Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn

TONIGHT Only — Don’t miss it!

Above Video:  Joel Hall Dancers in rehearsal for “Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn” — with original choreography by American jazz dance icon, Joel Hall.  (Video created by Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth.)

The three-month centennial celebration of Billy Strayhorn concludes at the Auditorium Theatre with Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn.

Under the musical direction of Bruce Mayhall Rastrelli and featuring the original choreography of Joel Hall — this fully staged salute to Strayhorn features Broadway star Darius de Haas and local favorite Joan Curto with Alan Broadbent on piano, the Auditorium’s “Too Hot to Handel” Orchestra, the Joel Hall Dancers and a 30-voice-all-male choir arranged by conductor Bill Chin.

In addition to the music, the Auditorium Theatre will also be naming the  inaugural recipient of its “Eighth Wonder Award” during the evening. The “Eighth Wonder Award” is so named because  the Auditorium Theatre was proclaimed to be “The Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened in 1889.  The award will be presented annually to a notable individual in the fields of music, theatre, dance or architecture.



Tickets: $29 – $68

To purchase your tickets: CLICK HERE
… or call the Auditorium Theatre Box Office at 312.341.2300

Performance Location:


The stunning National Landmark Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University — located at 50 E. Congress Parkway — is one of the City’s most celebrated & iconic performing arts spaces.

In its own right, the Auditorium is work of art created by architecture legends Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan.

It has a past that follows the path of Chicago’s history from the Great Chicago Fire and World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 to the present. From opera to rock ‘n roll, from political conventions to sporting events, the Auditorium Theatre has played a role in the lives of Chicago citizens for 125 years.

For more info on the facility including links to seating charts: CLICK HERE

Parking & Directions:

For additional info including directions, parking, public transport options, nearby restaurants & hotels: CLICK HERE


NMAH Archives Center Duncan P. Schiedt Photograph Collection, ca. 1940-2013 1323 Box 13, H4450 - H4750 Negatives Envelop H-4738 Black and white photo of Duke Ellington wearing hat with arm around Billy Strayhorn. Dated: 1940-1941.

William Thomas “Billy” Strayhorn (November 29, 1915 – May 31, 1967) was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger, best known for his successful collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington, lasting nearly three decades.

Strayhorn’s many important and enduring musical compositions include “Take the ‘A’ Train“, “Chelsea Bridge“, and “Lush Life“.

Photo of Billy Strayhorn & Duke Ellington courtesy of Duncan Schiedt Jazz Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. (Click image to see larger version.)

Billy Strayhorn (Plated)Billy Strayhorn was recently inducted into Chicago’s Legacy Walk.  Strayhorn’s bronze memorial plaque may be found at 3411 N. Halsted Street in Chicago.  (Click on image to the right to see a larger view of Strayhorn’s plaque.) Located in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood on Halsted Street in the heart of “Boystown” — the Legacy Walk is recognized as the world’s only outdoor museum created to honor the lives and work of famous LGBT individuals and significant historical events.  

Additionally, the Legacy Project maintains the award-winning Legacy Project Education Initiative (LPEI) which features on-line resources and multi-media, customized lesson plans and study guides, as well as special projects for educators and students, to help fashion activities for members of Gay/Straight Alliance Clubs in Chicago and around the nation.

  • Discover more about the incredible life & rich musical legacy of Billy Strayhorn — with embedded links from The Legacy Project to additional information & resources:  CLICK HERE

51qCXlDoZ6L._SX408_BO1,204,203,200_Finally, check out the newly released book:  Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life — a stunning collection of essays, photographs, and ephemera celebrating Billy Strayhorn, one of the most significant yet under-appreciated contributors to 20th century American music.

Released in commemoration of Strayhorn’s centennial, this luxurious coffee-table book offers intimate details of the composer’s life from musicians, scholars, and Strayhorn’s closest relatives.  Edited by A. Alyce Claerbaut and David Schlesinger.  To purchase your copy: CLICK HERE



“Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn” is supported
by a grant 
from The Chicago Community Trust.