Lyric Opera of Chicago

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“Listen to your friend Billy Zane, he’s a cool dude.”

Billy Zane, star of Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music has appeared in more than 100 films. Here are some highlights from his incredibly versatile career.

To appropriate a line from Zoolander, Chicago's own Billy Zane—starring as Captain von Trapp in Lyric's production of The Sound of Music  opening on April 25—is an exceptionally cool dude who has appeared in more than 100 films.

Here are just a few of our favorite moments of Zane from his large and versatile filmography.  

Titanic 

The epic blockbuster by James Cameron featured Zane as Cal Hockley, the obstacle standing in the way of Jack and Rose and true love. He was the perfect villain, equal parts devious and debonair—it was hard not to get caught up in his spell. 

 

Back to the Future 

In his film debut, Billy Zane played Match, one of Biff's three menacing henchman who are constantly bullying George and Marty McFly (Crispin Glover and Michael J. Fox). 

 

Zoolander 

This movie is one masterful comic set piece after another, but Billy Zane's priceless cameo backing up Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) as he argues with Hansel (Owen Wilson) might be the movie's best moment. "It's a walk-off."

 

Dead Calm 

In his breakthrough role, Zane plays the psychotic Hughie, a stowaway who terrorizes a married couple (played by Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill) on the open water in this taught thriller from Australian director Phillip Noyce. You'll never think of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in the same way again.

 

The Phantom 

This big-screen adaptation of Lee Falk's adventure comic featured Billy Zane as the eponymous hero in the purple suit. The role showcased both Zane's enviable physique and his natural comic timing, and the actor has said it was this movie that brought him to Titanic director James Cameron's attention.

 

Twin Peaks 

Zane had a recurring role as businessman John Justice Wheeler in season 2 of this groundbreaking David Lynch series. In one of the more lighthearted subplots on the show, his character romances Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) and tries to teach her father Ben (Richard Beymer) how to be truly good. 

 

 

Photo credits (clockwise from top left): Billy Zane in The Phantom (courtesy Paramount Pictures); Back to the Future (courtesy Universal Pictures); Ben Stiller and Billy Zane in Zoolander (courtesy Paramount Pictures); Billy Zane in Dead Calm (courtesy Warner Bros.)

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

My Favorite Things: Jenn Gambatese

Broadway star Jenn Gambatese stars as Maria in Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music. But what are a few of her favorite things? Read on to find out more.

Our Maria, Jenn Gambatese, has an impressive Broadway background that includes creating the role of Natalie in All Shook Up opposite Cheyenne Jackson, creating the role of Jane in Disney's Tarzan, and recently starring as Glinda in the first national touring production of Wicked. But when she's not on stage, here are some of the things she enjoys, besides rain drops, on top of the roses!

See Jenn "climb ev'ry mountain" with Billy Zane, Christine Brewer, Elizabeth Futral, Edward Hibbert, and more in The Sound of Music opening on April 25 at Lyric!

Cocktails

Hot toddys of all sorts make me a happy girl. You also can't go wrong with a champagne cocktail. (Don't tell Leisl!)

Movie

Singin' in the Rain is my all-time fave.

    

Pop songs

My 4-year-old daughter and I are loving the Frozen soundtrack at present. All the songs are great, but Idina's version of "Let It Go" is a real triumph. I immensely enjoy the Christophe Beck orchestral pieces on the soundtrack as well.

 

I am also really digging The Lone Bellow and their self-titled album.

 

Foods

Ice cream—when I'm not singing, lol! I'm also a sucker for a great egg sandwich.

Vacation spot

I'm just in love with The Mohonk Mountain House, and it's practically in my own back yard!

Television show

I don't watch a ton of TV, but every time I see New Girl I just love it.

 

Website 

I was reluctant to join but man oh man, I'm on Facebook every day.

Smell

HOME! My daughter Josephine, my husband Curtis, home cooking.

Childhood toys

I loved my little china tea set and was a real bookworm.  Favorite Christmas present ever was a gorgeous hardcover edition with illustrations of...wait for it...Heidi. I guess I've always had a thing for the Alps. I remember devouring the whole book in 2 days!

Animals

Our little teacup Yorkie, Killer Marie.

I'm captivated by Gregory Colbert's "Ashes and Snow" photographs and would love to befriend and ride an elephant one day!  

 

 

Photo credits

 

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

An Insider's Guide to THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Go inside Lyric's new production of  Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, on stage like you've never seen it before from April 25 to May 18, with video previews, interviews, behind-the-scenes looks, and more!

