June 01, 2021

The actors and dancers of Twilight: Gods

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s drive-through garage opera, Twilight: Gods, was a triumphant and safe return to in-person performances with a star-studded cast. The film version of the production will make it possible for viewers around the world to hear and see the innovative multimedia spectacle for themselves. In addition to the internationally acclaimed singers in the cast, there are several Chicago-based non-singing performers, as well. 

The accomplished actor Henson Keys portrays the pivotal silent role of Wotan in his Lyric debut. The once-mighty chief god of Valhalla has lost his power and his will to live when we find him in the care of his worried Valkyrie daughter Waltraute.

Henson Keys as Wotan in Twilight: Gods.

Keys came to Chicago in 2015 after 16 years as Chair of Acting at the University of Illinois in Urbana. He has performed more than 125 roles nationally, including in more than 40 productions with the Utah, Alabama, Illinois, North Carolina, Arkansas, and New Swan (California) Shakespeare festivals. Among Keys’s many other appearances in Illinois theaters are Gen. McKenzie/And Then There Were None (Drury Lane), Oldfield/The Minutes (Steppenwolf), and Charlotte von Mahlsdorf/I Am My Own Wife (Illinois Summer Studio). Performances outside Illinois include the title role/King Lear (New Swan, also Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre), Marley’s Ghost/A Christmas Carol and Simon Stinson/Our Town (McCarter Theatre), Paul Sycamore/You Can’t Take It with You (Cleveland Playhouse), the title role/Tartuffe (Hartman Theatre in Connecticut), Harry/A Delicate Balance (Asolo Theatre in Sarasota), Polonius/Hamlet and Long John Silver/Treasure Island (both at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival), and Gratiano/Othello (Yale Repertory).

Donald Fitzdarryl as Hagen's double who murders Siegfried (Sean Panikkar) in Twilight: Gods

Chicago-based actor Donald Fitzdarryl portrays Hagen’s double, who has been sent by his father Alberich to murder Siegfried and reclaim the all-powerful ring. Fitzdarryl has appeared with several Chicago theater companies in roles such as The Captain/Bring the Beat Back (Other World Theater), Bayard Rustin/Eye of the Storm (ETA Creative Arts), and Latisha Murray/Knocking Up the Mob and Pastor Ruddy Benson/This Far by Faith (both with Greenhouse Theater). He has also performed in many Black Ensemble Theater productions, with roles including Marvin Gaye Sr./The Marvin Gaye Story, Douglas/All in Love Is Fair, Lucifer/The Message is in the Music, Ulysses Nicholas/My Brother’s Keeper: Story of the Nicholas Brothers, Will Stephens/A Tribute to the Black Crooners, King/The Other Cinderella, and Ensemble/The Jackie Wilson Story. Fitzdarryl is the 2018 recipient of the Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.

Members of the Joffrey Academy during Siegfried's funeral procession in Twilight: Gods.

Shadowy figures in jumpsuits with hand-held searchlights perform in-place choreography as they illuminate Siegfried’s candlelit funeral procession. These spirits are portrayed by a group of young dancers from the Joffrey Academy, which is The Joffrey Ballet's professional training program. The featured dancers were Jacqueline Bertault, Isadora Bless, Lindsey Casale, Adam Littman Davis, Mila Garza, Will Giannuzzi, Sophie Graham, Katarina Jakimier, Mackenzie Kenyon, Emma Knowlson, Emily Porter, Bailey Smith, Isabella Stevens, Avery Laurel Ward, and Tyler Wright — representing some of the best up-and-coming contemporary and ballet dancers in the United States.

Keep an eye out for these actors and dancers in the Twilight: Gods film, which will be released for a limited run mid-summer. To learn more about Twilight: Gods and these artists, visit www.lyricopera.org/twilightgods.

Twilight: Gods

Twilight: Gods

Experience an original film that captures Lyric's sold-out Chicago premiere of Twilight: Gods, a reimagining of the final chapter of Wagner's epic Ring cycle.

Filmed during the live production at Millennium Park Lakeside Garage in Spring 2021, this unique, drive-through experience was conceived by director Yuval Sharon, who wrote the new English texts, and features poetic transitions written and performed by Chicago interdisciplinary artist avery r. young. Chicago filmmaker Raphael S. Nash has created this original new feature from the critically-acclaimed production and it showcases the performances, video work and installations brought to life by singers, instrumental groups, and actors.


Header photo: Members of The Joffrey Academy performing in Twilight: Gods. Credit: Kyle Flubacker.

Other photos: Kyle Flubacker