Francesca Zambello (the touring Little House on the Prairie, Broadway's The Little Mermaid and the upcoming Rebecca) directs.
Opera star Gunn (Lancelot in New York Philharmonic's Camelot and classic roles around the world) played Show Boat's ambler-turned-actor Ravenal for Zambello in a 2008 Carnegie Hall concert version of the classic by composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.
Brown (playing the ingénue-turned-Broadway star Magnolia Hawks) was nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards in 2007 for creating the title role in Broadway's Mary Poppins.
Show Boat, covering more than 30 years in the lives of the people connected to the Mississippi River floating playhouse, is based on the novel by Edna Ferber. It introduced serious themes (racism, miscegenation, romantic delusion, addiction and more) in a time when most musicals were frivolous entertainments.
The principal cast also includes Alyson Cambridge as Julie, Morris Robinson as Joe, Angela Renée Simpson as Queenie, Ross Lehman as Capt. Andy, Ericka Mac as Ellie, Bernie Yvon as Frank and Cindy Gold as Parthy. John DeMain is the conductor.
The creative team also includes scenery designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Mark McCullough, sound designer Mark Grey, chorus master Michael Black and choreographer Michele Lynch.
The show's musical numbers include "Make Believe," "Old Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine," "You Are Love" and more.
The Civic Opera House is located at 20 N. Wacker Drive. For more information, visit lyricopera.org.