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GSU Center for Performing Arts previews 2019-20 season

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Governors State University (GSU), the university’s Center for Performing Arts presented a preview of its 2019-20 season, which begins in September and continues through April, 2020.

Trumpeter Orbert Davis will lead the Chicago Jazz
 Philharmonic in the show  “Legends and Lions”
on April 4.
(Provided photos)
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Governors State University (GSU), the university’s Center for Performing Arts presented a preview of its 2019-20 season, which begins in September and continues through April, 2020.
Laura Rugachevskaya, director of the center, presented a video of the programs for preview program guests. 

“Some of the scheduled artists and performers have been here previously and in some cases, they are graduates of GSU,” she said.

She added that one of the center’s goals is to increase awareness of its programs in the surrounding communities. 
“We want people to know what is available for them right here in the South Suburbs. We provide entertainment comparable to what they might see in the city (Chicago), we are much closer and the parking is free.” 
The performing arts are an integral component of GSU. In addition to performances at the center, the beauty of art is the heartbeat of the university.
  Belinda Davids stars in
  “The Greatest Love of All:
  A Tribute to Whitney Houston”
  Feb. 8, 2020, one of the
  shows in the Governors State
  University’s 50th anniversary
  performing arts season.
In the center’s promotional brochure for the 2019- 20 season, GSU’s President Elaine Maimon states, “It is important for a healthy campus and community to live in the midst of art. As you walk around the university, you will notice art everywhere, on the grounds, in the hallway and in the lobby of the Center for Performing Arts. Our campus itself is one and the same with the internationally famous Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.”
The first presentation of the season will be the second annual Chicago Southland International Film Festival on Sept. 6, 7 and 8. The first segment is an International Short Film Competition featuring films selected from international student and professional film submissions. The last session features selected full length films from local and national talent. 

The three-day event offers Chicago-area residents an opportunity to see a collection of diverse films from professional to amateur to high school filmmakers from around the world.

The Homecoming Concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, will feature Jefferson Starship, 50 Years of Rock. The music that defined a generation and spanned decades is alive and well and more relevant than ever in pop-culture with hits such as “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit,” and “We Built This City.” 

In November, Chuck Smith, resident director at Goodman Theatre in Chicago and a GSU alumnus and honorary degree recipient, will direct “Crowns, a Gospel Musical,” supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Rap, hip-hop, spoken word, jazz, blues and R&B music will be included, but predominantly gospel music and dance underscore the story. The show will be presented twice; on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m., and also on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m.

Attendees of the Sunday performance are also invited to a southern tea party at 2 p.m. The invitation urges patrons to “Wear your best Sunday hat, enjoy delicious savories, scones and sweets and sip a selection of Southern ice and hot sweet teas before the show.”
On Saturday, April 4, 2020, in commemoration of GSU’s 50th anniversary, Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic brings its full 60-member symphonic jazz orchestra to the center with a signature production “Legends and Lions,” featuring jazz legends alongside young musicians.
This is the fourth time the CJP has performed at the center, but it is the first time its full 60-member symphonic jazz orchestra has participated. This program also has the distinction of including GSU alum and saxophonists Mwata Bowden and Justin Smith.
Attending the luncheon was Executive Director of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Birdi Soti. 

“The first three times we performed at the center it was a chamber-size group, but we are happy to have the full orchestra here this time,” she said. “When we come to the center, it feels like we are coming home because two of our members are graduates of GSU and our conductor, Orbert Davis, is from Momence. So their family and friends all come for the performance and it feels like a family reunion.” 

Also on hand for the preview was Leslie Segale, a member of the center’s board of directors. 

“We have worked for more than a year prior to this preview event, and are excited about the diversity of the events scheduled for the season. We want to reach out to various aspects of the community and increase awareness of the center and engage more diverse members in the community. We want to let them know what is here.

“Filling the room is not the goal; it is to get our community involved. I would rather see a half-full auditorium of people enjoying themselves and having a good time,” she said. 
For further information on the complete schedule for the 2019-2020 season visit or call 708.235.2222.

Center for Performing Arts 2019–2020 Season Lineup

  • Sept. 6-8: Chicago Southland International Film Festival
  • Sept. 22: Opening Night: “Opera Up Close All Stars”
  • Oct. 6.: United States Air Force Band of Mid-America (free concert)
  • Oct. 19: Jefferson Starship: 50 Years of Rock (GSU homecoming weekend)
  • Nov. 1-3: “The Laramie Project” presented by GSU Theatre and Performance Studies (TAPS)
  • Nov. 10: “Jungle Book”
  • Nov. 16-17: “Crowns: The Gospel Musical”
  • Dec. 7: Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
  • Jan. 25: Winter Comedy Festival
  • Feb. 8: “The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston” starring Belinda Davids
  • Feb. 24: “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till” presented by Mike Wiley
  • March 27-29: “Picnic” presented by GSU Theatre and Performance Studies (TAPS)
  • Apr. 4: Orbert Davis’s Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: “Legends and Lions”
  • Apr. 16: GSU Dance Company presents “From Tina to Beyoncé: 50 Years of Female Empowerment”
  • Apr. 25: “Viva Momix”

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