Auditorium Theatre

Season Preview

The Auditorium Theatre celebrates its 130th anniversary this year! The National Historic Landmark theatre, built by famed architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, officially opened its doors in 1889 and has played an important role in Chicago’s cultural landscape ever since. The theatre’s 2019–20 season commemorates this significant milestone with exciting premieres, the return of favorite performers and more.


The 2019–20 season kicks off in the fall with the Midwest premiere of the live concert experience of Jordan Peele’s Academy Award–winning film Get Out on September 21. The film score’s composer, Michael Abels, will conduct the Chicago Sinfonietta — the city’s most diverse and inclusive orchestra — as they perform the movie’s heart-pounding music.

Grand Canyon
Photo by Pete McBride

Harp seal pup
Photo by Brian Skerry

Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride
Photo by Pete McBride

Photo by Tim Laman

Tigress cubs
Photo by Steve Winter

On September 24, the Auditorium’s National Geographic Live series begins with Between River and Rim: Hiking the Grand Canyon, featuring writer Kevin Fedarko and photographer/filmmaker Pete McBride. The duo will be talking about their on-foot expedition across the Grand Canyon, sharing stories from their trek and talking about the environmental threats that the national park faces today, accompanied by McBride’s stunning photos and videos.

Mar de Fuego

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre
Photo by William Frederking

Two local companies known for exploring identity and culture through dance and music share the Auditorium’s stage on October 4 as part of the “Made in Chicago” dance series. Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre premieres a brand-new work, “American Catracho,” based on the stories of immigrants to the United States, and Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater returns with a fiery collection of new and classic pieces.

The Nightmare Before Christmas at the Auditorium Theatre
Photo courtesy of the Auditorium Theatre

Celebrate Halloween at the Auditorium with Tim Burton’s classic stop-motion film The Nightmare Before Christmas. On October 31 and November 1, the Chicago Philharmonic performs Danny Elfman’s beloved score live to film. The Auditorium offers Halloween and Nightmare-themed activities in its historic (perhaps even haunted?) lobby on both nights, including trick-or-treating and a costume contest.

Joan Curto

On November 16, local cabaret and theatre performers come together for “Chicago Celebrates Sondheim!” in a salute to America’s greatest living composer and lyricist ahead of his 90th birthday in 2020. Directed and produced by Chicago’s own Joan Curto, singers from across the city bring their unique voices to selections from Sondheim’s revered body of work, including Sweeney Todd, Follies and Company.

Preceding the “Chicago Celebrates Sondheim!” performance, the Auditorium honors Patti Eylar and Charlie Gardner, two of Chicago’s strongest cultural advocates, at its annual fall gala. Eylar, a founding member of the Chicago City Ballet, is the codirector of Chicago Ballet Arts and serves on the board of many prominent arts institutions around the city. Gardner is an emeritus director of the Auditorium Theatre Board of Directors, member of the Roosevelt University Board of Trustees and the former president and CEO of Chicago Dock & Canal Trust. The gala reception and dinner are hosted at the Palmer House Hilton.

Stephen Sondheim
photo courtesy of Joan Curto

For more information about the Auditorium Theatre’s upcoming events, visit

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