Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera debuts in Lights Festival

For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2012

Here comes Lyric’s Oklahoma! in the holiday parade!
Renowned Broadway star John Cudia to ride down Michigan Ave.
 in the Surrey Without the Fringe on Top  

Lyric Opera of Chicago debuts in
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Saturday, November 17
with Oklahoma!-themed entry
Watch it on ABC 7 & from 6-7pm this Saturday!   

Among the floats, marching bands, and gigantic balloons of Chicago’s BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival will be a horse-drawn surrey from Lyric Opera of Chicago.

John Cudia, who stars in Lyric’s upcoming new production of Oklahoma!, will be riding in the surrey, sans fringe (visibility issues), and will sing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!” as part of the festivities surrounding the November 17 BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Cudia, the only actor to have played both Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, portrays cowboy Curly McLain in Lyric’s Oklahoma!. The musical opens at Chicago’s Civic Opera House on May 4 and runs through May 19. Tickets are now on sale from $32.

Also in the surrey will be Lyric Opera general director Anthony Freud, dressed in appropriate western garb. Freud, who hails from London, spent five years as the general director of Houston Grand Opera and is no stranger to bolo ties and 10-gallon Stetsons. The surrey will be pulled by Sox, a 15-year-old black Shire draft horse with three white socks. He’s owned by Antique Coach and Carriage and has been pulling carriages and surreys for 11 years. Preceding the surrey will be an Oklahoma! banner carried by three Lyric employees – Sam Albright from the general director’s office, dramaturge Roger Pines, and Chris Jabin, director of institutional giving – all suitably garbed in western wear.

More than a million people will attend the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, which has kicked off Chicago’s holiday season for the past 50 years. The ABC7 broadcast is live from 6-7pm on Saturday, November 17, hosted by Channel 7’s Janet Davies and Alan Krashesky. The broadcast will also repeat on ABC 7 on Saturday, December 1 at 1-2pm as well as on Sunday, December 16, 1:30-2:30pm. The broadcast will also stream live on and will remain on the website through the holidays. The broadcast will be seen by millions of viewers across 70% of the U.S. television market.  

For more information on Lyric performances go to or call (312) 332-2244.  

For parade and festival information: