Frankfort resident to perform in ‘Les Miserables’
By Frank Vaisvilas Correspondent March 21, 2014 3:18PM
Ann McMann | Supplied photo courtesy of Brett Beiner photography
Updated: April 24, 2014 6:34AM
When acclaimed musical actress Ann McMann, of Frankfort, is on stage, she feels a tremendous sense of duty to make people experience the story.
“I feel like we have this great responsibility as actors and performers to hope the audience will feel what we are feeling,” said McMann, 50.
McMann has appeared in several shows in her career, including “The Merry Widow” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and on tour in “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Showboat.”
Her next show is “Les Miserables,” scheduled from Saturday through June 8 at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.
“It’s absolutely a favorite,” McMann said of “Les Miz” “It’s such an iconic piece of musical theater.”
McMann will be part of the ensemble and play the innkeeper’s wife and the wig-maker. She said she’ll be changing costumes eight times in the first act.
“I like to be busy,” McMann said.
She hopes audiences, besides enjoying the amazing singing performances in “Les Miz,” will take away a deeper understanding of what it was like for people in early 19th-century France who experienced rebellion and didn’t want to live in a monarchy.
“I hope (the audience) will get a sense of the history we’re trying to create onstage,” McMann said.
She’s working with musical director Roberta Duchak, who also was the vocal coach for actors Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman in the movie version.
Duchak said fans of the movie will really appreciate the production at Drury Lane.
“I think they’re going to love it even more,” Duchak said.
Duchak has worked in several shows, such as Ragtime and Sweeney Todd, but she has a difficult task as music director for “Les Miserables.”
“I think it’s challenging because it’s completely sung through,” Duchak said. “It’s an opera. There’s no dialogue.”
“Les Miz” is being directed by Rachel Rockwell, who’s worked with Duchak and McMann several times in the past.
Duchak said it’s typical for the same talent to work together in the Chicago theater scene.
“That’s what’s great about Chicago,” Duchak said.
In addition to performing in a few shows every year, McMann also is a private vocal coach and teaches music at Roosevelt University.
And she is a full-time mom with sons Jack, 15, and Joe, 10, who also are in to music.
Despite the busy schedule, McMann loves doing what she does.
While growing up in the south suburbs, she said she was always the loudest kid in music class and performed in her first show at age 5 and sang while her dad played piano.
“I think I was just destined to do it for really my whole life,” McMann said.