Show Boat | Lyric Opera House | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Show Boat Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Mondays-Sundays. Continues through March 17 2012

Based on Edna Ferber's novel, this classic 1927 musical presents the saga of Magnolia Hawks, a Mississippi River show boat captain's daughter who works her way up to Broadway stardom after her gambler husband abandons her. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's mighty score (including "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Ol' Man River") incorporates operetta, Tin Pan Alley, blues, ragtime, and spiritual styles. Lyric Opera's production conveys the sprawling story in bold strokes. Paul Tazewell's colorful costumes and Michele Lynch's spirited dances evoke the tale's Gilded Age setting. Soprano Ashley Brown is a perfect Magnolia, conveying feisty energy and deep emotional strength. Ross Lehman provides antic comic relief as Magnolia's father. And as Magnolia's ill-fated friend Julie, a mulatto trying to pass for white, Alyson Cambridge brings tragic power to the torch song "Bill." —Albert Williams

Price: $34-$254

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