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Theater group announces new name

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Light Opera Works, which stages its productions in Evanston, will have a new name next year.

General Manager Bridget McDonough and Artistic Director Rudy Hogenmiller announced at the group's spring gala over the weekend that starting in 2017 it will be known as Music Theater Works.

McDonough said, "After 35 years, we decided to make a change. Light Opera Works was a wonderful name for a long time, but we felt it no longer told the full story of who we are and what we do."

"The company will remain a home for light opera," she continued, "but we are also the home of Broadway classics, Great American Songbook concerts and popular educational programs for young people. We wanted our new name to reflect the diversity of our repertoire and programs."

Hogenmiller said that people unfamiliar with the company often asked "if we perform short — 'lite' — versions of grand operas. There's nothing 'lite' about our productions! We pride ourselves on full-scale stagings of musical theater classics. Everything from Gilbert and Sullivan and Franz Lehar to Lerner and Loewe and Jerry Herman, with big casts and full orchestras. We needed a name that gives people a sense of that."

The non-profit resident professional theater company has its offices and rehearsal space in Wilmette but stages productions at Northwestern University's Cahn Auditorium and the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. It has long used "Illinois' Music Theater" as its slogan, which may help ease the transition to the new name.

This year's season includes "My Fair Lady" in June, "Mame" in August, "Let Me Entratian You: Jule Styne's Greatest Hits" in October and "Die Fledermaus" in December.

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