Lyric is thrilled to once again celebrate the great American musical with a brand-new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, staged like you've never seen it before starting on April 25. Chicago native Billy Zane, known for his starring roles in Titanic and Chicago on Broadway, plays Captain Georg von Trapp with dazzling cast that includes Broadway stars Jenn Gambatese (Maria) and Edward Hibbert (Max) and opera luminaries Christine Brewer (Mother Abbess) and Elizabeth Futral (Elsa Schraeder). The production comes to life with 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.

Go inside this production with video previews, interviews, behind-the-scenes articles, and more!

The rehearsal process begins! Director Marc Bruni gives an overview of the show:

 

Get a sneak peek with our official video trailer:

 

A "foyerside" chat with Lyric's Renée Fleming, Anthony Freud, and Sir Andrew Davis:

 

Read these articles for insights from the cast and creative team:

Talkin' Broadway with Jenn Gambatese and Billy Zane
Though they are both making Lyric debuts with The Sound of MusicBilly Zane and Jenn Gambatese bring years of expertise as actors-on the screen and on the stage-to the Civic Opera House as they portray Captain von Trapp and Maria in this eagerly anticipated new production. READ MORE

Bringing The Sound of Music to Life
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. Casting is key, and for this production, Lyric has assembled stars from Broadway and opera to collaborate on Rodgers and Hammerstein's final masterpiece. READ MORE 

Billy Zane on Broadway, Fatherhood, and the Captain's Wicked Sense of Humor
Though he's known for his blockbuster film roles-including Titanic, Back to the Future, and a memorable cameo in Zoolander-Zane has theater in his DNA. His parents were active in regional theater, so he grew up watching them perform, as well as attending Harand Theatre Camp in Kenosha, Wisconsin. READ MORE 

Inside the Mind of Sound of Music Director Marc Bruni  
Director Marc Bruni gives the inside track on what audiences can expect when they come to see The Sound of Music at Lyric-everything from sets to music and characters promises to create an unparalleled theatrical experience. READ MORE 

My Favorite Things: Jenn Gambatese
Our Maria gives some of her must-haves, which include champagne cocktails (don't tell Leisl!), Singin' in the Rain, ice cream, Heidi, and her adorable teacup Yorkie, Killer Marie. And yes, she and her daughter belt out the Frozen soundtrack with Idina Menzel. READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Christine Brewer
One of the world's most acclaimed sopranos, Christine Brewer stars as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. But when she's not solving a problem like Maria, what does she enjoy? Here's a glimpse into her very busy and very fun life from A League of Their Own to the annual Brewer Hootenanny. READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Edward Hibbert
Known for his delightfully droll portrayal of food critic Gil Chesterton on NBC's Frasier, Edward Hibbert brings his quick wit to the role of oily impresario Max Detweiler in this production of The Sound of Music. A few of his favorite things? All About Eve, Amy Winehouse, cashmere, and champagne. Max would be proud! READ MORE

My Favorite Things: Elizabeth Futral
Chicago favorite and an alumna of Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center, Elizabeth Futral is starring as the elegant Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music. She gives a glimpse of a few of the things she enjoys most, including Breaking Bad, Annie Dillard, and the unique Chicago Mix (cheese and caramel together) from the legendary Garrett Popcorn. READ MORE

Those Sound of Music Kids
What's more appealing than an American musical filled with great tunes and an engaging and delightful group of kids placed in the very center of the story? Lyric's new production of The Sound of Music has in its cast an assortment of talented young actors who can sing, dance, and, of course, act. Assistant conductor Valerie Maze talks about how the kids balance rehearsal with school and more. READ MORE

Heritage Bicycles and THE SOUND OF MUSIC
A grand-scale production like The Sound of Music means finding some very special props. When the von Trapp children and Rolf needed bicycles, Lyric turned to Chicago's own Heritage Bicycles to manufacture some very special custom-made vehicles. READ MORE

Introducing the Family von Trapp! 
Here are some fun facts about the seven exceptionally talented young actors that makes up the von Trapp Family Singers! This group does everything from stage acting to TV roles to tae kwon doREAD MORE 

The Hills Are Alive with (Covers from) The Sound of Music 
Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is full of some of the most beloved songs in all of musical theater. Many of them have become standards in their own right, appearing in TV shows, movies, and commercials for decades. Here are just a handful of our favorite interpretations of these classic songs. READ MORE 

Oh Captain, My Captain! Getting to Know Billy Zane
The Captain has arrived! The one, the only Billy Zane, star of James Cameron's international blockbuster Titanic and critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Billy Flynn in Broadway's smash hit Chicago, stars as Captain von Trapp in Lyric's brand-new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music (April 25-May 18). READ MORE

Billy Zane's Memorable Film Moments
Our Captain, Billy Zane, has appeared in more than 100 film roles. Here are a few highlights from his extremely varied career, including on-screen appearances with Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, and Michael J. Fox. READ MORE

How do you solve a problem like Maria…and Liesl?
Ask Dr. Opera!
 

