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Lilly Hall
Jordan College of the Arts

JCA Signature Series

A High-Impact Artist and Scholar Residency Program for Student Enrichment and Community Enjoyment


Hello Gold Mountain, A requiem for lost possibilities of the Jewish community of Shanghai

with composer Wu Fei performing on guzheng, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz performing on oud, and the chatterbird ensemble

Hello Gold Mountain is a requiem for lost possibilities of the Jewish community of Shanghai.  

The piece is inspired by stories of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai from Europe during World War II. From 1933 until the end of the war, Shanghai was often the only port at which Jewish refugees fleeing Europe could disembark without a visa. In the early 1940s, more than 20,000 Jews lived in Shanghai and contributed to its cultural and civic life.  

But the Jews could not stay. As China’s bloody civil war came to a close in 1949, most fled. Many emigrated to the US, often arriving at the port of San Francisco, or Old Gold Mountain.

What musical possibilities were lost because the times did not allow neighbors from these different cultures to grow old together, sharing songs and stories? Similarly, what artistic creations will be lost if Europe and the United States close the door to refugees and migrants from lands in chaos?

Public performance: Thursday, September 9, 7:30 pm, Schrott
Residency Activities TBA


Mikeal Burke directs We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Nambia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, written by Jackie Sibblies Drury

Mikael Burke is a Chicago-based director, deviser, and educator. A Princess Grace Award-winner in Theatre, Jeff Award-nominated director, and proud Butler Theatre grad (‘09), Mikael’s worked with Victory Gardens Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Jackalope Theatre Company, Windy City Playhouse, About Face Theatre, First Floor Theater, American Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, and The Story Theatre in Chicago, and regionally with Geva Theatre Center, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and Phoenix Theatre. Mikael serves as Associate Artistic Director at About Face Theatre in Chicago, is Head of the Directing Concentration of the Summer High School Training Program of the Theatre School, and is an adjunct faculty member there as well as in the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Recent directing credits include we are continuous by Harrison David Rivers; Kill Move Paradise by James Ijames; The Agitators by Mat Smart; Sugar in Our Wounds by Donja R. Love; At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen by Terry Guest.


Jackie Sibblies Drury’s plays include Marys Seacole (OBIE Award), Fairview (2019 Pulitzer Prize), Really, Social Creatures, and We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915. The presenters of her plays include Young Vic, Lincoln Center Theatre, Soho Rep., Berkeley Rep, New York City Players & Abrons Arts Center, Victory Gardens, Trinity Rep, Woolly Mammoth, Undermain Theatre, InterAct Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Company One, and The Bush Theatre. Drury has developed her work at Sundance , Bellagio Center, Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab, New York Theatre Workshop, Bushwick Starr, LARK, and MacDowell Colony, among others. She has received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a Jerome Fellowship at The LARK, a United States Artists Fellowship, a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, and a Windham-Campbell Literary Prize in Drama. 

Public performances: Wednesday-Sunday, October 6-10, 2021, Lilly Hall Studio Theatre
Workshop for theatre students, faculty, and staff with Ms. Drury: Friday, October 10, 2021, 1:00-3:00 pm
Post-show Q and A with Ms. Drury: Friday, October 10, 2021


Abigail Smithson

Abigail Smithson is a multi-media artist who has exhibited work in the United States and internationally. She received her Bachelor of Studio Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University. Her art practice is rooted in the appreciation, translation, and act of archiving objects that record their surroundings. She challenges the traditional ideas of representation and works to create photographs as documents, in a both nuanced and abstract way. The game of basketball has been a longtime muse for her and she follows and believes firmly in the New Craft Artists in Action collective motto, which is Participation vs. Spectatorship when it comes to sports. Through her podcast Dear Adam Silver as well as her other work, she questions the current narrative around sports and art and how the two cultural entities overlap and live side by side. She is currently a Visiting Professor of Art at Lyon College, located in Batesville, AR.


