Broadway performer Darius de Haas, a Chicago native and Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumnus, returns to his hometown to headline Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn, an evening of music and dance honoring the centenary of legendary jazz artist Billy Strayhorn. The event takes place Saturday, November 21, at 8 PM at the historic Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress in downtown Chicago.
After studying at the Columbia College Theatre Department–where he performed lead roles in the classic musical Take Me Along under the direction of Sheldon Patinkin and in the rock cantata The Civil War under the direction of the work’s composer, William Russo–Darius de Haas launched his stage career in Chicago in the late 1980s, appearing in a 20th-anniversary revival of the rock musical Hair at the Vic Theater and in Pastel Refugees at Northlight Theatre before relocating to New York. His Broadway credits include the original productions of Rent, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm, and Marie Christine as well as the acclaimed Lincoln Center Theater revival of Carousel. Next spring, he is slated to costar with Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell in Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, to be directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by Savion Glover. His recordings include the 2002 release Day Dream (Variations on Strayhorn).
A native of Chicago’s South Side, de Haas is the son of noted jazz bassist Eddie de Haas and singer and producer Geraldine de Haas. Mrs. de Haas was a member of the fabled jazz vocal trio “Andy and the Bey Sisters” along with her brother Andy Bey and her sister Salome Bey, and later founded the Chicago arts organization Jazz Unites. De Haas’ sister, Aisha de Haas, also a Columbia College Chicago alum, appeared on Broadway in Rent and Caroline, or Change, and is currently featured in the national tour of Newsies.
Billy Strayhorn (November 29, 1915-May 31, 1967) was a jazz composer, arranger, and pianist best known for his long musical partnership with the great bandleader Duke Ellington. Strayhorn’s best-known works include the rousing Ellington hit “Take the ‘A’ Train” and the haunting “Lush Life,” famous for its dreamlike melody, complex harmonies, and intricately rhymed lyrics describing the singer’s dissolute world-weariness in the aftermath of a failed romance.
Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn will also feature Chicago cabaret artist Joan Curto, arranger/orchestrator/pianist Alan Broadbent with the Too Hot to Handel orchestra, The Rookery Festival Chorus, a 30-voice-all-male choir arranged by Bill Chin, and the Joel Hall Dancers.
For tickets, click here or call 312-341-2300.