Jessie Mueller and Michelle Williams announced for Lyric Opera’s Chicago Voices Gala Concert

Lyric Opera announced today that Tony Award-winning Broadway star Jessie Mueller and gospel and R&B sensation Michelle Williams will join the line-up of performers slated for the Chicago Voices Gala Concert, a special, one-night-only concert on Saturday, February 4, at 7:30pm at Lyric’s Civic Opera House. The celebratory concert, featuring superstar artists from a variety of musical genres, pays tribute to the city’s diverse musical heritage in the biggest night of Chicago music.

Mueller and Williams join previously announced artists including world-renowned soprano and Lyric’s creative consultant Renée Fleming (who will also curate the concert), legendary folk singer/songwriter John Prine, “New Queen of Blues” artist Shemekia Copeland, internationally acclaimed tenor Matthew Polenzani, alternative/indie husband-and-wife duo The Handsome Family, and others to be announced.

The Chicago Voices Gala Concert will showcase unique and eclectic performances, including cross-genre artist collaborations that blend musical styles such as blues, jazz, rock, hip-hop, gospel and classical. The concert will also pay tribute to a wide variety of Chicago vocalists of the past, such as Mary Garden, Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters, and Louis Armstrong, through narrated documentary-style video segments and musical performances of some of their most well-known songs.

Jessie Mueller currently stars as Jenna in the hit Broadway musical Waitress (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination), with music & lyrics by Sara Bareilles. She starred as Carole King in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, a role that won her Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy Awards. Other Broadway: Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Drama Desk nomination), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever opposite Harry Connick, Jr. (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations).

“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining this incredible group of artists on the Lyric stage,” said Mueller. “There’s no city like Chicago, and the artists it produces are just as unique. I can’t wait to celebrate with one and all!”

Michelle Williams is an R&B, pop, and gospel recording artist. Williams rose to fame in the 2000s as a member of Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling female groups of all time. Williams’s numerous successes as an actress include celebrated performances in television, Broadway, and West End productions, and eventually earned her a nomination for “Best Female Lead-Equity” in 2008 at the NAACP Theatre Awards. Making her acting debut on Broadway in Aida (2003), she has since starred in the sitcom series Half & Half (2006) and the musical productions The Color Purple (2007), Chicago (2009–10), What My Husband Doesn’t Know (2011), and Fela! (2013). In 2015, Williams performed “The Gospel Tradition” for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House, a program televised nationally on PBS.

“The music that originated in Chicago is legendary, and I’m thrilled to join an incredible roster of singers on the Lyric Opera stage for the Chicago Voices Gala Concert!” said Williams. “I’m looking forward to celebrating the music that makes the city so special, and to performing with artists from all different musical genres!”

Musical director for the gala concert is five-time Jeff award winner Doug Peck, who has previously directed musical productions and concerts for The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, the Chicago Humanities Festival, the Ravinia Festival, and The Auditorium Theatre Gala.

Concert tickets can be purchased here or by calling 312-827-5600. Premium Dinner Packages which include main floor prime and box seating are available by calling 312-827-5682. Proceeds from the concert will support Lyric and Lyric Unlimited events and activities.

The Chicago Voices Gala Concert is part of Chicago Voices, a multiyear, multifaceted initiative celebrating the stories of Chicago communities and Chicago’s vibrant vocal culture.

Honorary advisors for the Chicago Voices Gala Concert are Louis Carr/BET, Shemekia Copeland, Kurt Elling, Herbie Hancock, Jane Lynch, Matthew Polenzani, and John Prine.

About Lyric 

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, and Creative Consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become the great North American opera company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.

To learn more about Lyric’s current season, go to lyricopera.org. You can also join the conversation with @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric1617 #LongLivePassion


About Lyric Unlimited

Lyric Unlimited, a division of Lyric Opera of Chicago, offers a multifaceted program of education, community engagement and artistic initiatives. The purpose of Lyric Unlimited is to provide a relevant cultural service to communities throughout the Chicago area, including communities for whom opera and opera companies have been largely irrelevant; to explore a wide range of ways in which Lyric can collaborate with cultural and community organizations throughout the area; and to advance the development of opera, exploring ways in which opera as an art form can resonate more powerfully, and in a range of different ways, with people of multiple backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests. In the 2015/16 season, 94,386 individuals participated in Lyric Unlimited programs.

For more information about Lyric Unlimited program offerings, visit lyricopera.org/lyricunlimited.