Billy Zane to Join Jenn Gambatese in Lyric Opera of Chicago's THE SOUND OF MUSIC this Spring

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Billy Zane to Join Jenn Gambatese in Lyric Opera of Chicago's THE SOUND OF MUSIC this Spring

Billy Zane, star of James Cameron's international blockbuster Titanic and critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Billy Flynn in Broadway's Chicago, has been cast as Captain von Trapp, completing principal casting for Lyric Opera of Chicago's new production of The Sound of Music, April 25-May 18, 2014.

A native of Chicago and graduate of Francis W. Parker School, Zane is best known for his achievements as an actor in more than 100 films. It was his role as Caledon Hockley in the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic that brought him his highest distinction, garnering him a Blockbuster Movie Award as Best Supporting Actor.

Among his other best-known credits are Memphis Belle, Dead Calm, Tombstone, Sniper, Zoolander, Orlando, The Phantom, and Twin Peaks. Among the critically acclaimed independent films he has made, he has produced and starred in the celebrated film noir classic This World, Then the Fireworks and the silent film I Woke Up Early the Day I Died, which he produced with Muse Productions. He co-wrote, produced, and directed the French farce comedy Big Kiss, due for release next year.

On television, Zane is about to star in the new Comedy Central series Checked Out by Workaholics creator Craig DiGregorio. On stage, he appeared on Broadway as Billy Flynn in the smash hit musical Chicago and in London in The Royal Haymarket Theatre's production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks opposite the legendary Claire Bloom.

Beyond his acting, Zane is a highly reviewed and celebrated abstract expressionist painter who has most recently seen extraordinary success with his solo exhibition, Seize The Day Bed, in Los Angeles and in London during the city's globally regarded Art Fair; and his Art Basel debut in Miami with his Nowness exhibition. Summer 2014 will see his new solo exhibition at the iconic Academia of Art in Monaco.

"We are pleased that the iconic role of Captain von Trapp will be played by Billy Zane, an internationally renowned star who will bring his talents and charisma to the Lyric stage. He is the ideal leading man to join our remarkable cast," said Anthony Freud, Lyric's general director.

Zane leads an all-star cast featuring Broadway star Jenn Gambatese as Maria, with Broadway and TV star Edward Hibbert as impresario Max Detweiler and renowned operatic sopranos Christine Brewer as the Mother Abbess and Elizabeth Futral as Elsa Schraeder. Other recently announced casting includes local talents Betsy Farrar (Liesl), Brady Tutton, (Friedrich), Julia Schweizer (Louisa), Michael Harp (Kurt), Isabelle Roberts (Brigitta), KyLee Hennes (Marta), Nicole Sciemeca (Gretl), and Zach Sorrow (Rolf).

This new production will be conducted by Rob Fisher (Lyric debut), directed by Marc Bruni (Lyric debut), designed by Michael Yeargan, choreographed by Denis Jones (Lyric debut), with lighting by Duane Schuler and costumes by Alejo Vietti (Lyric debut). Michael Black is chorus master.

In addition to the stellar cast, 37 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra will perform with a 25-member choral ensemble (including 12 members of the Lyric Opera Chorus). This company premiere is the second work in Lyric's American Musical Theater Initiative, which launched last season with a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

The Sound of Music opens Saturday, April 26 (including 24 performances and one preview performance on April 25) at Chicago's Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, and continues through Sunday, May 18. Tickets start at $29, and are now available at lyricopera.org/soundofmusic or at 312-827-5600.

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