Monday, December 26, 2016

Review: Die Fledermaus in Evanston (Theater Music Works)

Light Opera Works (the Evanston based music theatre group that will soon be changing their name to Theater Music Works) is presenting a great light opera to celebrate the ending of their name/beginning of their new name.  They are presenting Strauss's classic light opera Die Fledermaus (The Bat).

Michael Cavalieri as Eisenstein and
 Alicia Berneche as Rosalinda
Set on New Year's Eve, the play centers around a ballroom, mistaken identity, vengeance, and drinking.  If it were a play it would be a farce (in fact, that's what it was originally, before it got adapted into an opera!)    Plus, there are plenty of classic recognizable songs. (and a 30 piece orchestra!)

As always, Light Opera Works presents some great local and national talent, including Saturday Night Live alum Tim Kazurinsky in the very comic role of the jailer Frosch.  Other performers include Kelly Britt (Adele), Michael Cavalieri (Eisenstein), Alicia Berneche (Rosalinda), William Roberts (Dr. Falke), and Billy Dwyer (Prince Orlofsky).

Tim Kazurinsky as Frosch, the drunken jailer.
Kazurinsky is a standout comic performer in his role as the drunken jailer.  I haven't seen the opera before, but he did some very funny bits which I assume were improvisations.  One particularly funny moment is when he is trying to silence the singing of one of the jailbirds ( who he calls The bluebird of Happiness)  He brings out a gun, he goes off stage, we hear a bang.  He comes back very somberly, and says with his drunken lilt , "I have some terrible news to report... I missed."  He also addresses the conductor, saying that he would leave the gun where he could find it, as he was rehearsing the viola's tomorrow.

All of the voices are great, but a special shoutout must go to Alicia Berneche who played Rosalinda.  She was funny, charming, and had a beautiful voice.  I also really enjoyed the comic stylings of Billy Dwyer as the disaffected and nihilistic Prince Orlofsky. Despite being kind of a nihilist, he was a delight to watch on stage.

One of my companions had seen a version at the Lyric a couple of years ago, and insisted that this production was much funnier and the translation was better.

The show runs approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes with two intermissions.

For more information,including a copy of the program visit:

If you are feeling adventurous, or don't have New Year's Eve plans, there's a program to have dinner with the director and the composer on New Year's Eve, which will include a 4 course gourmet meal.  You can attend the dinner even if you don't have tickets for that evening's show.

Monday, December 26, 2016 at 2 pm
Wednesday, December 28 at 2 pm
Thursday, December 29 at 8 pm
Friday, December 30 at 8 pm
Saturday, December 31 at 8 pm
  (New Year's Eve)
Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 2 pm

Tickets start at $34
Age 25 and younger: 1/2 price
(suitable for 12 and older)

Tickets also by phone:
(847) 920-5360

Cahn Auditorium
600 Emerson, Evanston, IL

As mentioned above, the theatre is changing its name from Light Opera Works to Theater Music Works to better reflect the diversity of their programming.  That change will take place January 2, 2017.  You can read an article about the name change here.

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