Singer-songwriter-actor Jess Godwin (BA ’05), a graduate of the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department‘s BA Program in Acting, has released her latest music video, “When the Snow Thaws,” featuring members of the Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP), a group of young artists giving voice to the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. The video, directed by Jason Knade and published November 19, 2015, also features the talents of the St. Alphonsus Church Choir, the Chicago Artists Chorale, the Community Renewal Chorus, and other artists from the Chicago theatre and music scene under the choral direction of Brian Bloye:
“I put a big ask out to many people that I love and respect in this town for this project,” says Godwin. “I was floored by the resounding ‘YES.’ This entire project has been fueled by an incredible generosity. Hopefully we can keep that generosity going and start taking care of those who so desperately need our help.” Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the video:
Godwin has also invited the Youth Empowerment Performance Project to join her for her upcoming concert Jess Godwin: 12 at the historic Athenaeum Theatre on Friday, December 4, at 8 PM. The concert is the culmination of the Godwin Anthology, a music video “book” paying tribute to a dozen special people in Godwin’s life. The show will be directed by Bailiwick Chicago artistic director Lili-Anne Brown, with projection mapping by Chicago artist George Berlin and an after party/silent art auction with live electronic iOs looping by Silent Marvin. Fifty percent of the art auction proceeds will go to the following charities that Godwin has partnered with this year: Lurie Children’s Hospital, Center on Halsted, Cradle Evanston, Gilda’s Corner, Habitat for Humanity, Sunrise Assisted Living, and the Youth Empowerment Performance Project.
The Athenaeum Theatre is located at 2936 N. Southport, in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. For tickets to Jess Godwin: 12, click here.
Godwin will be performing at the “Out in the Open Sleep Out Chicago,” a benefit for agencies helping young people who are experiencing homelessness. The all-night charity event takes place at Cricket Hill, 4400 N. Lake Shore Drive, near Montrose Avenue and Lake Michigan (just east of Lake Shore Drive), from Friday, November 20, at 6 PM through Saturday, November 21, at 8 AM. Click here for more information. At this event. Godwin will perform selections from a new musical, Exposure, created by writer Cathy Geldmacher Nathan and composer Erik Della Penna.
Godwin has been riding the fence between the Chicago theatre and music scenes for almost a decade. She was most recently seen in Northlight Theatre’s production of the musical Shining Lives. And on October 24, she appeared with Kristin Chenoweth at the Chicago Theatre to join Chenoweth in “For Good,” the iconic duet from Chenoweth’s Broadway hit Wicked. In between performances and commercial demo work, Godwin teaches songwriting workshops out of her own private studio and music and theatre at Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern University’s Cherubs summer institute.
Godwin has also accepted an offer from the music publisher Razor & Tie for a co-publishing deal to write for other artists. “After years of being a woman in this industry, I love that I have found people who see value in the things that come out of my brain and my heart,” Godwin says. “I don’t know where this is is going to lead. But I’m living in the city I love. Surrounded by the people I love. Doing the work I love. As long as I keep these things close to my heart, I know I’ll be ready for whatever comes next.”
‘I’m living in the city I love. Surrounded by the people I love. Doing the work I love.’
— Jess Godwin