What happens when you combine leaders in the world of Chicago arts, culture & entertainment? An incredible musical that takes its audience on a journey of reflection and self-discovery through song, dance, fashion and design. Sita Ram began in 2002 when Krithika Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Company commissioned founding ensemble member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company, David Kresnar, and Grammy-nominated composer, Jai Uttal, to create a world musical that encompassed Chicago’s rich diversity and culture. The first show premiered in 2006 and was a great success. The Hindu epic, Ramayana, is the basis for Sita Ram as it fuses together the past, present & future – all themes that are as relevant today as they were 3,000 years ago when Ramayana was first written.
Sita Ram is being re-launched this year and will showcase vocal performances from the Chicago Children’s Choir under the music direction of Josephine Lee. Members of the Natya Dance Company will also be an integral part of the show. Critically-acclaimed as one of the most culturally-treasured Indian dance companies in the country, the Natya Dance Company is rooted in Bharata Natyam, one of the great classical dance forms in India. Through dynamic body movement, hand gestures, rhythmic footwork and facial expressions the Natya Dance Company brings a true world-class performance to Sita Ram.
Possibly the most stunning parts of Sita Ram, are the immaculate costumes which are designed by local fashionista & designer, Azeeza Khan. If you were at Dose Market last weekend (and in months past) chances are you saw some fabulous examples of her work at Atelier AZZA. Khan takes traditional Indian aesthetic and elevates it into contemporary design that perfectly complements the elements of Sita Ram.
This incredible musical wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful help of Monika Dixon Public Relations and presenting sponsor, Walgreens. There will be three performances of Sita Ram at the Harris Theater this upcoming weekend:
Don’t miss your chance to see this spectacular world musical performed by some of Chicago’s greatest singers & dancers, it’s guaranteed to be a fabulous show!
Tags: : Sita Ram, arts, Atelier AZZA, Azeeza Khan, Bharata Natyam, chicago, chicago children's choir, culture, dance, David Kresnar, diversity, Dose Market, entertainment, fashion, grammys, Harris Theater, Jai Uttal, Josephine Lee, Krithika Rajagopalan, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Monica Dixon PR, Natya Dance Company, Ramayana, Walgreens, world musical
**UPDATED** 3.1.12 :: Check out our Oscar Viewing Party Re-Cap Video!! See the exciting behind the scenes party footage, our amazing guests and who won the Oscar Challenge. Hint…it WASN’T the movie critic. Enjoy!!!
UPDATE 2/21/12 by Amy: Movie Critic Richard Roeper & Restaurateur Billy Dec go HEAD TO HEAD on Oscar Picks! And guess what?! The loser has to work for the other person! Watch this video below to see it all go down! By the way, you too can compete against them for some great prizes here: http://bit.ly/RockitOscars
Make sure you join Richard & Billy at the event & in this competition! Below sample of some of the fabulous prizes you can win at the event!
-A pair of Roundtrip tickets valid for travel from the US to Europe, Central America or the Carribean from United Airlines
-Three Month Spa Membership at The Peninsula
-Autographed pennant from Chicago Bull Derrick Rose
-One Week of FREE Private Uber Car Rides
-Blackhawks Hockey Stick autographed by the team
-Two tickets for the Opening Night Performance and Post-Show Cast Party for EASTLAND at Lookingglass Theatre
-Two autographed baseballs from Chicago Cub Ryan Dempster
-Fitness Guru Andrea Metcalf’s Package: workout mat, ball, book, dvd and personal fitness consultation
-Two Premium Seats to March 14th “Show Boat” at the Lyric Opera
-Party at 10 Pin with food, beverage and bowling
-Autographed Lance Briggs Jersey
-Autographed Mike Ditka Book
MEDIA ALERT : February 9, 2012
Richard Roeper & Billy Dec to co-host an Oscar Viewing Party
To benefit the arts through After School Matters
CHICAGO – On February 26, co-hosts Richard Roeper & Billy Dec will hold their 2nd Annual Oscar Viewing Party. Guests will test their movie knowledge by putting their ballot predictions up against Richard and Billy for a chance to win fabulous prizes while hearing their commentary live throughout the telecast.
Tickets are priced at $50 each with a portion of the proceeds going to support After School Matters, a nonprofit organization that offers Chicago public high school teens high quality out-of-school-time opportunities to explore and develop their talents in the arts, while gaining critical skills for work, college, and beyond.
Tickets include delicious passed appetizers from Rockit Bar & Grill, creative “Oscar themed” cocktails from Belvedere and Moet Chandon champagne. Gift bags will be given to the first 100 ticket buyers. Red carpet coverage begins at 5 p.m. telecast begins at 6 p.m.
Click here to get your tickets : http://bit.ly/xsHKGo
About the hosts:
Richard Roeper is co-host of Roe/Roeper on WLS-AM. Sun-Times Columnist. Author of eight books. Former co-host Ebert/Roeper. Contributor, ReelzChannel. Reviews: Richardroeper.com.
