That would be Roberta Duchak, the Jeff Award-winning musical director ("Miss Saigon," "Ragtime," "Seven Brides for "Seven Brothers") at the Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook.
Duchak, who owns a voice studio in Chicago and also teaches music at Columbia College, put the two megastars through their vocal paces from the audition through the actual filming, which in an unprecedented movie musical move, featured the cast singing live as the cameras rolled.
, who spent nearly four months in England for the filming, said fate may have played a hand in all of it.
"My vocal teacher Don Komasa originally got the call from the movie company," Duchak said.
"Like anyone who walks into my studio for voice lessons, I warm them up to evaluate where they are so I know how to proceed to make them grow," Duchak
, 47, started playing piano at age 3.
Music was always in the house, she
said, as her
father was a professional musician.
went on to participate in choir, dance and musicals throughout grammar school and high school.
At Indiana University
, however, Duchak
did not major in music, choosing instead broadcast journalism and theater.
career came down to a choice between an internship at NBC
or theater; Duchak
opted for musical theater.
In addition to Broadway, her
local and national touring credits (as musical director or an actress) include Chicago Shakespeare, American Theater Company
, the Goodman Theatre and Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre.
While "Les Mis" afforded her
months to get her
singers into shape, at Drury Lane Duchak said there is no such luxury; the pace is lightning-quick.
"I"m half-way through [Drury Lane's upcoming production] 'Sunset Boulevard' which I started on as soon as 'Singing in the Rain' closed," Duchak
"I think musical theater in Chicago does what it does extremely well in an incredibly short amount of time, sometimes only three weeks, in between shows."
had similar praise for her film cast, calling Crowe
and Jackman two people "who I think will always be in my life as my friends."