 'Stuffed Bras.'"

+letter from Leonard Lehrman to Aufbau, 8/8/02 68:16 p18 "Clothing Optionality"
- on FKK, TNS, NAC, etc.

Documentation in N Magazine

6/14/89 9:1 p49 "REVIEWS OPERA: RASPUTIN... NY City Opera" 9/88 by Leonard Lehrman;
blurb: "LEONARD LEHRMAN is a naturist and well-known younger composer and conductor of operas."

10/5/89 9:2 p69-73 "UPDATES FRANCE Opera & Belezy" by George McCormick & Lee Baxandall

Judy Morris, Helene Williams, Bill Reynolds; Leonard Lehrman, pno/cond.
with water ballet dir. by Olivier, in MERMAID OPERAS:
Rusalka excerpts by Dvorak (in Fr.) and Dargomyzhsky (in Eng.) + The Mermaid in Lock No. 7
music by Elie Siegmeister, text by Edward Mabley, adapted by L. Lehrman
4-pg. 17-(color)photo spread by Lee Baxandall & Johanna Moore;
interviews with Siegmeister & Opera News Editor Marylis Gonzaga

[articles also in Tillsammans by Erik Holm on "BELEZY 1-7 juli 1990" with cartoon, and in
Opera Monthly 2:12 4/90 p33-35 "OPERA TRENDS: Mermaid Operas Au Naturel" by Leonard Lehrman:
"Apparently the first instance in history of 'mermaid operas' being presented with appropriate costuming...
or lack thereof, at the First International Naturist Opera Workshop."]

6/28/90 10.1 p97 1st publication of photo of Kurt Weill skinnydipping

1/16/92 11.2 p8-9 "Deja Vu Barely Proper" rehearsals, performance & broadcast announced -
with Barry Plaxen, Diane Reese, Helene Williams, Peter Kacalanos; Leonard Lehrman, dir.

are the musicians you saw featured in an opera production in France in N 9.2.
Here they lend themselves to a TV spot ad for insurance 'coverage.'
This is how they looked on Boston television."
"Couple's Feelings Are Mixed On How They Fared In TV Commercial"

12/26/92 12.2 p104 photo includes SIG members

3/29/93 12.3 p7 & 24 repeat of above photo;
"Leonard Lehrman produced a splendid performance of 'Barely Proper,' the classic Naturist comedy.
The first-time cast was sparked by long-time 'Barely Proper' performer and producer Barry Plaxen
and experienced ingenue Diane Reese [photo p25] A knowing audience responded with cheers and bravos."
photos after p72:
"Leonard Lehrman, American composer, conducts a song from his opera
about Christopher Columbus's men in armor and the naked natives."
"Leonard Lehrman and Belezy owner Gerard Leclerc."

6/10/93 12.4 p49-53 "NUDITY IN OPERA" by Leonard Lehrman - incl. photos [of]
Moses und Aron, Susannah, Fiery Angel, New World (previewed, Belezy 1990)

9/20/93 13.1 p101 "A Great Gathering" by Marilyn R. Lovell on Northeastern Naturist Gathering at The Phoenix: "
Leonard Lehrman's talented group of professionals gave us a grand evening of good music and great fun."

5/23/94 13.4 p93 "How Good It Was" by Marilyn Lovell, Syracuse Naturist Gazette:
"Leonard Lehrman and The Opera-Musical Theatre Special Interest Group of the Naturist Society
outdid themselves Saturday evening with a potpourri of light opera and musical theater.
Not only was the audience nude, the singers were, too! Such fun, such talent!"
p91 photo: Cary Bair, Leonard Lehrman, Helene Williams, Bill Reynolds, Amy Vail, et al

by Camilla Van Sickle & Bill Pennington: "
The TNS Opera-Musical Theater SIG led by Leonard Lehrman offered 'Adam & Lilith & Eve',
an entertainment based in part on Genesis. This was hugely popular, standing room only."
1-page 7-(color)photo spread after p.32.
p27 captions: "Leonard Lehrman conducts his musical comedy as
Serpent (Bill Reynolds) induces Eve (Lenora Eve) to offer the apple to Adam (Cary Bair);
Reynolds and Diane Reese;
Lilith (Jill Salazar) dismisses angels Charlie, Gregory and Philip Perkins ([photo by Mark] Orpen);
Finale with Amy Vail seated (Orpen);
Finale with adults Salazar, Helene Williams, Bill Pacer, Peter Kacalanos (God), Eve
and one Perkins and two Pacer kids;
the angels are harsh with a figged Adam (Orpen)."

5/20/97 16.4 p10 A Naturist Anthem, Words: Leonard Lehrman, Copyright 1993 Music: "Simple Gifts"

9/3/97 17.1 p17 Barcelona nude statue photos by Helene Williams

11/20/97 17.2 p1 "The Eastern Naturist Fair 1998 At Eastover Resort, Lenox, Massachusetts June 22-29, 1998:"
"The Naturist Society's traditional Gathering program begins on Wednesday, June 24 with a day trip to Vermont's Ledges
and an evening performance by the Naturist Opera-Musical Theater...."

