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THE SOUND OF MUSIC by the Numbers

Lyric's production of The Sound of Music is musical theater like you've never seen it before! The extraordinary resources of an opera company have made this a larger-than-life spectacle. But what exactly goes into this massive undertaking? Here's a breakdown of some key numbers.

Lyric's production of The Sound of Music is musical theater like you've never seen it before! The extraordinary resources of an opera company have made this a larger-than-life spectacle. Kris Vire of Time Out Chicago notes that this production "makes full use of the Civic Opera House's grand stage, from towering tableaus of the abbey to the irresistible moment when all seven of the von Trapp children ride onstage on matching but custom-sized bicycles—talk about commitment to a production aesthetic."

But what exactly goes into this massive undertaking? Here's a breakdown of some key numbers:

Total costumes in the show. Costume designer Alejo Vietti and Lyric's expert costume shop were very, very busy.

116

Feet make up the width of Lyric's huge stage…and The Sound of Music set uses every inch.

90

Electric candles are used in the show.

80 

Automatic lighting fixtures - the most onstage ever in any Lyric production. These fixtures are not visible to the audience but are very important to the actors!

Number of costumes being made for the von Trapp children alone. Those are some well-dressed kids!

50

Total cast members plus understudies (25 each!).

37

Orchestra members in the show, including many regular members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra.

32

Dressers to get all of the kids, nuns, and principals into their costumes

Singers in the ensemble, including 20 nuns and 5 men. Many are members of the Lyric Opera Chorus. Read more about the preparation of the singers from Lyric's Chorus Master Michael Black

Different scenes in The Sound of Music. Most operas just have a few!

Specially made vintage reproduction bikes from Chicago's own Heritage Bicycles for the von Trapp children and Rolf.

6

Pairs of shoes worn by Maria during the show. All shoes for The Sound of Music have been fitted with special non-skid soles applied by Brooks Shoe Repair.

4

Number of shops that made the scenery, made in three different time zones!

Don't miss this amazing production, on stage at Lyric through May 25!

 

Photo credits:

  • Scenes from The Sound of Music (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

 

Captains and Marias Galore!

Broadway star Jenn Gambatese and Hollywood hunk Billy Zane are anchoring Lyric's critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music as Maria and Captain von Trapp. However, they are just the latest in a long line of talented actors to fill these iconic roles. Here are a few of the other famous (and unexpected!) actors who have taken on the challenge.

Broadway star Jenn Gambatese and Hollywood hunk Billy Zane are anchoring Lyric's critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music as Maria and Captain von Trapp. However, they are just the latest in a long line of talented actors to fill these iconic roles. Everyone knows about Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel (who created the roles on Broadway), Julie Andrew and Christopher Plummer (who starred in the film), and Carrie Underwood, and Stephen Moyer (who were the headliners in NBC's recent live broadcast). But here are a few of the other famous (and unexpected!) actors who have taken on The Sound of Music on Broadway, for recordings, and even in high school musicals.

Florence Henderson - This future Brady Bunch star was Maria in the national touring production of The Sound of Music  in 1961-1962. Here she is performing the title song at the 1971 Tony Awards:

 

And in this interview, she talks about her experience with the touring company and how she idolized Mary Martin:

 

Shirley Jones - Not just another TV mom, Shirley Jones is a Rodgers and Hammerstein stalwart, having starred in the screen adaptations of both Oklahoma! and Carousel. She took on Maria in 1966 for the Westbury Music Fair. Here she is singing the title song from The Bell Telephone Hour series:

 

Laura Benanti and Richard Chamberlain - You might have seen her as Elsa Schraeder in NBC's recent live production, but Tony winner Laura Benanti already had a long history with the musical. She was the understudy for Rebecca Luker's Maria in the original cast of the 1998 Broadway revival. She would take over the role at age 19 with legendary actor Richard Chamberlain as Captain von Trapp, who was 65 going on 66 at the time.

Mare Winningham and Kevin Spacey - She played Maria to Kevin Spacey's Captain von Trapp in a production at Chatsworth High School in California's San Fernando Valley during Spacey's senior year (1976-77). Here the two of them are in the production, and Spacey recently mentioned the role during an interview on Sunday Morning on CBS.

Petula Clark - Best known as the voice of swinging London with such hits as "Downtown" and "I Know a Place," Petula Clark starred in the 1981 West End revival. Here she is singing "Do Re Mi" with the von Trapp children during a rehearsal:

 

Debby Boone - This Grammy winner lit up the stage (and our lives!) as Maria in Lincoln Center's 30th anniversary revival of the show in 1990.

