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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)

 

My Favorite Things: Zach Sorrow

Zach Sorrow is currently setting Liesl's heart aflutter as Rolf in Lyric's acclaimed production of The Sound of Music. But this Northwestern University grad does a lot more than just deliver telegrams—see him in his a capella group "The Freshman Fifteen" and find out why he tries to fall in love five times a day.

Zach Sorrow is currently setting Liesl's heart aflutter as Rolf in Lyric's acclaimed production of The Sound of Music. But this Northwestern University grad does a lot more than just deliver telegrams—he loves American Beauty, Arrested Development, and a capella (check him out singing in The Freshman Fifteen at Northwestern University)!

Movie 

American Beauty: It's a story about taking your life into your own hands, turning off the autopilot, and discovering what actually makes you happy. Kevin Spacey is brilliant.

 

Books & Authors 

I've always considered The Giving Tree to be the greatest book ever written. Even after countless revisits I feel like I always learn something new. I've even got this on my laptop:

I also just finished reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. It's a crazy book, it's really long, but it's totally worth the effort.

TV shows 

The first two that come to mind right now are Breaking Bad and True Detective, both of which are a must for anyone interested in a well-acted drama. I'm also a huge fan of Arrested Development (including and especially the fourth season!) and Game of Thrones.

 

 

Singers 

Justin Timberlake. He's got such a cool mix of styles, and he always looks like he's having the best time wherever he's performing. I'm also a big fan of Glen Hansard; everything he sings is brutally honest, and his voice always takes me to those emotional, vulnerable places.

 

 

Pop songs

"Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls, "To Build a Home" by The Cinematic Orchestra, and "Home" by Marc Broussard. To name a few.

 

 

 

Musical 

Sweeney Todd has to be my all-time favorite, and it only helps that the first production I ever saw was with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski at the Kennedy Center in DC. Amazing.

 

Foods 

 I'm a sucker for a good burrito, but it's pretty much always gotta have guac. That's where they get you.

Drink 

Have you ever tried Hoegaarden? Awesome Belgian wheat ale. So choice.

Hobbies 

In my spare time, you'll likely find me playing Titanfall or Skyrim on Xbox, but my roommate never has trouble convincing me to actually go outside to throw the football around.

Websites 

 I'm a pretty big tech and video game nerd, so I'm usually up to date on Gizmodo or Kotaku.

Vacation spot 

I would always say yes to visiting Disney World, and I have no regrets about it.

Animals 

I'm a dog person, and my parents will begrudgingly agree that whenever I visit home (in New York) I am often more excited to see Daisy, our Jack Russell, than I am to see them. Truth be told, Daisy has never been very good at using the phone, so my parents are pretty understanding about it.

Childhood toy 

Anybody ever have a Perplexus? Oh. Man.

Superhero or superhero power 

To fly! I don't care if it's not original, I couldn't pass this one up.

Motto

I had an acting teacher who once said, "If you're not falling in love five times a day you're not really living." I've always liked that; it helps me keep a positive attitude no matter what's happening.

Guilty pleasure 

Even after graduating last year, I'm still a big fan of a cappella. I was in Freshman Fifteen, an all-male group from Northwestern, and they've always been my favorite group of guys, both for the music and because they were always the most fun to hang with. Here's a video of me singing with them from my freshman year:

 

Anything else? 

 Nutella.

Photo credits:

  • Zach Sorrow portrait (credit Xanthe Elbrick)
  • Zach Sorrow and Betsy Farrar in The Sound of Music (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • The Giving Tree decal (courtesy Amazon.com)
  • Infinite Jest cover (courtesy Amazon.com)
  • Walt Disney World (courtesy Walt Disney World Resorts)
  • Perplexus toy (courtesy Amazon.com)
(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)

 

My Favorite Things: Betsy Farrar

Betsy Farrar makes her Lyric debut in  The Sound of Music  as Liesl. This multitalented actress graduated from Indiana's Ball State University and has been seen locally in Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theater and Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. When not practicing her choreography for "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," she likes to relax with some Beyoncé and a great whiskey ginger cocktail.

Betsy Farrar makes her Lyric debut in The Sound of Music as Liesl, the eldest von Trapp child experiencing her first love with telegraph delivery boy Rolf. This multitalented actress graduated from Indiana's Ball State University and has been seen locally in Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theater and Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. When not practicing her choreography for "Sixteen Going on Seventeen,"—complete with bicycles and fountain!—she likes to relax with some Beyoncé and a great whiskey ginger cocktail.

Movies 

Life is Beautiful, Dan in Real Life, It's a Wonderful Life

 

 

 

Books 

I love to read. One of my all time favorites is The Cider House Rules by John Irving.

TV shows 

 I watch way too much TV. Mad Men is one of my favorites. I love the time period costumes and hairstyles. New Girl, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, and Project Runway are more favorites.

 

 

 

Singer 

Beyoncé is one of my favorite performers. I wouldn't say I'm a nerd about many things, but I'm a big nerd about Beyoncé. I own all of her concerts on DVD and watch them way too often. I love her confidence and sass.

Pop song 

Speaking of Beyoncé … Love on Top.

 

Musicals 

The Sound of Music is one of my favorites to be honest. It was the first musical I was exposed to as a little girl. My grade school teacher used to play the movie soundtrack during naptime, and I learned all the songs. I asked for the movie for my birthday and I was obsessed. He-he! I also love Into the Woods, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Gypsy.

 

 

Food 

Chocolate (I have to limit my intake when performing!)

Cocktail 

Whiskey Ginger! 

Hobby 

I like to draw. I got a sketchbook for Christmas with human silhouettes for drawing fashion. 

Website 

Pintrest

Vacation spot 

Rosemary Beach, Florida

Animal 

I love sea lions. As a little girl, I used to collect money in hopes of buying my own sea lion. Haha!

Childhood toy 

I had a baby doll named Lucy and a stuffed animal cow named Moo Cow that I adored. 

Photo credits:

- Betsy Farrar potrait (credit Claire Buffie)
- Baby sea lion (credit Refractor)

(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)

My Favorite Things: Elizabeth Futral

The lovely Elizabeth Futral returns to Lyric Opera to portray Elsa Schraeder, Maria's sophisticated rival for Captain von Trapp's affections in the new production of  The Sound of Music. When she's not traveling the world as an in-demand soprano, here are just a few of the ways she likes to spend her free time.

A Chicago favorite, Elizabeth Futral returns to Lyric Opera to portray Elsa Schraeder, Maria's sophisticated rival for Captain von Trapp's affections in the new production of The Sound of Music. An alumna of Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center, Futral was last at Lyric in 2013, when she portrayed Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème. When she's not wooing a dashing captain, here are just a few of the things that she enjoys. 

Movie

To Kill a Mockingbird

               

Book

Lately, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 

TV show 

Breaking Bad

 

Singer 

Leontyne Price

 

Opera 

The Rake's Progress (Stavinsky)

 

Food 

Boiled Crawfish

Hobbies 

Gardening, Hiking

Vacation spot 

New Zealand

Animal 

Favorite pet ever—the late Samson (toy poodle) who traveled the world with me

Scents or smells 

Blackberry and Musk (Mur et Musc—L'Artisan Parfumerie)

Treasured possession 

Our home in Virginia

Guilty pleasure 

Garrett Popcorn's Chicago Mix 

 

Photo credits:

  • Elizabeth Futral (credit Karli Cadel)
  • New Zealand (credit Travel News Digest)
  • Chicago Mix (credit Garrett Popcorn)

(Lyric Opera of Chicago does not own copyrights to any of the above videos.)

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