Heartbreak Express

Music by George Lam
Libretto by John Clum


" … an unpretentious gem … "

New York Observer



Inspired in part by Tai Uhlmann’s documentary film For The Love Of Dolly, the opera follows four Dolly Parton “superfans” waiting to meet their idol for the first time. Sisters Darlene and LuAnne entered an essay contest and won the chance to meet Dolly Parton in person. Darlene thinks that this encounter with Dolly will change their lives for the better, but LuAnne is not so sure. Longtime partners Don and Travis have amassed a huge collection of Dolly memorabilia. They poured their life savings into making a new Dolly doll, and came to get Dolly’s blessing to manufacture the new dolls. The opera follows the four fans as they meet in the waiting room and ends in a quintet (with Dolly’s mysterious Assistant) as they describe their life-changing encounters with the superstar.

This premiere production of Heartbreak Express featured the Rhymes With Opera ensemble with special guest artists, marking the culmination of RWO’s multi-year development for the work that saw excerpts presented at NYC’s Roulette, York College CUNY, the Cornelia Street Cafe, the Firehouse Space, the National Opera Center, Baltimore’s City Arts Gallery, and the historic 124 Bank Street Theater in New York’s West Village.


Friday, November 13 - 21, 2015
124 Bank Street Theater
124 Bank Street, New York City


RWO Orchestra

Lisa Casal-Galietta, violin
Nicholas Pauly, viola
Jennifer Girone-Virgilio, cello
Zach Herchen, saxophone
Maiko Hosoda, percussion
Kristin Samadi, piano


Conrad Chu, conductor
Ashley Tata, director
Cody Jordan, assistant director
Sean Daniels, lighting designer
Brad Peterson, projection designer
David Palmer, associate projection designer
Jenny Ainsworth, production stage manager
Rachel Lebowitz, assistant stage manager and propsmaster