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  Show Boat at Lyric Opera

Show Boat

Lyric Opera
20 N. Wacker Drive Chicago

This spectacular new production marshals the choral and orchestral forces of our world-renowned company to present Show Boat in all its glory! Created in 1927, this seminal masterpiece gave American musical theater and opera a new voice — one with powerful subject matter, astonishing musical variety and an unmistakably American atmosphere. Moving from 1890s Mississippi to Chicago to “Roaring 20s” Broadway, Show Boat follows the lives of a company of theater folk — deeply involving us in their triumphs and sorrows, while illuminating the racial and social changes that were shaping the country.

Thru - Mar 17, 2012

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 312-332-2244

Running Time: 3hrs, 10mins

Nearby Restaurants

  Show Boat Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Centerstage - Recommended

"... The historical significance of “Show Boat” is that it displayed the lives of both white and black people on stage as well as addressed controversial topics like miscegenation and racial injustice. Separate white and black choruses narrate the characters journeys while still managing to work as a unified whole. The production did have some issues with the theater actors not being able to project enough and the sound system not compensating, but it was a theater actor, Morris Robinson, who garnered a standing ovation for his moving rendition of Ol’ Man River, originally immortalized by Paul Robeson. “Show Boat” supplies an essential glimpse into American musical and social history while also managing to celebrate the joy and genius of the American theater tradition."

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Chicago Stage Review - Highly Recommended

"...Carried along on the shoulders of the always superb Lyric Opera orchestra conducted by John DeMain, and punctuated with the inspired choreography of Michele Lynch, this production is not only a glittering showpiece, it is glorious fun. Once you have experienced a show like this amid the gilded art deco glamour of the Civic Opera House, complete with the voluptuous sound of a full orchestra and gaily costumed chorus, you will never be satisfied with less. Lyric’s SHOW BOAT provides a rare glimpse into the opulence and glamour that once defined American musical theater. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss."
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Lori Dana

Chicago Theatre Addict - Highly Recommended

"...perhaps the most compelling reason to see this production is to hear Robert Russell Bennett’s original orchestrations, played by a luscious-sounding 40 piece orchestra under the baton of Maestro John DeMain. It’s been so long since I’ve heard a full string section in a theatre, I got a little misty eyed."
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Bob Bullen

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Not enough can be said for the collaborative work of conductor John DeMain, who weaves the show’s vivid episodes into whole musical cloth, and director Francesca Zambello, whose strikes a perfect balance between calculated pacing and free-wheeling energy. Peter J. Davison’s eye popping red-and-white show boat set is splendidly complemented by Paul Tazewell’s smart costumes."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"... Zambello’s Show Boat was rightfully mounted with respect for the materialthatmadefor a look and feel ofthe original production. The result was a theatre/opera piecethatfilled the Civic Opera Housewith toe-tappingnostalgicpureAmericana music. The spirit of a young nation and itsdiversified people is celebratedin Show Boat. This truly great stage spectacle is a “must see” for serious musical theatre patrons and it will be enjoyable for classical operafans (like me). The audience enthusiastically gravitated to Zambello’s production. The after show ‘buzz’ was electric– that bodes well for future Broadway musicals planned for the Lyric Opera. If you see only one musical this year-make it Show Boat – you’ll remember it for years. Kudos to the Lyric for mounting and respecting the defining American musical."
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Tom Williams

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Somewhat Recommended

"...It’s the Lyric! I look to be awed. This show left me ah-ed. The set is simplistic. And although I would have admired it as a touring company’s scenery mounted at the Bank of America Theatre, this is the Lyric. I want grandeur. Just this season, I’ve been blown away by locomotives and boats on the Lyric stage. The set-costume extravaganza for AIDA is one of my favorite theatre spectacles ever. I expect to see a *showboat* but instead it’s a scaffold-like makeshift. Ah, shucks!"
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... This production is spectacle from start to finish and I must tell you that the three hour total production is by far the fastest three hours you will ever experience in any theater as the dazzling set ( Peter J. Davison) including a four story boat and an even more dazzling cast of players, under the direction of Francesca Zambello, make this story come alive. One would have to say that the only problem with this show has to be that the opera house is not geared for dialogue and so, with the adding of body mikes, so we can hear the actors, the sound doesn’t quite meet the standards we are used to in our regular theaters. This aside, this is a memorable experience for old and young- one that is worth the costly ticket price as this star studded cast fills the wonderful Lyric Opera House of Chicago with radiant music- songs like,”Make Believe”, “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”, “You Are Love” ,”Why Do I Love You?”, “Bill”,”After The Ball” and of course, the show stopping “Ol’ Man River” ( Morris Robinson is one voice that can be heard clear as a bell- he is worth the price of admission just for this song)!"
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"... Lyric has revived Show Boat in a way that would surely please Kern, Hammerstein, Ferber and the god of theatre himself, Dionysus. Intrigue, suspense, laughter, tears, visual and aural heaven: it’s all here. Get on board!"

Lauren Whalen

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