When the Auditorium Theatre opened on December 9, 1889, Chicago’s mayor proclaimed that the theatre was a place built “for the city and culture of our people … for the masses of people to enjoy the display and portrayal of art, science, literature, poetry, music, and drama.”
Nearly 130 years later, this proclamation about the Auditorium Theatre still rings true. As we honor this milestone birthday in our 2019-20 Season, we remain wholly dedicated to this mission. Whether you come to the Auditorium to see world-renowned dance, uplifting music, or inspiring speakers, you will find something in our new season that speaks to you.
The Auditorium Theatre announces its 2019-20 Season, also its 130th Anniversary Season, featuring world-renowned national and international dance companies, celebrated local artists, and exhilarating premieres.
“When the Auditorium Theatre first opened 130 years ago, its founders envisioned it as The Theatre for the People, a gathering place that could bring Chicagoans together to experience everything from dance and music to science and art,” says C.J. Dillon, Auditorium Theatre Chief Programming Officer. “We uphold this vision during the 2019-20 Season by presenting a diverse array of programming that showcases the versatility of our National Historic Landmark and offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for world-renowned dance, uplifting music, or inspiring speakers. We are incredibly proud that the Auditorium Theatre continues to be a renaissance theatre and one of the pillars of Chicago’s cultural landscape after 130 years.”
The International Dance Series opens with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, following its exhilarating and critically-acclaimed 60th anniversary season performances in Chicago. The company returns to the Auditorium, its Chicago home, for its annual appearance with exciting Midwest premieres and classic repertory works. The Auditorium’s Visiting Resident Company American Ballet Theatre celebrates its 80th anniversary at the theatre with Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadère. Russia’s premier ballet company, the Bolshoi Ballet, makes its first Chicago appearance in 16 years when it brings Yuri Grigorovich’s Swan Lake to the Auditorium. Chicago is the only city to present Swan Lake and one of only two stops on the company’s 2020 United States tour.
The American Music Series features the Chicago premiere of the live-in-concert version of Jordan Peele’s Oscar-nominated film Get Out, presented in partnership with the Chicago Sinfonietta and conducted by film score composer Michael Abels. On Halloween and November 1, the Chicago Philharmonic returns to perform alongside Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The theatre’s signature annual event, Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, celebrates 15 years in Chicago ahead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Also part of the American Music Series is a salute to one of America’s greatest living composers, Stephen Sondheim, in commemoration of his 90th birthday this season. Chicago Celebrates Sondheim! is directed and produced by Chicago cabaret icon Joan Curto, and features some of the city’s best classical, jazz, theatre, and cabaret artists. The Auditorium Theatre honors Patti Eylar and Charlie Gardner that evening with the fourth-annual Adler and Sullivan Award at the Annual Fall Gala Dinner and Reception at the Palmer House Hilton.
The “Made in Chicago” Dance Series showcases the city’s incredible dance companies. Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater shares the stage with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre in a one-night-only performance that explores identity and culture. Trinity Irish Dance Company follows its electrifying 2019 performance with two shows on Leap Day in 2020, presenting a world premiere and other new works. Giordano Dance Chicago, America’s original jazz dance company, brings a high-energy, mesmerizing program back to the Auditorium. The imaginative company Hedwig Dances makes its Auditorium debut with a special performance in which audience members will be seated right on the theatre’s landmark stage.
For the second year, the Auditorium presents the National Geographic Live speaker series, which in the 2019-20 Season focuses on daring explorers who are dedicated to protecting our planet. Hear from adventurers who have hiked the Grand Canyon in its entirety, devoted their lives to researching and defending big cats and orangutans, and spent more than 10,000 hours underwater in order to capture the soul of the sea.