Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holidays at #theAud Photo Contest

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Holidays at #theAud Photo Contest

Enter to win a pair of tickets to

How to Enter: Photograph yourself, your friends, or your family at the Auditorium Theatre this holiday season. Post the photo on your favorite social media sites following the instructions below to enter.  Be sure to make your post "public" so that we can see your entry! You may enter as many times as you like - the more photos, the more chances to win!
Please note:  Photos may be taken in the lobby or after the performance inside the theatre.  No photos may be taken inside the theatre before or during the performance.

There are three ways to enter:
Facebook – tag the Auditorium Theatre in your post or photo
Twitter - tag @auditoriumchgo and #theaud
Instagram – tag @auditoriumtheatre and #theaud

Prizes: Two winners will be randomly selected. Each winner will receive two (2) free premium tickets to Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, January 18 & 19 at the Auditorium Theatre.

Contest Rules: No purchase or payment necessary to enter or win a prize.  Must be 18+ years of age. Contest ends December 31, 2013 at noon. The submitter certifies he or she has obtained permission from all persons appearing in the entry; however, only the entrant submitting the entry is eligible to win the prize. Photo must not contain material which is sexually explicit, obscene, violent, illegal, or offensive. Photo must not include 3rd party trademarks, logos, or insignias. You must tag @auditoriumchgo or #theaud in your Twitter post to enter.  If you enter on Facebook, you must tag the Auditorium Theatre Facebook page, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Tag @AuditoriumTheatre or #theaud on Instagram to enter. Posts must be made "public" to be entered to win.  Auditorium Theatre staff will contact winners via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; failure to respond after 48 hours of notification may lead to the forfeit of prize. Photo entries will be used by the Auditorium Theatre to promote the contest, the Auditorium Theatre, and the programming at the Auditorium Theatre. This contest is in no way sponsored by Facebook or Twitter and is being run exclusively by the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Void where prohibited.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Speaking the language of Hungarian folk dance

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By Tibor Horváth, Former Dancer with Hungarian State Folk Ensemble

My passion for Hungarian folk dance can be attributed largely to two factors: my parents, and my dance instructors. My parents, because they passed on to me a love of Hungary and things Hungarian, and my dance instructors, because they taught me the language of Hungarian folk dance.

Sándor Timár, one of the founders of the Hungarian táncház or “dance-house” movement, believed that the ability to learn Hungarian folk dance was comparable to learning a foreign language. First, you learn words, then phrases, then whole sentences. Once fluent, you can construct these sentences in any manner to express yourself. Such was the method by which I learned the dances of Hungary and Hungarians in Transylvania.

Tibor Horvath, Hungarian Folk DancerI grew up in Seattle, Washington, to parents who had emigrated from Hungary, and began dancing in my early teens with the local Hungarian dance group. While we learned choreographies to perform, the goal of the instructors in my group was to learn the dances inside and out, allowing us to dance freestyle, just as these dances were originally danced in the villages. In some places, most notably among Hungarians in Transylvania, they are still danced today at celebrations and village events.

Learning Hungarian folk dances allowed me an avenue to connect with my heritage. Each region has distinct costumes and step-work associated with it. The music, as collected by greats such as Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, shows an amazing diversity from region to region. The folk costumes are equally diverse, and in some cases, are covered in intricate beadwork or embroidery. The men’s dances, in particular, demonstrate a virtuosity of complicated slapping and footwork that is not found elsewhere. I feel I learned more about the customs and people of Hungary through dance than I could have in any other way.

In the fall of 1990, following a tour of Croatia with a Seattle-area Croatian group with which I also performed, I travelled to Hungary to study on a scholarship with a university in Budapest. Shortly after arriving, I was afforded the opportunity to audition for the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, then under the artistic direction of Sándor Timár. As nervous as I was, I was surprised that I didn’t fail the audition. Being the first foreign-born Hungarian to be awarded a contract, I felt extremely honored.

The next two years were difficult, but also rewarding. I had arranged to take my university classes in the evening, allowing me to go to rehearsal five days a week, from early morning to mid-afternoon. On days we had performances, I would leave class early and race back to the theater in time for group warm-ups and preparations before show time.

I still dance today, and especially enjoy dancing at táncház parties. The band plays cycles from different regions, and everyone dances that particular region’s dance freestyle, improvising motifs and footwork based on the appropriate “vocabulary” of that region. While I believe there is always more to learn, I consider myself to be quite fluent in the language of Hungarian folk dances.

I was excited to learn that the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble would be performing in Chicago at the Auditorium Theater. It gives me an opportunity to see some friends that still are with the company, but more importantly, it gives a chance for others to see the beauty and majesty of Hungarian folk dance. From the military-style “verbunk” or men’s recruiting dances, to the dizzying spinning of the women in many couples’ dances, the audience will see the variety of Hungarian dance and appreciate the years of training and hours of practice put in by each dancer. From the moment the dancers burst onto the stage, the audience will be treated to the sights and sounds of rural village life presented in a dazzling fashion. In so, they will begin to recognize the language of Hungarian folk dancing. 


Tibor Horváth has performed Hungarian folk dance for nearly thirty years in front of audiences in the Pacific Northwest, California, western Canada, and Hungary. His tours with the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble also allowed him to perform on stages across Europe. He has taught Hungarian dances to dancers and aficionados, both beginners and advanced dancers. A recent transplant to Chicago, he is currently dancing with the Borozda Hungarian Ensemble based in Norridge, IL.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Arts: A Love that will Last a Lifetime

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By Kelly Saroff, Auditorium Theatre Intern

Ever since I was five years old tagging along to my sister’s piano lessons, I have been intrigued by the arts. For almost as long, I have enjoyed organizing, scheduling, and communicating with others to make initiatives successful. So when I discovered Arts Administration as a career option, I was hooked.

