Lyric Opera of Chicago

Jenn Gambatese to star as Maria in Lyric's SOUND OF MUSIC

For immediate release:
Monday, January 20, 2014

Broadway star Jenn Gambatese to portray Maria
in Lyric Opera of Chicago's
new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
alongside TV/Stage veteran Edward Hibbert as Max Detweiler

  Engagement extended for a third week due to demand:
25 performances from Friday, April 25 - Sunday, May 18, 2014
at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive

Cast also includes international opera stars
Christine Brewer as Mother Abbess and
Elizabeth Futral as Elsa Schraeder

Company of 62 features Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus

(CHICAGO) Lyric Opera of Chicago General Director Anthony Freud announced today that two major Broadway and TV performers - Jenn Gambatese and Edward Hibbert - have been cast in the new production and company premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein's iconic The Sound of Music, to be presented at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, in Chicago, this spring.

Plus, Lyric is proud to announce 8 additional performances of The Sound of Music, which opens Friday, April 25, and now continues through Sunday, May 18 (including 13 matinees) at the Civic Opera House. The official press opening will be Sunday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29, and are now available at lyricopera.org/soundofmusic or at 312-827-5600.  Tickets for the extended week are on sale now!

"We are excited to confirm two exceptional cast members who will all be making Lyric Opera debuts: Jenn Gambatese as Maria and Edward Hibbert as impresario Max Detweiler," said Freud. "Until recently, Ms. Gambatese starred as Glinda in the national tour of the hit musical Wicked and has an impressive list of leading roles on Broadway including creating the roles of Natalie in All Shook Up and Jane in Disney's Tarzan: The Musical." said Freud. "Mr. Hibbert is a Broadway veteran - recently appearing in The Drowsy Chaperone and Curtains - and is known to audiences around the world for his droll portrayal of food critic Gil Chesterton on NBC's hit TV series Frasier."

Lyric Opera also now confirms that Duane Schuler as  lighting designer for this production, who has designed countless operatic and theatrical productions at Lyric and internationally. Previously announced members of the creative team are Emmy-nominated conductor Rob Fisher, who has worked extensively on Broadway and beyond. Director Marc Bruni has directed the newly opened Broadway production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. He has also directed The Sound of Music - for which he won the Kevin Kline Award for Direction - and five other major musicals for the Muny in St. Louis. Set designer Michael Yeargan has won Tony Awards for two Broadway productions and has created numerous acclaimed opera productions internationally. Costume designer Alejo Vietti,  whose designs are currently featured on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, has done extraordinary work with major theater and opera companies all over America. Choreographer Denis Jones has an extensive and impressive resume as a performer and choreographer in The Full Monty, Damn Yankees, Chicago, Legally Blonde, and more. 

Previously announced cast members include international opera stars Christine Brewer and Elizabeth Futral, starring as the Mother Abbess and Elsa Schraeder. Brewer is a Grammy Award winner who wowed Lyric audiences in Die Frau ohne Schatten in the 2007-08 season and is hailed internationally for her glorious voice. Futral, an alumna of Lyric's Ryan Opera Center, is a longtime Lyric favorite who most recently charmed as Musetta in La Bohème in the 2012-13 season.

In addition to the stellar cast, 37 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra will perform with a 25-member ensemble (including 12 members of the Lyric Opera Chorus). Lyric chorus master Michael Black will prepare the chorus for this company premiere, which marks the second work in Lyric's American Musical Theater Initiative.

BIOS

On Broadway JENN GAMBATESE (Maria) created the role of Jane/Disney's Tarzan (2006) and starred opposite Cheyenne Jackson as Natalie/All Shook Up (2005). Further Broadway performances include Penny Pingleton/Hairspray (2004), multiple roles/A Year with Frog and Toad (2003), and Urleen/Footloose. Since February 2013 Gambatese has been traveling the country by bubble, playing Glinda/Wicked for the first national tour (recently at Chicago's Oriental Theatre). Among her favorite off-Broadway appearances have been last season's Fiorello!  (in which she portrayed Dora) and Stairway to Paradise in 2007, both with the prestigious New York City Center "Encores!" series. Among Gambatese's most important credits in regional theater are leading roles for three Connecticut companies: Chloe Haddock/Lips Together Teeth Apart at Westport Country Playhouse (2011), Constance/We Have Always Lived in the Castle at Yale Repertory Theatre (2010), and two musical-theater roles at the Goodspeed Opera House: Annie Oakley/Annie Get Your Gun (2010) and Carrie Pipperidge/Carousel (2012). Gambatese studied at New York University, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in drama and sociology.

EDWARD HIBBERT (Max) made his most recent Broadway appearance as Mr. Praed/Mrs. Warren's Profession with Cherry Jones (2010). Other Broadway roles over the past 13 years have included Christopher Belling/Curtains,  Underling/The Drowsy Chaperone, Frederick Fellowes/Noises Off, Tartagliona/The Green Bird), and The Hon. Gerald Bolingbroke/Me and My Girl. Hibbert first performed on Broadway in 1982 in Alice in Wonderland (the legendary actress/director Eva Le Gallienne's final Broadway production). Off-Broadway, Hibbert received a 1993 Obie Award for his portrayal of Sterling/Jeffrey, and was greatly acclaimed as Oscar Wilde/Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (1997), the Witch of Capri/The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (2011),  Daniel/My Night with Reg (1997), and Eric Young-Love/Privates on Parade (1989). He has also been seen in the New York City Center "Encores!" presentations of AnyoneCan Whistle (2010) and Lady in the Dark (1994). His work regionally includes productions for major companies in New Haven (Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre) and Princeton (McCarter Theater). Hibbert gained the attention of a vast television audience with his portrayal of Gil Chesterton/Frasier (29 episodes, 1994-2002).  Among his films are Taking Woodstock, Everyone Says I Love You, and The First Wives Club. A New York City native, Hibbert trained at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has appeared in West End productions of The Mystery of Irma Vep, Lend Me a Tenor, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE AND TICKETS

Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music in 25 performances only at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, April 25- May 18,with the following schedule:  Friday, April 25 at 7pm; Saturday, April 26 at 7pm; Sunday, April 27 at 1:30pm; Wednesday, April 30 at 1:30pm and 7pm; Friday, May 2 at 8pm; Saturday May 3 at 1:30 and 7pm; Sunday, May 4 at 1:30pm; Tuesday, May 6 at 7pm; Wednesday, May 7 at 1:30pm; Thursday, May 8 at 1:30 and 7pm; Friday, May 9 at 7pm; Saturday, May 10 at 1:30 and 7pm; Sunday, May 11 at 1:30pm; Tuesday, May 13 at 1:30pm; Wednesday, May 14 at 1:30pm; Thursday, May 15 at 1:30 and 7pm; Friday, May 16 at 7pm; Saturday, May 17 at 1:30 and 7pm; and Sunday, May 18 at 1:30pm.

Single tickets, which start at $29, can be purchased at the Civic Opera Box Office at 20 N. Wacker Drive; by visiting lyricopera.org (24 hours a day); or by calling 312-827-5600 (M-F, 9-5; Sa. 10-5). 

The new Lyric Opera production of The Sound of Music is 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.

For more information on the Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, please visit lyricopera.org/soundofmusic. 

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