Public lecture: Breathe in an Alley-Oop, Monday, October 25, 2021, 7:30 pm, EDRH
Workshops with art students TBD


Ursula Oppens and the Cassatt Quartet, presented in partnership with Ensemble Music Society

The Cassatt String Quartet was formed in 1985 and was chosen the first quartet for Juilliard’s Young Artists Quartet Program. Acclaimed as one of the United States’ outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan-based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Ursula Oppens, a legend among American pianists, is widely admired particularly for her original and perceptive readings of new music, but also for her knowing interpretations of the standard repertoire. No other artist alive today has commissioned and premiered more new works for the piano.

Thursday, November 11, 2021
     School of Music Convocation, 1:00-1:50 pm, LH 120
     Piano Master Class with Ursula Oppens, 2:00-3:30 pm, EDRH
     Composition Seminar with Victoria Bond, 5:30-6:30 pm, LH 145
     Public performance on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 7:30, Indiana History Center:
19th Amendment Centennial Plus One

2020-2021 SEASON (Virtual)

SUPAMAN, Native American dancer and hip-hop artist – September 18, 2020

MUSEUMS ARE NOT NEUTRAL, panel discussion – September 30, 2020

MONUMENT(AL) CRISIS, panel discussion – October 12, 2020

NICOLE BREWER: The Movement for Anti-Racist Practices and Its Impact on Theatre and The TETRA – October 16, 2020

DONALD BYRD, Spectrum Dance Theater: Social Justice and Just Causes – November 20, 2020

BLACK VIOLIN – January 2021

LADAMA – February 19, 2021

KIRSTEN LEENAARS, visual artist: (Re)Housing the American Dream and the Politics of Imagination – February 24, 2021

RACHEL CHAVKIN: Upstage: Fusing Avant-Garde and Commercial Theater – March 4, 2021

RONALD K. BROWN/EVIDENCE Dance Company: ‘Mercy’ – March 15, 2021

MELISSA ALDANA, jazz saxophone – April 9, 2021

INNOSANTO NAGARA, graphic artist: Innosanto Nagara: Will Design for Change – April 12, 2021


DOROTHY MOSS, art historian – September 18-19, 2019

ALEXIS BLACK, theatre artist – September 20-21, 2019 and October 11-12, 2019

DELANNA STUDI, theatre artist – October 21, 2019                                 

SANDEEP DAS, tabla virtuoso – October 22-24, 2019

CANADIAN BRASS – November 18-19, 2019

LOUISVILLE BALLET – January 29-31, 2020

MICHAEL ABELS, composer, and PATRICK DE BANA, choreographer – February 5-9, 2020

FRANCES JACOBUS-PARKER, art historian – February 26-27, 2020

2018-2019 SEASON

EAST COAST CHAMBER ORCHESTRA – September 12-14, 2018

ERIC LUBRICK, visual artist – November 6, 2018             

ROOMFUL OF TEETH – October 18-20, 2018


MARCO LULY, Christel DeHaan VITA theatre artist – Fall Semester

A PRESIDENTIAL SALUTE TO LEONARD BERNSTEIN, with soloists from “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band – November 15, 2018

LAURA STENNETT, visual artist – January 23, 2019            

TOD MACHOVER, composer – January 24-25, 2019


SITI COMPANY – March 25-27, 2019

STEFON HARRIS, jazz vibraphone – April 3-4, 2019

2017-2018 SEASON

KEVIN JAMES WILSON, visual artist– October 9, 2017

SANDEEP DAS, tabla virtuoso – October 25-26, 2017

KING’S SINGERS – November 8, 2017

GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO – November 2-4, 2017

TIM MILLER, theatre artist – November 14-15, 2017

PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY – February 8-9, 2018

SAMUEL VAZQUEZ, visual artist – March 20, 2018

BENNY GOLSON, jazz legend – April 4-5, 2018

The Jordan College of the Arts would like to thank the following donors for their generous support of the 2021-2022 JCA Signature Series:
Darcy Guttwein
Dr. Marianne Williams Tobias