The Auditorium Theatre's signature production Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah celebrates 15 years in Chicago, and is one of the first performances to kick off the Year of Chicago Music, on January 18 and 19, 2020, in addition to a special Student Matinee performance on January 17. The jazz-gospel twist on George Frideric Handel's classic Messiah oratorio premiered at the Auditorium in 2006, and has been inspiring and uplifting audiences ever since.
Too Hot features the powerful soloists Alfreda Burke (soprano), Karen Marie Richardson (alto), and Rodrick Dixon (tenor); legendary Detroit pianist Alvin Waddles; a 100-person choir led by Bill Fraher, director of concert choirs at Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago; and a chamber orchestra and jazz band led by Michigan Opera Theatre assistant music director Suzanne Mallare Acton.
Traditionally hosted on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, Too Hot commemorates King's vision of a "beloved community," a world in which peace, justice, and love prevail. King frequently referred to Biblical passages that are repeated throughout the Messiah and Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah; his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, for example, uses the passage, "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low," which is also heard in the Too Hot song "Every Valley." King also remarked on jazz music's unique ability to bring people together - in his opening address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival, he stated, "Everybody has the blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs love and to be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy ... in music, especially in this broad category called jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these."
THE AUDITORIUM THEATER
50 E Ida B Wells Dr | Chicago