Kelly, Auditorium Theatre Intern
Music has always been my passion. I started playing piano in elementary school, but it was my dream to play flute. The instrument fascinated me, and I wanted to be able to produce its characteristically beautiful, singing sound. I was so excited when I entered the band program in sixth grade and was able to pick up the flute for the first time. It wasn’t quite the magical experience I had hoped for—in fact, it took me several weeks before I could actually make a sound on the instrument! However, I kept working through middle and high school and eventually progressed to making the District and All-State Bands as well as participating in elite area youth ensembles. I attended a summer intensive music festival, where I began to seriously consider music as a career. I grew in my skills as a performer and musician, and I learned to love music in an entirely new way.

This experience inspired me to pursue a degree in Flute Performance at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. I soon discovered that while I loved performing on the flute, I also enjoyed being active in student groups on campus. As the former president of my sorority and a current vice president for the Panhellenic Association, I have found that I really enjoy working with others and being involved in the administrative or management aspects of an organization. These interests led me to explore the field of Arts Administration and eventually pursue a minor in Arts Administration along with my degree in Performance.

I have previously held Arts Administration internships at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, South Arts, and The Atlanta Opera. All three internships gave me different opportunities in the broader field of Arts Administration, and all of them confirmed my interest in Arts Administration as a career path. I am thrilled to be working at the Auditorium Theatre, where I am getting hands-on field experience at a very well-established arts organization in the heart of Chicago. I have already had the opportunity to assist with final preparations as well as attend two of the Auditorium Theatre’s major events: The Devil’s Ball and the Gala. I am excited to see what else my internship has in store as I learn about Development in a theatre setting.

My love for flute, music, and the arts is one that will last a lifetime. Combining my skills and my different interests has led me to expand my field experience through an internship at the Auditorium Theatre. As a college senior, I look toward the future as an opportunity to explore my love for the arts in a career in Arts Administration.

Click HERE to learn about internship opportunities at the Auditorium Theatre.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

From Young Passions to Big City Ambitions

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By Amber Snearl, Marketing Intern 

Amber, Auditorium Theatre Marketing Intern
Amber Snearl, Marketing Intern
Wearing a nice dress, putting on my best hosiery, and pulling my hair back so nicely that I looked as good as those on stage was a routine as a child. Being a part of the audience was just as important to me as being on stage was to many performers. You see, I’ve always been a fan of the theatre and have utilized every chance that I had to be in attendance at shows. Growing up in the city of St. Louis led to great opportunities for me to attend live theatre events. Between attending Shakespeare in the Park every summer and seeing live musicals at the Fox Theatre on a regular, I was always able to get my dose of theatre just when I needed it.

As an elementary student, I was very musically inclined; I played the trombone for three years and even worked my way into the school’s jazz band by the time I was in the sixth grade! Each chance that I got, I was playing in a talent show, being the supporting sound to a choir performance or even writing my own tune to show to my instructor.

While those years were fun, it wasn’t until I began my transition into middle school that I realized I no longer had a passion for being in the shows as much as wanting to know what went into producing them. As years passed I slowly came to the realization that I was more of a behind-the-scenes kind of girl! Marketing seemed to be right up my alley and I began to gear my education towards that while making it my major at Roosevelt University.

Diving into the major related courses is what has really gotten me inspired to market! It was Business Communications, BCOM 301, to be exact that opened my eyes to all that I could do with a degree in Marketing. I was able to create visual ads and draw up plans that would allow for a product or company to be exposed to the world. I got some kind of rush out of those projects and my inspiration and creativity just got flowing and hasn’t stopped since! I’m glad that it hasn’t, seeing as I have landed an internship with the wonderfully historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Within my first weeks already, I have been exposed to wonderful theatre. Seeing Ballet West perform The Sleeping Beauty in Roosevelt’s very own Historic Landmark Theatre has been wonderful and has shown promise that I will enjoy my time here.

Being here has allowed for that sweet memory of my childhood to spring back into the present while mixing my strong interest in Marketing all into one great experience. Being hired to intern here has not only helped me to gain a vision of what a possible career path could be like, but it has allowed for me to be back in the atmosphere of something that I have always enjoyed, and that is the theatre!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Intern Alix and the Role of the Arts Administrator

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By Alix de Commines, Auditorium Theatre Intern

As a kid, I played harp, took music theory classes, and danced ballet in a Parisian Academy of music, so I grew up immerged in an artistic atmosphere. If I live twice, I actually wish I could be a ballet dancer, but this life had other plans for me as I happen to be better at negotiating and following the business-oriented side of the arts. Promoting dance, especially ballet, through an arts administration internship appeared to be the best fit for me.

I feel like promoting the arts and working to broaden its audience is essential for our society. Indeed, our generation is highly specialized, and even though people are excellent at what they are doing, they don’t necessarily have a broad cultural overview. It’s a shame because it helps to build a balanced personality. By promoting the arts, your goal is to make people feel something new, think about things differently, and broaden their knowledge of artistic creation. I believe you cannot fulfill yourself without the arts, either professionally or personally. Anything in life can be related to the arts. It’s all about helping people build finer critical thinking skills, find out who they are, and figure out their artistic tastes. It also helps develop sensitivity to other cultures throughout the various types of ethnic dance and music, including: contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, flamenco, ballet, and many others.

The main message I want to work on at the Auditorium Theatre is telling people that these shows are made for them—for everyone. The arts are not as selective as they used to be. To make this audience broader, our mission is to use business strategies to reach people in order to make them aware that there is a huge cultural legacy that is not going to survive without them and without their interest. The arts administration staff at the Auditorium Theatre is doing an amazing job promoting dance and music. It’s a really good experience for me to work side by side with people who have the same goal of preserving and highlighting their 125-year-old building by attracting the most diverse population through broad and multi-cultural programming.

This internship has been really beneficial for me for various reasons. I have learned how a theater works, both backstage and front of house, why certain shows come to certain places, and how the artistic life is organized! You won’t have this opportunity twice in your life! So if you don’t know the awesome staff of the Auditorium Theatre yet, if you’ve never walked to the dress circle of one the most beautiful buildings in Chicago, if it has been a long time since you’ve seen a dance performance, or if you want to become part of the adventure, do it now and come to the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University! I will be more than happy and proud to give you a private tour!

Sabrina Lenzi, Répétiteur Works With The Joffrey Ballet on La Bayadère

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Sabrina Lenzi, native of Rome, Italy and former principal dancer, was hand selected by renowned choreographer Stanton Welch to be the “répétiteur” for The Joffrey Ballet’s upcoming production of La Bayadère. (Learn more about the ballet here.)

Ms. Lenzi, tell us about yourself and how this shaped your dance journey to where you are today.
Sabrina Lenzi, Répétiteur

I was born in Rome, Italy and left Italy at 16 years old to pursue dancing. I eventually joined the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany for 11 years. After that, I worked with David Bintley at the Birmingham Royal Ballet as a principal dancer in London, where I met Stanton Welch. I got to dance some of the lead roles in his ballets including Powder. Later, Stanton was asked to be the Artistic Director of Houston Ballet and he had asked me to help him with Bayadère.

How does Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère differ from the original Petipa version?

Stanton has an amazing sense of musicality; his ability to hear music is incredible. In this version, Stanton layered the original choreography – making some of the choreography more technically difficult, especially the men’s variations and the corps. He also layered upon the first pas de deux with Nikiya, making it more romantic. 

It’s interesting that Stanton has elaborated upon the dancing in the men's sections. It seems to be aligned with the evolution of ballet in that during Petipa’s time, the man’s role was more to highlight and accentuate the women whereas now, male dancing is becoming more central – establishing more of a sense of equality in the ballets. Do you think this is accurate?

Yes I do think that he is creating a sense of equality in the roles and in the dancing. He added more steps and dancing in the male roles as well as increased the level of technicality in their dancing as well.

What is your favorite part of La Bayadère?

I love the Kingdom of the Shades in Act III. Other favorites are the first pas de deux and the temple scene with all of the ladies. It has such a wonderful energy and atmosphere.

What is the most technically difficult part in regards to either staging La Bayadère and/or the dancing itself?

In staging the ballet, the most difficult part is that it is a classic piece, but has a very specific style, which can be challenging to teach. For the dancer, they have to really become the character and not just “be” the character but build it from the beginning and follow through until the end. It is also challenging for the dancer to remain engaged in their role both technically and artistically from the beginning until the end. La Bayadère is truly an “endurance ballet.”

Our audiences may be curious to know more about the live snakes (yes, real snakes!) and other props that play a role in this production. Can you tell us more about this?
Joffrey dancers Amber Neumann and Temur Suluashvili rehearse with live snakes
This ballet is very exciting – it is a busy, lively production and there are lots of props including snakes. There is a snake handler in the ballet and we are working with a company to decide which ones to use (they are in the 3-5 foot range and in case you are wondering, they are not venomous and have been hand raised, phew!)
From the dancers’ point of view, it can be very challenging to work with all of the props. For instance, in the temple scene, the women dance with large jugs and are wearing veils. Everything needs to be staged carefully so that the scenes run seamlessly. Additionally, in the Kingdom of Shades scene, there is a large ramp with lights involved in the scene, which adds to the effect for the audience, but for the dancers, it is difficult to remain focused and balanced.

There is certainly a lot for audiences to see and enjoy- from the dancing to the props, scenery, costumes, and more! La Bayadère is being performed at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, October 16-27. Click here to purchase tickets.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tweet to Win Tickets @AuditoriumCHGO

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Enter to win a pair of tickets to your favorite show during our 13/14 Season! To enter, tweet and complete the phrase below. Click the link next to your favorite show for a pre-made customizable tweet! The most creative tweet that represents or promotes the event best will win.

“If I won tix to <event name> @AuditoriumCHGO, <fill in the blank>. #theaud”

Performances in the 13/14 Season include:

·      Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, November 22 [Tweet]
·      Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, January 18-19 [Tweet]
·      Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, February 28 – March 9 [Tweet]
·      Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan Songs of the Wanderers, March 14-16 [Tweet]
·      Houston Ballet Aladdin, March 22-23 [Tweet]
·      Chick Corea and Béla Fleck, April 5 [Tweet]
·      River North Dance Chicago, April 12 [Tweet]
·      The Idan Raichel Project, May 15 [Tweet]
·      The Paul Taylor Dance Company, May 17-18 [Tweet]

Contest Rules: Only public tweets will be counted as entries. Enter as many times as you like for more chances to win!

