No, Carrie Underwood will not be coming to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to star as Maria in its production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “The Sound of Music,” running April 25-May 18, and including 13 matinees.
As it happens, that ever-popular role will be played here by Jenn Gambatese, who, until recently, starred as Glinda in the national tour of “Wicked!,” and whose list of Broadway credits include creating the roles of Natalie in “All Shook Up” and Jane in Disney’s Tarzan: The Musical.” Cast as impresario Max Detweiler is Edward Hibbert, another Broadway veteran (“The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Curtains”), who is no doubt more widely known for his droll portrayal of food critic Gil Chesterton on NBC’s hit TV series, “Frasier.”
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 starred in Lyric’s production of “Die Frau ohne Schatten” in the 2007-08 season, while Futral, an alumna of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center, was seen as Musetta in “La Bohème” in the 2012-13 season.
The production will be directed by Marc Bruni (whose credits include “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which just opened on Broadway, as well as “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” and the St. Louis Muny production of “The Sound of Music”), with Denis Jones (a performer and choreographer in “The Full Monty,” “Damn Yankees,” “Chicago” and more) as choreographer. Duane Schuler is the lighting designer and Alejo Vietti is costume designer.
The cast of 25 (including 12 members of the Lyric Opera Chorus, led by Lyric chorus master Michael Black) ), will be backed by 37 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra. This company premiere marks the second work in Lyric’s American Musical Theater Initiative, following “Oklahoma.”
For tickets to ‘The Sound of Music” call (312) 827-5600 or visit www.lyricopera.org/soundofmusic.