CHICAGO – Lyric Opera of Chicago announced today that Steven Pasquale will star in the iconic role of carousel barker Billy Bigelow in Lyric’s new production of Carousel, on stage April 11 through May 3, 2015. Following his critically acclaimed performance on Broadway in The Bridges of Madison County, Pasquale will bring his “glorious voice” (VARIETY) to some of the most beloved songs in musical theater history in a new production directed and choreographed by legendary Tony, Emmy, and Olivier Award winner Rob Ashford.
“The role of Billy Bigelow is one of the most demanding in all of musical theater,” noted Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “We are so pleased that Steven Pasquale, an incredibly talented and versatile singing actor who has won acclaim on stage and screen, will be portraying this larger-than-life personality at Lyric.”
Steven Pasquale is best known for starring on the FX hit TV series Rescue Me as firefighter Sean Garrity. A regular on the theater scene, he recently starred in The Bridges of Madison County opposite Kelli O’Hara (Drama Desk and Drama League Nominations), and off-Broadway in Far From Heaven, also with O’Hara, at Playwrights Horizons. Other notable credits include Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at the Public Theater, Neil LaBute’s reasons to be pretty, A Soldier’s Play (Second Stage), LaBute’s off-Broadway hit, Fat Pig (MCC), and the Ahrens/Flaherty/McNally musical A Man of No Importance (Lincoln Center, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations). Other television credits include starring roles in NBC’s Do No Harm and the A&E miniseries Coma; he can currently be seen as Johnny Elfman on CBS’s Emmy-winning series The Good Wife. His album, Somethin’ Like Love, was released in 2009 and featured selections from Broadway and the Great American Songbook.
Pasquale joins international opera star Denyce Graves, who will portray Nettie Fowler. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
Lyric also announced the final creative team for Carousel. This new production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic will be directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, who made his Lyric debut in the 2013-14 season directing Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Ashford recently co-directed Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory with Kenneth Branagh. He was stage director for NBC’s The Sound of Music Live!, and is slated to return for the network’s upcoming Peter Pan Live! Broadway veteran David Chase will make his Lyric debut as conductor, replacing the previously announced Rob Fisher. Chase’s collaborations with Rob Ashford include music director for NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! and the recent Broadway revival of Loesser’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; he will also return as music director for the upcoming Peter Pan Live!
Artist Paolo Ventura will make his theatrical debut as set designer; the look of the production is inspired by the haunting circus-related images of his 2008 “Winter Stories” exhibition. Tony Award-winning costume designer Catherine Zuber returns to Lyric; she made her company debut as costume designer for Ashford’s Barber. Lighting will be designed by Neil Austin, and Michael Black will be chorus master.
“This dynamic creative team has developed a compelling vision for this musical that takes full advantage of the intense dramatic qualities of the story,” notes Freud. “Audiences who come to Lyric will see a Carousel that will have its own, very distinctive identity.”
Carousel opens Saturday, April 11 and runs through Sunday, May 3, 2015 (including 25 performances and one matinee preview performance on April 10) at Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Tickets start at $29, and are now available at lyricopera.org/carousel or at 312-827-5600.
The new Lyric Opera production of Carousel is generously made possible by The Negaunee Foundation, an Anonymous Donor, Robert S. and Susan E. Morrison, Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes, Liz Stiffel, Mrs. Herbert A. Vance and Mr. and Mrs. William C. Vance, and Jim and Vicki Mills/Jon and Lois Mills.
Founded in 1954, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.
Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.
Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become the great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.