Theatre and Music
UIC School of Theatre and Music Spring 2019 News
THE POETRY FOUNDATION GRANTS $35,000 IN SUPPORT OF UIC THEATRE’S A STREECAR NAMED DESIRE
We are excited to announce that this spring’s production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire has received a $35,000 grant from the Poetry Foundation. This generous support helps the School of Theatre and Music produce university theater at the highest level for students, the UIC campus, neighboring communities, and Chicago.
A Streetcar Named Desire is directed by Jeff award-winning director and UIC Theatre faculty Derrick Sanders and opens April 12 at 7:30PM. Join STM for a post-show talk titled “Brutality, Kindness, and Grace” from Derrick Sanders and a representative of the Poetry Foundation on April 14. Tickets to A Streetcar Named Desire can be purchased here, or call our box office at 312.996.2939.
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture, and is based right here in Chicago. Learn more at poetryfoundation.org.
AT THIS MOMENT: SELECTED SCHOOL OF THEATRE AND MUSIC FACULTY AND COMMUNITY NEWS
Louis Bergonzi, Professor and Head of Music, has given masterclasses at various Chicagoland high schools this winter in efforts to strengthen and promote youth orchestras throughout the Midwest. Some of the schools he has visited are Glen Crest Middle School and Waubonsie Valley High School.
Ari Brown, Teaching Associate of applied jazz saxophone, has been named the Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. Brown was recognized for being a living symbol of the great Jazz Music genre. He has contributed his saxophone talents to more than 75 albums in his lifetime and has mentored generations of jazz students at UIC. Read the Chicago Tribune article here.
Stephanie Cluggish, Clinical Assistant Professor and costume designer, is designing costumes for the Chicago premier of Fulfillment Center by Abe Koogler at A Red Orchid Theatre. Fulfillment Center is directed by Jess McLeod and follows the lives of four lonely people: a folk singer, a campground drifter, a retail store manager, and his girlfriend. These four lives come together in the search for fulfillment in this raw, surprising and funny Chicago premiere. Fulfillment Center plays from February 14 through March 24. Click here for tickets.
Richard Corley, Adjunct Lecturer, has a chapter in the forthcoming book Teacher Representations in Dramatic Text and Performance (Routledge, fall 2019). His chapter, “Educating Frank: Mentorship in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita,” is based on two productions of the play he directed, and on recent scholarship regarding best mentorship practices. Professor Corley will also present “The Gotham Playgoer’s Holiday: A Casebook on Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre Production of Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemakers’ Holiday” at the University of Waterloo’s third Shakespearean Theatre Conference, to be held June 20–22, in Stratford, Ontario.
Christine Mary Dunford, Director of UIC School of Theatre and Music, was recently recognized in Brain and Life Magazine for her work and research with The Memory Ensemble. The article, “How Improvisational Techniques Help Engage Dementia Patients” explores various activities and workshops that successfully help patients navigate moments of uncertainty or anxiety related to change. Read the Brain and Life Magazine article here. Also, her play Still Alice, based on the novel Lisa Geneva, enjoyed a nine-city tour in the UK this past fall.
Shanésia Davis, Adjunct Lecturer, was featured as Irene Boudreau on the new Fox drama series Proven Innocent. Proven Innocent tells the story of one woman’s fight to prove the innocence of wrongfully convicted people.
Lydia Diamond, Clinical Associate Professor of script analysis and contemporary performance techniques, will have the world premiere of her play,Toni Stone, at Roundabout Theatre in New York City. Toni Stone stars Emmy Award-winner Uzo Aduba as Toni Stone and is directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon. Catch Toni Stone May 23-August 11. Click here for tickets.
Robert Difazio, Music Business Coordinator and Visiting Lecturer, for the second year in a row will serve as a Grammy U Mentor this April. Grammy U is a program that fosters productive educational opportunities by pairing Grammy U members with industry professionals, giving students the opportunity to gain invaluable applicable knowledge to their future careers. Through this program, Difazio will provide aspiring music professionals with insights and networks to the music business.
Guillermo Duarte, Music Programs Manager, had his event series, Pachanga, recognized on NPR Latino USA. The article, “4 Artists Embracing Their Identity in Chicago’s Rising Latin DIY Music Scene,” covers the emergence of a new generation of Latinx music and its influence throughout Chicago. Read the NPR Latino USA article here.
Julie Koidin and Zvonimir Tot, music faculty, have been invited to participate in the Fulbright Specialist Program. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Specialist Program is a unique opportunity for U.S. academics and established professionals to engage in two- to six-week consultancies in a range of disciplines at host institutions in over 150 countries worldwide. Koidin received a Fulbright Specialist Grant to Colombia for 2019 to teach and perform U.S. repertoire at the Conservatorio de Tolima. To date Koidin has received 6 Fulbright Specialist Grants and 2 Fulbright Lecture-Research Grants.
Tanera Marshall, Associate Professor of voice, speech, and dialects, worked on dialects with Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya during the polar vortex for the American drama thriller film Queen & Slim. Queen & Slim is directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe and James Frey.
