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An Insider's Guide to CAROUSEL

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel at Lyric (on stage April 10 through May 3) is the most eagerly anticipated musical event of the spring season. Learn more about this new production and its outstanding cast and creative team through articles, video, and more. 

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel at Lyric is the most eagerly anticipated musical event of the spring season. This brand-new production is helmed by eminent director/choreographer Rob Ashford and features the Lyric debuts of conductor David Chase (a New York favorite and longtime collaborator of Ashford's) and artist Paolo Ventura as set designer, plus costumes from Catherine Zuber, the acclaimed designer who has won multiple Tony Awards and who costumed Ashford's delightful Barber of Seville in Lyric's 2013-14 season. 

The behind-the-scenes talent is amazing, and the cast is astounding. Broadway favorite Steven Pasquale and two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes star as carousel barker Billy Bigelow and his beloved Julie Jordan. International operatic star Denyce Graves, known for her fiery interpretations of the title role in Bizet's Carmen, takes on her first full-length musical theater role as Nettie Fowler. 

Carousel is on stage at Lyric from April 10 through May 3, and this page is your source for all of the behind-the-scenes info. 

 Articles with insights on the cast and creative team

Carousel Comes to Lyric
Director Rob Ashford talks about the creative process for Carousel in this article from Lyric Opera News. "Every new production of a musical or opera has a unique journey to the stage but some, like Lyric's Carousel, are especially unusual. Five years ago director-choreographer Rob Ashford saw an exhibition in New York, 'Winter Stories,' by Italian artist Paolo Ventura. 'Part of it was set around a carnival,' Ashford recalls. 'It was so moving and beautiful. I was so captivated by it, I said, 'If I ever do Carousel,  that is the person who must design it.'" READ MORE

Meet Steven Pasquale – Lyric’s Billy Bigelow
Billy Bigelow is one of the most demanding roles in musical theater. Lyric's leading man Steven Pasquale has a long list of credits on stage and screen. You might recognize him from his current role on the CBS hit The Good Wife —here are three of our favorite Steven Pasquale moments from past projects including Rescue Me and the Tony-nominated musical The Bridges of Madison County. READ MORE

Denyce Graves Breaks All the Rules
Superstar mezzo Denyce Graves returns to Lyric for the first time since 2005 to star in Lyric's new production of Carousel. Joining Broadway star Steven Pasquale's Billy Bigelow, Graves anchors the cast as Nettie Fowler, who acts as a mother hen to the New England waterfront community depicted by Rodgers and Hammerstein. READ MORE

From Broadway to Lyric: Exploring musical theater
Carousel marks Lyric's third production in its American Musical Theater Initiative, following 2012-13's Oklahoma! and last season's The Sound of Music. General director Anthony Freud talks about the genesis of this project and how it is changing the face of the company in this article from the Porgy and Bess program book. READ MORE

“So Long, Farewell” Some parting GIFs for you!

It's the final weekend of The Sound of Music! The past month has absolutely flown by. But though this wonderful musical might be leaving Lyric's stage, it will be in our hearts forever. And here are some of our favorite moments, preserved in GIF form, for you to treasure and share.

It's the final weekend of The Sound of Music! The past month has absolutely flown by. But though this wonderful musical might be leaving Lyric's stage, it will be in our hearts forever. And here are some of our favorite moments, preserved in GIF form, for you to treasure and share.

The Mother Abbess gives the best advice.

In the immortal words of Oscar Hammerstein, "Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay. Love isn't love until you give it away."

Captain von Trapp approves.

And finally, the von Trapp children say goodbye!

Video credit:

  • Scenes from Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music (credit HMS Media / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

THE SOUND OF MUSIC – A few of Lyric’s favorite things!

As the final performances of  The Sound of Music  draw closer (it closes May 25!), you might think that our production staff has seen it all. But you'd be wrong! Here are a few of the highlights of the show from the point of view of our design staff.

As the final performances of The Sound of Music draw closer (it closes May 25!), you might think that our production staff has seen it all. From acrobats to valkyries, they have handled almost any challenge that a production might throw their way. But even for people who have climbed every logistical mountain, Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music has some very impressive elements. Here are a few of the highlights of the show from the point of view of our design staff.  

