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(Chicago, IL) – Chief Executive Officer Tania Castroverde Moskalenko announces the Auditorium Theatre’s 2018-19 Season, which includes exciting premieres, inspiring speakers, innovative contemporary artists, and legendary performers.

“The Auditorium Theatre was built to be the Theatre for the People, a place where people from all across the city could come together to experience powerful stories told through music, dance, and spoken word,” Castroverde Moskalenko says. “Our 2018-19 Season honors that original vision by offering narratives that will resonate with everyone, expanding the theatre’s impact on the city and beyond. We welcome new and exciting performers to our stage, and celebrate the return of companies who have made the theatre their Chicago home for many years. I know that everyone will find stories they can connect to throughout the season.”

American Ballet Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of Whipped Cream, a whimsical feast for the senses that debuted in 2017 to widespread acclaim. The family-friendly production features colorful sets and costumes by artist Mark Ryden. The world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, called a “vital American cultural ambassador to the world” by the United States Congress, commemorates its 60th anniversary as a company and the 50th anniversary of its first appearance at the Auditorium Theatre with celebratory performances and inspirational tributes. Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia’s most innovative ballet theatre company, brings the North American premiere of Boris Eifman’s Pygmaliona wholly unique and comedic twist on the classic Greek myth about a sculptor who falls in love with one of his creations. Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández honors the rich cultural heritage of Mexico, including Chicago’s own Mexican-American communities, with captivating, colorful performances of traditional folkloric ballet.

Innovative contemporary artists from Chicago’s 312 take the stage in the “Made in Chicago” 312 Dance Series. The first installment of the series features 3 ground-breaking dance companies: Ate9 Dance Company, performing the collaborative work calling glenn with Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche; Visceral Dance Chicago, celebrated for its bold, progressive style; and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, known for combining elements of ballet, modern, and African contemporary dance. Trinity Irish Dance Company, 1 company called “sophisticated and commanding” by the Los Angeles Times and “impossibly complex” by the New York Times, presents its first full-length engagement in Chicago in over a decade with an evening of classic works and a world premiere. Closing out the series are 2 influential contemporary companies: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, following its triumphant performances last month at the Auditorium, and Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company. In addition to a collaborative work danced by both companies, Malpaso performs a piece commissioned by the Auditorium Theatre and choreographed by former Hubbard Street dancer Robyn Mineko Williams, and Hubbard performs a new work by Malpaso Artistic Director Osnel Delgado.

The American Music Series features the Auditorium Theatre debut of songwriter and pianist Alan Menken with A Whole New World of Alan Menken, a retrospective of his illustrious career that includes writing songs for classic Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. On October 31, the theatre turns into Halloweentown with a special screening of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, featuring the Chicago Philharmonic performing Danny Elfman’s classic score. In January, the theatre commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 14th-annual Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, a blues, jazz, gospel, and rock twist on Handel’s classic oratorio.

The Auditorium Theatre partners with National Geographic to present National Geographic Live, a special speaker series that this year highlights the narratives of inspirational, powerful women. Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA, provides an in-depth look at influential women throughout history, including Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Mireya Mayor, former NFL cheerleader and current expert primatologist, relates her tales of traveling to some of the wildest and most remote places on earth. Hilaree O’Neill, the first woman to summit Mt. Everest and its neighboring mountain Lhotse in a single 24-hour period, recounts a dramatic trek to the summit of Burma’s Hkakabo Razi mountain with the National Geographic team.

On November 3, the Auditorium hosts a legendary event when Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons return to the Auditorium stage for the first time in over 40 years, showcasing hits from their catalog including “December ’63 – Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The performance will be preceded by the Auditorium’s Annual Fall Gala at the Palmer House Hilton, honoring Mel Katten with the third annual Adler and Sullivan Award.

The theatre continues to offer a Student Matinee Series to Chicagoland K-12 students. Next season, the series includes special hour-long performances of Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream, open to students throughout the Chicagoland area. Tickets are available now, and range from $10-$15.

Subscription packages and tickets for groups of 10 or more people are on sale now. Individual tickets to the first half of the season through Too Hot to Handel go on sale August 3 at 10AM, and individual tickets for the second half of the season, starting with “Pink Boots and a Machete,” go on sale October 19 at 10AM. The Auditorium Theatre also offers $15 student rush tickets to full-time college students, and $5 tickets to young people ages 13-19 with Urban Gateways’ Teen Arts Pass program. The Auditorium Theatre’s ADMIT ONE program, launched in 2016, offers complimentary tickets to Chicago area community groups. ADMIT ONE applications for the 2018-19 Season are open now.

Press photos are available here.



Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández
Saturday, November 10, 2018 | 7:30PM
Sunday, November 11, 2018 | 3PM

Recognized internationally for its presentations of traditional Mexican dance, this world-famous company returns to Chicago with a show the whole family can enjoy! Called “captivating” by The New York Times and a company with “extraordinary flair” by the Chicago Sun-Times, Ballet Folklórico “sets the stage ablaze with vibrant color and engaging rhythms” (The Boston Globe) as it honors México’s rich cultural history.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 7PM
Thursday, March 7, 2019 | 7:30PM
Friday, March 8, 2019 | 11AM (one hour Student Matinee performance)
Friday, March 8, 2019 | 7:30PM
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | 2PM
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | 8PM
Sunday, March 10, 2019 | 3PM

The legendary multi-cultural company commemorates their 60th anniversary and the 50th anniversary performing at the Auditorium Theatre, their Chicago home! Featuring exhilarating new works and timeless classics, Ailey’s annual performances are “always a highlight of the Chicago season” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “a Chicago dance tradition, if we ever had one” (Chicago Tribune). Each performance ends with company founder Alvin Ailey’s signature work Revelations, an enduring masterpiece that has been an audience favorite since the company’s inception.

American Ballet Theatre – Whipped Cream
Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 7:30PM
Friday, April 12, 2019 | 11AM (one hour Student Matinee performance)
Friday, April 12, 2019 | 7:30PM
Saturday, April 13, 2019 | 2PM
Saturday, April 13, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, April 14, 2019 | 2PM

America’s National Ballet Company® gives the Midwest premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Whipped Cream on the Auditorium Theatre’s landmark stage. Called “a bewitching success” by the Los Angeles Times and “visually enchanting” by The Wall Street Journal, this whimsical story ballet follows a young boy after he overindulges in sweets and falls into a sugar-induced delirium! Set to a 1924 score by Richard Strauss and featuring colorful costumes and jubilant sets by pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden, Whipped Cream is “a candyland triumph” (The New York Times) fit for the whole family! 

Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg – Pygmalion
Friday, May 17, 2019 | 7:30PM
Saturday, May 18, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, May 19, 2019 | 2PM

Russia’s most innovative dance company returns to the Auditorium Theatre following the triumph of 2017’s Red Giselle, named one of the best dance performances of the year by the Chicago Tribune. The company gives the North American premiere to Boris Eifman’s re-envisioned Pygmalion, a new comedic take on the classic Greek myth set to music by Johann Strauss. Eifman — known for his “Russian psychological ballet theatre” and choreography that is “big on tumultuous narrative and passionately seething characters” (Los Angeles Times) — and his dancers have been called “among the most fascinating artists before the public today” (San Francisco Chronicle).


Ate9 Dance Company/Visceral Dance Chicago/Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
Friday, November 16, 2018 | 7:30PM

In the first evening of the Auditorium’s “Made in Chicago” 312 Dance Series, experience 3 inventive and ground-breaking dance companies! The renowned Ate9 Dance Company makes its Auditorium Theatre debut alongside Chicago-based percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche from Wilco, giving the Chicago premiere to the collaborative work calling glenn. Visceral Dance Chicago, a “young, brave, ambitious” company that “[boasts] sophisticated dancing and design” (Chicago Tribune) returns to the Auditorium stage with its bold, progressive style. Deeply Rooted Dance Theater presents its signature combination of ballet, modern, and African contemporary dance. The Chicago Sun-Times calls the company “Chicago’s answer to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater” that is known for its “spiritual fervor, physical prowess, and sheer, unalloyed joy in movement.”

Trinity Irish Dance Company
Saturday, February 2, 2019 | 7:30PM

The company known as the birthplace of contemporary Irish dance returns to Chicago for the first time in over a decade as part of the “Made in Chicago” 312 Dance Series. Called “sophisticated and commanding” by the Los Angeles Times and “impossibly complex” by The New York Times, Trinity has sold out shows around the world and at distinguished venues throughout North America, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; the Joyce Theater in New York City; and Royce Hall in Los Angeles. The company has also made memorable appearances on television shows like Conan, The Tonight Show, and Good Morning America. This one-night-only appearance includes a world premiere and classic works, including Founding Artistic Director Mark Howard’s critically-acclaimed Soles, a tribal and timeless explosion of lightning-fast agility.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Malpaso Dance Company
Saturday, March 2, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, March 3, 2019 | 3PM

Two acclaimed contemporary dance companies –  one known for its influence on America’s contemporary dance scene and one that is innovating Cuban dance in Havana – join forces for the first time. In addition to a collaborative work danced by both companies, Malpaso performs a world-premiere piece by Chicago’s Robyn Mineko Williams, commissioned by the Auditorium Theatre, and Hubbard Street performs a work by Malpaso Artistic Director Osnel Delgado.  Malpaso dancers are “both humble and sparklingly present – and remarkably strong all around” (The New York Times), while Hubbard Street’s dancing is “as breathtaking as ever” (WTTW). Don’t miss these forward-thinking dance pioneers when they hit the Auditorium Theatre’s stage.


Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 | 7:30PM

“This is Halloween, this is Halloween!” Celebrate Halloween with this very special screening of the beloved movie Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Follow along as Jack, the Pumpkin King, attempts to bring the Christmas spirit to his spooky hometown. The classic film is brought to life with a concert performance featuring the Chicago Philharmonic and the residents of Halloweentown! Time Out New York says “[fans] are in for a real treat.” 

Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah
Friday, January 18, 2019 | 11AM (one hour Student Matinee performance)
Saturday, January 19, 2019 | 7:30PM
Sunday, January 20, 2019 | 3PM

It’s always cold outside this time of year, but it’s hot inside the Auditorium Theatre! Warm up with celebrated soloists Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and Karen Marie Richardson — joined by famed Detroit pianist Alvin Waddles and over 100 Chicago musicians and singers — as they put a blues, jazz, gospel, and rock twist on Handel’s classic oratorio. Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of creating a “beloved community” as people from all across the city and beyond come together under one roof to be a part of this “joyously interactive, everybody-clap-your-hands experience” (Chicago Tribune).

A Whole New World of Alan Menken
Saturday, March 30, 2019 | 7:30PM

A must-see evening for any Broadway lover! Alan Menken — the Oscar, Tony, and Grammy Award-winning composer and pianist behind beloved scores including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin — brings his one-man retrospective show to our landmark stage. The “living legend” (Broadway World) performs some of his best-loved tunes and tells the story of his expansive career, which includes co-creating the musical Little Shop of Horrors; adapting his own music from classic Disney films for the stage; and writing scores for movies like Newsies and Tangled.


National Geographic Live returns to Chicago on the Auditorium’s historic stage with a year-long series dedicated to inspirational women. 

When Women Ruled the World with Dr. Kara Cooney
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | 7PM

Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA, joins us for a look at a time in ancient history when women ruled the world. Often neglected in history books, these women were considered exceptions to the rule, political pawns in a patriarchal society, but their power and influence is undeniable. Cleopatra used her sensuality — and her money — to build alliances with warlords of the Roman empire. Neferusobek was the first woman to definitively take the title of King. Nefertiti is known more for her beauty than for bringing a fractured Egypt together. What can we learn from how these women ruled? Dr. Cooney shares some illuminating answers.

Pink Boots and a Machete with Mireya Mayor
Thursday, January 24, 2019 | 7PM

This evening features Mireya Mayor, a former NFL cheerleader and daughter of Cuban immigrants, who followed her unlikely dreams to become a respected primatologist. This audacious explorer is the co-discoverer of the world’s smallest primate in Madagascar and an Emmy Award-nominated wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel. Mayor tells her tales of traveling to some of the wildest and most remote places on earth, armed with little more than a backpack, notebook, and hiking boots.

Point of No Return with Hilaree O’Neill
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 | 7PM

Hear the harrowing story of the National Geographic team’s climb to the summit of Burma’s Hkakabo Razi mountain. The team knew the journey would be hard, but what they didn’t realize was that their greatest obstacles wouldn’t be dwindling rations, grueling jungle hikes, or life-threatening hypothermia — it was the force of conflicting personalities that threatened to unravel the entire endeavor. Group leader Hilaree O’Neill, the first woman to summit Mt. Everest and its neighboring mountain Lhotse in a single 24-hour period, recounts the tough decisions she had to make to keep her team together, accompanied by photographer Cory Richards’ dramatic stills and clips from Renan Ozturk’s searing documentary Down to Nothing


Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Saturday, November 3, 2018 | 8PM

The legends who immediately shot to the top of the charts when they debuted in the 1960s and influenced an entire generation of musicians — including the Bee Gees, the Beach Boys, and Billy Joel — return to the Auditorium Theatre stage for the first time in over 40 years! Known for world-famous songs that inspired the smash Broadway hit Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli is a true American icon. His incredible career with The Four Seasons, as well as his solo success, has spawned countless hit singles including unforgettable tunes like “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “December ’63 – Oh What A Night,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” and of course, “Grease.”

About The Auditorium Theatre

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, located at 50 E Congress Pkwy in Chicago, is an Illinois, not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community, and educational programming to all of Chicago and beyond as The Theatre for the People. The organization also is committed to the continued restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark.

The Auditorium Theatre 2018-19 Season is made possible in part with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, The Chicago Community Trust, NIB Foundation, and the Palmer House Hilton. For more information about programming, volunteer, and donor opportunities or theatre tours, please call 312.341.2310 or visit For a complete listing of events at the Auditorium Theatre, please click here.

Ballet Folklórico. | Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Jacqueline Green and Jamar Roberts, photo by Andrew Eccles. American Ballet Theatre in Whipped Cream, photo by Gene Schiavone. | Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, photo by Evgeny Matveev. | The Nightmare Before Christmas, photo by Kelly A. Swift | Frankie Valli, photo by Richard Beland.
Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, photo by Kristie Kahns. | A Whole New World of Alan Menken, photo courtesy of CAMI. | Visceral Dance Chicago’s Noelle Kayser in Soft Spoken, photo by Michelle Reid. | Trinity Irish Dance, photo by Lois Greenfield. | Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, photo by Todd Rosenberg. | When Women Ruled the World, photo courtesy of National Geographic. | Pink Boots and a Machete’s Mireya Mayor, photo by Brent Stirton. | Point of No Return, photo by Cory Richards. | Auditorium Theatre, photo by Lucio Vergara.
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