Ravinia president and CEO Welz Kauffman said in a statement, "Ravinia, which was founded less than 40 years after Lincoln's assassination, intends to become a gathering place for everyone from The Land of Lincoln who would like to recognize the great contributions of this unparalleled American leader.
"Because we present so many different kinds of performances to more than 600,000 visitors each summer, Ravinia is uniquely suited to capture the entire picture of this complex person through limitless opportunities for artistic expression. Works will reflect Lincoln in his shifting historical context, re-imagining his own relationship with music and the arts. We will hear from new voices on the subject including exploration from a global perspective."
Each season, the Ravinia presents a musical theatre production. Recent seasons have included Gypsy, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George; this summer will feature George Hearn in Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella. For 2009, the theatre is considering major works by Gershwin and Joplin as well as Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, which spotlights political assassins, including Lincoln's, John Wilkes Booth.
Ravinia has also presented South African music and culture and will look to that country as an example of "Lincoln's continuing legacy of equality and freedom." This may be realized in a production of Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars, which is based on Alan Paton's "Cry the Beloved Country."
The Ravinia Festival is located in Highland Park, IL, at 418 Sheridan Road. For more information visit www.ravinia.org.