Chicago Premiere Fellow Travelers

By Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce

  • Language - Sung in English with projected English text
  • Running Time - 2 hours, 5 minutes with 1 intermission
  • Location - Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago

At the height of the McCarthy era in 1950s Washington, D.C., recent college graduate Timothy Laughlin is eager to join the crusade against communism. A chance encounter with a handsome State Department official, Hawkins Fuller, leads to Tim’s first job—and his first relationship with a man. Drawn into a maelstrom of deceit, Tim struggles to reconcile his political convictions and his forbidden love for Fuller—an entanglement that will end in a stunning act of betrayal.

Lyric Opera is proud to present the Chicago premiere of this work, which was praised as “a near-perfect example of fast-flowing musical drama” by The New York Times in its 2016 world premiere. The Wall Street Journal raved, “Mr. Spears’s subtle, lyrical music is beautiful without being obvious or sentimental…Kevin Newbury’s directing, particularly of the love scenes, was as honest and touching as the opera.”

Upcoming Dates
Full Calendar

This production of Fellow Travelers was presented by Lyric March 17 – 25, 2018. View our calendar to see what's currently on stage.

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Director Kevin Newbury discusses FELLOW TRAVELERS

Take a minute to hear from director Kevin Newbury as he talks about the newest Lyric Unlimited presentation, Fellow Travelers.

Hear from Jonas Hacker and Joesph Lattanzi of FELLOW TRAVELERS

Take a minute to hear from performers Joseph Lattanzi and Jonas Hacker as they talk about the newest Lyric Unlimited presentation, Fellow Travelers.

Fellow Travelers

An opera by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Greg Pierce

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“Last Night”
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“I Worry That's All”
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Fellow Travelers Synopsis

TIME and PLACE: September 1953 to May 1957, in Washington, D.C. Eisenhower is president. Senator Joseph McCarthy is stoking fears that the U.S. federal government is full of Communists, Soviet spies, and homosexuals.

Program Book

Go inside this production of Fellow Travelers with engaging articles, notes from the director, a complete plot synopsis, artist bios, and more.

View Digital Program Book

Meet The Artists

Jonas Hacker*

Timothy Laughlin

Joseph Lattanzi*

Hawkins Fuller

Devon Guthrie*

Mary Johnson

Vanessa Becerra*

Miss Lightfoot

Marcus DeLoach*

Senator McCarthy/Estonian Frank/Interrogator

Amy Kuckelman


Will Liverman†

Tommy McIntyre

Reginald Smith, Jr.*

Senator Charles Potter/General Airlie/Bartender

Sam Handley†

Potter's Assistant/Bookseller/Party Guest/Technician/French Priest

Daniela Candillari*


Kevin Newbury


Vita Tzykun

Set Designer

Paul Carey*

Costume Designer

Thomas C. Hase*

Lighting Designer

* Lyric Opera debut
† Ryan Opera Center alumni
‡ Current Member, Ryan Opera Center

Fellow Travelers Production Sponsors

Lead Sponsor
The Wallace Foundation

with additional support from the Lauter McDougal Charitable Fund, Mary Patricia Gannon, Kenneth R. Norgan, Robert Kohl & Clark Pellett, and Philip G. Lumpkin.

Lyric Unlimited was launched with major catalyst funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and receives major support from the Caerus Foundation, Inc.

An opera by Gregory Spears
Libretto by Greg Pierce
Based on the novel Fellow Travelers
by Thomas Mallon
Developed and co-commissioned by
G. Sterling Zinsmeyer and Cincinnati Opera

Photo: Todd Rosenberg