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The House is Alive with The Sound of Music

Sound of Music at Lyric Opera's Civic Opera House through May 25, 2014
Sound of Music at Lyric Opera's Civic Opera House through May 25, 2014
Todd Rosenburg Photography

The Sound of Music at Chicago Lyric Opera House


Until May 25, your family can enjoy one of America’s best loved musicals live at Lyric Opera's Civic Opera House.

Lyric has expanded its always stellar schedule to include some family-oriented fare, and this season’s offering is the perennially popular Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, based on the real-life story of a postulant named Maria Rainer and Captain von Trapp’s family in Salzburg, Austria during 1938. This performance is a great way to introduce the young people in your life to both the musical and the beautiful Civic Opera House.

Directed by Marc Bruni, with costumes by Alejo Vietti, choreography by Denis Jones, and music conducted by Rob Fisher, the performance is almost three hours of unforgettable songs, dance, dialogue, relationships, and memories.

Michael Yeargan did a fantastic job with the sets. I’m always eager to see what a set designer will be able to do with the relatively small amount of space available on a stage, and Yeargan’s accomplishment is simply amazing. The lavish opulence of the Captain’s villa, the majesty of the mountains, and the stunning beauty of the Abbey’s cathedral are magnificently revealed through his artful interpretation.

The children are, of course, delightful to watch. Billy Zane (from Titanic), as Captain von Trapp, and Jenn Gambatese, as Maria, give heartfelt, emotional, and touching performances. Edward Hibbert (Gil Chesterton from Frasier) entertains as the annoyingly amusing schemer, Max Detwelier. Christie Brewer gives a compassionate portrayal of Mother Abbess and an outstanding rendition of the stirring Climb Every Mountain.

Something to note: This performance is based on the original 1959 Broadway play, not the 1965 movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. If you are so familiar with the movie version that you could recite and sing the entire movie in your sleep, try to go to this musical with a clean slate, because there are differences; some different scenes, some different outcomes, songs that were cut from the movie, more political overtones. Don’t worry; it’s nothing drastic, just something to keep in mind.

The Sound of Music runs through May 25 at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., in Chicago. Tickets can be purchased online.

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