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. 

These are compassionate people, responsible corporations, and philanthropic institutions committed to making a difference in the world. 

These are friends just like you.

These are our cornerstones.

Phil Lumpkin

Every once in a while, someone comes along who helps redefine your understanding of what friendship truly means.  Possessed by boundless energy, overwhelming compassion, and an enthusiasm that is truly limitless, Phil Lumpkin is just that type of person—and he is truly one of the Auditorium Theatre’s most gracious and loyal friends.  
 As the Immediate Past President of River North Dance Chicago, Phil has displayed an insatiable fondness for the arts and a pronounced desire to make an impact on the cultural world that we share.  But making a difference is something that comes naturally to him.  As the former Corporate Vice President for Provider Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Phil oversaw education, outreach, and development of a variety of healthcare initiatives that continue to affect individuals and families on both the local and national level. Phil’s substantial achievements are too numerous to recount on a few pages, and his social and civic involvement is simply astounding.  He has received a seemingly inexhaustible catalog of accolades throughout the years and is heavily involved with some of Chicago’s most respected cultural organizations.
 As an arts lover and admirer of dance (as well as a guiding force behind one of Chicago’s premier artistic organizations), it was only natural that Phil and the Auditorium would develop a longstanding friendship.  Over the years, he’s expressed an affinity for the Auditorium’s legacy, and is especially drawn to the quality and eclecticism of our yearly lineup.  “The Auditorium Theatre is really a beautiful venue and it’s a National Historic Landmark,” he explained.  “I enjoy its programming and the broad range of performances that they provide.  All of those elements—the programming on stage, the landmark status, and the venue itself, really make it completely unique.”
One of Phil’s most admirable qualities (and a trait for which we are especially grateful) is that he is truly concerned about not merely enjoying the arts, but creating opportunities for others to benefit from the insight, exhilaration, and excitement that music, dance and theatre provide.  “I’m very grateful to be able to connect people to art forms that I feel strongly about,” Phil said.  “It’s rewarding to be able to see people experience art and see the effect that it has on them.” 
As you can see, Phil’s impact on the Auditorium can never truly be measured, and we are incredibly honored by everything he has done, and all he continues to do, to help our theatre succeed—as an advocate, a philanthropist, and an arts lover.   But most importantly, we are honored to call him our friend.