Tuesday, December 23, 2008
ATRU: What do you like most about working at the Auditorium?
BB: My favorite part of working at the Auditorium is the opportunity for variety. I get to do much of the photography for our camp, Hands Together, Heart to Art. I also get to meet an amazing variety of people in my work. The opportunity to be creative and crafty often presents itself, as when I constructed a scale model of our theatre seating for the League of Chicago Theatres Gala. I also get to be an event planner, not only for groups coming to the theatre, but also for our staff holiday party (ideas for next year are being accepted now)!
ATRU: Tell us about your favorite performing arts memory.
BB: My favorite performing arts memory is a draw: it could be the first time I even auditioned for a show when I was 5 years old (it was Annie), and I was so scared I cried on my Mom's lap until I got up the courage to get up on stage and sing. It could also be when I attended the opening night of Spamalot, and I got a seat RIGHT in front of Eric Idle - at the end, I turned around and thanked him for a wonderful show and shook his hand.
ATRU: What is your favorite feature of the Auditorium?
BB: The view of the ceiling arches in our house, which are speckled with carbon filament light bulbs always thrills me every time I enter for a show. From the first show I ever saw here (Miss Saigon many years ago when I was still in high school) to our current Cabaret shows, Dance Series, and Music performances, the glory of the theatre's interior always excites me.
ATRU: What show are you most excited about this season?
BB: While I am always excited to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, I am really looking forward to Batsheva and Nederlands Dans Theater. Both of these troupes are new to me, they are more contemporary, and this is their first time performing in Chicago in a long time. Then again, Margaret Garner will be the first opera I've ever been to, so I'm also excited about that. If I just throw in the Kirov Ballet's Giselle and the Eifman Ballet's Eugene Onegin, then I'll be excited about everything on the season. And I admit it - I am!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Tickets available in four easy ways:
In person: Auditorium Box Office located at 50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL. Open Mon-Fri, noon-6 p.m. Visit auditoriumtheatre.org for holiday box office hours.
Groups 10+: 312.431.2357
Friday, December 19, 2008
NL: As the Education Manager at the Auditorium I work to develop and maintain Creative Engagement activities and relationships with our community. One of the most rewarding and meaningful aspects of my position is to be the Camp Director for our special summer day camp, Hands Together, Heart to Art. HTHTA is designed for children ages 7-14 who have experienced the death of one or both parents. Using the performing arts to encourage communication, self-esteem and team building, campers are able to interact with other children who have experienced a similar loss. Our campers also meet with professional healing counselors where they are given a safe time and place to express and share their feelings with their peers.
NL: Being able to work for an organization that had such an influence on my theatrical experiences as a child is overwhelming. I have such distinct memories of coming to the Auditorium with my family, sitting all the way up in the gallery, and I remember the feeling of awe the theatre cast over me (and continues to today). I still get the chills while gazing up at Adler's beautiful arches as the house lights fade before each performance.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Read the Tribune's review here, and the Sun-Times here.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Read more here.
Margaret Garner will run at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University November 1-9, 2008.
Tickets are available:
In person: Auditorium box office (located at 50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL, open from noon-6 p.m, Monday-Friday)
Groups (10+): 312-431-2357
Photo by John Grigaitis. Denyce Graves.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
"The opera...is even more satisfying the second time around."
- Detroit Free Press
Michigan Opera Theatre re-opened Toni Morrison and Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner on October 17, 2008, a little over three years after its world premiere in 2005. The critically acclaimed opera starring Denyce Graves (performs on November 1 and 2) and Tracie Luck (performs on November 6, 8 and 9)* will open at the Auditorium November 1-9, 2008.
Read the rest of the Detroit Free Press review.
Click here for more information on Margaret Garner in Chicago.
For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com, call 312-902-1500, or visit the Auditorium box office (open from noon-6 p.m, Monday-Friday) located at 50 East Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL
* Casting schedule subject to change.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Subscribers learned how Vishneva prepares for a performance, made her role as Giselle famous and some of her other passions when she's not dancing.
One subscriber exclaims, "She's simply stunning!"
while enjoying some light hors d'oeuvres and wine after the Chat.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Critics from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times raved about the performance - especially super star prima ballerina Diana Vishneva's portrayal of Giselle.
