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  • A Grand Night for Singing: Cabarets @ Allerton

    MARCH 7TH AND 8TH | Allerton Park

    Lyric Theatre @ Illinois presents “A Grand Night for Singing”, an intimate night of dinner, theatre, and song at the Allerton Mansion. Featuring masterpieces from the era of Rodgers and Hammerstein, this sparkling night to celebrate the golden age of musical theatre is sure to delight and enchant.

    Seating is limited.

  • Crazy for You, April 25 -28

    “It is heaven on earth. Everything an American musical comedy should be.” That’s how The New Yorker describes Tony Award-winning Crazy for You, the story of young, rich Bobby Child, sent from New York City to Deadrock, Nevada, in the height of the 1930s Depression to foreclose on a broken-down theatre. Bobby meets Polly Baker, spunky daughter of the theatre owner, and the rest is . . . singing, dancing, romance, and laughter! This endearing, vivacious show features unforgettable songs from American music masters George and Ira Gershwin, including “Shall We Dance,” “I Got Rhythm,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and more.

  • The Shim Sham Shimmy!

    The National Alliance for Musical Theatre has awarded Lyric Theatre @ Illinois the Innovation and Discovery grant, which will support community outreach and appreciation for the historic "Shim Sham Shimmy."

    The Shim Sham is known as the "national anthem of tap dancing" and was founded in the 1920's. This grant coincides with a university-widetribute to tap-dancing as witnessed with Savion Glover's January 26th marquee performance at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Art Theatre's showing of American Tap, as well as Lyric Theatre's upcoming production of Crazy for You and the Dorrance Dance residency at KCPA.

    Outreach events surrounding this celebration of the Shim Sham Shimmy include Champaign Park District community workshops with Charlie Maybee, choreographer of Crazy for You as well as a High School Outreach Day at KCPA on April 18th where students will learn the Shim Sham Shimmy with the cast of Crazy for You.

  • Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Gartman

    “I’ve always felt like I have a compositional voice...something to say that isn’t there.”

         -Elizabeth Gartman

    That voice started before she was even in grade school, when Elizabeth Gartman remembers sitting at the piano and writing songs to entertain her family. She may not have known she was composing at the time, but her love of creating music followed her as she grew up and throughout high school when she took an independent study that allowed her to learn about compositional software and compose works for her high school choir.

    When Gartman came to the School of Music at U of I she originally started as strictly a voice major but missed having the opportunity to compose. Faculty member Erin Gee took Gartman under her wing and helped her put together a composition portfolio that allowed her to be admitted to the composition program, in addition to her voice performance degree, starting in the spring semester of her freshman year.

    In addition to it being her own primary instrument, Gartman thinks there is something really special about writing for the voice. “There is so much expression that is sospecific to the voice and also incorporates the element of theatre that you can’t get out of other instruments.” When librettist Susan Bywaters approached Gartman in a coffee shop about collaborating on an opera, she jumped at the chance.

    The two quickly started working together with Bywater’s libretto taken from the life of John Murray Spears. The opera, entitled The New Motive Powerrefers to the machine John Murray Spear aspired to build in the 1850’s that he believed would be our new messiah and could connect the world with invisible wires. The opera tells the story of John Murray’s inspiration and creation of the machine. Gartman was immediately drawn to the relevancy of the story and its connections to our relationships to technology and religion today.

    Gartman says her and Bywaters are equal collaborators in the process, but the libretto always comes first. Currently, Gartman is composing the music for Act II while Bywaters continues on writing the libretto for Act III. “Composing for opera is totally different than composing for anything else,” Gartman says. “You can’t just write pretty music, you have to write music that is true to each character and what they want.”

    Elizabeth credits both the composition faculty and Lyric Theatre @ Illinois faculty in helping her to find her compositional voice and giving students opportunity to explore and develop new work. Last year, Elizabeth was involved in a workshop performance with LTI in collaboration with Beth Morrison Projects of Prism, which went on this year to be performed at Prototype Festival and LA Opera. “The faculty here have so much experience with new works and I feel so fortunate to be able to develop something with the faculty guidance of professors like Dr. Gunn and Dr. Reynold Tharp.”

