Every landmark building needs a strong foundation…
…a source of strength that helps shoulder the burden
…and a base of support upon which the structure must rest.

In each issue of “The Curtain Speech” this section will highlight some of the Auditorium Theatre’s cornerstones—individuals, corporations, and foundations whose support has been especially heartwarming. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity and for their kindness. And we want to acknowledge them because their selflessness is instrumental in helping our National Historic Landmark persevere, prosper, and grow.

They are committed to making a difference in the world.
They are friends just like you.
They are our cornerstones.

A Dynamic Duo
 
The arrival of the New Year is a time of contrasts.  As we turn another page on the calendar, we have occasion to celebrate, reflect and take pride in our accomplishments.  Yet it is also a point when we look toward the possibilities that lie before us and revel in the excitement of the unknown.   

Of course, no matter which way we turn our gaze—to the past, present, or future—none of our achievements could be possible without some of the Auditorium Theatre’s most compassionate and treasured friends.  Two of these dear members of the Auditorium family, Frantz and McGhee Osse, have been instrumental in helping our theatre reach unprecedented success.

Success, however, is nothing new to these exceptional individuals.  Frantz is the founder of the consulting firm, Thane-Kenscoff, and McGhee currently works as Co-CEO of Burrell Communications Group here in Chicago – one of the country’s largest ad agencies specializing in multicultural marketing communications.  McGhee says that her interest in advertising was sparked by Darrin Stephens during the days of the popular TV show, “Bewitched.”  Ironically, many at the Auditorium Theatre would more likely associate McGhee with the character Samantha, because the speed, ease, and scope of her endeavors throughout our organization suggest that she almost certainly possesses supernatural powers. 

Although they are Chicago transplants (Frantz is originally from Haiti, McGhee from Columbus, Georgia), the Osses have made themselves right at home in a city of big shoulders… and big hearts. As one of the Auditorium’s most enthusiastic and dedicated board members, McGhee serves as a driving force behind many of this historic landmark’s most crucial efforts.  Frantz is also heavily involved in the community, and as a trustee of Roosevelt University, he helps provide insight and direction for that organization’s ongoing initiatives.

They are extremely appreciative of all the Auditorium Theatre has to offer, particularly “Too Hot to Handel” and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  Some of their favorite experiences at our historic landmark include: the festive atmosphere surrounding Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, hosting a group of friends at Ailey performances over the years, and attending a trip to Cuba during which they encountered a window to customs, culture, and artistry with which many people in the United States are unfamiliar. 

Although they admire all the talent to grace our stage, they are also drawn to our outreach programs, especially “Hands Together, Heart to Art,” the Auditorium’s summer arts camp for children who have experienced the death of a parent.   They feel, like all those who have benefitted from “Hands Together, Heart to Art,” that this special healing opportunity is “phenomenal in concept and execution…(and is) a real gift to our community.” 

McGhee and Frantz are particularly impressed with the eclecticism of the Auditorium Theatre’s programming and they “love the diversity that the theatre provides.”  We at the Auditorium like to say that the theatre means many things to many people, and these two dear friends echo our sentiments by stating that “there is something for everyone each season.”  They, like so many others throughout the Chicago area, are eagerly anticipating the Auditorium Theatre’s upcoming 125th anniversary, and are looking forward to seeing The Royal Ballet, which will return to Chicago for the first time in thirty-seven years.

Despite their innumerable accolades and the profound difference they continue to make in the community, Frantz and McGhee remain gracious, grounded and humble.  Of course, their impact on the Auditorium Theatre can never truly be measured, and we are incredibly grateful for everything they do to help our theatre succeed.  From the boardroom to the building, and the sidewalks to the stage, we are thankful for their generosity and awed by their philanthropic spirits—for theirs is a kindness born from true altruism…one that will continue to resonate for another 125 years.
  To find out about supporting programs at the Auditorium, please call Amanda Byrne at (312) 341-2364.