One winner will be selected for each event  and contacted via Twitter on November 15. The most creative tweet that represents/promotes the event will win.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Living my Childhood Dream with Ballet West

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By Tom Mattingly, Ballet West Dancer

I grew up in Ridgecrest, CA.  It's a small town that the billboard on highway 395 states is "the gateway to Death Valley." It was mostly sand and tumbleweeds.  The tallest building in town was around three stories high.  My father was a teacher and my mother an artist. From an early age I loved dancing to music. Fred Astaire and Kurt Browning were my idols (Michelle Kwan too). At four years old I was a regular at dance school. Sierra Academy of Dance was a small studio, usually hovering around 55 students total, with just one boy – me. 

Joffrey Nutcracker tour to California.
Photo by Mark Goldweber
When I was eight or nine I learned about the Joffrey Ballet and what it meant to be a professional dancer. I had no idea that dance could be a career until then, and I knew instantly that that was what I wanted to do. When I was 11 I auditioned for the Joffrey's tour of "The Nutcracker" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. I made the cuts and became “Party Boy 4.” We had to learn the choreography quickly, stay in line and hope that our props (mine was a wheeled toy bear on a string) had no snafus. A man named Mark Goldweber was my rehearsal master and another (very tall) man named Adam Sklute was my Drosselmeyer. Move ahead 10 years and I've been offered a corps de ballet job with Ballet West by artistic director Adam Sklute and ballet master Mark Goldweber. When I told Mark that I was a Party Boy years ago his eyes lit up, and he excitedly said "I remember you! You had a little bowl cut and just learned how to shimmy!" The next day he came to work with a photo to prove it. It was me without any doubt. 

I've been to Chicago with Ballet West once before. We were performing Jiri Kylian's "Sinfonietta" as a part of the Chicago Dancing Festival. I was the traveling understudy. While it was great to visit Chicago with a light schedule, I was sad to not be dancing with the rest of the company. Adam promised me that next time we came to Chicago I'd be on stage. He made true on his promise and I am going to be one busy guy this week! I'll be dancing both casts of Prince Floristan in "Sleeping Beauty". It's a classical pas de trois with an incredibly demanding "Speedy Gonzales" type variation in the middle. Mark choreographed this on me when we premiered "Sleeping Beauty" in Salt Lake in 2011.  In the Gala performance I'll be featured in Nicolo Fonte's "Presto" and Val Caniparoli's "The Lottery." Fellow BW dancer Katie Critchlow and worked with Val to create the solo in "The Lottery" last fall. Neither of us has pulled the lot yet but I'm dying (pun) to choose the marked ballot this weekend. "Presto" is not only a Chicago premiere but a world premiere that Nicolo made in August. I'm in the unique position of exclusively performing choreography that has been made especially for me – it almost puts me in a comfort zone. 

Performing at the Auditorium Theatre is special for another reason as well. In May I had surgery to remove four bone spurs and a mass of scar tissue from my right ankle. These performances in Chicago will be my first with Ballet West since April. A tour of this nature might seem like an awful lot of pressure, but I couldn't be happier. I came from a small desert town and now I'm living my childhood dream and even getting paid to do it.  I'm dancing roles made especially for me by choreographers that I love and admire. I can't wait to take on this challenge and to have a few thousand people loudly smack their hands together when I'm done. 

Hopefully Mark will look down and smack his hands too. 


For tickets and information please click HERE.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello Chicago! Wonderful to see you again! [By Ballet West Dancer Jamie Hickey]

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By Jamie Hickey, Ballet West Dancer

Hello Chicago! It is so wonderful to see you again!

What can I say? Being back in this incredible city and performing at the Auditorium Theatre again is flooding me with so many emotions.

I moved to Chicago in 2009 to join Yhe Joffrey Ballet. As most of you know, the Auditorium is The Joffrey’s home theatre. I had grown so comfortable in this space and so in love with it. There is a vast amount of beauty and intricacy in the architecture of the theatre and when you step out on that stage it brings the energy of the performance to the next level. I had many career milestones right on this very stage from my very first real company performance to my very first solo role and pas de deux. These moments will forever be in my heart.

When I accepted the offer from Ballet West to perform in their production of The Sleeping Beauty this season, which would include a tour to Chicago, I could not turn it down. As much as I wanted to find a new company to dance with, it was certainly hard to leave the Auditorium Theatre and all of the memories I have made there. Now I get to make another memory right here on the Auditorium stage. I am beginning a new chapter and tomorrow night I will have my first performance with Ballet West.

Ballet West has been so welcoming to me since I joined just one month ago.  They are a company of beautiful artists who are inspiring me each day I am with them.

When I arrived back at the theatre a few days ago to begin rehearsals, I was giddy. Walking through the alley to get to the stage door, it felt like I was coming home. I have to admit, I get a kick out of everyone who is trying to figure out their way around all of the yellow doors separating the dressing room hallways and am glad I know my way.   Haha.  It was also comforting to see some familiar faces among the stage crew and wardrobe staff, who all welcomed me back with open arms.

So tomorrow night I will make my return to the Auditorium Stage as one of Aurora’s Friends, a member of the Hunting Party, and a Nymph. I do have some butterflies to perform again for my friends and supporters of the ballet who I know well, but I can’t wait to get out on that Auditorium stage and perform. 

Chicago, I hope you enjoy this weekend with Ballet West!