    In the Opera Scenes workshop performance of Act II in the spring, which will feature LTI students, Elizabeth is hoping for an informative experience that will help the duo to move forward with the goal of a fully staged and fully orchestrated performancein 2020. “This experience is all about receiving feedback and how we can make it a more effective story."

    We are so proud of the work that Elizabeth has done here at Lyric Theatre and the University of Illinois and are excited to be continuing our support and promotion of new works with one that was developed right at home! Mark your calendars to see Act II of The New Motive Power performed by the Opera Scenes class on May 1 at 7:30pm in the Tryon Festival Theatre, and visit this link to hear a sample of The New Motive Powerand Elizabeth’s other compositions.

  • Lyric Theatre Scenes

    Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30pm
    Tryon Festival Theatre

    Join us for our semester presentations of Lyric Studio and Lyric Scenes. Taught by Sarah Wigley and Michael Tilley, Lyric Studio presents “Tin Pan Alley and Bel Canto Opera” featuring scenes from the beloved musicals of the 1920’s and 30s and bel canto opera favorites. Directly following will be Lyric Scenes which will present an evening of opera scenes ranging from Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites to Rossini’s Barber of Seville and will culminate in a performance of Elizabeth Gartman and Susan Bywater’s new opera, The New Motive Power.

  • Come Home to Krannert Center: A 50th-Anniversary Weekend, April 12 -14

    Make your plans now—and help spread the word—for this Come Home weekend, a centerpiece of Krannert Center’s two-season 50th-anniversary festivities.

    Events include panel discussions, tours, the Come Home Gala, and the Krannert Center Debut Artist Recital.

  • Famed Mezzo Susan Graham Pays a Visit to Krannert Center

    At the beginning of February Krannert Center was pleased to welcome famed mezzo-soprano Susan Graham to the Foellinger Great Hall for a recital centered around Robert Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life), which depicts the joys and sorrows of love, marriage, and death. Additionally, she treated Lyric Theatre @ Illinois faculty and students to a discussion on performance practice and her methods for success.

  • The Rape of Lucretia, February 21 -24

    “I’ve approached the opera by emphasizing the separate worlds Britten’s characters inhabit. The men are in their army camp, certain of their authority and virility. They view women as either whores or—in very rare cases—saints. But the women have their own sphere, where they talk and dream and make a life for themselves separate from the coarse political machinations of the men. As Bianca wryly notes, it’s the men who make the noise. When Tarquinius and then Collatinus and Junius come into the women’s world, they destroy it. The myth tells us that the destruction is necessary in order to usher in democracy, and the opera tells us that this pagan turmoil is vanquished by Christian piety. I hope that our production honors Britten’s intent but also underscores the timelessness of how the conflict between the martial and the domestic, the powerful and the vulnerable, the craven and the steadfast is often written on the bodies of women and through their sexual violation. We’ve chosen to make the rape central to the production but unstaged, using the bed as a looming reminder of the violence at the core of the myth.” 

         --Kirsten Pullen, director

    Lighting Design

    “The lighting concept for The Rape of Lucretia has developed as a supporting narrative for the characters and their actions in the opera. Using the theme of shadow and light, the the roles of masculinity and femininity will become magnified to enhance the monstrosity of the male protagonist’s (Tarquinius) actions as well as the catastrophic results of his reckless misdeeds. Without giving too much away, Lucretia will be tragic in its beauty and striking in its timelessness, telling an ancient story that still resonates today. Working with Gennie Neuman, we developed a simple yet versatile design with lighting elements that serve to not only set the tone of each scene but also function as scenery, a way to dictate time within the story, and also resonates as a metaphor for the characters in the opera. As the opera progresses, the lighting in a sense gets wrapped up in the energy of the narrative only to be fragmented, much like Lucretia herself. “

         --Alena Samoray, lighting designer

  • La Boheme Opens Mainstage Season

    We kicked off our Lyric Theatre 2018 -2019 mainstage season this year with the timeless love story La Bohème. Nathan Gunn returned to the director’s chair with assistant director Sarah Wigley after his success last year with Don Giovanni. Audiences were taken on a romantic whirlwind through the streets of Paris in this post-war 1950s take on a Puccini classic that was as beautiful and fragile as a watercolor painting.