Musical based on Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Illinois’ album coming to Chicago in 2024

The show, full of songs alluding to the state’s people and places, will make its world premiere in New York State and then run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

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Sufjan Stevens performs “Mystery of Love,” his Oscar-nominated song from the film “Call Me by Your Name,” at the 2018 Academy Awards.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sufjan Stevens’ signature album “Illinois,” which references elements of the state’s history and geography in its rich lyrics, is coming to the stage.

A musical also called “Illinois” will have it world premiere June 23-July 2 at the Fisher Center at Bard College in New York State’s Hudson Valley, the college announced. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, one of the companies that commissioned “Illinois,” will present the show in January 2024.

“Illinois” is being directed by Tony Award winner Justin Peck, who also choreographs and co-wrote the story with Jackie Sibblies Drury.

A statement from Bard calls the show “an ecstatic pageant of storytelling, theater, dance, and live music.”

Stevens’ album, widely acclaimed on its release in 2005, includes songs musing about such topics as Carl Sandburg, John Wayne Gacy, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the city of Decatur. Its popular road-trip tune “Chicago” was featured in the 2006 film “Little Miss Sunshine,” on Netflix’s series “The Politician” and, most recently, on Hulu’s Chicago-made series “The Bear.”

“Featuring new arrangements of the entire album for a live band and three voices, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, ‘Illinois’ will lead us on a mighty journey through the American heartland, from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos,” the Bard website says.

Director Peck won a Tony for his choreography of a 2018 “Carousel” revival. He also choreographed Steven Spielberg’s 2021 “West Side Story” movie.

He also has a history with Stevens, having used the artist’s music for his ballets “Year of the Rabbit” and “Everywhere We Go.”

Co-writer Drury was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her 2018 play “Fairview.”

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