A Rag-Tag Band

The CrewCast member and founder Liz Rishel talks about how Steam the Opera began:

The concept was compelling, but daunting. A rock opera, with REAL opera singers who play rock band instruments. Where in Pittsburgh was I going to find 3 other performers who could do that? It was time to dust off my ol’ steampunky Rolodex and dig. But where to start? I knew a lot of opera singers, but not a lot who play rock instruments… that I knew of.

The first one was easy. I already knew because the character in Steam had been written for him. In the summer of 2010, Bonnie Bogovich and I sat behind an audition table listening to singers to cast for our first show, Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera. One of the roles we needed to cast was that of my 19-year-old brother, a character in a cut scene that we needed to film. But to our surprise, in walks 14-year-old Jordan Speranzo, a perfect fit with the right kind of voice and the right kind of attitude. He sJordan Speranzoang well, had a good read, and left. Despite his young age, he got the part. Working with Jordan was so much fun because he was anything but shy and fully willing to invest in the scene as many times as required to get the right shot. I remember thinking that I wanted to get him for a bigger project while he still had this amount of energy and commitment. I already knew that Jordan played guitar because I had seen him perform with his band, Lightning Box, at a Zombie Opera fundraiser. He knew I was working on a concept for a little while, and when I came to him and told him it was ready for work shopping, he was instantly on board. Jordan’s main strength comes from the amazing lines he writes, particularly for chorus, and guitar solos have made me cheer. He shares my passion for hiding little references to other Steam pieces inside new themes.

Saturday Light Brigade interviews Steam!

For those of you who missed our live interview on the The Saturday Light Brigade radio program, the recording is now available online! Listen for free at the link below!:


The Future of Steam

steam-leonandwilliamHello everyone!

First, I want to thank all who followed our Kickstarter progress. While we didn’t make our goal, we are going to continue with pre-production and continue pushing for an adapted version of Episode 1. You’ll like it– there’s a few changes, but it still holds its integrity.

We had a few people approach us over the course of our campaign unsure as to whether or not this was being performed live. Rest assured, this is an internet movie project told through the style of opera. This means that everyone will be able to enjoy it equally, regardless of where you live in the world. Photos and video of “live performance” are of us performing songs as a band set, but through the video, you’ll get to see the complete project and the action that accompanies those songs.

Stay tuned for more information about the characters, as this is a character-driven piece. We do hope that you’ll like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @SteamOpera, and if you would like to sign up for our mailing list, shoot us an email SteamTheOpera at gmail dot com. We will use these methods to communicate when we are looking for extras for crowd scenes, holding benefits or fundraisers and things of that type.

Thanks for staying with us!  It’s been a busy time for Steam and we appreciate everyone’s support!

Steam is Stylin’!!

IMG_1199 (1)

A huge Thank You to Point Park University (Alma Mater of Steam’s Drummer/Baritone, Sean Lenhart) for gifting out project with 19 Men’s jackets in Tux and Frock style and several women’s gowns…. and one tiny hat. ^_^

Period costumes are expensive and rare, and we are so overjoyed to have a compliment of costumes available for our project that will make our actors look snazzy! Some of these will remain the same, and some may get some Steampunk treatments, but either way, it is huge leap ahead for us, and an amazing cost-saver.

Thank you Point Park, our theater angels!

Last Three Days of our Kickstarter

It’s been a long month of fundraising for this project on Kickstarter, and now we are down to our last three days. Some of you joined us for the dance party at Cattivo, celebrating our launch, hosted by the Awesome DJ Kelly A, some were listening to our short segment on the Saturday Light Brigade, some saw our beautiful full-spread ad designed by the talented Marjorie Rishel in the program for Undercroft Opera’s Don Giovanni, and some of you tuned in to our Twitch live stream last Saturday, featuring the endlessly entertaining Bonnie Bogovich and her cache of chickens. Many of you heard about us through friends, and many from one of us directly. To everyone who has been following us and especially to our Kickstarter backers, we want to express our most sincere gratitude.

This project is so much more than a film to us, it is a mission, a revival, and a different way forward for an art that is so affecting and has so much to offer. We hope that others will continue striving to revitalize opera through modern storytelling and film.

Going into our last three days, I am filled with peace, because even though we are still far from our goal, every single person who has pledged to this project has strengthened my resolve that this is a worthwhile endeavor. We toured some locations yesterday, and have decided to continue with pre-production, and even if it involves scaling the original vision, we will never compromise the original intention.

We hope that you will join us in making our last three days memorable.

With great affection,

Liz Rishel

Saturday Light Brigade Interview

Did you catch Liz Rishel on the Saturday Light Brigade this past saturday? Steam was granted an interview live on the radio, and you can check it out here!

Live Twitch Stream

Saturday, June 4, starting at noon and running until four, the Steam Team and Special Guests will be running a LIVE PLEDGE DRIVE on Twitch!  There will be games, there will be sneak previews of songs, there will be steam punk demonstrations, and MORE!

Check us out at https://www.twitch.tv/steamopera

Don’t forget that it’s all to advertise our Kickstarter! Help share the link and add to your pledges at

Steam Team in Don Giovanni


Steam members Liz Rishel (Charlotte Monroe) and Jordan Speranzo (Spencer Lawrence) performed in Undercroft Opera’s Don Giovanni last weekend, joined by Bonnie Bogovich, who is working with Steam behind the scenes and in front of the camera as a member of the Knox Mill board of directors.  The remarkable thing about this version of Don Giovanni is that Liz and Bonnie were both on a team that re-wrote the entire libretto of the opera to infuse it with elements from Bram Stoker’s Dracula.   Liz performed the role of “Zerlina” (inspired by “Lucy” from the novel), covered (understudied) by Bonnie, who also played a vampire bride supernumerary (non-speaking acting role).  Jordan covered the role of “Don Giovanni” himself, (inspired by “Count Dracula”) which he performed with Bonnie in a staged covers concert on Saturday.  William Strom (Richard Kauffer) ran the front of house crew, selling and maintaining tickets at the box office and managing concessions.

The performances were augmented through the use of a projected set of functional surrounding or inspirational images that brought the supernatural elements into play.  Each of the 4 performances went very well, and supported the mission statement of Liz, Jordan, William, Bonnie, and the other artists to present opera that appeals to fans of other genres.

The above ad appeared as a full-page spread in the program, promoting our Kickstarter.  Please visit and make a donation.

Artwork by Marjorie Rishel



Kickstarter Week One


It’s week one of our campaign and things are going AMAZING! Thank you to everyone who pledged and shared. You are awesome. We are grateful for as much exposure as possible so please keep sharing our link at kickstarter.com/profile/steamtheopera




Our Kickstarter to fund Episode One is now Live!  Please tell all your friends and let the fun times commence!


Hi Friends!!

We are excited to have launched the Kickstarter for STEAM ~ or ~ THE SPECTERS OF THE KNOX MILL.  We need your help.  Please visit the Kickstarter page at www.kickstarter.com/profile/steamtheopera and donate to your heart’s content.  If you can’t donate today, no problem, we would ask that you take a few seconds to share the Kickstarter with your friends and family on social media.  The more people who see the Campaign, the more value your contribution gains.  Plus if we get big spikes in donations our Campaign can be featured on Kickstarter’s main page, garnering lots of views and donations.  If you’re passionate about excellent music, rich storytelling, and the Steampunk aesthetic, please help us raise the funds we need to create a film that will satisfy.  Make sure to find us on facebook.com/steamtheopera, and on twitter @SteamOpera and help us spread the word!


The Steam Team