Cast 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 sang 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.