Light Opera Works has timed this production perfectly – a gorgeous gift of THE MERRY WINDOW to us, right in the middle of the holiday season. The production, with a full 29-piece pit orchestra, plays now through December 31 at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson in Evanston.
It is a joy to behold on every level. The costumes are magnificent; with the beautiful women in black and white art deco dresses and the handsome men in formal tuxedos, debonair, a la Fred Astaire. The set changes create an air of sophistication in the opening art and then revert to a more casual atmosphere with folk dress costumes and national dance in act two. Act three opens on Paris’ famous Maxim Club, full of opulence and elegance.
This classical operetta, which premiered in Vienna in 1905, is the fourth time around for Light Opera Works. Lyric Opera’s Stacey Tappan and Light Opera Works favorite, Larry Adams star as Hanna (the widow) and Danilo, reprising their same roles as the 2005 Light Opera Works’ production. The score includes “The Merry Widow Waltz,” “Vilia,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Maxim’s.”
Stacey Tappan is a joy as Hanna, singing her way into our hearts as she secretly pines for Danilo, who once broke her heart. Larry Adams continues to charm us with his powerful voice and winning ways. Alex Honzen, who plays the Baron, was last seen at Light Opera Works production as Tevye in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, plays the part of the harried, easily duped ambassador, Baron Zeta who has no idea about his wife’s “extra” involvements. The sopranos soared, coupled with excellent acting and well-timed humor.
THE MERRY WIDOW is directed and choreographed by Light Opera Works artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller, and conducted by Nyela Basney. Show times include Saturday, December 20, at 8 pm, Sunday, December 21, at 2 pm, Friday, December 26, at 2 pm, Saturday, December 27, at 8 pm, Sunday, December 28, at 2 pm and Wednesday, December 31, at 8 pm (New Year’s Eve).
Ticket prices range from $34 to $96. Ages 21 and younger are half price. To order tickets, visit the Light Opera Works box office at 516 4th Street in Wilmette, call (847) 920-5360, or order 24 hours a day online at www.LightOperaWorks.com
THE MERRY WIDOW is Light Opera Works’ final production of 2014. The 2015 season will begin with THE FANTASTICKS (June 6-14), followed by SOUTH PACIFIC (August 15-30), HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST SONG HITS (October 2-11) and GUYS AND DOLLS (December 26-January 3, 2016).