Chicago Performers Commemorate Stephen Sondheim on November 16
On November 16, 2019, the Auditorium Theatre continues its 130th anniversary season with a salute to the living legend Stephen Sondheim in a one-night-only event, directed and produced by local cabaret star Joan Curto. In Chicago Celebrates Sondheim!, performers from across the city pay tribute to the lyricist and composer in honor of his 90th birthday season by putting their own spin on songs from classic productions such as Company, Follies, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, and more.
The Auditorium Theatre's Annual Fall Gala, attended by 300 of the theatre's friends and supporters, precedes the performance. Patti Eylar and Charlie Gardner are honored with the fourth annual Adler and Sullivan Award for their continued commitment to the Auditorium Theatre and the performing arts in Chicago.
"Stephen Sondheim changed musical theatre as we know it, and we are thrilled to bring together some of Chicago's greatest performers as they tip their hats to him and his contributions to the genre," says C.J. Dillon, Auditorium Theatre Chief Programming Officer. "It is fitting to commemorate Sondheim's legacy and the impact he has had ahead of his milestone 90th birthday."
The event features performances from theatre, jazz, classical, and folk musicians, including singer-songwriter Susan Werner, musical theatre performer Heidi Kettenring, jazz singer Paul Marinaro, tenor Rodrick Dixon, cabaret artist Beckie Menzie, classical and spiritual vocalist Robert Sims, and singer-pianist Johnny Rodgers, in addition to a vocal ensemble that includes David Edelfelt, Sophie Grimm, Laura Freeman, Tom Michael, Marianne Murphy Orland,and Jaymes Osborne. The finale of the program also features soprano Alfreda Burke and students from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. Orchestral accompaniment for the evening is provided by the Chicago Philharmonic, conducted by Rich Daniels.
Curto has been performing the work of Sondheim for decades, and her interpretations of his music have been called "savvy, brainy, [and] shrewdly delivered" and "an illuminating way to celebrate the riches of Sondheim's art" by the Chicago Tribune. Her previous productions at the Auditorium, commemorating Cole Porter in honor of his 125th birthday and Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne in honor of their centennials, received much acclaim.
"I'm delighted to highlight Sondheim's incredible body of work at the Auditorium Theatre, one of my favorite places to perform in the city," says Curto. "His beautiful music and lyrics will sound even better performed at the acoustic marvel that is the Auditorium, enhanced by the scenic backdrop of the iconic theatre."
Tickets start at $30 and are available online here, by phone at 312.341.2300, or in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E Ida B Wells Dr).