For tickets and information please click HERE.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Loving The Devil’s Ball for its “Old Chicago” Charm

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By Ashley May Coussens, Secretary of the Auditorium Theatre Junior Board

As I hurried up to the Auditorium Theatre in my favorite heels on September 28, 2012, I was amazed by the throng of people - all dressed to the nines - crowding the front doors and eagerly holding their tickets to The Devil's Ball. Even though it was my second year being on the hosting Junior Board, and even though I, as a member of the Event Planning Committee, knew exactly what was in store, I couldn't help but feel delighted when I was handed a glass of sparkling champagne as I walked through the threshold to the vast room before me. I felt like royalty as I took in the elegant charm of the theatre lobby, alive in all the glory of its 1889 splendor. It truly did feel like a night in "Old Chicago,” although there was a distinct atmosphere filled with the energy of a new generation of art-lovers, not to mention part-lovers, too! Hundreds of people filled the room with excitement - flooding the silent auction tables, buying as many wine raffle corks as they could carry in their clutch purses, tearing it up on the dance floor with the awesome DJ, making crazy faces with the funny accessories at the Smilebooth, enjoying the delectable hors d'oeuvres buffet, and - of course - drinking to their hearts' content. For all in attendance, it was an unforgettable night!

As I look forward to another fun-filled event this fall, I know that this year's Devil's Ball, sponsored by Rivers Casino, promises to be even better! One of the things I'm most excited for every year is the historical theatre tour. Sure, there are some great parties in this city, but how many of them are held in a National Historic Landmark as breathtakingly beautiful and historically rich as this? Full of intricately crafted architecture, the Auditorium was originally designed as an opera house but has been utilized for just about every type of event you could think of - ballets, classical music concerts, rock concerts, shows by famous comedians... At one point it was even used as a bowling alley! Who would have thought?! With 124 years of fascinating history in one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the world, there are plenty of interesting new tidbits to learn at The Devil's Ball each year.  This year, the tours have an added layer of discovery - in addition to the traditional guided tours, guests will receive a map of all of the most fascinating areas of the theatre and have the opportunity to explore on their own the areas that interest them most! For me, even just standing on the stage as the performers do and looking out into the expansive and awe-inspiring house with all of its grandiose balconies is exhilarating.

A variety of other new and exciting features will add to event this year. We'll have tequila tastings and specialty cocktails, and Uber will be giving out free cab rides to lucky attendees. This year our silent auction will build even more suspense by going digital with Auctions by Cellular, allowing people to bid remotely and always keep an eye on that item they want, no matter where they are at the party. We'll even have "personal shoppers" to help those who aren't the most tech savvy, and they'll be there to make sure you can still bid even if your phone dies. Some highlights of the packages we'll be bidding on: Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, Northwestern Football, Notre Dame Football, Broadway in Chicago, The Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Second City, Blue Man Group, performances by some of Chicago's top dance companies, cooking lessons, wine tastings, salon services... and so much more!

Every year I get more excited for The Devil's Ball - because a night in "Old Chicago" never gets old! Partying with the best of Chicago, all while knowing that you're helping a great cause by supporting the Auditorium's educational programs, architectural restoration, and world-class artistic performances - does it get any better than that? With the event less than a week away, be sure to mark your calendar for September 27, 2013, and get your ticket today.  Check out to see photos from last year's Smilebooth and hear why so many people keep coming back! Don't miss the event of the season - even Chicago Magazine agrees that it's "a devil of a time.”

Can't wait to see you there!
Ashley May Coussens
Secretary of the Auditorium Theatre Junior Board

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Devil's Ball - Through the Eyes of a Lens

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By Katy Bradford, 2012 Event Photographer

With the return of The Devil’s Ball this year, the Auditorium Theatre's Junior Board hosts an incredible evening of food, beverage and bidding. The lobby of the theatre provides an elegant backdrop for dancing and mingling.

Once you've grabbed a beverage and perused the silent auction items, you can mull over what to bid on while enjoying a complimentary backstage tour. While backstage you'll get a brief overview of the amazing musicians, dance companies, and actors who have graced the stage of the Auditorium Theatre. Next, stop by the photo booth to have photos taken. Props from boas to big sunglasses are provided, making your photos memorable, one of kind mementos of the evening for you and your friends to share.

Revisit the auction table to bid on a variety of silent auction items, ranging from professional photography sittings to Chicago Bears, Cubs and Sox ticket packages. If the silent auction doesn't get you, the Wine Cork Lottery may be more your speed. Corks are numbered and sold throughout the night. Winners then match their corks to a surprise bottle of wine to take home at the end of the evening. The selection includes a range of labels, even high-end bottles depending on how the corks fall.

As the evening winds down, the dancing continues and the silent auction winners are announced. The Devil's Ball is the perfect way to spend an evening with friends or come solo and meet new people who enjoy supporting the arts while having an incredible time.

Tickets for this year’s event can be purchased online through the Auditorium Theatre.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Growing Up with Ballet West [of "Breaking Pointe"]

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I am very excited to see Ballet West perform at the Auditorium Theater this fall. I grew up in Salt Lake City and feel a special kinship with Ballet West. I am bringing 60 people from my studio to the performance in order to share the experience.  Many people in Chicago would have no way of knowing the high quality of this ballet company unless they have been watching Breaking Pointe on television. 

