1994-1995 Arts Previews
As classes get under way, so do the seasons of the University's cultural organizations. This year they offer a wide range of programs, from vanguard video installations and the first comprehensive U.S. exhibition of India's popular painting traditions to star-studded theater and a concert celebrating the music of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Shulamit Ran, the William H. Colvin Professor in Music.
Below is a brief synopsis of upcoming exhibitions and performances. For locations, hours of operation, ticket prices and other information, see the Calendar, pages 10-12. Check the Calendar in each issue of the Chronicle for updated information.
THEATER Court Theatre
Artistic Director Charles Newell, noted classical theater director and former resident director of the Guthrie Theater, begins his first season at the helm of Court directing "Once in a Lifetime," the story of the advent of talking movies in the late 1920s. The comedy, by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, will run through Sunday, Oct. 30.
The Court Theatre season continues with a story of class struggle and social strife in August Strindberg's "Miss Julie," starring Kate Collins, from Sunday, Nov. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 18; Nicholas Pennell in Anthony Shaffer's mystery thriller "Sleuth," from Friday, Jan. 6, through Sunday, Feb. 12; and Moliere's "The Misanthrope" and Tom Stoppard's "Travesties," in rotating repertory from Friday, March 3, through Sunday, May 14.
Court's special programming includes the only Chicago speaking engagement of Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, who will present a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Mandel Hall. Court is also offering a free series of play readings called "Free Play Nights," in which actors will present works that complement Court's mainstage productions. The series will include "Act One," drawn from Hart's autobiography, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, and "Merrily We Roll Along," by Hart and Kaufman, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, in Court Theatre.
University Theater, the University's student theater group, offers more than 30 productions each year, ranging from drama and comedy to music and dance. Participation in all aspects of production -- from acting and directing to set design and construction -- is open to all members of the University community. The 1994-95 season opens with "Sitcom," an onstage series modeled after television situation comedies, including theme music and commercials and improvised each night from audience suggestions. "Sitcom" will be presented from Thursday, Oct. 13, through Saturday, Oct. 15, and from Thursday, Oct. 20, through Saturday, Oct. 22.
University Theater's fall schedule continues with Friday-night performances by Off-Off-Campus, the University's student improvisational comedy troupe; "An Evening of Comic Fright" -- Woody Allen's "Death" and "Death Knocks" and Sam Shepard's "Suicide in B flat" -- on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4 and 5; "An Evening of One-Acts," on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12; Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," from Wednesday, Nov. 16, through Saturday, Nov. 19; and Shakespeare's "The Tempest," on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, and from Wednesday, Dec. 7, through Saturday, Dec. 10.
EXHIBITIONS Smart Museum of Art
Celebrating its founding 20 years ago, the Smart Museum of Art opens its season with "Robert Laurent and American Figurative Sculpture 1910-1960: Selections From the John N. Stern Collection and the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art." This exhibition of nearly 40 sculptures and more than a dozen drawings and paintings focuses on the work of sculptor Robert Laurent within the context of works by such masters as Gaston Lachaise, Elie Nadelman and William Zorach. The exhibition will open with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, and will continue through Sunday, Dec. 11.
The 20th-anniversary season of the Smart Museum will continue in winter quarter with "From the Ocean of Painting: India's Popular Painting Tradition, 1589 to the Present," the first comprehensive U.S. exhibition to examine India's folk, tribal and popular urban painting traditions. The spring exhibition will be "Madness in America," a survey of images and concepts of insanity in 18th- and 19th-century America. Several smaller exhibitions will be presented throughout the year, and selections from the museum's permanent collection are always on view.
THE RENAISSANCE SOCIETY
The Renaissance Society, the avant-garde arts society on campus, opens its 78th season with "Traveling," the first American museum presentation of the work of Cuban-born artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The show, which opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, combines four previously made sculptures with several new site-specific pieces. It will be on view through Sunday, Nov. 6.
The society's season will continue with the group show "Plane/Structures: A New Spectrum of California 'Light and Space' Artists" from Sunday, Nov. 20, through Friday, Dec. 30; the U.S. premiere of paintings by the young Flemish artist Luc Tuymans from Sunday, Jan. 15, through Sunday, Feb. 26; and the first one-person museum exhibition by Los Angeles video-installation artist Diana Thater from Sunday, March 12, through Sunday, April 23. The season will conclude with "Stan Douglas: 'Hors-champs' and 'Evening,' " the Chicago debut of two video projects by the internationally recognized artist Stan Douglas, from Friday, May 5, through Friday, June 30. The event will mark the premiere of "Evening," a video recently shot on location in Chicago that comments on the 1960s civil-rights movement; "Hors-champs" was first shown at the renowned international show Documenta IX.
ORIENTAL INSTITUTE MUSEUM
Three-quarters of a century of distinctive scholarship and public education will be celebrated by the Oriental Institute this fall as it commemorates its 75th-anniversary season with a new exhibition and numerous special programs.
Special anniversary events include the unveiling of "Ayla: Art and Industry in the Early Islamic Port of Aqaba," a new exhibition of ancient art and artifacts on view from Tuesday, Nov. 8, through Sunday, Feb. 12; and the serial treasure hunt "75 for the 75th," a yearlong search for clues about antiquity. The Oriental Institute Museum offers a variety of educational programming, highlighted this year by cooperative workshops with Lincoln Park Zoo on Saturday, Oct. 1, and the Art Institute of Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 22.
