The historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (ATRU) is set to open its doors to the public for its popular Family Fun Day, an afternoon of free events to delight the whole family. This open house of sorts will take place from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 15 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway. Using jazz, as well as the legacy of jazz great Billy Strayhorn, ATRU’s Family Fun Day aims to give guests of all ages a behind-the-scenes look at Chicago’s landmark theater with interactive activities, unique performances, fun arts and crafts, special tours and more.
The Billy Strayhorn Festival is a three month long city wide music festival, presented by the Auditorium Theatre, celebrating the 100th birthday of the late great Billy Strayhorn. The Festival began with the Chicago Jazz Festival, Friday, September 4 in Millennium Park, and continues with performances and educational panels at various jazz clubs and other locations throughout Chicago before its final performance, and gala celebration, on the Auditorium Theatre’s landmark stage with Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. For more information on the Billy Strayhorn Festival visit AuditoriumTheatre.org/Strayhorn.
“We held our first Family Fun Day last fall as part of our 125th Anniversary Season and welcomed almost 1,000 guests into our historic theatre,” said Brett Batterson, executive director of the Auditorium Theatre. “Sharing our space with Chicago families is always exciting and we are jazzing up this new tradition as part of our Billy Strayhorn Festival. It’s never too early to introduce children to jazz music, and through teaching artists and professional dancers and musicians, we will be using interactive approaches to get kids and kids-at-heart excited about jazz.”
The Lead Foundation Supporter for The Billy Strayhorn Festival is The Chicago Community Trust with additional support provided by The Joyce Foundation.
During the course of Strayhorn’s career, he made the transition from classical music to jazz. As part of the company’s 20 for 20! Initiative, celebrating the Auditorium Theatre’s resident dance company’s 20 years as Chicago’s premiere ballet company, Erica Edwards from The Joffrey Ballet will lead family dance workshops that show how traditional jazz movements can be incorporated into classical ballet technique; BeMoved dance instructor Jennifer Edgcomb will lead the entire family with a fun class featuring jazz-inspired movements; and Missi Alston, one of the Joel Hall Dance Company members performing in Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn, will offer jazz dance classes fit for all ages.
If walls could talk, the Auditorium Theatre would have quite a story to tell. A storyteller will share the vast musical lore of Auditorium Theatre’s past jazz musicians and rock legends that have graced the historic stage. Guests will experience what it’s like to walk on the historic Auditorium stage with 3,901 seats before them.
From indoor baseball games to bowling, guests will learn about the history of the Auditorium Theatre and some of its many uses through the years. Craft stations where kids can create their own instruments and a tour backstage will enable a most personal experience of the venerable theater for every part of the family at this annual event.
For more information about the upcoming Family Fun Day or ATRU programming, call (312) 341-2310 or visit AuditoriumTheatre.org.