Frederica von Stade - She took on Maria for a recorded version released by Telarc in 1987 with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. And playing the Mother Abbess? Eileen Farrell!

Photo credits

  • Billy Zane and Jenn Gambatese in Lyric's production of The Sound of Music (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)
  • Debby Boone in The Sound of Music (credit Carol Rosegg / Martha Swope Associates)
  • Richard Chamberlain and Laura Benanti in The Sound of Music (credit Sara Krulwich / New York Times)
  • Kevin Spacey and Mare Winningham in The Sound of Music (courtesy KevinSpacey.com)

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

A Few “Sound” Spirits

Raise a glass to the most beloved musical of all time! These recipes will help you channel your favorite characters from The Sound of Music—and there's even a kid-friendly mocktail so the whole family can get into the spirit.

Raise a glass to the most beloved musical of all time! These recipes will help you channel your favorite characters from The Sound of Music—and there's even a kid-friendly mocktail so the whole family can get into the spirit.

Holy Hot Toddy 

Drinking is probably frowned upon at the abbey, but you just know the Mother Abbess likes to spend the occasional evening sipping a nice hot toddy while singing "My Favorite Things."

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 ounce bourbon
  • 1/2 cup already-brewed chamomile tea
  • 1 slice Meyer lemon
  • dash lavender bitters

Add the honey and bourbon to a heat-proof snifter or mug. Top with the tea, squeeze the lemon, and drop it in. Add the lavender bitters and stir until the honey is melted. (Recipe courtesy TheKitchn.com)

Maria's Crisp Apple Strudel Martini 

Sometimes it's just too hard to whip up a batch of pastries after a long day of teaching children to sing. But no self-respecting governess is going to let that stop her from enjoying a crisp apple strudel.

  • 1 ounce apple schnapps
  • 1/2 ounce dark crème de cacao liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce white crème de cacao liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce cinnamon schnapps
  • 1ounce pressed apple juice
  • 3/4 ounce heavy cream

Shake the first five ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. Carefully float the heavy cream by pouring over the back of a spoon. (Recipe courtesy DiffordsGuide.com)

The Captain's Austrian Delight 

The first rule of the von Trapp house is discipline…and the second rule is to celebrate Austria in as many ways as possible. Captain von Trapp likes to enjoy the classic Austrian beer Stiegl with some extra ingredients when he's entertaining.

  • 3/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla liqueur
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chambord raspberry liqueur 
  • 3/4 cup Stiegl beer
  • raspberries

Pour grapefruit juice, vanilla liqueur, and Chambord into a beer flute. Top with beer. Float raspberries on top. (Recipe courtesy Chatelaine.com)

Liesl's First Champagne 

Even Captain von Trapp couldn't disapprove of this faux-champagne mocktail that's perfect for all of the von Trapp children.

  • 2 ounces ginger ale, chilled
  • 2 ounces white grape juice, chilled
  • 2 ounces pineapple or orange juice, chilled

Combine ginger ale and juices in a champagne glass. Garnish with frozen grapes and a curly straw. (Recipe courtesy Parenting.com)

"No Way to Stop It" Negroni 

Actor Edward Hibbert's favorite cocktail is the negroni. He plays impresario Max Detweiler to the hilt in Lyric's production of The Sound of Music, and this drink is a lot like Max. It's an acquired taste, but you can't hate it—it's much too lovable.

  • 1 part Campari
  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part sweet vermouth

    Stir with ice; rim a chilled rocks glass with orange, add ice, and pour the chilled mix. Flame the orange garnish and add to the glass. (Recipe courtesy ColdGlass.com)

    Elsa's Broken Heart 

    Sure, the Captain might have thrown her over for Maria (and because she was a little too willing to compromise her Austrian values). But at least Elsa can nurse her broken heart with this sweet and vibrant concoction.  

    • 1 ounce vodka
    • 1 ounce Chambord
    • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
    • 1 splash of grenadine
    • Fresh strawberry to garnish

    Place all of the ingredients, except for the strawberry, into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Vigorously shake the mixture for 35 seconds and then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish the drink with strawberry and serve immediately. (Recipe courtesy SheKnows.com)

    Edelweiss 

    This cocktail will always be happy to meet you at the end of a day or even during a lazy Saturday afternoon. It's clean and bright, with notes of elderflower and citrus.

    • 1 ounce St. Germain
    • 1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc 
    • 1/2 ounce gin

    Pour all ingredients over ice in a cocktail glass. Squeeze in two lemon wedges. Fill with soda water, garnish with lemon wedge or peel. (Recipe courtesy Janelle Mead from Pitch.com)

    Photo credit:

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

     

    Have you heard? THE SOUND OF MUSIC is a hit!