Billy Dec is CEO of Rockit Ranch Productions, Emmy Award Winning Entertainment Correspondent, ABC’s “Windy City Live”
Tags: abc, Academy Awards 2012, After School Matters, arts, Author, billy dec, charity, Ebert/Roeper, Entertainment Columnist, fundraiser, Oscar, Oscar Viewing Party, oscars, Oscars 2012, Reelz Channel, richard roeper, rockit bar and grill, Roe/Roeper, sun times, theatre, windy city live, WLS-AM
How’s it going BillyDec.com readers? It’s Matt Kochis, one of Billy’s interns for the summer, here and ready to tell you guys about a great Chicago company called Growing Through Arts. Growing Through Arts is a company that creates and markets educational children’s books and toys. They are excited to announce their first line of children’s books called The Ballet Series.
Growing Through Arts promotes the philosophy that the arts can have a great impact on children’s lives and futures such as their careers, educations, and social behaviors. As somebody who has been involved with the arts all through my life in forms such as jazz band, marching band, and theater, I completely agree. I think having that artistic and open environment around me really helped me feel free to be creative and take on new perspectives and ideas. I am happy to hear of companies such as Growing Through Arts that is working towards promoting and keeping the arts alive and well in today’s youth. Growing Through Arts was founded by Aleksandra Efimova, owner of Russian Pointe brand of ballet pointe shoes as well as a friend to Billy. Aleksandra, with her ballet background, is more than happy to present The Ballet Series to the public.
The Ballet Series will feature three books: The Nutcracker Ballet, The Cinderella Ballet, and The Sleeping Beauty Ballet. All of these will are written by Aleksandra and tell of these classic ballets while adding a new interesting element to the stories. Aleksandra has added questions throughout the stories that parents can ask their children to teach them moral lessons. The books are aimed for ages 2 through 6 and contain a glossary of ballet terms that will help entice children to learn about this art form.
On top of the three books being released, there will also be three companion Practice & Play Books, which will feature activities that interweave lessons from the storybooks to enhance children’s learning. The Ballet Series is completed with the additional Alphabet Set, where each letter depicts a ballet vocabulary word, and three Stage Scene Play Sets that come with characters children can play with on stage to re-create the ballets.
I think Growing Through Arts new Ballet Series is a fantastic effort to bring the arts to children. I was fortunate to grow up in an environment that supported the arts, but I know not every child has that opportunity. Aleksandra is doing her part to try and change that and ensure that every child has some form of contact with the arts. “I am thrilled to bring the love of dance to children everywhere,” Efimova said. “I hope these books inspire children to become enthusiastic supporters of the arts and to learn that with discipline and passion, any dream can come true.”
if you follow kate walsh, jeremy piven & i on twitter (if not, click here to follow!), you probably have seen us talk about the event above! now I get why private practice’s kate walsh deserves an artistic excellence award, but I was as shocked (as you probably are) to see my name in that title when it was first delivered to me! I mean, I love the arts, theatre and anything cultural, especially when it’s locally grown, and have supported the community & its fundraisers as much as I can, but this is just too much! and to top it all off, you can come to the brunch ceremony w/kate and I if you want, and celebrate with us!
this all came about because my buddy jeremy piven who you probably know from “entourage” comes from a dynamic set of parents well known in the national acting community as outstanding acting teachers at their well known piven theatre workshop in evanston, il. they have taught celebrated actors like jeremy, joan cusack, john cusack, aidan quinn, kate walsh… and many others! I have co-hosted fundraisers w/each of those actors, along with jeremy, soon after we became friends about 12 years ago, and over time we have raised a lot of money for children’s scholarships in art & theatre in chicago- which I am very proud of.
I guess through this contribution, his mom Joyce Piven, and the Piven Theatre Workshop, decided to honor me with the Byrne Piven (Jeremy’s dad who has passed away) Community Leadership Award. I am so incredibly honored! my lovely buddy Kate Walsh btw is being honored with the Joyce Piven Artistic Excellence Award which I know she is thrilled about as well.
I highly recommend you check out www.piventheatre.org to read more about Joyce and Byrne Piven’s rich theatrical experience and history; it’s a great success story that I am thrilled to be a part of. if you would like to join us at the celebratory award ceremony brunch, which is now at sunda on October 17 at 12p, just click here or call (847) 866-8049. there is a $100 donation that will go to benefit Piven Theatre Workshop & help train more children & adults in theatre arts!
Lookingglass theatre was formed over 20 years ago by a group of local college kids. 15 yrs ago I became best friends w/ two members randomly, Joey Slotnick and David Schwimmer, who introduced me to the group, and I fell in love w/ it immediately. So much that about 10yrs ago I founded the lookingglass Junior Board to get young professionals involved, where joey, david & I began to host great parties for them called the madhatters ball to benefit the theatre and their children’s programs! (See video above!)
This year madhatters ball happens thursday night 6/24 and has a whole new spin on it! The junior board has grown so much and so strong in the last decade, that they are taking it by the horns and producing this amazing event all on their own, which means I get to join you all for the fun and come as a fellow guest to party!
The night starts w/a performance of Lookingglass Alice at the theatre, rolling into a party at the ritz carlton, wrapping w/an after-party at The Underground w/ one of my favorite djs in the world, dj irie! Tickets and more info can be found at lookingglasstheatre.org