Lyric Opera of Chicago


« Previous Article Next Article »


Sound of Music
Jenn Gambatese stars as Maria in Lyric’s upcoming production of The Sound of Music.

Broadway veteran Edward Hibbert plays Max Detweiler.

Sound of Music
Christine Brewer as the Mother Abbess in high school.

Sound of Music
Elizabeth Futral as Musetta in Lyric’s 12-13 production of La Bohème.

Broadway meets opera in Lyric’s larger-than-life production.

Starting on April 25, Lyric continues its lauded American Musical Theater Initiative with The Sound of Music. You might have watched NBC’s highly rated live production in December, but nothing can compare to the experience of watching it live on stage with top-notch singing, dancing, costumes, sets and the glorious sound of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus – 62 members strong, an unprecedented ensemble for most musical theater productions.  

Casting is key and for this production, Lyric has assembled stars from Broadway and opera to collaborate on Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final masterpiece. 

Starring as Maria is the vibrant Jenn Gambatese, a Broadway star who brings who strong musical theater background and sensibility to the Lyric stage. Praised by Playbill as having a “crystal-clear and rangy Broadway belt,” she was most recently seen in Chicago as Galinda Upland (Glinda the Good Witch) as part of the first North American touring production of Wicked. Gambatese created the role of Jane in Disney’s Tarzan on Broadway in 2006, and her other Broadway appearances include roles in Footloose, Hairspray, A Year with Frog and Toad, and All Shook Up.  

Gambatese is thrilled to be making her Lyric debut on the storied Civic Opera House stage. “Dream. Come. True. To tread the same boards that Callas, Tebaldi, and Caballé graced (just to name a few of my personal favorites) is definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment!” 

In other just-announced casting news, oily impresario Max Detweiler will be played by Edward Hibbert – also a Broadway veteran and beloved by musical theater fans. Hibbert is perhaps best known to audiences around the world from his recurring role on the hit comedy Frasier as food critic Gil Chesterton, Frasier’s delightfully droll workplace nemesis. Some of Hibbert’s many Broadway credits include the recent hits The Drowsy Chaperone and Curtains –which reunited him with his TV co-star David Hyde Pierce.  

Lyric’s stellar cast also includes operatic superstar Christine Brewer – named by BBC Music as one of the top 20 sopranos of all time – as the Mother Abbess, whose “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” will most assuredly be one of the show’s high points. Brewer has a long history with this musical – she starred as the Mother Abbess in a production when she was a teenager and later directed the show while working as a high-school music teacher: “I can bring my own life into it, from being a mother, being a teacher, working with children and young people. The Mother Abbess’s leadership comes from a place of love. She’s able to look at the bigger picture and relate to Maria in a motherly way.”   

Ryan Opera Center alum Elizabeth Futral rounds out the principals as Elsa Schraeder, Maria's rival for the Captain's affections. Most recently, Futral shone as Musetta in Lyric’s 2012-13 production of La Bohème, but she is no stranger to musical theater, having performed to wide critical acclaim as Marian in The Music Man for Glimmerglass Opera in 2012.  

The Sound of Music runs at Lyric Opera from April 25 through May 25 – tickets start at just $29, so you can bring the entire family!  

« Previous Article Next Article »


Suggested by "The Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp

New Lyric Opera production generously made possible by Exclusive Corporate Sponsor Northern Trust. Cosponsors: An Anonymous Donor, Robert S. and Susan E. Morrison, Mrs. Herbert A. Vance and Mr. and Mrs. William C. Vance, Mr. and Mrs. W. James Farrell, Jim and Vicki Mills/Jon and Lois Mills, and The Neundorf Trusts in Memory of Maynette V. Neundorf and John K. Neundorf.