News from the Aurora University community

“Music in the Air” to be staged at Music by the Lake on July 21–22

Posted by on July 12, 2012

WILLIAMS BAY, WIS. — A Music by the Lake production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Music in the Air” this summer will feature some of the nation’s finest emerging young performers.

Performances will be held on Saturday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 22, at 4 p.m. in The Ferro Pavilion at George Williams College of Aurora University, 350 Constance Blvd.

Music direction for “Music in the Air” will be led by Executive Director of Music by the Lake Christine Flasch, who will team with Guest Stage Director and Choreographer Greg Ganakas. The Music by the Lake Festival Orchestra will provide the production’s music.

“Music in the Air” is a delightful early American musical that formed the bridge between operetta and the Broadway musical known today (“Music in the Air” debuted five years after “Show Boat”). The musical pays affectionate homage to European operetta, while breaking ground for the new American musical theatre. Kern’s rapturous score delights with several hit tunes served up in the lush orchestrations of Robert Russell Bennett. The 1934 film version proved to be a perfect vehicle for the great Hollywood actress, Gloria Swanson.

In the Bavarian town of Edendorf, Dr. Walther Lessing resides with his daughter, Sieglinde. She loves Karl Reder, the schoolmaster and occasional librettist for Lessing’s choral compositions. After writing an inspiring piece based on a linnet’s song, the town declares that their beloved music teacher must take his song to the big city of Munich to have it published. The Edendorf Walking Society accompanies Lessing, Karl and Sieglinde to the offices of music publisher, Ernst Weber. While there, Karl becomes enamored of the great prima donna, Frieda Hatzfeld, while Sieglinde is wooed by playwright, Bruno Mahler, with whom Frieda lives. Mahler wants Sieglinde to appear in his new work, “Tingle Tangle,” causing Frieda to create a major confrontation, exhibiting a “star turn exit” worthy of a great prima donna. She leaves for Berlin.

Cornelius, the bird seller, cautions the couple to return to their small town, as they are just country people and it would be unwise to stay too long in Munich. Sieglinde soon spurns an unwanted pass from Bruno, and Frieda finds Karl equally unresponsive despite her intentions. When Bruno attempts to create a star out of naïve Sieglinde, it becomes clear in the dress rehearsal that she is not up to the task. Mahler’s infatuation quickly vanishes as Uppman, the music director, insists that Sieglinde return to Edendorff, and that Frieda be brought in to carry the lead role in her place. Walther and Sieglinde are told that the theater is no place for amateurs. Ernst manages to get Lessing’s song published, Frieda scores a triumph in the lead role, and Walther, Karl and Sieglinde return to Edendorf. They have all learned a valuable lesson.

The performances are generously underwritten by Harold Hartshorne, Jr. and The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation.

To order tickets, call 866-843-5200 toll free or 262-245-8501, e-mail or visit for secure online ordering. Tickets also will be available for purchase at the performance. Picnics and alcohol are permitted in the lawn areas only.

The 12th season of Music by the Lake continues with:

  • Family and Children’s Concert featuring Tom Chapin and Friends, Sunday, July 29, 4 p.m.: Back by popular demand with Michael Mark and Jon Cobert, this family entertainer will perform a concert of original songs designed to delight audiences of all ages.
  • Anderson and Roe, Sunday, Aug. 5, 4 p.m.: Two of the finest young pianists on the scene bring their spectacular keyboard creations to the Music by the Lake stage.
  • “Million Dollar Quartet” in concert, Saturday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.: This concert version of the musical celebrating the recording session that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins has been adapted especially for Music by the Lake.
  • Pritzker Spotlight Concert featuring Cheap Trick, Saturday, Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m.: Combining British pop song craft, crunching power chords and a flair for the absurd, Rockford, Illinois, natives Cheap Trick take the stage for an electrifying final concert of the 2012 season.

The 2012 Music by the Lake concert series is generously supported by platinum sponsor Fairwyn Investment and Development; gold sponsors American Demolition Corporation, BMO Harris Bank, Grand Geneva, Keefe Real Estate, PepsiCo, Scherrer Construction and Stifel Nicolas; and silver sponsors The Abbey Resort, David M. Sharpe – Ameriprise Financial, Aurora Health Care, Balestrieri Environmental & Development, Community Bank Delavan CBD, FORM Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, Geneva National and Geneva Ridge, Lake Geneva Cruise Line and Gage Marine, Pier 290 Restaurant, HGA Architects and Engineers, Mercy Health System, Sodexo Campus Services, Voyager Capital Management, LLC and Walworth State Bank.

Editor’s note: High-resolution photos of the Music by the Lake venue and 2012 performers can be downloaded at

Media Contact

Deborah Maue
University Communications