Marc Mellits, Associate Professor of composition and theory of music, was featured in New Music Chicago’s Concert Series on February 21 at Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater. This performance explored Mellits’ work with “Titan” for bass clarinet and string quartet (2018); “Agu,” for solo piano (2004); “Max,” for violin and piano (2013) and many more. Performers included Jennifer Blyth, Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite, Marie Alatalo and UIC Assistant Director of Bands Nicholas Carlson. Read the Chicago Tribune article here.
Mellits was also recently commissioned by professional wind quintet, WindSync to write a piece in honor of the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon in 1969. WindSync’s performance premiered February 16 at Ravinia Festival’s Bennett-Gordon Hall. Read the Chicago Tribune article here.
Mary Jo Papich, UIC School of Theatre and Music Advisory Board Member, has been awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor from the International Midwest Clinic. Midwest Clinic is the largest instrumental music education conference in the world. The Medal of Honor is awarded to conductors and educators whose work in instrumental music education and development and improvement of bands deserve the highest recognition. Papich received international attention for founding the Jazz Education Network (JEN) 10 years ago. The not-for-profit organization promotes jazz education, performance and develops new audiences.
Yasen Peyankov, Associate Professor and Head of Theatre, will be appearing in two productions at Steppenwolf Theatre in early 2019. Peyankov is performing in A Doll’s House, Part 2, Lucas Hnath’s bitingly funny sequel to Ibsen’s revolutionary masterpiece, directed by Robin Witt and staged at Steppenwolf from January 31 to March 17. Peyankov will then help convey the chilling story of an unexpected visitor to a seaside cottage in the East of England in The Children, written by Lucy Kirkwood and directed by Jonathan Berry, on the Steppenwolf stage from April 18 to June 9. Click here for tickets.
Collette Pollard, Associate Professor of scenic design, is the set designer for Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady at Milwaukee Repertory. The Chinese Lady centers around Afong Moy who was brought from Beijing to America in 1834 and put on display as the “Chinese Lady.” Over the next several decades, she performed in a sideshow that both defined and challenged her own view of herself as she witnessed a stunning transformation in the U.S. Catch The Chinese Lady February 13–March 24. Click here for tickets.
Derrick Sanders, Associate Professor of acting and performance, is hosting the 10th annual Chicago’s August Wilson Monologue Competition in collaboration with Goodman Theatre, School of Theatre and Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and The League of Chicago Theatres. The competition invites Chicago youth to learn and perform Wilson’s work. As the League of Chicago Theatre website states, “At the plays’ core are soaring, lyrical monologues that take the rich song, laughter, and pain of the African American experience and place it in the mouths of the most varied ensemble of characters written since Shakespeare.”
The top three participants in Chicago receive $500, $250, and $100 scholarships, respectively, and the top two participants receive the opportunity to compete in the national finals in New York City. The winner of the Chicago finals is also awarded a partial scholarship to attend the University of Illinois Chicago’s School of Theatre and Music.
Rachelle Palnick Tsachor, Assistant Professor of movement, is a recipient of the University of Illinois system’s Arts and Humanities funding initiative along with College of Education colleagues Maria Varelas, Nathan Phillips, Rebecca Woodard, Rebecca Kotler, and Hannah Natividad. Tim Killeen President of the University of Illinois System affirmed late January, “Fourteen faculty projects were selected from nearly 60 extraordinary proposals from University our three universities and will share nearly $2 million in funding over the next two years under a new funding initiative aimed at celebrating the impact and importance of the arts and humanities across the University of Illinois System.”
“Young People’s Science Theater” was awarded $145,000 and is a collaborative effort between UIC faculty, undergraduate and graduate students in theater and urban elementary education and CPS teachers and students and surrounding communities. The project supports young people’s use of artistic processes to embody such challenges as climate change, balanced ecosystems, pollution, water quality, energy sources, and health disparities and create theater performances to develop and disseminate their science knowledge while inspiring reflection and action. UIC Theatre faculty involved in this project include Lydia Diamond and Christine Mary Dunford.
Tsachor also received the CADA Dean’s Research Prize, which supports her research for a chapter titled, “Movement Training from an Integrative and MindBody Lens” for a forthcoming book. The book, provisionally titled, Integrative Rehab Practice: Supporting Whole Person Care, lays out a paradigm shift in rehabilitation. Tsachor’s chapter on Movement suggests how to integrate arts-based somatic movement knowledge into rehabilitation science and therapy.
NEWS FROM UIC STUDENTS
Downtown Voices A Capella, STM’s student-led acapella group placed 4th among ten universities at the 2019 ICCA Great Lakes Quarterfinal. UIC student Brendan Tiongson received the award for Best Soloist. Downtown Voices is comprised of students from various majors at UIC. Watch their performance here.
Jesse Granato and Sarah Sukhni, BA Theatre & Performance students, are currently studying at the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG) as part of a new international exchange with UIC Theatre. This exchange has given both students an opportunity to explore new creative processes.
As Sarah explains, “studying at the National University of Ireland in Galway has been so rewarding. I have been able to deeply reflect about my goals and ambitions. It has been a journey of self-discovery and never-ending creative opportunities. It’s so important to step outside your comfort zone and be engaged in what’s happening in the community because you are part of this new community. When you study abroad, you get a blank canvas and you get to paint it any way your heart desires. You create your own opportunities.” You can see Sarah and Jesse’s adventures abroad here.