    The reviews are in…and they are spectacular! Critics are raving about Lyric's new production of  The Sound of Music. Here's a sampling of what they are saying about the fantastic cast, lavish sets, and gorgeous music.

    The reviews are in…and they are spectacular! Critics are raving about Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music. Here's a sampling of what they are saying:

    The larger-than-life production

    "The Lyric Opera of Chicago finds a sweet Alpine spot with director Marc Bruni's admirably lively new production of 'The Sound of Music,' a lavish yet accessible and family-oriented affair that features…gorgeous picture-book design from Michael Yeargan…" - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

    "Lyric’s extraordinary production, elegantly directed by Marc Bruni, takes all the great qualities of the show to present a grand scale, stunning production the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time." - Betty Mohr, Le Bon Travel and Culture 

    The Sound of Music "make[s] full use of the Civic Opera House's grand stage, from towering tableaus of the abbey to the irresistible moment when all seven of the von Trapp children ride onstage on matching but custom-sized bicycles—talk about commitment to a production aesthetic." - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

    "Lyric Opera of Chicago's 'The Sound of Music' is every bit the grand production you'd expect from one of the country's leading opera companies." - Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald

    The beloved story

    "It's remarkable how such a well-known story can still generate chuckles and gasps, even upon the umpteenth viewing" - Elizabeth Diffin, Chicago Parent 

    The fantastic cast

    "I can't recall a revival so perfectly cast." - Roy Leonard, Chicago Now

    "…pert-yet-powerful [Jenn] Gambatese…makes this role her own. She has a broad smile that matches her captivating performance that leaves the heart warmed and the spirited lifted with her every song note." - Phil Potempa, Northwest Indiana Times

    "…tying it together, providing that intangible element allowing this 'Music' to really sing, is Gambatese’s brilliant portrayal of Maria." - Barry Reszel, Make It Better

    "Billy Zane…has just the right tone for the stern Captain whose militaristic demeanor melts away when he realizes that Maria has brought back music into his life" - Roy Leonard, Chicago Now

    "…the seven von Trapp children—pros beyond their years—are the production's greatest delight…" - Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader

    "Beautifully majestic…Christine Brewer as the Mother Abbess. Her operatic 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' will bring tears to your eyes." - Dean Richards, WGN-TV

    Elizabeth Futral "moved with the studied grace of one who is accustomed to having all eyes on her in the room.…This soprano is also a bitingly clever actor, one who knows how to fling a casual aside to the back of the house." - Nancy Malitz, Chicago on the Aisle

    Edward Hibbert "is superb as character man/comic relief/realist/impresario Max Detweiler, showing he is a true pro in every sense of the word." - Paul W. Thompson, Broadway World

    "Betsy Farrar is a lovely, believable Liesl … 'Sixteen Going on Seventeen' [is] beautifully sung and danced with a charming Zach Sorrow as Rolf, thankfully avoiding the angry young man syndrome found in most portrayals" - Colin Douglas, Chicago Theatre Review

    The beautiful music

    "…Richard Rodgers himself couldn't imagine a more ideal way of hearing his score…" - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

    "The Lyric Orchestra, under the masterful conductor Rob Fisher, does justice to Richard Rodgers fabulous score." - Tom Williams, Chicago Critic

    "…probably the best chorus of Nonnberg nuns the world has ever heard" - Paul W. Thompson, Broadway World

    Don't miss it!

    "The sound of perfection...best stage show we've had in Chicago in years." - Dean Richards, WGN-TV

    "In the Lyric Opera’s capable hands, The Sound of Music has retained its appeal for audiences of all ages. The hills are alive, indeed." - Elizabeth Diffin, Chicago Parent 

    "…fans of the film and stage show—especially those introducing their children to it—will find it faithful, beautiful, and bigger than they're ever likely to see it again." - Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader

    "Who knew that the Lyric would do more than just revive the musical but give it the definitive production that the stage show has always deserved." - Michael J. Roberts, Showbiz Chicago

     "This production is absolutely wonderful." - Andrew Patner, WFMT

    Photo credit: 

    • Maria and the von Trapp children perform "The Lonely Goatherd" in The Sound of Music. Top row: Isabelle Roberts, Julia Schweizer, Brady Tutton. Middle row: KyLee Hennes, Jenn Gambatese, Nicole Scimeca. Bottom: Michael Harp. (credit Todd Rosenberg / Lyric Opera of Chicago)

     

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