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Theatre & Music

Welcome to Spring 2020 Semester

Faculty, staff, and students have had an extraordinary academic year so far. In addition to the accomplishments highlighted below and our many regular music and theatre student concerts and productions on and off campus, faculty have focused this past fall on important administrative projects like preparing for the first of a two-year Illinois Board of Higher Education review; engaging in strategic planning for the future; submitting a proposal for an expanded Theatre Design, Production, and Technology curriculum; and launching a new Adjunct Teaching Recognition Program award to acknowledge the important role that adjunct and private music lesson instructors play in our programs. We also honored a number of faculty and staff for significant service milestones:

5 years: Yayoi Everett, Chris Madsen, and Rachelle Tsachor
10 years: Elbio Rodriguez-Barilari, Shanésia Davis, and Derrick Sanders
25 years: Neal McCollam

We made facilities improvements including completing the first phase of renovations to improve the acoustics of our primary music rehearsal space (L060) and installing new floors in four of our instructional support rooms. Finally, we prepared for the 30-year reunion of the Russian exchange program, an exchange between UIC and the Theatre of Moscow Southwest, hosted by the Theatre and Music Alumni Association on January 27 at the Mercury Theatre.

– Christine Mary Dunford
Director of UIC School of Theatre and Music

Theatre faculty Jonathan Abarbanel organized and co-hosted a Chicago meeting of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) executive committee. He welcomed delegates from China, Greece, India, Japan, Nigeria, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States for five days of theatre-going, sight-seeing and IATC business in coordination with the League of Chicago Theatres and Choose Chicago.

Music faculty Andy Baker is conducting a world-premiere recording of “Music of Leo Sowerby.” The Jazz Orchestra album will involve UIC music faculty Ivana Bukvich, Reed Capshaw, Kelly Langenberg, and John Gaudette. UIC music students involved include Vicky Beck and Ephraim Champion. The album will be released by Cedille Records fall 2020. 

Andy Baker with the Jazz Orchestra rehearsing "Music of Leo Sowerby."

Music faculty Jennifer Cappelli, Gene Collerd, Paula Kosower, and Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff held a special convocation performance for UIC music students with music by Antonín Dvořák and Carl Maria von Weber this past fall. This performance was part of the Chicago Philharmonic's event titled "Cabernet, Clarinet and Strings" at the Chicago City Winery.

Gene Collerd clarinet, Jennifer Cappelli violin, Pauli Ewing violin, Claudia Lasareff-Minonoff viola, Paula Kosower cello

Theatre faculty Stephanie Cluggish is the costume designer for the upcoming Chicago premiere of Do You Feel Anger? by Mara Nelson-Greenberg at A Red Orchid Theatre, directed by Jess McLeod. Do you Feel Anger? runs through Sunday, March 15. Buy tickets here.

Theatre faculty Shanésia Davis is performing in Dance Nation at Steppenwolf Theatre. Dance Nation is written by the 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist Clare Barron and directed by Obie award-winning director and choreographer Lee Sunday Evans. Dance Nation runs through Sunday, February 2. Buy tickets here.

Photo by Michael Brosilow of Shanésia Davis in Dance Nation.

Theatre faculty Lydia Diamond's newest play, Toni Stone, was listed on  "The Best of Theatre" on The Wallstreet Journal.  It will receive productions at The Arena Stage and The American Conservatory. In addition, Diamond was a consulting producer for season four of Showtime’s The Affair”, for which she was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award for her writing of Episode 406.

Music faculty Amos Gillespie was commissioned by the Chicago Composers Orchestra to write a piece for their "Chaos Composed" program which will include a combined performance with the progressive rock band Origin of Animal. The performance will be on Saturday, January 25 at 7:30pm in Ganz Hall. Gillespie will also perform saxophone with Access Contemporary Music for their "Specific Gravity" program, consisting of music inspired by the physical universe. on Monday, February 10 at 7:30pm. See more concert dates here.

Music faculty Gregory Hutter's latest classical album "Hutter Secular Choral Music" was reviewed on Gramophone Magazine. "Hutter’s supernally beautiful writing for inner voices illuminates texts with his measured pacing, rhythms and cautious close harmonies, the poetry in the words and then the music." Read the full review here.

Theatre faculty Tanera Marshall voice coached the Netflix Original film "Army of the Dead," directed by Zack Snyder, this past fall in Albuquerque. "Army of the Dead" is set to premiere in winter 2020. Marshall is currently working on season four of "Fargo," coaching Ben Whishaw, and Jessie Buckley. Marshall is also coaching Himesh Patel for the HBO series “Station 11.”

Music faculty James McNally, presented a paper, "The Limits of Freedom: Cross-Stylistic Collaboration and the Politics of Inclusion in Contemporary Experimental Music," at the 64th Meeting of the Annual Society for Ethnomusicology in Bloomington in November.

Theatre faculty Collette Pollard is the set designer for Roe by Lisa Loomerdirected by Vanessa Stalling, at the Goodman TheatreThe play follows the stories of the women behind the landmark decision in Roe vs. Wade. Roe runs through Sun, Feb 23. Buy tickets here.

Music faculty Ruth Rosenberg presented a paper, "Pitch Shift: 432 Hz Music and the Promise of a Frequency," at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and Arts at Irvine, CA in November.  The annual conference invites scholars who share an interest in problems of science and representation, and in the cultural and social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine.

Ruth Rosenberg with University of California Irvine anteater mascot.

Professor Derrick Sanders will celebrate the 20th anniversary since founding the Congo Square Theatre Company by producing the 1965 satirical fantasy Day of Absence at the Richard Christiansen Theatre. The cast will include UIC Theatre alumni, Sonya Madrigal. The show opens on Thursday, February 27.
Buy tickets here. Read more about Congo Square Theatre on a recent article by the Chicago Reader here.

Photo by Beth Silverman of Derrick Sanders and Chris Audain

Derek Briones and Alexis Medina, BA Jazz Studies, are playing in the quartet for Brown Paper Box Company's new musical If/Then. Derek Briones is the drummer and Alexis Medina is the guitarist in the quartet. If/Then runs through Sunday, February 16. Buy tickets here.

Abigail Piñon, BFA Acting, received several Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artist (ALTA) awards for Outstanding Improviser (Ratas de Dos Patas), Outstanding Improv Ensemble (Ratas de Dos Pata), Outstanding Sketch or Revue Ensemble (La Carne Asada 2: The Seasoning). Learn about ALTA here.

Angelina Davila, first-year BA Theatre and Performance, won the the Pegasus Theatre annual playwriting competition. Her play was selected from 500 submissions to be staged by professional artists. Her play Public In Private is performed by UIC Theatre alumnae Tina El Gamal, and Destiny Strothers. Buy tickets here.