Read Sid Smith's Chicago Tribune article.
Read Hedy Weiss' Chicago Sun-Times article.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
A Director’s Perspective: Kenny Leon talks about the differences between directing theatre, film, and opera.
Kenny Leon directed the world premiere of Margaret Garner at Michigan Opera Theatre, Cincinnati Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Broadway directing credits include Radio Golf (four Tony nominations), Gem of the Ocean (five Tony nominations), and the Tony-award winning A Raisin in the Sun. He recently directed the film version of A Raisin in the Sun, which aired on ABC in February 2008.
Kenny Leon will direct the Chicago premiere of the opera, Margaret Garner, which will grace the Auditorium's stage November 1-9, 2008.
As a Director, I have been blessed to work in many different venues with much varied material. I’ve directed from classic theatre, to drama, to comedy, to musical reviews, to film, and to opera. While they all share some aspects in common, each genre presents new challenges and opportunities to explore the artistic realm. In a film, for instance, the musical score is added at the end of the movie in post-production. In opera, you begin with the music and work to fit the story into the music.
In theatre, the focus is on the storytelling and the acting. In opera, the focus of the production is for the singers to hit the notes and sing to the best of their ability. The challenge that I faced in doing my first opera was that most of the singers had been trained to have the music and vocals be the most important (and really, only) priority of the show. They had a tendency to “park and bark,” if you will.
But the idea behind having more stage directors do opera is to get more of the acting into the singing, which creates a more fluid story. When I did Margaret Garner, I had the privilege of working with Denyce Graves, who is a born actress. She’s a singer, but she’s an actress. So when you see the production, you will experience wonderful singers, but also singers who are acting. My job as a Broadway director is to facilitate telling the story. I ask them to move and interact with the set and props, yet still expect them to hit the notes. It’s trying to integrate those two worlds – of singing and acting. It’s been very exciting for me but also very challenging. Most opera singers I’ve worked with embrace that idea, but they are still concerned about hitting that note. And the audience is paying their money to hear them hit that note. But I’m confident that they can hit that note and do the blocking and do the movement and keep it real. If we succeed, it’s a much more powerful art form than almost any other because music is so universal. With the flow of music, people are willing to forgive a lot, so you can say much more with music than you can say with drama.
I really do love opera, but I still need to balance it with other art forms. In the opera world, everything is exaggerated. To the extent that even on Opening Night, they told me to go out and take a bow after the show finished. And I was like, “What? I’m not taking a bow!” As a Director, I’d never taken a bow before. But after I did…I was like ‘That feels pretty good!”
Opera has also taught me something about being in the moment. In theatre and film, I’m always telling actors to be in the moment. Don’t be ahead of it. Don’t be beside it. Be right there engaged in the person you’re talking to. And if you can’t engage the person you’re talking to, then you can’t engage the audience. With opera, you totally have to be in the moment. When you have the perfect note, with the perfect costume, with the perfect set – then that’s a beautiful moment. Those moments add up to two and a half hours, and that’s an amazing lesson to learn about being in the moment…quality time shared in the communal experience that is live theatre.
Hurry - limited seating available! Click here for tickets.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Jaco is known for being one of our most diminutive campers, and apparently her balloon was oversized and filled with fresh helium. A rogue updraft caused by the commotion of the other campers running around with their balloons caused Fajr’s balloon to take flight suddenly, carrying Fajr in tow.
Luckily, a couple of tall staff members at Hands Together, Heart to Art were able to retrieve the girl and the balloon from the ceiling. Thankfully, Fajr was completely unharmed as was her big pink balloon. Once she was back on terra firma, Fajr cried, “Again! Again!” Strangely, none of the other campers were hoisted aloft by their balloons.
Before heading outside to Buckingham Fountain, camp authorities had to weight Fajr’s feet with two bricks. According to one camp counselor who asked to remain anonymous, Fajr was the slowest camper heading to the lake, but was arguably one of the cutest.
Once the balloons were released, Fajr’s was one of the first to reach the clouds, according to an account from a Chicago pigeon.