Salt Lake City is a very unusual city.  Amidst the Rocky Mountains,  and less than 1/10 the size of Chicagoland , Salt Lake has an extremely strong arts community. The city has 3 modern dance companies of excellent repute, a fine symphony orchestra (The Utah Symphony), Ballet West, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the University of Utah, which has one of the best university ballet programs in the country. After establishing the San Francisco Ballet with his brothers Harold & Lew, Willam Christensen came to Salt Lake and began the University Ballet program in 1951.  Other universities had modern dance programs , but not a program for ballet dancers. He then went on to create  the Utah Civic Ballet which then became Ballet West in 1963. Bill Christensen was the first to stage  the full length Coppelia, Swan Lake and Nutcracker in the United States. 

When I was growing up in Salt Lake, one of the most exciting times of the year was the Nutcracker auditions. Children from Salt Lake area and even as far as Ogden came to audition. There were many strong ballet schools so the competition was fierce to be selected.  We used to do 24 performances of Nutcracker between Christmas and New Years, traveling  to Ogden, Logan, and Provo for additional performances. 

When I reached the university ballet department,  I was able to study with Bill Christensen, or Mr. C as we called him, and many other marvelous faculty members. Bill had an energy and charisma that made class fun and a drive for perfection that made us all better dancers. He has left a wonderful legacy of dance at the University and with Ballet West.  Ballet West now draws superb dancers from all over the country.  Under the leadership of Adam Sklute, the company is becoming even stronger. Last February I saw the Ballet West production of Cinderella in Salt Lake, and it was exquisite: beautiful ballet technique, amazing costumes and sets and excellent interpretation of the roles by the dancers. I would recommend that everyone take the opportunity to see this gem of a company at the Auditorium Theatre (October 4-6).

Click here for tickets and information.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Enter to Win #DevilsBall Tickets on Twitter!

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Enter to win a pair of FREE tickets to the Auditorium Theatre Junior Board's The Devil's Ball on Friday, September 27! The evening includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live DJ, theatre tours, auction and the return of the ever popular Smilebooth!

How to Enter: Tweet and complete the following prompt on Twitter to enter to win:

“If I won tix 2 #DevilsBall @AuditoriumChgo I would...”

Contest Rules: All entries must include #DevilsBall and @AuditoriumChgo. Only public tweets will be counted as entries. Enter as many times as you like for more chances to win!

One winner will be selected and contacted via Twitter on September 20th. The most creative tweet that represents/promotes the event will win.

SmileboothThe Devil's Ball from Smilebooth Chicago on Vimeo.

About the Junior Board:

The Auditorium Theatre Junior Board is a diverse group of young professionals committed to furthering the mission of the Auditorium Theatre. The Junior Board is devoted to raising awareness and generating support for the Auditorium’s educational outreach efforts and world-renowned programming and helping fund the restoration and preservation of our National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The meaning behind "The Devil's Ball"

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“He play'd the music at the Devil's Ball
 In the Devil's hall
I saw the funniest devil that I ever saw…”
- Irving Berlin

The Devil’s Ball is a is an annual fundraiser thrown by our Junior Board in order to raise money and generate awareness for the Auditorium Theatre for continued support in artistic programming, education, and restoration efforts.

So now you ask, why the name, “The Devil’s Ball?” We’ve had several questions about the name lately, so we thought we’d clear up the confusion. The event was partially named after the songAt the Devil’s Ball (1913), composed by Irving Berlin. The song offers a view of life in a contemporary city of 1913 as exciting and glamorous. Mr. Berlin is a very well know composer, having created the scores for Madame Butterfly, Top Hat and even White Christmas, a song featured in Holiday Inn (1935). And just as a side note, he was popular icon within the Hollywood elite of the era; he was a very close friend and colleague with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and Ginger Rogers. We encourage you to listen to the song and read the full lyrics.

The Devil’s Ball was also inspired by the popular novel by Erik Larson and Chicago’s connection to the 1893 World’s Fair that the Auditorium Theatre was a part of. The author actually quotes some of the features of the Auditorium in his novel: "The result was an opulent structure that, for the moment, was the biggest private building in America. Its theater contained more than four thousand seats, twelve hundred more than New York's Metropolitan Opera House. And it was air-conditioned, through a system that blew air over ice."

So, now you know a little bit more about this event and the reference it has not only to the Auditorium Theatre, but also to Chicago’s history. The Devil’s Ball is a cocktail party that celebrates not only the Auditorium, but also ‘old Chicago’ in a gala event for those 21 years of age and above, as there will be an open bar.  The Junior Board is a group of young professionals dedicated to the preservation and restoration of our National Historic Landmark, Auditorium Theatre.  The event will also feature a silent auction, wine raffle, heavy appetizers, guided theatre tours of the historic Auditorium Theatre, a DJ and dancing.  Plus, make a trip to our popular return attraction, the Smilebooth. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore Chicago in a whole new way; dance with us at the Devil’s Ball.

The Devil's Ball
Presented by the Auditorium Theatre Junior Board and Rivers Casino

Venue: Auditorium Theatre Lobby
Dates: Friday, September 27, 2013
Times: 7:30 pm
Price: See Below

Join the Auditorium Theatre Junior Board for the third annual Devil's Ball. The evening includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live DJ, theatre tours, auction and the return of the ever popular Smilebooth!

$65 until September 13
$75 from September 14 - September 26
$85 at the door (cash only)

Use special offer code BALL when purchasing

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ensemble Español's Bolero - 20th Anniversary Celebration

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Ensemble Español will perform Bolero as part of the 2013 Chicago Dancing Festival on August 22. Additional information can be found on the Auditorium Theatre website.