DEPARTMENT OF SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
The Department of Special Collections, home of the University Archives and the Library's collection of rare books and manuscripts, continues its presentation of exhibitions culled from Library holdings. Carl Van Vechten, University alumnus and a key player in the American literary and arts scene from the 1920s through the 1940s, is the subject of Special Collections' exhibition of the same name, on view through Monday, Oct. 31. The exhibition includes a selection of Van Vechten's photographic portraiture and American scenes.
The next major exhibition in Special Collections will be "Texts and Their Transformations: Continuity and Change in the Classical Tradition," on view from Tuesday, Nov. 15, through Monday, Feb. 20. Upcoming exhibitions include "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," which draws on the Encyclopaedia Britannica Collection of Children's Literature, "Eugene Field and his Books" and "Jewish Music and Jewish Culture in Germany, 1918-1938."
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel presents cultural events ranging from organ recitals and other concerts to silent-film classics.
This year's silent film will be "Nosferatu," the first screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. The film, projected on a large screen in the chapel, will be accompanied live by University organist Wolfgang Ruebsam performing an original organ score.
Rockefeller Chapel's season of organ recitals will open with a performance by Stephen Tharp at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6.
For more information, call 753-1191.
CONCERTS The Music Department and Concert Office present a wide range of professional and student musical performances throughout the school year. Below is a sample of these events.
Chamber Music Series
The 52nd season of the Chamber Music Series features world-renowned ensembles, celebrated guest soloists and Chicago premieres of compositions by living composers.
The six-concert season will open with the acclaimed Takacs Quartet at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, and will continue at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, with the Lark Quartet performing works by Shulamit Ran, the William H. Colvin Professor in Music and composer-in-residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The season will also feature the Da Capo Chamber Players on Sunday, Feb. 12; the Guarneri String Quartet on Friday, March 3; the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra on Friday, March 31; and the Beaux Arts Trio, featuring the Chicago premiere of David Baker's "Roots II," on Friday, April 28.
All concerts will be presented in Mandel Hall. For subscription information, call 702-8068.
Howard Mayer Brown International Early Music Series
The 1994-95 Howard Mayer Brown International Early Music Series, expanded this year to four concerts, will feature the Chicago debuts of three internationally acclaimed early-music ensembles.
The opening-night concert will feature the Chicago debut of Pomerium, a 13-voice a cappella ensemble performing at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. The series will continue with Ensemble Project Ars Nova at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2; the Chicago debut of Amsterdam's Locke Consort on Friday, Feb. 24; and the Chicago debut of the Arcadian Academy on Tuesday, March 14.
After the series' opening night in Rockefeller Chapel, all concerts will be presented in Mandel Hall. For subscription information, call 702-8068.
Contemporary Chamber Players
The Contemporary Chamber Players' new music director, Stephen Mosko, also director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and frequent guest conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, will lead the Contemporary Chamber Players into its 31st season with programs performed by this ensemble of members of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera orchestras.
This spring series begins with the free Annual Paul Fromm Concert conducted by Ralph Shapey, Music Director Laureate of the Contemporary Chamber Players and Professor Emeritus in Music, on Sunday, April 2. The season continues with Mosko at the podium on Friday, April 21, and Friday, June 2. Barbara Schubert will guest-conduct the Annual Young Composers' Concert on Friday, May 19.
All concerts will be presented in Mandel Hall. For subscription information, call 702-8068.
Easley Blackwood Series
The Easley Blackwood Concert Series was established last spring as a tribute to Easley Blackwood's accomplishments as a composer and pianist. Blackwood, Professor in Music, is known for his performances of some of the most intricate and demanding contemporary works written for piano.
The first concert of the two-part series will feature Blackwood in a performance with John Bruce Yeh, clarinetist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, on Sunday, April 9. Blackwood will perform a solo piano recital of his own work and music by Scriabin and Boulez in the second concert of the series on Sunday, April 30.
Both concerts will be presented in Mandel Hall. For subscription information, call 702-8068. Student Performance Organizations
The performance season for the University Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, University Chorus, Motet Choir, Jazz Ensemble, New Music Ensemble, Gamelan Ensemble and other student groups as well as soloists includes more than 90 concerts throughout the year.
The season begins with the popular University Symphony Orchestra Halloween concert, with music of Mendelssohn, Griffes and Rimsky-Korsakov, at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, in Mandel Hall. The theme for this year's event, which features spooky special effects and musicians in costume, is "Tales of Enchantment."
At 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, the University Symphony Orchestra will perform with guest soloists Liba Shacht on violin and John Sharp, principal cellist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, on violoncello. Barbara Schubert will direct the program of Barber, Scriabin and Brahms selections.
For more information on performances by student groups, check the Calendar in each issue of the Chronicle or call 702-8069. For information on how to audition for any of these groups, see story on this page.
FILMS Doc Films, International House Films and Law School Films screen a wide variety of films -- from new releases to foreign films to black-and-white classics -- throughout the year. For general information as well as individual listings, consult the Calendar in each issue of the Chronicle.