Fajr now dreams of becoming a pilot or hot air balloonist. We all hope, whatever Fajr does in the future, that she wears a parachute.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
How the alligator entered the university in downtown Chicago, made it to the second floor, and managed to ambush the camper in question, we may never know. The alligator was reported to be unusually diminutive, with a fuzzy coat, rather than the more common scales. Its back legs may also be missing.
When questioned about the event, Williams yelled, “Ha ha ha!” Clearly, the seriousness of the situation had gone to her head.
The alligator, which may in fact be a puppet, escaped the classroom in a plastic bin at the end of rehearsal. The whereabouts of the fierce beast are, as yet, sketchy. Local authorities and camp administrators suspect that the alligator might surface later today at the camp talent show. Be there at 3pm in the Congress Lounge — and bring a net!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Campers were almost finished with their first day of camp, and there couldn’t have been a more perfect way to tame their raging excitement than to listen to stories from professional story teller Susan O’Halleron. Susan has appeared on T.V. and radio shows and has been published several times. Susan shared many stories with the campers, each one with an enlightening message to help campers deal with loss.
The first story she told was about a butterfly that was removed from his cocoon too soon. The moral of the story was that when we lose someone, we curl up into our own cocoon of grief to deal with the loss. It is important that we do not take someone out of their cocoon too early. Each person has to grieve for as long as it takes until he or she feels ready to come out.
Susan’s next story was about a puzzle. A puzzle contains some ugly and dull pieces, but there are also beautiful ones. A puzzle cannot be completed unless all the pieces come together to make a whole picture. The puzzle is a metaphor for life. In life there are many ugly and dull moments, but the inclusion of those difficult times combines with the wonderful times, making us who we are today.
It is often incredibly difficult to deal with loss. Learning to cope is important to moving on with life. Susan relayed important messages by using stories with fun and relatable characters. Susan used her stories as a tool to help our campers through their own difficult times.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Through Anne’s research, she discovered a Russian folk tale that tells the story of an old peasant tailor. The tailor remembers his life as it relates to a piece of cloth, which he uses in various forms throughout his life. Based on this folk tale, Nicole rewrote the story and titled it “Just Enough.” She set the story in Bolivia, an atmosphere which plays well with Latin-influenced music and dance. Thus the protagonist became “Adolfo.” The story is poignant since the cloth allows Adolfo to express the memories he has of life and how they affected him—just as campers have memories that affect their lives.
Of course, the real stars were the campers, as they only had two weeks to learn and perform a full production! Campers worked extremely hard to read the script, work on the roles, music, and the dance numbers.
(Top photo: Campers work on a dance routine during the dress rehearsal. Bottom photo: Campers take their final bow after their Final Performance)
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
HTHTA campers did get a special opportunity to communicate messages of love, memories or maybe even updates on the camper's lives to their lost parents, which most of them were never allowed to say.
On Wednesday afternoon, campers solemnly wrote their thoughts and feelings they wished to tell their parents on a note card and tied it to a helium balloon. Teary eyed HTHTA campers and staff took a walk to Buckingham Fountain where their messages were launched into the bright blue sky and on to their parents.
While the launch is symbolic, campers feel strongly about those unspoken words reaching their loved ones. The Balloon Launch is often the emotional pinnacle of camp, offering closure to campers and staff, alike.
(Top photo: Messages of love are launched into the sky to lost parents. Middle photo: One camper writes her message Bottom photo: HTHTA campers and staff take a group photo after the Balloon Launch)
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
In Music class, students not only learn songs, but create the words and rhythms for new musical compositions.
In Theatre, campers work on stories, skits, and staged adaptations of Tennessee Williams,’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Only kidding! Our theatre is just as good, but much more fun!
Dance class sees campers jumping, sliding, pivoting, and prancing. Some of our Dance Teachers are even from the prestigious Joffrey Ballet, here in Chicago.
Interesting to note, the Joffrey Ballet just opened a brand new building at the corner of Randolph and State Street. — you can see it yourself and check out their fantastic sign!
Each of these arts is explored, mined, and used for campers' benefit.
(Top photo: The HTHTA music staff helps a camper prepare a solo. Bottom photo: Campers learn a dance routine with The Joffrey Ballet.)
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
This camper practices intensely.
