The announcement of the new work, which is currently titled A Good Man, was made by Jones and Ravinia Festival President Welz Kauffman at the Chicago History Museum, which houses the Lincoln death bed. A Good Man will be performed by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
In a statement Spring Awakening choreographer Jones said, "The image of Abraham Lincoln's long, broken body stretched across what was to become his death bed will be at the heart of the work. I wonder about the paradise our country could have been if Lincoln had lived to complete the reconstruction of America, but which we are only left to imagine. I would like to share that vision with audiences and then remove it in order to expose that great distance between what is and what could have been."
CEO Kauffman added, "Bicentennial celebrations by their very definition are about a single moment in time, but any artistic celebration of the great Abraham Lincoln requires something truly timeless. That's why we sought out Bill T. Jones. Bill is emblematic of Ravinia as he, too, thrives on music, dance, theatre, community development and reaching out to diverse audiences. There's also a bit of Lincoln in him—not just his charisma but also his respect of the past and demands of the future. He and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company enjoy international acclaim, and I would love to see his view of Lincoln shared on distant shores. I can’t wait to experience Lincoln through his eyes."
Jones' A Good Man will be at the center of the Ravinia's 2009 celebration of Lincoln's life and legacy, which is titled "Mystic Chords of Memory." Details about the new project will be announced at a later date.
Bill T. Jones won a 2007 Tony Award for Best Choreography for his work on the Tony-winning Best Musical Spring Awakening.