Chicago's Auditorium Theatre Council has chosen three musicals to inaugurate its new series, "Ovations! Concert Celebrations of Great American Musicals." The program kicks off Feb. 10, 2000 with George and Ira Gershwin's anti-war satire Strike Up the Band, which will be performed Feb. 10-13; next will be Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash's romantic fantasy One Touch of Venus, which will be performed April 6-9; and finally, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's classic "putting-on-a-show" musical, Babes In Arms, which will be performed May 18-21.
Auditorium Theatre Council executive director Jan Kallish announced the series, which is modeled after the Encores! series which is produced at New York's City Center. Production sources said the series is based on "concert versions of seldom-performed musicals using the orchestrations from each show's original Broadway run." All three musicals have been presented by Encores! over the past several seasons.
The Grant Park Symphony Orchestra will perform on stage for each presentation. There will be four performances of each production.
"These three musicals represent the incredible breadth and quality of material we intend to present in the Ovations! series," stated Kallish. "In collaboration with Chicago's performing arts community, we will present these classic scores as they were originally performed, preserving the heritage of the classic American musical."
The artistic director of Ovations! is Marc Robin, a six-time Jeff Award winning director and choreographer. Currently serving as artistic director of Drury Lane Theatre in Evergreen Park, Robin is a faculty member in Northwestern University's theatre department. He has been commissioned to choreograph, direct, and write the book, music and lyrics for The Addams Family Musical, slated to premiere in London next year. Nationally-renowned Illinois native Kevin Stites will serve as musical director. He is well known to Chicago audiences from his work at Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre and the Goodman Theatre and on Broadway, he served as musical supervisor and musical director for Titanic and On the Town, and as musical director of Sunset Boulevard. His national touring credits include Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserables.
Subscriptions for Ovations! go on sale at a future date. Tickets are currently available for groups of 20 or more; groups may purchase discounted tickets by calling 312-922-2110 ext. 4. All Ovations! performances will be at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 East Congress Parkway. For more information about programming, volunteering opportunities, or becoming a supporter visit www.auditoriumtheatre.org or call (312) 922-2110.
-- By Murdoch McBride