If you know of a child who has experienced the death of one or both parents, they can still attend Session Two from July 28 - August 8. Please contact Nicole Losurdo at 312-922-2110 ext. 353.
Friday, June 27, 2008
A message from Executive Director, Brett Batterson
I'm about to share a very personal story with you.
This is something I really have to tell you about - something that means very much to me.
Pictured left, is me (middle) as a child with my family. One year later, my father died unexpectedly from a heart attack. As you can imagine, that moment changed my life forever.
Left to raise me and my two brothers, my mom worked hard to give us all the love and support she could - and she did a remarkable job making me the person I am today.
Looking back, however, I realize that my growth in life was strongly shaped in the arts. Through the arts, I found friends, encouragement, self-confidence and the ability to express myself.
To ensure that other children who have lost a parent would receive the same benefits as I did from an exposure to the arts, the Auditorium Theatre launched a ground-breaking summer program in 2004 called Hands Together, Heart to Art. And the results are truly inspiring!
Every year, nearly a hundred children throughout the Chicago area attend the camp. They have all endured one common, tragic event - the death of a parent. Many can't imagine how hard it is for the children to cope with their loss - but at Hands Together, Heart to Art, we give them hope, healing and confidence. We use music, theatre, dance and creative play to encourage the boys and girls to express themselves, interact and become more outgoing. Sessions with licensed healing counselors and interaction with other children who have experienced the same loss contribute to each child's healing experience.
Hands Together, Heart to Art is not a camp only for children who can afford it. It is a camp for children who need it. Although the cost of caring for each camper is considerable, we don't turn any families away for any financial reasons - that's why we rely on the kindness of friends to make this experience a reality.
Please give today - and you'll see how a donation of as little as $15 can make a big difference in a child's life.
I have been lucky in this job to have the privilege of meeting everyone from Princess Caroline to Luciano Pavarotti to Bob Dylan. But I assure you, not one of them has had as great an impact on my life as the children who have attended Hands Together, Heart to Art. And no work that I do is more important.
The children who come to Hands Together, Heart to Art are also looking for an outlet to help cope with their grief. We hope you can give them that chance today.
If you'd like to learn more about this unique experience, please watch this short video.
If you know of a child who would benefit from this incredible camp, contact Nicole Losurdo at: (312) 922-2110, ext. 353.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Single tickets for the Kirov Ballet and Margaret Garner will go on sale to the general public June 23, 2008.
You will not want to miss the Kirov Ballet perform Giselle October 2-5, 2008 at the Auditorium. The Kirov's bravura soloists, graceful corps de ballet and stellar orchestra are celebrated by ballet fans worldwide. Prima ballerina, Diana Vishneva will perform as Giselle on October 2 and 5.
The Chicago premiere of the heart-wrenching opera, Margaret Garner, will be November 1-9. You will want to watch both Denyce Graves and Tracie Luck bring the fugitive slave, Margaret Garner, to life. This new American opera is in two acts is based on one of the most significant fugitive slave stories in pre-Civil War America.
Click here to learn more about the upcoming Auditorium season.
Four easy ways to purchase tickets:
Online: ticketmaster.com Phone: 312-902-1500
Groups (10+): 312-431-2357
In person: Auditorium box office, 50 East Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL
60605; open from noon-6 p.m.
Remember, save 20% if you order subscriptions before June 20. Save 10% on subscriptions after June 20. Several subscription packages are available. Call 312-431-2357 and become a subscriber today!
Monday, June 16, 2008
You can still catch three more On stage with...2008 performances this summer:
Susan Werner: July 23, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
Orbert Davis and Friends: August 16, 2008 at 8 p.m.
Alvin Waddles: September 13, 2008 at 8 p.m.
$75 for VIP seating (premiere seating), $50 for seating on the rest of the stage. Call 312-922-2110 ext. 300 to make your reservation. Please note: These are not ticketed events. Cabarets are not available through Ticketmaster.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Joffrey dancers Maia Wilkins, Willy Shives and Michael Levine and took their final bows at The Joffrey Ballet's closing American Moderns performance last Sunday night. Fans were treated to special performances by the departing trio.
Read a Chicago Tribune review here.
