Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced that Broadway star Jenn Gambatese will portray Carrie Pipperidge in Lyric’s new production of Carousel, on stage April 10 through May 3, 2015. Gambatese returns to Lyric following her critically acclaimed performance as Maria in last year’s production of The Sound of Music, which just won 2014’s Best Special Theatrical Event at the Broadway World Chicago Awards.
Gambatese joins fellow Broadway stars Steven Pasquale and Laura Osnes, who portray Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan, in this new production directed and choreographed by Tony, Emmy, and Olivier Award winner Rob Ashford.
“We could not be more delighted to welcome Jenn Gambatese to our Carousel cast as the irrepressible Carrie Pipperidge,” said Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “She was unforgettable in her Lyric debut last season as Maria in The Sound of Music. We cannot wait to see her interpretation of this brilliant character.”
Gambatese starred opposite Billy Zane as Captain von Trapp in Lyric’s 2014 production of The Sound of Music. On Broadway she created the role of Jane in Disney’s Tarzan and starred with Cheyenne Jackson as Natalie in All Shook Up. Further Broadway credits include Marie Leroux in Is He Dead? and Penny Pingleton in Hairspray. She starred in the iconic role of Glinda in Wicked for the musical’s first national tour, and she’s has made a staple of acclaimed off-Broadway appearances.
Previously announced cast members for Carousel include Steven Pasquale as carousel barker Billy Bigelow, Laura Osnes as his true love, millworker Julie Jordan, and Denyce Graves as Nettie Fowler. Internationally acclaimed opera star Graves will make her musical theater debut with this production, singing the iconic “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Graves is well known to Lyric audiences for her title-role portrayal of Bizet's Carmen. Additional casting is expected to be announced at a later date.
Lyric’s 2015 production of Carousel will be directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, who made his Lyric debut in the 2013-14 season directing a new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Ashford is the choreographer for the 87th Academy Awards, airing on February 22. He recently co-directed Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory with Kenneth Branagh and directed NBC’s recent live musical hits Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live!.
Conductor David Chase (a regular collaborator with Ashford) makes his Lyric debut with Carousel, and will lead members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Chase is a regular collaborator with Ashford. He was music director the recent hit Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Carousel is the third Rodgers and Hammerstein musical to be presented as part of Lyric’s American Musical Theater Initiative.
The King and I and South Pacific follow in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, respectively. Carousel runs Friday, April 10 through Sunday, May 3, 2015 at the Civic Opera House in downtown Chicago.
For more information about the new production or for tickets, visit lyricopera.org.
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Jenn Gambatese will return to Lyric Opera in the role of Carrie Pepperidge in the opera company's new production of the Rogers and Hammerstein Broadway classic, Carousel, this spring (photo by Chris Macke).