The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt UniversityAnnual Fall Gala & 2019 Season Preview
by Lily Oberman
Mel Katten, a longtime board member of both the Auditorium Theatre and Roosevelt University, received the third annual Adler and Sullivan Award at the Auditorium’s Annual Fall Gala on November 3, 2018, honoring Katten’s commitment to the Auditorium Theatre and his dedication to the arts.
As chairman of the Auditorium’s Board of Directors from 2002–2015, Katten was instrumental in creating lasting partnerships with major dance companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Joffrey Ballet, Broadway in Chicago, and countless other organizations. He oversaw the creation of the theater’s Creative Engagement Department, which extends the Auditorium Theatre’s programming across the city and runs Hearts to Art, the theater’s signature summer camp for young people who have experienced the death of a parent. Under Katten’s guidance, the theater also raised funds to install an elevator and create a new rehearsal space (named the Katten-Landau Studio after Katten’s daughter, Pamela, who passed away in 2002 due to complications from leukemia).
(from left) Jill Raizin, Lou Raizin, John Svoboda, Mel Katten, Rachel Freund, and Lew Collens
The Annual Fall Gala was held at the Palmer House Hilton and followed by a Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons performance at the Auditorium Theatre. The legendary group performed timeless classics such as “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” “Sherry” and “Grease.” Valli called the historic Auditorium “one of the most beautiful theaters” in which he had ever performed in his life.
The Auditorium’s 2018-19 season continues in 2019 withToo Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah on January 19 and 20; National Geographic Live (featuring explorer and researcher Mireya Mayor) on January 24; Trinity Irish Dance Company on February 2; Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Malpaso Dance Company on March 2 and 3; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on March 6-10; A Whole New World of Alan Menken on March 30; and American Ballet Theatre on April 11-14. For tickets or more information, please visit AuditoriumTheatre.org or call (312) 341-2300.
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Through the exploration of dance, theatre and music, Hearts to Art provides young people with a space to communicate, collaborate, grow and connect with others who have had similar life experiences.