Read a Chicago Sun-Times review here.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Read Sid Smith's take in the Tribune and Hedy Weiss's review in the Sun-Times.
American Moderns runs this weekend and next; call 312.902.1500, buy online or visit our box office in person for tickets.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I’ve been singing all my life. I grew up singing and performing and I studied voice and theater in college. Professionally speaking, I started singing at the Gold Star Sardine Bar, a tiny little intimate club here in Chicago. Bill Allen was the impresario and owner of the Gold Star, and he gave me the opportunity to sing there and that’s where it started taking off. It was great fun and I had the chance to meet and perform with a lot of wonderful entertainers – whoever was in town (Bobby Short, Julie Wilson, Tony Bennett) came to the Gold Star for drinks so we got to meet them and occasionally perform with them. It was a valuable learning experience.
Bobby Short was part owner of the Gold Star, so he used to come in all the time. On several occasions, Bill Allen pulled me up onstage with him, which was pretty frightening. But it was the beginning of a long friendship with Bobby and many performances together.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This past Friday, there was no stage extention, there were no spectators - but there was wiffle ball! Dankmark's Dudes defeated Louis's Lushes 11-8.
These pics were taken with a cell phone, so the quality isn't the best, but enjoy!
Work study student Susan Urasky is up at bat, while Operations Manager Steve Sell plays catcher.
A view of the "infield"
Executive Assistant Kathy Bliss takes off running after a hit.
Margaret Garner project manager Gail Kalver cheers on the players.
Marketing Manager Megan Flanagan proudly cheers on the team (quote from C.J. Dillon, House Manager: "A knocked-up cheerleader? This is just like high school!), while Patron Services Coordinator Annie Slaughter hides behind her pompoms.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Here's the schedule:
12:30-1:20am The Weird Sisters
1:40-2:30am The Cupid Players
2:50-3:40am The Game Show Show and Stuff
4:00-4:45am The Cool Table
Photo: The Cupid Players
Thursday, April 24, 2008
- On Stage with Shelley MacArthur: How Sweet It Is - June 13
- On Stage with Susan Werner: Susan Werner Sings the Susan Werner Songbook - July 23
- On Stage with Orbert Davis & Friends: The Center of the Song (An Evening of Romantic Jazz) - August 16
- On Stage with Alvin Waddles: Fats Waller Revue
Call 312.922.2110 ext 300 for reservations.
- The Kirov Ballet & Orchestra - Giselle: October 2-5
- Margaret Garner: November 1-9
- Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah: December 12 & 14
- Batsheva Dance Company: February 7 & 8
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: April 1-5
- Eifman Ballet - Eugene Onegin: May 14-17
- Nederlands Dans Theater I: June 17-21
* United Tickets to Europe: Sabrina Beoingham
* 2 Subscriptions to the International Dance Series: Diana Cho
* 4 tickets to Margaret Garner: Gregory Armstrong
* Table for 6 to Orbert Davis: Doug Cranmer
* $100 gift certificate to Rhapsody: Sandra DeSico
* $100 gift certificate for Custom House: Frontina Spitz
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Picture: Revelations. Photo by Andrew Eccles.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Two of the dancers, Constance Stamatiou and Chicago's own Vernard Gilmore, appeared on the WGN morning news this morning - click here to see the video. (Look under WGN Morning News in the video section.)
And, if that's not enough, here's some video from Firebird, which will be performed tonight and tomorrow:
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Here's a section of The Road of the Phoebe Snow, which will be performed Thursday and Friday of next week.
You can also see last week's "Dancing With the Stars" appearance here.
Also, Hallmark has a new line of greeting cards featuring Ailey photography.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Over the next 18 months, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, Ailey's legacy will come to life through special events and commercial partnerships: the artist David Michalek has created video installation screens depicting slowed-down versions of larger-than-life Ailey dancers along the ground-floor windows of the Ailey studios on Ninth Avenue; Hallmark has produced a series of six Ailey greeting cards; the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., opens an Ailey archive exhibit this May; Ailey will host a series of free performances and dance classes in all five boroughs of NYC in August; an Ailey Barbie doll is due out this fall, and in June, the Ailey company returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the first time in 38 years.
Photo: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photo by Paul Kolnik.