March 06, 2019

Three Chicago Groups Set to Take Their Stories to the Stage!

For the second year in a row, Lyric Unlimited’s groundbreaking Chicago Voicesinitiative invited groups of Chicagoans to transform their diverse stories into original music theater works. After three weeks of online public voting that resulted in more than 10,000 votes from every Chicago neighborhood, the three finalist groups for Chicago Voices Community Created Performances program have been announced! This summer, each of the winning groups will receive a $10,000 stipend and will begin working with a Lyric-hired creative team to help transform their narratives into one-of-a-kind musical presentations.

The three winning finalist groups are:

Blu Rhythm Collective is a group of Chicago urban artists pushing the boundaries of original live theater using a mix of art forms 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.

Kuumba Lynx is a youth development art-making organization that utilizes urban arts to cultivate strong communities built on a foundation of love. Members come from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The group strives to use Hip Hop as a means to mentor, motivate, and inspire artists to produce, share, and publish meaningful works of art. The group members see the making of an original music theater work as an opportunity to shift the perceptions of Chicago youth and their communities by telling their own stories rather than have them told by someone else.

YOLO Boomers is a group of North Center Chicago seniors 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 bust negative stereotypes associated with age. This group intends to demonstrate what it truly means to be an active senior in Chicago.

Last month, an official orientation gave each team’s Community Lead the opportunity to meet with their group’s personal animateur (facilitator), who will assist and support them throughout the 15-week program. Next, the professional creative team, consisting of a scriptwriter, songwriter and a director, will meet to discuss how best to assist the three finalist groups throughout the development process.

In mid-May, Lyric will host a welcome event for the finalists, where they will tour the Lyric Opera House and  meet and mingle with the other group members as well as the creative team. This preparation leads up to the official Community Created Performances program kickoff date on May 30,  when the finalists will begin their journeys into the creative process. Each team will meet weekly with their animateur, dedicating between four to six hours a week to the development of their project. 

At the ten-week mark, all three groups will present a Public Reading, an informal reading of their original scripts and scores. After that, the director, set and costume designers will join the groups to add the professional production elements that will bring the final works to life on the stage. The program will culminate in a fully staged, free public performance featuring all three works on Sunday, September 10 at 2pm at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.

Stay in the loop with Chicago Voices by following @ChicagoVoices on Facebook and Instagram.