Light Opera Works | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Light Opera Works 

The New Moon by Sigmund Romberg is a surprisingly palatable blend of dreamy schmaltz--part Viennese operetta, part American musical comedy. Romberg, best known for The Student Prince, was born Hungarian but immigrated to this country in 1909 and got hired as the house composer for the Shuberts of Broadway. His popular hits, while containing the requisite echoes of Strauss and Lehar, are largely New World in their can-do outlook, their fascination with Douglas Fairbanks-type swashbucklers embarking on adventures in foreign lands. In The New Moon, the exotic locales are New Orleans, a merchant ship, and the tropics; the hero bravely endures revolutions and colorful villains while romancing a particularly stubborn beauty. Though an average orchestrator, Romberg was facile at writing hummable tunes. Many of them were best-sellers as sheet music, and some have since been inducted into the Muzak hall of fame. Philip Kraus, who has a knack for mounting bygone operettas in entertaining and noncondescending ways, directs this Light Opera Works production, a rare revival. The pouty-lipped lovers are played by Maria Hansen (Marianne) and Scott Cheffer (Robert), both making their LOW debut. Conducting is Timothy Shaindlin, a veteran with several noted regional opera companies. Thursday, 8 PM, next Friday, December 28, 2 and 8 PM, next Saturday, December 29, 8 PM, next Sunday, December 30, 2 PM, and Monday, December 31, 8 PM, Skokie Centre East, 7701 N. Lincoln, Skokie; 708-869-6300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/J.B. Spector.

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