While this is supposed to be a story about a local young man who changed careers from being a seller of tickets to one that people will buy tickets to see, I must tell you that the production at the Lyric of Britten’s ” A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is indeed worthy of being called theater. Yes it is an opera and while mostly sung, the story is well told and I was quite impressed with the quality of the voices and the recapturing of the story to beautiful music. The use of the Young Singers of Greater Chicago to handle the fairies of the forest under the direction of Emily Ellsworth was a wonderful addition to the normal presentation as a play. This is a fairly simple production with no major sets, but a major cast under the direction of Neil Armfeld. The Lyric Opera is a bit costly and for most people out of their price range but there are some tickets available for as little as $60 and this production would be worth making some other sacrifice for. It was brilliant.
Again, this article is about the young man who is playing the character of Puck, but just to give you a quick storyline ( for those of you unfamiliar with the basic story)- we are in the forest near Athens. Oberon, the Fairy King and his queen Tytania are in dispute over a young Indian boy. Tytania wants him to be her page and Oberon wants him to be his bodyguard. Oberon plans to drop some special potion in her eyes which when she wakes will have her fall in love with the first person seen. Oberon will then hold her hostage until she releases the boy to him. His Fairy Puck, is given the task, but fails to get it right which leads to all kinds of strange love stories in the forest on this magical night. This is a robust comedy based on the work of William Shakespeare and followed very closely, making it true to the Bard’s very words and thoughts. This is a sterling production featuring a marvelous cast of players and worth seeing if budgets allow. Limited engagement:
November 10th at 7:30 p.m.,November 13th at 2 p.m.,November 17th at 2 p.m.,November 20th at 7:30 p.m. and November 23rd at 7:30 p.m.
To get tickets call 312-332-2244 or visit www.lyricopera.org– the Opera House is located at 20 N. Wacker Drive.
Now onto my story. Many years ago, Chicago reared actor ( born in Berwyn and raised in Cicero) Esteban Andres Cruz worked in Lyric’s ticket office ( five years in total). During that time, he took on roles in many small theater companies to hone his craft and learn it he has. When he left the Lyric box office, he became an actor and in 2009, won a Jeff Award as best actor in a principal role for his portrayal of Angel Cruz in “Jesus Hopped The A Train” at Raven Theatre. This was his first leading role in Chicago and one that made him well known. He has worked in numerous productions around town, commercials and even as an upcoming movie role. He has appeared in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” in various roles, but is not taking on the fun role of Puck who brings much of the magic to this play and who has one of the most memorable of Shakespeare’s lines ” What fools these mortals be”
Seeing this young man reach one of his dreams just shows that desire and hard work do pay off and he should be an inspiration to other young people that if you are willing to put in the time and the work ,and have some talent of course, your dreams can come true. Remember this name- Esteban Andres Cruz. At one time you might have placed your ticket order with him- now when you see his name in the billing of a show, put it on your list of shows to see, he is a talented performers who knows how to treat the audience.