ML - Michigan Avenue

2015 - Issue 2 - Late Spring

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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photography by dan rest (oklahoma!); todd rosenberg (the sound of music) "I'd never studied singing," says Pasquale, a jock who fell into acting in high school after an injury sidelined him. "I just sang along in the car to Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder. And when I discovered my love for theater, that became singing along with Anthony Warlow and Mandy Patinkin." Tackling Carousel, he says, will be a highlight of his career. "It was probably number one on my bucket list of roles to play, not just because I think the song 'Soliloquy' is the single greatest piece of musical theater music ever composed, but the writing is extraordinary, the character's behavior so organic. I think it's Rodgers and Hammerstein's masterpiece." He's not alone in that estimation. The story of a self-assured carousel barker who woos and wins Julie Jordan, a guileless millworker, Carousel is not, as director Ashford notes, "all ribbons and bows and 'yee-haw!'" With a baby on the way, Billy attempts a robbery; when it goes wrong, he accidentally kills himself. "It's quite intense and, at the time, it was piv- otal in the development of musical theater's ability to really tell stories," Ashford says. "It's been a dream of mine, ever since I choreographed my first step, to someday do a production of Carousel." Julie Jordan may be a simple girl, but as Osnes—a two-time Tony nominee who recently appeared on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella— observes, she's no cardboard character. "Rodgers and Hammerstein heroines are not your typical ingé- nues. They all have these complex colors to them, and they go on such journeys. There's definitely depth to this woman." For Gambatese, Julie's friend Carrie Pipperidge is an old acquaintance: She first performed the part in a production at Connecticut's respected Good- speed Opera House in 2012. "Billy and Julie are kind of wounded odd ducks. They connect in their alienation," Gambatese notes. "Carrie and her guy, Enoch, are more fully present in the world; their love story is healthy in a way that Billy and Julie's isn't. The candidness of their expression allows the audience to catch its breath and be lifted out of the darker stuff." Carousel is the latest effort in the Lyric's American Musical Theater Initiative to focus on the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It was launched in 2013 with a wildly popular production of Oklahoma! and continued the following year with The Sound of Music (featuring Gambatese as Maria opposite Billy Zane's Captain von Trapp). "Through our orchestral forces, choral forces, and the scale at which we are able to produce in a big opera house, we can add a great deal of value to musicals," states Lyric's general director, Anthony Freud. "The great masterpieces of Rodgers and Hammerstein are good examples of the sort of musicals to which we can bring something special, and which should be seen alongside the great oper- atic masterpieces of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner." April 10–May 3. 20 N. Wacker Dr., 312-827- 5600; MA Tari Kelly (left) and Ashley Brown in Oklahoma!, which launched the Lyric's American Musical Initiative in 2013. Who Wants Cake? steppenwolf theatre mounts Rory K innear's family-driven dramedy, The Herd. Not content just making movies (think Bill Tanner in the James Bond ficks) or earning an Olivier Award for his Iago in the National Theatre production of Othello, Rory Kinnear has added playwright to his CV. Centered on a family's birthday celebration for a young man with disabilities, The Herd comes to Steppenwolf Theatre in April. Before the curtain rises, Kinnear tells us a bit about it. Your eldest sister is disabled. How much does The Herd borrow from your family experience? The idea for writing the play did come from my own experience… but once I'd created a situation and characters far enough away from my own history, it quickly became more about that family, and the specifcs of their struggle and dynamics, rather than mine. Do you think you'll write another play? That's the plan. I'm working on something else at the moment, in fact. I found the whole experience of The Herd so incredibly exhilarating, terrifying, and rewarding in equal measure that I'd be an idiot not to try and do it again. What else are you up to? I'm currently flming the second [sea- son] of Penny Dreadful [in which he plays Frankenstein's monster], due to air on Showtime in May, as well as the next Bond flm, Spectre, due out at the end of the year. April 2–June 7, 1650 N. Halsted St., 312- 335-1650; "RodgeRs and HammeRstein HeRoines aRe not youR typical ingénues. tHey all Have tHese complex coloRs to tHem, and tHey go on sucH jouRneys." —laura osnes Jenn Gambatese as Maria in the Lyric's The Sound of Music in 2014. 50 Culture hottest ticket

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