It’s a long way from nearly ending up at the bottom of the North Atlantic to standing atop the highest peak of the Swiss Alps.
For Chicago-born actor Billy Zane, his journey from the epic film “Titanic” to the stage production of “The Sound of Music” may have taken 17 years, but it was worth the wait. He will star as Capt. Von Trapp in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic April 25-May 25.
The cast also features Broadway actress Jenn Gambatese (“Wicked”), with opera stars Christine Brewer as the Mother Abbess and Elizabeth Futral as Elsa Schraeder, and television veteran Edward Hibbert (“Frasier”) as Max Detweiler. The new production is directed by Marc Bruni.
“The last time I went to the Lyric was probably on a fifth grade field trip,” said Zane, 48, whose stage credits boast a Broadway turn as Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago.” “The chance to now [perform] in this play on that stage at the Lyric really came down to perfect timing. And the chance to spend a bit of time in Chicago during the [spring] was too good to pass up. [Laughs] Plus my 3-year-old daughter is a huge fan of the ‘Sound of Music’ already. She climbs every mountain on our sofa.”
Catching up with Zane during the production’s very hectic tech week, the actor said the biggest revelation for him, in terms of the music and the character, has been the deeply emotional connection he has made with both.