2/27/98 Spring 1998 17.3 p91 "EASTERN GATHERING 1997
July 3-6, 1997 at Camp Ramblewood, Darlington, Maryland" by Judi Ditzler:
"A terrific performance was given by Leonard Lehrman and the TNS Opera-Musical Theater Saturday evening,
featuring Lehrman's satirical take on the Genesis story in a piece called 'The Creation And Other Stories.'
This talented group is well-loved by Naturists, and its shows are always a highlight of Gathering weekends."
p94 photo of Peter Kacalanos juggling

11/16/98 Winter 1998 18.2 p96 "EASTERN NATURIST GATHERING 1998 -
International Perspectives - A British View" by Roger and Vena Wright:
"...a most entertaining night at the nude opera performed by the TNS Opera-Musical Theatre SIG..."
(color) photo by Mark Orpen after p. 104 [of John Holly & Helene Williams in A Faun in the Forest]

8/31/99 Autumn 1999 19.1 p78-80 "TNS SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS" by Mark Storey with Nicky Hoffman:
"Opera-Musical Theatre SIG : Raw Performance With A Smile"
"...the Opera-Musical Theatre SIG has been staging productions at TNS Eastern Naturist Gatherings and abroad.
They have only missed one Eastern Gathering (1996), and have also staged 10 productions in France....
Anyone who has seen one of the O-MT SIG's Naturist performances knows that these folks are definitely having fun."
Captions to photos by Lee Baxandall and Ron Marsh:
"NATURIST GATHERINGS often set the stage for Opera-Musical Theatre SIG performances.
Top: 'The Mermaid Operas' were directed by Leonard Lehrman
and sung by the Naturist Opera Workshop singers at Bélézy Resort, France, 1989.
Middle: The O-MT SIG takes a bow after its rendition of Adam & Lilith & Eve at the 1995 Eastern Gathering.
Bottom: Lehrman and Helene Williams perform at Eastover during the 1999 ENG [in 'Anything You Can Do']."

11/15/99 Winter 1999 19.2 p31
"Leonard Lehrman and the Opera-Musical Theatre SIG presented an evening of song and humorous skits."
p121 "Opera-Musical Theatre SIG" letter by Leonard Lehrman, correcting "a few minor errors" in 19.1.

11/3/00 Winter 2000 20.2 p20 "A Jewish Take on Eden" letter by Leonard Lehrman
"concerning interpretations of the Genesis story (N 20.1, pp. 49-54, and others).
What you're missing is a Jewish perspective...."
p27 & 30 photos by Ron Marsh of Leonard Lehrman, Peter Kacalanos, Carla Tarantola

Winter 2001 21.2 p63 & 65
"Naked in the Berkshires: The 2001 Eastern Naturist Gathering" by Christopher Rowland:
"A world premiere graced the Tally Ho stage the next night, when
The Opera/Musical Theatre Special Interest Group presented
The Booby Trap by Leonard Lehrman and Sydney Ross Singer.
This short play is based on a book by Singer and his wife Soma Grismaijer titled
Get It Off!, which discusses the theoretical link between bra wearing and breast cancer.
A large, appreciative audience laughed and cheered,
as the talented performers carried us through the humorous, touching, poignant material."

Spring 2002 21.3 p82-89 "NATURIST HISTORY 'Nudism with a Social Conscience':
Circle H Ranch helped set the stage for modern naturism in America" by Carl Hild [on Barely Proper]

Summer 2002 21.4
p44 "Naturist Opera Down Under:
Naturist Special Interest Group Performs First Concert At Sydney Naturally"
by Bob Reed, incl. photo of Jeff & Karolyn Dunlop, Leonard Lehrman & Helene Williams
p99 "REVIEWS BOOKS Nude Poets Society" review of Naked Verses, ed., Bern Loibl,
by Leonard Lehrman, with references to Lois Ann Horowitz, Stephen Van Eck, Syd Singer,
Gene Peacock, Jr., G. Elton Warrick, Don Bensen, Rebecca S. Terrible, L.K. Twaddle, Janet L. Tawalkana.

Summer 2005 24.4
p49-52 "Barely Proper: For Nudists, This Play's the Thing," by Mark Storey -
"abridged extract" from introduction to Theatre au Naturel,
Ancaster, Ontario, Canada: Heureka Productions, 2005,
mentions (on p.52) our 1992 production and broadcast.
Full text of the description in his book (p.16):
"TNS's Opera-Musical Theatre SIG continues to perform opera, musicals,
and theatrical pieces at naturist events in the first decade of the 2000s.
Lehrman is an accomplished and respected composer, performer, and director
who has moved naturist groups in the 21st century toward
an ever widening array of musical and theatrical endeavors."

Winter 2008 28.2
p41 "Northeast Naturist Festival" by Barbara Crumb -
"Evening concerts were offered by our friends Helene Williams,
Leonard Lehrman, and Cary Bair from the TNS Musical SIG"

Spring 2009 28.3
p26 "The History of The Naturist Society" by Mark Storey
mentions opera SIG and prints sidebar:
The best tribute any Naturist could
give Lee Baxandall would be to
think: "What would Lee do?"
and then act accordingly. With
his considerable theatrical back-
ground, Lee knowingly brought
the Opera/Musical Theatre SIG
to the ENG every year he could,
overcoming any obstacles, ami-
cably solving any problems.
That's what Lee did.

Leonard J. Lehrman
Founder/Director, The Opera/Musical Theatre Special Interest Group of The Naturist Society

Winter 2009 29.2
p44-45 "Northeast Festival" by Stina Sieg -
"rich performance of exuberant show tunes by musicians Leonard Lehrman and Helene Williams"

Spring 2012 31.3
p74 Leonard Lehrman, Opera-Musical Theater SIG, celebrates his birthday in style at Lighthouse Beach surrounded by friends.