Happy Birthday Ravinia!

Ravinia Festival turned 102 this year and we celebrated with a day full of music, games, rides and activities for the family.


Gypsy preparation in full swing

One full day.

That's all the time Ravinia Master Carpenter Mike Robinson and his stage technicians have to transform Ravinia's pavilion stage from a relatively empty symphony-friendly space into a glitzy 1930's vaudeville theater.

The pavilion stage is in use daily for either shows or rehearsals, and so time to actually erect the set is limited. The crew is doing as much as possible ahead of time. They have been building the set for a month and the electric system has already been hung. Monday is the only full day the crew has the stage entirely to themselves, and according to Robinson it will be a 14-hour work day.

"This is the most complicated scenery we have ever done," Robinson says. "It is also the best." And that's saying something because Robinson has plenty of shows to his credit. If Tony-winner Patti LuPone and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra were not enough to entice to come to Gypsy, you should consider coming just to see the miracle our stage technicians will perform in one day. But to quote Mama Rose, "That's show business..."

Catch Gypsy on Friday, August 11, Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13. All three shows start at 7:30 p.m., and the August 11 show will be preceded by a talk with Stephen Sondheim and Welz Kauffman at 6:45 in the Martin Theatre.

-Shannon Rego, Communications Intern


Ravinia Festival on MySpace

Created in March of 2006, Ravinia's MySpace profile has gathered thousands of friends from across the globe. Ravinia's Myspace webpage has been linked to many MySpace pages of artists that have been featured at the festival, including: Renee Fleming, Joshua Bell, Buddy Guy, Patti LuPone, Emerson String Quartet, Cheap Trick, Deborah Voigt, and Elvis Costello.

The MySpace service has provided Ravinia with access to millions of Rock & Roll bands, chamber music ensembles, and individual performing artists. Many users (there are currently 97 million) have discovered Ravinia through MySpace and utilized the opportunity to send promotional materials to the festival for review.

Special promotions, offered exclusively to MySpace members, have provided the opportunity to bring listeners to Ravinia for the first time to see performances by Lalah Hathaway, Blondie, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The MySpace webpage provides users with easy access to Ravinia's performance calendar and blog. MySpace users also have the ability to leave messages and comments regarding the festival and its performances.

The Ravinia MySpace page can be found at the following address:



From the archives...

1936 program from George Gershwin's only Ravinia performance; autographed by George Gershwin and conductor, Isaac Van Grove.

Photograph of Igor Stravinsky and former Music Director, Seiji Ozawa at Ravinia in 1965; autographed by Igor Stravinsky.

1949 performance program from the "Million dollar trio's" only Ravinia performance; autographed by Artur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, and Gregor Piatigorsky.

Photograph from Janis Joplin's only Ravinia performance, to an audience of more than 18,000, in 1970.

Invitation to Ravinia Park's opening day on Monday, August 15, 1904.

Photograph of Aaron Copland rehearsing for his final Ravinia performance, in 1968

-Justin Brown, Communications Associate


Ravinia Gala 2006: "Who could ask for anything more?"

The Women's board of Ravinia hosted the festival's annual Gala Benefit Evening on Saturday, July 15, 2006, which celebrated the 70th anniversary of Gershwin's only Ravinia performance.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Andrew Litton, and Hershey Felder headlined the evening, and Gershwin's Cuban Overture, Rhapsody in Blue, and Porgy and Bess were featured.

There were 1,100 guests in attendance at the sold-out Gala, and the benefit evening raised approximately $750,000.

Audrey Rubinstein (Women's Board chairman), Gail Hodges (Gala co-chairman), Welz Kauffman (President and CEO of Ravinia Festival) , Becky Murray (Gala chairman)

-Justin Brown, Communications Associate