The Stranger the Better

a comic opera in one act

Original concept created for The Atlanta Opera’s 24-Hour Opera Project, 2016.

Libretto by Vynnie Meli
Music by Liam Wade

Will Green and Julie Trammel
Will Green and Julie Trammel at the Atlanta Opera 2016


The Stranger the Better won the Audience Favorite Award at its premiere on The Atlanta Opera 24-Hour Opera Project® showcase, April 2, 2016.


A tiny, but tidy, apartment above the streets of the French Quarter in contemporary New Orleans. When the sun goes down, the music comes up.


Bourbon Street, beignets, Mardi Gras… but behind the parade is where the magic is made. A Creole mystic peels back the curtain on the low-rent apartment of a couple in domestic dispute over – what else? In-law problems. “Stella!!?!” Yes, that Stella, but the Neanderthal in the tight white T bellowing at his wife is no Marlon Brando. And Blanche isn’t, well suffice it to say that Stanley isn’t the only one in for a surprise. When his sister-in-law makes her grand entrance, the diaphanous southern belle is a rather robust tenor. The sisters are thrilled to reunite, but Blanche’s tenuous ties to reality clash with Stanley’s earthy sensuality. A passionate rage erupts that brings Stanley to his knees and the mysterious Mystic reappears to escort Stella’s sister away. Blanche DuBois has always relied on the kindness of strangers. In New Orleans, apparently, the stranger the better.


Set is indication of the apartment, but the Mystic is in limbo. Prop list: A feather duster; a newspaper, teacup, prop knife, etc. Feather boa – always good.

STL Opera Collective 2017
Cast: VooDoo Priestess: Stephanie Ruggles, Stanley: Kurtis Shoemake, Stella: Danielle Krispin,
Blanche: Nathan Ruggles, Director/Designer: Kurtis Shoemake, Pianist: Sarah Gallaher


MYSTIC – Mezzo Soprano – Creole High Priestess of dark magic, a mysterious eccentric or self appointed tour guide of New Orleans.

STANLEY – Baritone – Brutish, a working man just trying to pay the rent. Though domineering and chauvinistic, he is devoted to his wife – if not his daily hygiene.

STELLA – Soprano – A good woman who married a slob; she sees something in him we don’t.

BLANCHE – Tenor – She is a haughty, pretentious, debutain’t dwelling in her delusions. A southern belle that has long since stopped ringing. Blanche is obviously a man dressed as a woman, a beard is fine. Stella’s older sister was desirable in her day, but that was many days ago.


Original Atlanta Opera Cast:

Laurie Marie Tossing – Mystic
Julie Trammel – Stella
Antoine Griggs – Stanley

Will Green – Blanche DuBois

Andrew Bayles – Piano, Music Director
Kristin Kenning – Director



The Atlanta Opera annual 24-Hour Opera Project®

The Atlanta Opera logoThe Atlanta Opera presented the sixth annual 24-Hour Opera Project® in April 2016. Teams of composers, librettists, stage directors, singers, and accompanists (selected at random) composed, staged, and rehearsed original operas – all within 24 hours. The final performances came together on stage at SCADShow in an interactive showcase where both the judges and the audience awarded the top works for best overall performance and audience choice.