Jazz legend and civil rights pioneer Billy Strayhorn (photo courtesy of the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University).

Auditorium Theatre's Lush Life to Cap Thrilling Citywide Billy Strayhorn Festival

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University will present Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn this fall, culminating the three month long city-wide music festival honoring the 100th birthday of the late jazz legend Billy Strayhorn. The celebration launched with the Chicago Jazz Festival, Friday, Sept. 4 in Millennium Park, and continues with performances and educational panels at various jazz clubs and other locations throughout the city before its final performance and gala celebration at the Auditorium Theatre with Lush Life.

That same evening, the Auditorium Theatre will host their annual gala benefiting the landmark theater. The gala benefit will feature cocktails and dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.), followed by the performance of Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. It all begins at 5 p.m. and features dinner entertainment by Orbert Davis and The Rich Daniels Quintet playing a Billy Strayhorn program. After dinner, guests will continue on to the Auditorium Theatre in VIP seating for the performance beginning at 8 p.m.  

“We’ve been amazed at how the city of Chicago has embraced the life and music of this iconic jazz legend through our Billy Strayhorn Festival,” said Brett Batterson, the Auditorium Theatre’s executive director. “We started with the very first concert at the Chicago Jazz Festival and it’s been so rewarding experiencing the music of Strayhorn at some of the most lively and eclectic jazz halls in this great city. This ground-breaking final celebration on the Auditorium Theatre stage is a performance we’ll be talking about for years to come.”

Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn is under the musical direction of Bruce Mayhall Rastrelli and is a fully staged salute to Strayhorn featuring Broadway star Darius de Haas and local cabaret icon Joan Curto with Alan Broadbent on piano, the Auditorium’s Too Hot to Handel Orchestra,  Joel Hall Dancers and a 30-voice-all-male choir arranged by conductor Bill Chin.

For tickets to Lush Life visit AuditoriumTheatre.org, call (312) 341-2300 or visit in the Auditorium Theatre Box Office  (50 E. Congress Parkway) in person. Subscriptions for the Auditorium Theatre’s 2015 - 16 season and discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are also on sale. For more information visit AuditoriumTheatre.org.