The Mountains

The mountains Maria comes down at the beginning of the show and the family climbs up at the end are digitally printed and glued to a wooden cutout. They were made in Wales, traveled to Canada by ship, and came to Chicago by train, after a few delays at customs!

The von Trapp Villa

What you see on stage as the front of the von Trapp's house is actually the back of the real von Trapp family home in Salzburg. And there might not be a gazebo in Lyric's production, but there is a great fountain, perfect for dancing.

The Sheer Size of the Set

We almost ran out of theater! During the preset for the show (when the stage crew loads in all the sets and builds them), we were about 1 foot from touching the back wall of the space. 

The Uniforms

The Nazis, priests, and altar boys uniforms are all rented, perhaps with a touch of irony, from Angels Costumiers, located in London. This is the same company that built the military uniforms for Lyric's new production of The Barber of Seville earlier this season. The rest of the Austrian clothing was purchased from websites that specialize in festival wear. 

The Suits

Paul Chang is the tailor for the show. A set of tails were made by Paul for Edward Hibbert.  We need to turn these set of tails into a jumpsuit with zipper up the back for a quick change during the party scene. "Presto, change-o!"

Maria's Bedroom Armoire

Brian Smith, Lyric's carpenter, made the armoire that you see on stage during "The Lonely Goatherd."  It is being built to the specifications that it is a replica of the one in the 1956 German film The Trapp Family, which was also based on the von Trapp's story and made before the stage and theatrical version of The Sound of Music.  The armoire used in that film was an actual piece of furniture from the Von Trapp family home.

Maria - Best Dressed Nun Award

The beautiful costumes for Jenn Gambatese were built in New York by Marianne Krostyne, who is this year's winner of the prestigious TDF Irene Sharaff "2014 Artisan of the Year" Award. Maria has  9 costumes total:  postulant, the Ugly Dress, sleepwear, play clothes (dirndl), party dress, the new postulant suit for her return, wedding dress, traveling/honeymoon suit, and festival performance outfit. Go Maria!!

The Nuns

Tons of research went into designing these costumes. Who knew there were so many different variations? The rosaries were especially made for the show, except for vintage ones purchased for Mother Abbess, Maria, and Sisters Sophia, Margaretta, and Berthe. We were going to purchase for the rest of the nuns, but couldn't because we are not a religious organization. 

The Beautiful Cast

Elizabeth Futral and Billy Zane are both very easy on the eyes. Elizabeth looks stunning in her 3 costumes also made by Marianne Krostyne, two day dresses and a beautiful ball gown. And Billy Zane looks amazing in Alejo Vietti's designs that include an Austrian suit, his wedding uniform, tails, and two suits, tailored by Paul Chang, who also made suits for Billy when he was shooting an unaired episode of NBC's The Playboy Club (which was filmed here in Chicago).  

Photo credits:

  • Jenn Gambatese as Maria comes down the mountain (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • The von Trapp villa in Lyric's production (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago) & the real von Trapp home in Salzburg (courtesy Villa Trapp)
  • The von Trapp children say goodnight (credit Robert Kusel / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • A stormtrooper in uniform (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Edward Hibbert as Max Detweiler (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Friedrich (Brady Tutton) hides in Maria's armoire (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Maria's many costumes (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • The nuns of The Sound of Music (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Elizabeth Futral and Billy Zane as Elsa Schraeder and Captain von Trapp (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

They Have Confidence! SOUND OF MUSIC Fan Photos

Audiences are loving The Sound of Music, on stage at Lyric through May 25. Here are some of our favorite fan photos, documenting some amazing experiences at the beautiful Civic Opera House for #LyricSound. 

Audiences are loving The Sound of Music, on stage at Lyric through May 25. Here are some of our favorite fan photos, documenting their amazing experience at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Snap and share your pics with #LyricSound on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You could win a pair of tickets to any opera during Lyric's spectacular 60th anniversary season!

 

Looking for more audience reactions? Here are some thoughts from people right after they've seen the show!

 

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