Music by Jerome Kern
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the novel Show Boat by Edna Ferber
Company Premiere & New Production
Co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera Association, & Houston Grand Opera
This spectacular new production of Show Boat, Broadway's original masterpiece, brings unforgettable songs, dazzling choreography, and an epic story together to make great entertainment and great art. With something in store around every bend as the Cotton Blossom travels the Mississippi with a troupe of riverboat performers, Julie, Joe, Queenie, and of course Magnolia and Ravenal make their way through the decades, navigating the trials of show business, love, and loss in a landscape overshadowed by racial inequality.
The legendary songs of Show Boat--like "Ol' Man River," "You Are Love," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Bill," and many more--will be performed the way the composer intended, with a full orchestra and robust chorus, in this production created by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and conducted by John DeMain.
"This joyous, beautifully mounted entertainment should keep rolling along for a long while to come."
Conductor: John DeMain
Director: Francesca Zambello
Choreographer: Michele Lynch
Associate Director: E. Loren Meeker
Set Designer: Peter J. Davison
Costume Designer: Paul Tazewell
Lighting Designer: Mark McCullough
COME EARLY FOR FREE OPERA INSIGHTS
Beginning 1 hour before each performance and lasting approx. 20–25 minutes
Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera. These education events are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of Show Boat.
May 4 at 6 (on the Millennium Stage): Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists;
May 6 at 6 & May 7 at 6:30: Francesca Zambello, artistic director;
May 8 at 6:30: David Foti, production director;
May 10 at 6:30: Ken Weiss, music administrator;
May 11 at 6: Paul Taylor, technical director;
May 12 at 1: Andy Hammerstein, grandson of librettist Oscar Hammerstein II;
May 17 at 6:30: Kelley Rourke, WNO dramaturg;
May 18 at 6 & May 21 at 6:30: Andrew Jorgensen, director of artistic planning;
May 19 at 1 & May 25 at 6: John DeMain, Show Boat conductor;
May 24 at 6:30: Michael Heaston, director of Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program;
May 26 at 1: Michael Mael, WNO executive director.
O-Zone Lecture: Free pre-performance lecture in the Opera House - Thu., May 16 at 6:15 p.m. with Saul Lilienstein, musicologist. Patrons must present a ticket or stub from any performance of this production.
Artist Q&As follow the performances on: Sun., May 12, 19, & 26. Artist Q&As are free, but patrons must present a ticket or stub from any performance of the production that is being discussed.
Performed in English with English supertitles. Supertitles may not be visible from the rear of the orchestra.
Performance Timing: 2 hours, 50 min.: Act I - 85 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Act II - 60 min.
Michael Todd Simpson
- Gaylord Ravenal
- Magnolia (May 6–8, 11, 12, 17)
- Magnolia (May 4, 10, 16, 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26)
- Capt. Andy (May 4, 7, 10, 16, 18, 21, 25)
- Capt. Andy (May 6, 8, 11, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26)
- Julie (May 4, 7, 10, 12, 16, 18, 19, 21, 24–26)
- Julie (May 6, 8, 11, 17)
- Joe (All Perfs. Except May 10, 16, 18)
- Joe (May 10, 16, 18)
Angela Renée Simpson
- Queenie (May 4, 6–8, 10–12, 16, 18, 19, 21, 24, 26)
- Queenie (May 17 & 25)
- Parthy (All Except May 17 & 25), Mrs. O’Brien (May 17, 25)
- Mrs. O’Brien (All Except May 17 & 25), Parthy (May 17, 25)
- Frank (All Perfs)
- Ellie (All Perfs)
Peter J. Davison
- Set Designer
- Costume Designer
- Lighting Designer
- Show Boat: An Ever-Changing Musical By Thomas May
- Viewpoint: Show Boat Still Sails On By Thomas May
- Viewpoint: New Things Come ‘n Ol’ Things Go By Kelley Rourke
- Washington National Opera’s ‘Show Boat’ is a major departure for two hometown singers May 3, 2013 The Washington Post Washington, D.C.
- Show Boat: An Ever-Changing Musical By Thomas May
- Behind the Curtain: WNO's Show Boat in Song, Pictures and Sketches
Watch and Listen
Making of Opera: Developing Young Artists - National Anthem
Making of Opera: Developing Young Artists - Show Boat
Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 1/4 (Overview)
Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 2/4 (Choreography)
Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 3/4 (Music)
Show Boat: Creating the Vision - 4/4 (Sets)
Making of Opera: Developing Young Artists - Kickoff Meeting
Making of Opera: Developing Young Artists - Italian Lessons
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 1 of 8: Show Boat: Our changing perspectives (audio only)
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 2 of 8: 1887: On the Cotton Blossom in Natchez, Miss. (audio only)
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 3 of 8: Julie’s Secret (audio only)
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 4 of 8: Magnolia and Gaylord (audio only)
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 5 of 8: Kern and Hammerstein (audio only)
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 6 of 8: 1893: At the Chicago World’s Fair (audio only)
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 7 of 8: 1903: Down and out in Chicago (audio only)
WNO Commentary: Show Boat 8 of 8: 1927: On the Cotton Blossom (audio only)
David and Alice Rubenstein are the Presenting Underwriters of WNO.
This production is made possible through the generous support of Jacqueline Badger Mars.
Major funding for Show Boat is also provided by the Adrienne Arsht Musical Theater Fund.
Additional support is provided by
The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation
and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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