Considered Maurice Ravel's most popular work, the Bolero premiered in Paris in 1929. That same year the great conductor, Arturo Toscanini introduced Bolero to the U.S.  Ravel was a great admirer of the Spanish composer, Isaác Albéniz who described his work as "orchestral tissue without music." Bolero consists of a theme and a rhythmic pattern which have permanently impressed themselves on the world's musical consciousness. The Bolero was originally written for ballerina, Ida Rubinstein (Bronislava Nijinska was the choreographer). She presented it as a solitary dancer in an empty café dancing alone until she was joined by one partner, then other couples until the room was a swirling mass. The ballet was a success and the music a sensation. This work is dedicated to the memory of Irving B. Dobkin, long-time officer of the Board of Directors and friend of the Ensemble Español.

Since its creation, Ensemble Español’s Bolero has graced some of the greatest landmark theaters in the world to well over one million audience members and been featured in two documentaries; Dance for Life: 20th Anniversary Documentary in 2010 (winner of two Emmy awards for best documentary and best director –Scott Silberstein of HMS media) and Sobre Las Olas del Mar: A story of Flamenco in the U.S. 2013 by director, Carolina Loyola Garcia. Dame Libby’s Bolero has also been featured on ABC television, Public Television and on Dean Richards, WGN Radio and Television and international media in China, Puerto Rico and Poland.

Internationally Dame Libby’s Bolero has been performed in Puerto Rico, Poland, China and in the U.S. for the St. Louis Dance Festival in 2010, 2011, 2013 to a roaring record breaking 12 standing ovation curtain calls. The Ensemble will present Bolero on August 22 & 24, 2013 in a Chicago historic double header at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University and on the Pritzker Pavillion stage in Millennium Park as part of this years Chicago Dancing Festival.


"...Bolero a huge success…3,000 people over three many standing ovations that if the curtain had not finally dropped the audience would still be applauding."
Michael Uthoff, Artistic and Executive Director, Dance St. Louis Festival

“This world-class company and its roster of guest artists never ceases to bedazzle its audiences with the variety, precision, beauty and heat of its performances...knocked it out of the park with Bolero…most phenomenal piece…extraordinary.”
Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times / Auditorium Theater, Chicago

“Savvy stagecraft…set to Maurice Ravel’s famously escalating composition…sensuous choreography.” Laura Molzahn, DanceMagazine / Harris Theater, Chicago as part of Global Rhythms

“Bolero…beautiful, full of expression and magic…the music, dance and images will surely inscribe themselves in the memory of the audience that gave it a standing ovation and demanded encore” 
Polski Theater, Warsaw, Poland in honor of Warsaw Universities 190th Anniversary

“Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre's bravura benefit debut--opened the show with gorgeous, swirling, red-drenched costumes and dynamite flamenco…there was a kind of dignity to the occasion, visible at the very outset when the crowd was hushed, as if spellbound, by the sheer glamour and spectacle of Ensemble Español's opening, holding back their huzzahs until Dame Libby Komaiko's incandescent take on "Bolero" had ended... exciting, sensual and breathtaking” 
Sid Smith, Chicago-Tribune as part of Dance for Life Benefit Concert at the Harris Theater, Chicago

“I get Goosebumps…absolute harmony…truly spectacular…highly, highly recommend…one of the spectacular performances of Dance for Life I have seen in it’s 20 year history…I cannot rave enough about Ensemble Español and Bolero”
Dean Richards, Entertainment Reporter, WGN Radio and Television, Chicago Harris Theater

The first Dance St. Louis program of the year was a stunner. The artistry and athleticism of the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater lit up the Touhill Performing Arts Center this weekend with an exhilarating and colorful evening of Spanish Regional, Classical, and Flamenco music and dance. Think of it as a Spanish “Riverdance” but farther from Las Vegas and closer to its roots. The evening concluded with what has apparently become a signature piece for the company, a dazzling realization of Ravel’s “Boléro” accompanied by projected images of drawings and paintings by Picasso.”
Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX St. Louis / Touhill Center for the Performing Arts

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater lives up to its name, beguiling the crowd with quicksilver choreography steeped in an atmosphere of romance. In doing so, the Chicago-based company transcends geographic boundaries to get to the essence of what dance is all about: emotion in motion. The evening culminated in "Bolero," set to the famously sensuous Ravel composition and choreographed by the company's founder, Dame Libby Komaiko. This was ensemble work at its most transcendent — not just a stage picture, but one bursting with life. 
Calvin Wilson, STL Today / Touhill Center for the Performing Arts

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Singing and Dancing to The Aud, by Marketing Intern Lisa Klier

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By Lisa Klier, Marketing Intern

Growing up, my neighbors knew me as the girl they could hear singing a mile away. I would sing all day, every day with no reservations. Singing was my passion, even at the expense of my family. (I once sang Jingle Bells for an entire car ride up to Wisconsin in the middle of July with a full car and no air conditioning!)

Since then, singing, music, and performing arts has in some way been integrated in my life. I sang in church choir when I was young and performed in children’s theatre. In fifth grade, I picked up the flute. I immediately fell in love with that and played throughout high school. I also took choir, music electives, and extracurricular music ensembles such as jazz a cappella and colorguard.

Colorguard was a turning point for me in high school. As a part of the marching band, I joined a group of 40 other girls and learned the art of colorguard. Through collaborative dance, flag and rifle spins I found a new outlet to express myself.

