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Sept 4 –  Nov 21, 2015

Featuring: Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn
Saturday, Nov. 21 ::  8PM
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.
Tickets: $29 – $68
The three-month centennial celebration of Billy Strayhorn concludes at the Auditorium Theatre with Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. Under the musical direction of Bruce Mayhall Rastrelli, this fully staged salute to Strayhorn features Broadway star Darius de Haas and local favorite Joan Curto with Alan Broadbent on piano, the Auditorium’s “Too Hot to HandelOrchestra, the Joel Hall Dancers and a 30-voice-all-male choir arranged by conductor Bill Chin.

Gala Benefit Celebrating The Billy Strayhorn Festival
Saturday, Nov. 21 :: 5PM
Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. and Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.
Cocktails and dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago followed by a performance of Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn at the Auditorium Theatre.
Tickets:  Gala tickets are $500 and tables start at $5,000
Learn More
The gala is sponsored by the PASQUINELLI FAMILY FOUNDATION


Upcoming Programming for The Billy Strayhorn Festival includes:*


WDCB’s Billy Strayhorn Centennial Celebration
presented by 90.9fm WDCB – Chicago’s Home for Jazz!
Friday, Nov 20 :: 5PM-10PM
College of DuPage in SRC2000, Glen Ellyn 
Tickets: Free!

5PM to 7PM
COD Library’s “A Cathedral of Learning”
exhibit of Strayhorn’s music, work and learning resources
COD’s Bookstore
will be selling copies of books

7PM to 10PM
Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life – Screening and Discussion
Emmy and Peabody Award-Winning documentary, followed by discussion with filmmaker Robert Levi

Additionally, WDCB will celebrate the centennial of Billy Strayhorn’s birth with a series of radio features on 90.9FM throughout November!

Educational Panel Discussions on the State of Gay Black America
The Auditorium Theatre will partner with scholars and sociologists to present numerous panels examining Billy Strayhorn’s experience as a gay African-American man in the middle of the twentieth-century, as well as the state of gay black America today.

Billy Strayhorn and the State of Gay Black America,
Wednesday, Nov. 18; 5:30-7PM

University of Illinois at Chicago
1044 W. Harrison St., Chicago IL
Lecture Hall L285

As part of the Auditorium Theatre’s Billy Strayhorn Festival, we invite you to join us for the final panel discussion examining the legendary jazz musician’s experience as a gay African American man in the middle of the twentieth century, as well as the state of gay black America today.

Moderated by Dr. Auburn Ellis, professor at the School of the Art Institute, the discussion will center on how we can rebuild and maintain strong supports for one of our most fractured communities. Panel participants include social, artistic, and educational scholars of Chicago:  Roderick Hawkins, Director of Communications at Andrea Zopp for Senate, Board of Directors for Lambda Legal, Director of Communications Chicago Urban League; Erick Deshaun Dorris, Arts Education Consultant/Artist; Cassaundra Bails-Mcleod, Network Fine Arts/Community Initiatives Coordinator, Academy of Urban School Leadership; and Michael Ford, Interim Director for Change Management and Chief of Staff for the President of Roosevelt University.

The event is free and open to the public.


* Performances, dates, venues and content may change.

The Lead Foundation Supporter for The Billy Strayhorn Festival is THE CHICAGO COMMUNITY TRUST with additional support provided by THE JOYCE FOUNDATION.

CHICAGO JAZZ MAGAZINE is the Media Sponsor for The Billy Strayhorn Festival.



edited by A. Alyce Claerbaut and David Schlesinger

Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life is a stunning collection of essays, photographs, and ephemera celebrating Billy Strayhorn, one of the most significant yet under-appreciated contributors to 20th century American music. Released in commemoration of Strayhorn’s centennial, this luxurious coffee-table book offers intimate details of the composer’s life from musicians, scholars, and Strayhorn’s closest relatives.

Purchase today on AmazonSmile to help benefit the Auditorium Theatre.
To learn more about AmazonSmile and how to select the Auditorium Theatre as your charity, please click here.

To learn more about Billy Strayhorn, check out this informative display booklet.