                                                          

Lyric on Parade!

Here are highlights from Lyric's Sound of Music float appearing in Chicago's world-famous St. Patrick's Day Parade:

 

Ryan Opera Center’s Talented Alums!

Lyric's own Ryan Opera Center  has a long roster of incredibly talented alumni. Here's what some of the singers affiliated with Lyric's prestigious training program have been up to this past season and where you can see them next season in Chicago and beyond!

The Ryan Opera Center's annual Rising Stars in Concert celebration is coming up this Saturday, March 29. It's not too late to donate $75 to Lyric and receive two complimentary tickets to this showcase of opera's future superstars.

The Ryan Opera Center has a long roster of incredibly talented alumni. Lyric's production of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, which closed out the 2013-14 season, is just one example. ALL of the cast members had connections to the Ryan Opera Center. Matthew Polenzani (Tito), Amanda Majeski (Vitellia), Christian van Horn (Publio), and Cecelia Hall (Annio) are all alumni of the program, and Emily Birsan (Servilia) is a current member. And Joyce DiDonato (Sesto) was just inducted as an honorary Ryan Opera Center member in a short ceremony after the Clemenza dress rehearsal.  

Here's what some of the other singers affiliated with Lyric's prestigious training program have been up to this past season and where you can see them next season in Chicago and beyond!

Elizabeth Futral 
(Ryan Opera Center member from 1989 to 1991) 

Past season   Highlights of Elizabeth's busy 2013-14 season include her role debut as Desiree Armfeldt in Houston Grand Opera's production of Sondheim's A Little Night Music , a role debut as Zdenka in Minnesota Opera's production of Strauss's Arabella, and a performance of one of her signature roles, Lucia di Lammermoor, for Portland Opera.

Coming soon! — Catch Elizabeth as Elsa Schraeder in Lyric's upcoming all-new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music  opening on April 25 right here at the beautiful Civic Opera House.   

Andriana Chuchman
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2007 to 2010)
 

Past season — Andriana had an amazing 2013-14 season. Already slated to debut with the Metropolitan Opera in February 2014 in The Enchanted Island, her debut came a month earlier as Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore when Anna Netrebko was ill for opening night. Andriana stepped in and wowed the New York critics!  

Coming soon! — Andriana is part of the amazing cast that makes up Lyric's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni  that opens the 2014-15 season, with Robert Falls directing and Sir Andrew Davis conducting. She will also appear with Vancouver Opera in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd in April 2015.

Quinn Kelsey
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2003 to 2006)
 

Past season — Quinn made his role debut as Germont in Lyric's new production of Verdi's La Traviata in October 2013. He also performed the title role in Verdi's Rigoletto for English National Opera and in I vespri siciliani at Oper Frankfurt.

Coming soon! — Catch him at Lyric as Count di Luna in Verdi's Il Trovatore in October 2014. He will also perform as Marcello in the Metropolitan Opera's La Bohème in September 2014.  

Amber Wagner
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2007 to 2010)
 

Past season — In addition to welcoming her first child in summer 2013, Amber performed Verdi's Requiem with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony in September 2013 and made her Washington National Opera debut in Verdi's La Forza del Destino in October 2013.

Coming soon! — Like Quinn Kelsey, Amber comes home to Lyric next season in Il Trovatore  as Leonora from October 27 to November 29. Then she's back just a few months later, starring in Tannhäuser  as Elisabeth from February 9 to March 6, 2015.

Amanda Majeski 
(Ryan Opera Center member from 2009 to 2011) 

Past season — Amanda was part of the dream cast of La Clemenza di Tito  that wrapped up Lyric's 2013-14 season. She also made her role debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart's Don Giovanni at Opera Philadelphia, as well as making her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut at Weill Recital Hall. 

Coming soon! — This Gurnee native will be back in her hometown to conclude another Lyric season. This time, she stars as Marta in Weinberg's The Passenger  from February 24 to March 15, 2015. She will also make her Metropolitan Opera debut as Countess Almaviva in the Met's new production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in December 2014. 

Photo credits: Elizabeth Futral (credit Karli Cadel), Andriana Chuchman (credit Chia Messina), Quinn Kelsey (credit Dan Rest), Amanda Majeski (credit Dario Acosta).

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