The first time I saw our instructor dance, it moved me in such a way that I can still remember it vividly today. I wanted to move like that, to learn how to feel the music and bring it to life using my body. This is where I first heard the name Martha Graham and learned what an arabesque was.

It was all of this that initially made me decide to pursue music education at Illinois State University. Last minute though, I opted for DePaul University so I could be in the city. I went in as undeclared and eventually found my way into the wonderful world of communications. After my first public relations course, I instantly knew that this was what I wanted to do. I knew it was something that I could combine with my passion for the performing arts.

Long story short, these are the influences in my life and what shaped me to be the person that I am today and choose this career path. I graduated DePaul in June of 2012 and since then have been networking and working part-time at a local State Farm office as a marketing assistant.

My internship at the Auditorium Theatre is my first in the theatre industry. Here I've seen firsthand how important interdepartmental relations are. I attended the first ever Summer Solstice gala, the group sales party, and the Cloud Gate press conference. These events allowed me to get to know theatre patrons, performers, and staff even better. I’ve worked on several projects including creating multiple surveys to gain viewer feedback after performances. My final project includes a video project from the Hands Together Hearts to Art camp. The video will show highlights from camp and give an inside view on what the campers spent their time working on.

My time here at the Auditorium comes to an end in August. Time has flown by and I am thankful for my time spent here, the amazing staff members who have taught and guided me along the way, and for the knowledge that I've gained that will help me take my next step. As for now, I know I'm on the right track and am looking forward to the next chapter in my life.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dance for Life - Raising Funds & Awareness for HIV/AIDS Care [FLASH MOB VIDEO]

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By: Anthony Guerrero - Producer, Dance for Life Chicago

Dance for Life reaches its 22nd year and has become the Midwest's largest dance performance-based fundraiser. It allows the Chicago professional dance community the opportunity to play a proactive role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The mission is to raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS care, education and prevention.

In the summer of 1992, Dance for Life premiered at the Organic Theatre, selling out 400 seats weeks in advance and raising $18,001 for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.  The following years, the event moved to the Athenaeum Theatre, the Skyline Stage at Navy Pier and the beautiful Harris Theater selling out each year weeks in advance.  Dance for Life is proud to be housed at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University for a third year where the audiences for this one night event have exceeded 2,000 guests.

This year Dance for Life is raising funds for AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago House and The Dancers’ Fund.  The Dancers' Fund originated in 1994 and was organized by DFL board member, Harriet Ross.  It provides small, personal-assistance grants to members of the Chicago area's professional dance community living with a life threatening disease.  This includes dancers, choreographers, administrators and all those working in professional dance.  The fund will offer assistance in, but not limited to, the following areas: rent, utilities, insurance, medication and travel.

This year, DFL presents pieces from DanceWorks Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago and Thodos Dance Chicago.  In addition to these amazing companies, there will be a performance of Le Corsaire Pas de Deux by Independent Artists, Abigail Simon and Mauro Villanueva.  And the evening would not be complete without the two World Premiere Finale pieces choreographed by Harrison McEldowney & Jeremy Plummer closing Act 1 and Randy Duncan closing the night.

Be prepared for an evening of dance like no other with a little something for everyone.  This is the only place you will find all of these talented dancers working together in support of each other, their community and those living with HIV/AIDS as they dance for life.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Death Boogie Twitter Poetry Contest

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Enter to win a pair of FREE tickets to see Death Boogie: A Hip Hop Poetry Musical at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on September 5-7, 2013.

To enter on Twitter, craft a short poem (no longer than one tweet) about “courage” and tag @AuditoriumChgo. Be creative and enter multiple times for more chances to win. One winner will be chosen on September 2.

Death Boogie, the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival winner of TWO Musical Theatre Matters awards for BEST New Music and Best Innovation in Musical Theatre, is a multimedia Hip Hop Poetry Musical that uses projected illustrations and live music to follow the fictional story of Victor Spartan, a blue collar worker turned revolutionist.

Written and performed by Actor/Poet Darian Dauchan. Directed by Jennifer McGrath.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beyond the Gold Curtain: Show Off the Stage [VIDEO]

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We are thrilled to launch our brand new web series "Beyond the Gold Curtain." In BTGC, we'll give you glimpses of the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago that the audience never gets to see. Journey with us on stage, up in the grid, above the arches, and more! In this first episode, we'll put you right where the performers stand as we "Show off the Stage."


Monday, July 8, 2013

Preview: Scott Gryder in "LIFE IS A CABARET" [VIDEO]

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Don't miss Scott Gryder in "LIFE IS A CABARET! The Music and Words of Kander & Ebb" on Saturday, July 20 in the Auditorium Theatre's Katten/Landau Studio. Catch a preview of the show and message from Scott below!

LIFE IS A CABARET! The Music and Words of Kander & Ebb

Summer Cabaret Series
Venue: Katten/Landau Studio - 425 S. Wabash, 4th Floor
Dates: Saturday, July 20, 2013
Times: 8PM
Price: $25 - $35 (VIP)
A 50th Anniversary musical tribute to the legendary songwriting team that gave us ChicagoKiss of the Spider WomanCabaret and so many more Broadway hits!  An intimate cabaret performance in the Auditorium’s studio space, featuring Scott Gryder with Nick Sula on piano, and Phil Martin on drums.
About the Artists:
Box Office: 50 E. Congress Pkwy. | Phone: 800.982.ARTS (2787) | Groups of 6+ 312.341.2357

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