The Sound of Music Lyric Opera

You may know the classic 1965 film version. No doubt you've heard the tunes. 

Nearly the entire soundtrack of The Sound of Music reads like a greatest hits of Broadway collection: "Do-Re-Mi," "My Favorite Things," "Sixteen Going On Seventeen," "Edelweiss," and, of course, the title song about the hills.

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Lyric Opera of Chicago debuts a new production of the Rogers and Hammerstein hit that will feature an all-star cast and plenty of Chicago connections when it opens at the Civic Opera House on April 25. Even before the opening, Lyric has added extended dates, and this run promises to be one of the most successful of Lyric's popular American Musical Theater Initiative. 

The famous story is based on the true events of the von Trapp family's escape from Austria on the eve of World War II. Chicago native Billy Zane stars as Captain von Trapp. Zane counts more than 100 titles in his filmography, and is best known for his role in Titanic, the purple-suited title role in The Phantom, his debut in Back to the Future, and a cameo in Zoolander ("he's a cool dude"). On television, Zane appeared in David Lynch's Twin Peaks; on Broadway, he played lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago

Opposite Zane is Broadway star Jenn Gambatese (Tarzan, Wicked), whose role of Maria was made famous by Julie Andrews. Opera stars Christine Brewer and Elizabeth Futral, along with acclaimed actor Edward Hibbert, round out the stellar cast. Hibbert may be best known for his recurring character Gil Chesterton on Frasier; the radio play is worth another look.

Zane is not the only Chicago connection to this production. The vintage bikes used by the von Trapp children are brand new custom jobs, built by Chicago's Heritage Bicycles General Store

The real von Trapps settled in the United States and enjoyed a touring career as the Trapp Family Singers.  They made numerous appearances at Chicago's Orchestra Hall between 1944 and 1948, and received rave reviews. The great-grandchildren of Georg and Maria von Trapp appeared with Pink Martini last month at Symphony Center. 

Lyric Opera's The Sound of Music runs April 25 - May 25.  Tickets start at $29. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago.