Auditorium Theatre Announces 2018-19 Season

Auditorium Theatre Announces 2018-19 Season

Photo: The live-orchestra “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the Hollywood Bowl | Kelly A. Swift

The Auditorium Theatre has announced its 2018-19 season, including three curated collections of events entitled the “International Dance Series,” the “‘Made in Chicago’ 312 Dance Series,” the “American Music Series,” and the returning “National Geographic Live Series.”

The International Dance Series will feature American Ballet Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s whimsical “Whipped Cream,” with a 1924 score by Richard Strauss, and a design by pop-surrealism pioneer Mark Ryden. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns, commemorating its 60th anniversary as a company and the 50th anniversary of its first appearance at the Auditorium. Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg will bring the North American premiere of Boris Eifman’s “Pygmalion,” a comedic twist on the classic Greek myth about a sculptor who falls in love with one of his creations. Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández will honor the cultural heritage of Mexico on the Auditorium stage with performances of traditional folkloric ballet.

American Ballet Theatre in Whipped Cream, photo by Gene Schiavone

The new “‘Made in Chicago’ 312 Dance Series” will feature three sets of performances by Chicago dance companies. The first taps Ate9 Dance Company, performing a collaborative work entitled “calling glenn” with Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, along with Visceral Dance Chicago and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. The second will have Trinity Irish Dance Company performing solo, with its first full-length engagement in Chicago in over a decade. Closing out the series is a weekend Hubbard Street Dance Chicago with Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company. In addition to a collaborative work danced by both companies, Malpaso will perform a piece commissioned by the Auditorium.

The American Music Series features legendary Disney and Broadway composer Alan Menken with “A Whole New World of Alan Menken,” with the man himself at the piano for a retrospective of his career. On Halloween, the Auditorium will present a special screening of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” featuring the Chicago Philharmonic performing Danny Elfman’s score. In January, the theater will commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 14th-annual “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah,” a blues, jazz, gospel, and rock twist on Handel’s classic oratorio.

The National Geographic Live speaker series highlights this year inspirational women. Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA will provide an in-depth look at influential women throughout history, including Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Mireya Mayor, former NFL cheerleader and current expert primatologist, will relate her travels to some of the wildest and most remote places on earth. Hilaree O’Neill, the first woman to summit Mt. Everest and its neighboring mountain Lhotse in a single 24-hour period, will recount her trek to the summit of Burma’s Hkakabo Razi mountain with the National Geographic team.

“The Auditorium Theatre was built to be the ‘Theatre for the People,’ a place where people from all across the city could come together to experience powerful stories told through music, dance, and spoken word,” said CEO Tania Castroverde Moskalenko. “Our 2018-19 Season honors that original vision by offering narratives that will resonate with everyone, expanding the theater’s impact on the city and beyond. We welcome new and exciting performers to our stage, and celebrate the return of companies who have made the theater their Chicago home for many years. I know that everyone will find stories they can connect to throughout the season.”

Subscription packages and tickets for groups of 10 or more people are on sale now. Individual tickets to the first half of the season go on sale August 3 at 10 AM, and individual tickets for the second half of the season go on sale October 19 at 10 AM.

The Auditorium Theatre’s 2018-19 Season (from the press release):


Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández
Saturday, November 10, 2018 | 7:30PM
Sunday, November 11, 2018 | 3PM

Recognized internationally for its presentations of traditional Mexican dance, this world-famous company returns to Chicago with a show the whole family can enjoy! Called “captivating” by The New York Times and a company with “extraordinary flair” by the Chicago Sun-Times, Ballet Folklórico “sets the stage ablaze with vibrant color and engaging rhythms” (The Boston Globe) as it honors México’s rich cultural history.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 7PM
Thursday, March 7, 2019 | 7:30PM
Friday, March 8, 2019 | 11AM (one hour Student Matinee performance)
Friday, March 8, 2019 | 7:30PM
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | 2PM
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | 8PM
Sunday, March 10, 2019 | 3PM

The legendary multi-cultural company commemorates their 60th anniversary — and the 50th anniversary performing at the Auditorium Theatre, their Chicago home! Featuring exhilarating new works and timeless classics, Ailey’s annual performances are “always a highlight of the Chicago season” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “a Chicago dance tradition, if we ever had one” (Chicago Tribune). Each performance ends with company founder Alvin Ailey’s signature work Revelations, an enduring masterpiece that has been an audience favorite since the company’s inception.

American Ballet Theatre – “Whipped Cream” 
Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 7:30PM
Friday, April 12, 2019 | 11AM (one hour Student Matinee performance)
Friday, April 12, 2019 | 7:30PM
Saturday, April 13, 2019 | 2PM
Saturday, April 13, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, April 14, 2019 | 2PM

America’s National Ballet Company gives the Midwest premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s “Whipped Cream” on the Auditorium Theatre’s landmark stage. Called “a bewitching success” by the Los Angeles Times and “visually enchanting” by The Wall Street Journal, this whimsical story ballet follows a young boy after he overindulges in sweets and falls into a sugar-induced delirium! Set to a 1924 score by Richard Strauss and featuring colorful costumes and jubilant sets by pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden, “Whipped Cream” is “a candyland triumph” (The New York Times) fit for the whole family!

Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg – “Pygmalion” 
Friday, May 17, 2019 | 7:30PM
Saturday, May 18, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, May 19, 2019 | 2PM

Russia’s most innovative dance company returns to the Auditorium Theatre following the triumph of 2017’s Red Giselle, named one of the best dance performances of the year by the Chicago Tribune. The company gives the North American premiere to Boris Eifman’s re-envisioned “Pygmalion,” a new comedic take on the classic Greek myth set to music by Johann Strauss. Eifman — known for his “Russian psychological ballet theatre” and choreography that is “big on tumultuous narrative and passionately seething characters” (Los Angeles Times) — and his dancers have been called “among the most fascinating artists before the public today” (San Francisco Chronicle).


Ate9 Dance Company/Visceral Dance Chicago/Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
Friday, November 16, 2018 | 7:30PM

In the first evening of the Auditorium’s “Made in Chicago” 312 Dance Series, experience 3 inventive and ground-breaking dance companies! The renowned Ate9 Dance Company makes its Auditorium Theatre debut alongside Chicago-based percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche from Wilco, giving the Chicago premiere to the collaborative work “calling glenn.” Visceral Dance Chicago, a “young, brave, ambitious” company that “[boasts] sophisticated dancing and design” (Chicago Tribune) returns to the Auditorium stage with its bold, progressive style. Deeply Rooted Dance Theater presents its signature combination of ballet, modern, and African contemporary dance. The Chicago Sun-Times calls the company “Chicago’s answer to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater” that is known for its “spiritual fervor, physical prowess, and sheer, unalloyed joy in movement.”

Trinity Irish Dance Company
Saturday, February 2, 2019 | 7:30PM

The company known as the birthplace of contemporary Irish dance returns to Chicago for the first time in over a decade as part of the “Made in Chicago” 312 Dance Series. Called “sophisticated and commanding” by the Los Angeles Times and “impossibly complex” by The New York Times, Trinity has sold out shows around the world and at distinguished venues throughout North America, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; the Joyce Theater in New York City; and Royce Hall in Los Angeles. The company has also made memorable appearances on television shows like Conan, The Tonight Show, and Good Morning America. This one-night-only appearance includes a world premiere and classic works, including Founding Artistic Director Mark Howard’s critically-acclaimed Soles, a tribal and timeless explosion of lightning-fast agility.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Malpaso Dance Company
Saturday, March 2, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, March 3, 2019 | 3PM

Two acclaimed contemporary dance companies – one known for its influence on America’s contemporary dance scene and one that is innovating Cuban dance in Havana – join forces for the first time. In addition to a collaborative work danced by both companies, Malpaso performs a world-premiere piece by Chicago’s Robyn Mineko Williams, commissioned by the Auditorium Theatre, and Hubbard Street performs a work by Malpaso Artistic Director Osnel Delgado. Malpaso dancers are “both humble and sparklingly present – and remarkably strong all around” (The New York Times), while Hubbard Street’s dancing is “as breathtaking as ever” (WTTW). Don’t miss these forward-thinking dance pioneers when they hit the Auditorium Theatre’s stage.


Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 | 7:30PM

“This is Halloween, this is Halloween!” Celebrate Halloween with this very special screening of the beloved movie Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Follow along as Jack, the Pumpkin King, attempts to bring the Christmas spirit to his spooky hometown. The classic film is brought to life with a concert performance featuring the Chicago Philharmonic and the residents of Halloweentown! Time Out New York says “[fans] are in for a real treat.”

“Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah”
Friday, January 18, 2019 | 11AM (one hour Student Matinee performance)
Saturday, January 19, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, January 20, 2019 | 3PM

It’s always cold outside this time of year, but it’s hot inside the Auditorium Theatre! Warm up with celebrated soloists Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and Karen Marie Richardson — joined by famed Detroit pianist Alvin Waddles and over 100 Chicago musicians and singers — as they put a blues, jazz, gospel, and rock twist on Handel’s classic oratorio. Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of creating a “beloved community” as people from all across the city and beyond come together under one roof to be a part of this “joyously interactive, everybody-clap-your-hands experience” (Chicago Tribune).

“A Whole New World of Alan Menken”
Saturday, March 30, 2019 | 7:30PM

A must-see evening for any Broadway lover! Alan Menken — the Oscar, Tony, and Grammy Award-winning composer and pianist behind beloved scores including “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin” — brings his one-man retrospective show to our landmark stage. The “living legend” (Broadway World) performs some of his best-loved tunes and tells the story of his expansive career, which includes co-creating the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” adapting his own music from classic Disney films for the stage, and writing scores for movies like “Newsies” and “Tangled.”


National Geographic Live returns to Chicago on the Auditorium’s historic stage with a year-long series dedicated to inspirational women.

“When Women Ruled the World” with Dr. Kara Cooney
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | 7PM

Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA, joins us for a look at a time in ancient history when women ruled the world. Often neglected in history books, these women were considered exceptions to the rule, political pawns in a patriarchal society, but their power and influence is undeniable. Cleopatra used her sensuality — and her money — to build alliances with warlords of the Roman empire. Neferusobek was the first woman to definitively take the title of King. Nefertiti is known more for her beauty than for bringing a fractured Egypt together. What can we learn from how these women ruled? Dr. Cooney shares some illuminating answers.

“Pink Boots and a Machete” with Mireya Mayor
Thursday, January 24, 2019 | 7PM

This evening features Mireya Mayor, a former NFL cheerleader and daughter of Cuban immigrants, who followed her unlikely dreams to become a respected primatologist. This audacious explorer is the co-discoverer of the world’s smallest primate in Madagascar and an Emmy Award-nominated wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel. Mayor tells her tales of traveling to some of the wildest and most remote places on earth, armed with little more than a backpack, notebook, and hiking boots.

“Point of No Return” with Hilaree O’Neill
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 | 7PM

Hear the harrowing story of the National Geographic team’s climb to the summit of Burma’s Hkakabo Razi mountain. The team knew the journey would be hard, but what they didn’t realize was that their greatest obstacles wouldn’t be dwindling rations, grueling jungle hikes, or life-threatening hypothermia — it was the force of conflicting personalities that threatened to unravel the entire endeavor. Group leader Hilaree O’Neill, the first woman to summit Mt. Everest and its neighboring mountain Lhotse in a single 24-hour period, recounts the tough decisions she had to make to keep her team together, accompanied by photographer Cory Richards’ dramatic stills and clips from Renan Ozturk’s searing documentary “Down to Nothing.”


Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Saturday, November 3, 2018 | 8PM

The legends who immediately shot to the top of the charts when they debuted in the 1960s and influenced an entire generation of musicians — including the Bee Gees, the Beach Boys, and Billy Joel — return to the Auditorium Theatre stage for the first time in over 40 years! Known for world-famous songs that inspired the smash Broadway hit Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli is a true American icon. His incredible career with The Four Seasons, as well as his solo success, has spawned countless hit singles including unforgettable tunes like “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “December ’63 – Oh What A Night,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” and of course, “Grease.”

About author

Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue

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