Season of Concern held its annual live concert fundraising event at Sidetrack Video Bar in front of a sold out crowd on April 10.
The event, which raises money to financially assist theater performers and crew with health concerns who are unable to work, featured cast members from the touring company of the Tony Award winning Book of Mormon, while offering a virtual potpourri of theater music of a more recent vintage.
Though there were songs from the classic musical theatrical canon ("The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha and "Maybe this Time" from the film version of Cabaret), this show featured newer selections presented in a rare concert format with a rich and varied ensemble.
The show started as the performersresembling two choirs on either side of the small stageoffered a precise reading of "The New World" from Songs for a New World. From there, the concert unspooled into a stunning array of talent performances, applied to choice selections including Jarius Miquel Cliett's take on "Someone Elses' Skin" from Catch Me If You Can; a giggly "Stupid Love" from Mean Girls by Michelle Ray; a lilting "Someone Like You" by India Shelbi Boone from Jekyll and Hyde; a thunderous "Hurricane" from Hamilton by Dewight Braxton Jr.; a jolly "Moving too Fast" from The Last Five Years by Sam McLellan; a sweet "Somewhere That's Green" by Berlande from Little Shop of Horrors; and a high comedy rip through "Le Chanson" from the composer Guillaume Du Foy, by emcee Sean Casey Flanagan.
Mixed in with all of these gems were an array of showstoppers which, taken together, were almost overwhelming. A near furious "Hellfire" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Braxton; an emotionally complex "Loser Geek Whatever" from Be More Chill by Kemari Bryant; a soaring "What You Own" from Rent by Bryant and Thomas Ed Davis; an alternately elegant and thunderous "Lily Eyes" by Trevor Dorner and Lamont J. Whitaker from The Secret Garden; and a highly emotional and naked "I Loved You Too Much" by Joey Myers, from performer/composer Mykal Kilgore.
Season of Concern was established in 1987 as a way to help members of the theatrical community during the AIDS crisis. With HIV now more manageable, the organization has shifted to expand its services to meet the day-to-day needs of theater artists who are impacted by illness, injury, or health related issues that prevent them from working.
Through its Biscotto-Miller Fund, the Malcolm Ewan Emergency Fund and a sustained support to the Chicago office of the Entertainment Community Fund, Season of Concern provides financial as well as mental health assistance. Also, Season of Concern is partnered with the League of Chicago Theaters, CollaborAction, the National Alliance on Mental Health, Actor's Equity Association, Footlight's Performing Arts Program, the Saints and Broadway in Chicago.
This event raised, through tickets and a raffle, over $3,500. For more information on Season of Concern or if you would like to donate, go to seasonofconcern.org .