March 06, 2019
Community Created Performances are Back!
Last year through Lyric Unlimited’s groundbreaking Chicago Voices initiative, three incredibly unique groups were selected for a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience to bring the stories of their communities to life through song. Now, we’re back for round two with another amazing batch of Chicago-based groups that are excited to share their compelling, untold stories! Eight semi-finalist groups have been chosen to move forward, and now we need YOU to pick the story you want to see brought to life.
Beginning March 13 through April 2, head over to ChicagoVoices.org/community to vote daily for your favorite story. The three groups with the highest number of online votes will each receive a $10,000 stipend plus an artistic team provided by Lyric to help craft their stories into original music theater works. The final presentations will be performed this fall at the Harris Theater in downtown Chicago.
Introducing the eight semi-finalist groups (in alphabetical order):
Sufferers of Myalgic Encephomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and their advocates unite as the brand new group, the Bathrobe Heroines. The Bathrobe Heroines seek to educate Chicagoans about ME/CFS and the severe impact it has on patients’ lives. By creating an original music theater work, the group aims to bring public attention, greater understanding, and gravity to this little-known, chronic illness.
Blu Rhythm Collective
Blu Rhythm Collective is a group of Chicago urban artists pushing the boundaries of original live theater using a mix of artforms to focus on some of the city’s hardest-hitting topics. Its members are a direct reflection of Chicago and its various neighborhoods. Blu Rhythm looks to illuminate one of Chicago’s biggest issues by providing insight into the lives of young Chicagoans from these marginalized communities and their struggle to overcome the challenges of violence in order to succeed.
Chicago MU-saic includes artists, adults, and youth brought together by their shared desire to elevate the experiences of youth in the Chicagoland area through music. The group strives to build a better community, confront racial inequality, and and provide robust resources for their members. Chicago MU-saic will tell the story that people do not have to be defined by where they come from, and that Chicago is a place where anyone can find the resources they need to make their dreams come true.
Kuumba Lynx is an urban arts youth development program that utilizes Hip Hop to cultivate strong communities built on a foundation of love. A city-wide community of people from African American and Latino neighborhoods, this group strives to use Hip Hop as a creative alternative to drugs, gangs, prejudice, hostility, and violence. The group sees the making of an original music theater work as an opportunity to tell their own story of life as an urban youth in Chicago rather than have it told by someone else.
North Center Senior Center
The North Center Satellite Senior Center group is actively engaged in different forms of creative expression including writing and improvisational acting. The group hopes to use the collective, personal stories of its members spanning decades to raise awareness and resources for the Center. Looking to bust negative stereotypes associated with age, this group intends to demonstrate what it truly means to be an active senior in Chicago.
Radclyffe Hall is a memoir-writing group of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) seniors in the Lakeview neighborhood who come together regularly to share their stories and the difficulties they have faced. Their story centers around the history of Chicago’s LGBT movement. The group seeks to share their personal stories of celebration and suffering, and their ongoing fight for equality both within and beyond Chicago.
Teatro Americano is the community theater branch of Latinos Progresando, a social services nonprofit providing arts education programming, immigration support, and other resources to Chicago’s Latino communities in Marshall Square, Pilsen, and Little Village. Teatro Americano strives to bring awareness to the unique struggles, including immigration obstacles and labor exploitation, experienced by its community members. The group will bring together people of all ages to tell their personal stories of immigration and relocation to Chicago.
Youth Empowerment Performance Project
The Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) is a Chicago nonprofit working to support the city’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning) youth experiencing housing instability. The group was created to address the lack of safe spaces and resources for LGBTQ youth in Chicago. YEPP aims to create an original music theater work that will raise awareness about their community by telling the personal stories of their participants who struggle with homelessness and discrimination on a daily basis because of who they are.
Remember to vote daily beginning March 13 at ChicagoVoices.org/community!