Tenors also are known to be flighty, but in this case the role of Anthony Candolino has been the one constant in Terrence McNally's Tony-winning play. The story is set in a master class Callas conducted at Juilliard in 1971, and Jay Hunter Morris, who played the tenor on the day the play opened in November, 1995, is still the aspiring singer who comes to be critiqued, introducing himself to Callas as someone who has "a voice, a technique and a B flat" - and whose hero is Mario Lanza. New names are on all the other dressing-room doors backstage at the John Golden Theater. Morris' quarters have a lived-in look; the photographs and notes pinned to the wall above the makeup mirror include a group shot taken at the first rehearsal before the cast went on the road, pre-Broadway, to Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
"Zoe [Caldwell]," he says, gazing at the picture, "holds a special place in my heart since we started this together. I learned so much from her about what it is to be a true artist." And he is a true gentleman: The show's three stars have been "as different as apples and oranges," he says, and, wouldn't you know it, he likes both apples and oranges. Gossip and controversy swirled about the real Maria Callas, a genuine prima donna in all senses of that term. In the script, Callas' mind soars from the auditorium to ruminate about her weight - she was originally a tub - her marriage to the much older Giovanni Battista Meneghini, her triumphs at La Scala and her tempestuous romance with Aristotle Onassis, who, like Jason in "Medea" (in which the soprano sang one of her most famous roles), deserted her for another woman.