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Twyla Tharp anniversary, Billy Strayhorn tribute among Auditorium Theatre’s new season

A newly commissioned work from Twyla Tharp, a Billy Strayhorn jazz festival and the Chicago return (after a 33-year absence) of Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal, are among the highlights of 2015-2016 season at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

Subscription packages are on sale now by calling (312) 341-2357.Individual tickets will go on sale starting this summer.

Here’s a peek at what’s in store:

“ON STAGE WITH…” BRANDEN JAMES (September 24): The audience can sit on stage to enjoy the music of the classic crossover/cabaret artist (and “America’s Got Talent” finalist).

BALLET FOLKLÓRICO DE MÉXICO DE AMALIA HERNÁNDEZ (September 26-27): The Mexico City cultural gem, founed in 1952 by Hernández, celebrates traditions of indigenous Meso-American culture through traditional dance and musical pieces from various regions and folk music genres native to Mexico.

RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO (October 3, 2015 and March 26, 2016): The troupe makes the Auditorium Theatre its official Chicago home during the 2015–16 season. As part of the “Made in Chicago” Dance Series, RNDC will present both new work as well as company favorites.

Choreographer Twyla Tharp | FILE PHOTO

Choreographer Twyla Tharp | FILE PHOTO

TWYLA THARP 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR (November 5–8): In a co-commission with Ravinia Festival, the Auditorium Theatre will present two new works by the world-renowned choreographer, in her 50th year of creating dance for modern and ballet companies, television, Broadway and Hollywood. Composer John Zorn provides the show’s vibrant introductory fanfare, followed by the first new work, “Preludes and Fugues” set to J.S. Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier.” The second piece, “Yowzie,” is set to music by Henry Butler and Steve Bernstein. The Joyce Theater in New York City and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. initiated the commissioning of these new works.

CHICAGO JAZZ PHILHARMONIC presents “SCENES FROM LIFE: CUBA!” (November 13): This past December members of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic with artistic director Orbert Davis, spent a week in Havana, Cuba, rehearsing with the Universidad de las Artes student orchestra to deliver the world premiere of “Escenidas de la Vida: Patrimonio” (“Scenes from Life: Heritage”) as part of the Havana International Jazz Festival. Select students and featured guests from Havana will travel to Chicago to deliver the U.S. premiere of “Scenes From Life: Cuba!”

Billy Strayhorn | FILE PHOTO

Billy Strayhorn | FILE PHOTO

THE BILLY STRAYHORN FESTIVAL — “LUSH LIFE” (November 21): A three-month celebration marking the centennial birthday of musician Billy Strayhorn will culminate at the Auditorium Theatre on November 21 with “Lush Life.” Under the musical direction of Bruce Mayhall Rastrelli, this fully-staged salute to Strayhorn features Broadway star Darius de Haas and local favorite Joan Curto with Alan Broadbent on piano, the “Too Hot to Handel” orchestra, the Joel Hall Dancers, and a 75-voice choir and more to be announced.

THODOS DANCE CHICAGO (January 9, 2016): Thodos kicks off 2016 at the Auditorium with a program to be announced.

“TOO HOT TO HANDEL: THE JAZZ-GOSPEL MESSIAH” (January 16-17, 2016): The 11th annual celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the exuberant, all-American version of Handel’s beloved oratorio, featuring soloists Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson, plus pianist Alvin Waddles, bassist Marion Hayden, the 150 voices of the city-wide “Too Hot” Choir (under the direction of Old St. Pat’s Music Director Bill Fraher), and a 50-piece symphony orchestra and jazz ensemble conducted by Suzanne Mallare Acton.

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (March 8–13, 2016): Led by artistic director Robert Battle, the company blends ballet, modern dance, jazz, and African dance techniques.

LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS DE MONTRÉAL “LEONCE AND LENA” (April 1–3, 2016): After a 33-year absence, the company returns to the Auditorium Theatre presenting their critically acclaimed production of “Leonce and Lena,” one of German choreographer Christian Spuck’s greatest successes, inspired by the eponymous political satire by Georg Büchner. Among other pieces, Spuck uses the ethereal—and at times grotesque—compositions by the Waltz King, Johann Strauss, to galvanize this tragicomic tale and underscore its parodic aspects.

GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO (June 11, 2016): Giordano Dance Chicago returns to the landmark stage with a program to be announced.

Subscription packages are on sale now, by calling (312) 341-2357 and are available online starting in early April at AuditoriumTheatre.org.