Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Announcing the 2014 Grand Opening Performance Series!

After months of renovation, we are so excited to share with you our 2014 Grand Opening Performance Series! Read on for the full schedule and details about each performance.

“This is an exciting time for lovers of the performing arts,” says MAC Interim Director Diana Martinez. “The MAC has always had a strong reputation, but with updated performance spaces, public areas, and a new art gallery, the MAC promises to be ‘the’ destination to experience the visual and performing arts in the western suburbs.”

The MAC’s 2014 Grand Opening Season’s Performance Series officially opens on Feb. 8 with a performance by Grammy Award-winner ‘Keb Mo’.The MAC will hold its Grand Opening Celebration and MAC Madness Benefit, Saturday, March 8 at 6 p.m. The event, headlined by College of DuPage and Second City alum Jim Belushi and The Chicago Board of Comedy, will be an exciting evening of improvisational comedy with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and more.

The exciting selection of music, literary, comedy and dance events for the MAC’s 2014 Grand Opening Season’s Performance Series is as follows. All events take place in the Performance Hall unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, February 8
8 PM
$50 adult / $48 senior / $40 youth

The MAC’s 2014 Grand Opening Season’s Performance Series opens Saturday, Feb. 8 at
8 p.m. with three-time Grammy Award-winning musician Keb’ Mo’, known for his genre-blending artfulness, intuitive lyrics, unique guitar style, and magnetic onstage charisma.

Cleve Carney Art Gallery Dedication and Concert
Sunday, February 16
4 PM
$44 Adult / $42 Senior / $34 Youth

To mark the dedication of the new Cleve Carney Art Gallery, a surprise Grammy Award-winning jazz artist will share his rich vocal flights, edgy lyrics and original compositions in this unforgettable concert. Performer to be announced in January. Dedication at 3 p.m.

Saturday, March 8
6 PM
$250 per Person

An evening of cocktails, hors doeuvres and laughs with College of DuPage alumnus and friend Jim Belushi and the Chicago Board of Comedy to benefit and celebrate the programs at the newly renovated McAninch Arts Center. For more information about MAC Madness, call the College of DuPage Foundation
at 630.942.2462 or

Saturday, March 8
9:30 PM
$44 adult / $42 senior / $34 youth
The Grand Opening evening of non-stop improv continues with a second late night show with Jim Belushi and the Chicago Board of Comedy.  Saturday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 16
7 PM
$60 adult / $58 senior / $50 youth

David Sedaris, known for his sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, performs readings of his newest work in “An Evening with David Sedaris,” Sunday, March 16 at 7 p.m. “Sedaris’ droll assessment of the mundane and the eccentrics who inhabit the world’s crevices make him one of the greatest humorists writing today,” says the Chicago Tribune.

Club MAC - Playhouse Theatre
Friday and Saturday, March 21 and 22
8 PM
$36 adult / $34 senior / $26 youth

Hot off the heels of their new full-length album, “The Spark & The Fire,” the LA-based, critically acclaimed indie pop quartet Leftover Cuties opens Club MAC with their irresistible combination of sultry vocals, pop-perfect songwriting and old-school musicianship in two MAC debut concerts Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 22
8 PM
$38 adult / $36 senior / $28 youth

Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, renowned for their rich, accessible, multi-cultural music experiences share their uniquely Chicago jazz vibes at the MAC on Saturday, March 22 at 8 p.m.

Friday, March 28
8 PM
$44 adult / $42 senior / $34 youth

The explosively entertaining Celtic ensemble Cherish the Ladies brings their enchanting wit and music back to the MAC stage on Friday, March 28 at 8 p.m.

Club MAC - Playhouse Theatre
Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29
8 PM
$36 adult / $34 senior / $26 youth
By popular demand, the Austin-based western swing band Hot Club of Cowtown returns to Club MAC with performances Friday, March 28 and Saturday, March 29 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 5
8 PM
$45 adult / $43 senior / $35 youth

In April, Classic Albums Live, who performed their crowd-pleasing version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” this past summer at Ravinia Festival, performs music from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” note for note - cut for cut, Saturday, April 5 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 6
7 PM
$48 adult / $46 senior / $38 youth

French-American jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux wraps up that weekend with her intensely distinctive renditions of old classics and modern tunes by Leonard Cohen and The Beatles, among others, Sunday, April 6, at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 15
7:30 PM
$10 adult/$8 senior/$6 youth

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson comes to the MAC’s Performance Hall for a talk, Q&A and book signing Tuesday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. Wilkerson is the author of “The Warmth of Other Suns,” one of the New York Times “Top Ten Book of the Year” and also chosen as the 2013-2014 “One Book, One Chicago” selection.

Thursday, April 17
8 PM
$48 adult / $46 senior / $38 youth
The internationally acclaimed Pilobolus Dance Theatre returns to the MAC for an evening of mixed repertoire, Thursday, April 17 at 8 p.m. NYC Newsday hails Pilobolus as “a mind-blowing troupe of wildly creative and physically daring dancers who leap, fly, intertwine and break all the rules… Audiences should expect the unexpected.”

Saturday, May 3
8 PM
$42 adult / $40 senior / $32 youth

The indomitable Capitol Steps bring their nationally renowned brand of gut-busting, funny political satire to the MAC’s Performance Hall for one evening only, Saturday, May 3 at 8 p.m. “I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard or have been so wonderfully entertained during a live show,” says Splash Magazine.


To order tickets or for more information, call 630-942-4000 or visit

MAC Pack - The more you attend, the more you save.
Pick two events - SAVE 10%
Pick three or more events - SAVE 15%

Limited Time Offer – Order a MAC Pack by December 17

Purchase a 2014 MAC Pack by December 17 and receive:
   two complimentary concessions vouchers
   two complimentary passes to an exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the New MAC (date TBA)

Offer valid for any MAC Pack purchase. Voucher may not be used for alcohol, and is applicable only during the 2013-2014 season at the MAC.

Want to be among the first to experience the new MAC? 

Make your plans to attend New Philharmonic’s popular New Year’s Eve Concerts at 4 & 9 pm on Tues., Dec. 31! 
This year’s concert is “Viennese Pops with an International Twist” and features an evening of waltzes, polkas and other traditional selections as well as Soprano Emily Birsan from Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center singing Adele’s Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus and much more.

It’s a must-see event and tickets are selling quickly! Call the MAC Box Office today at 630.942.4000.

Plus – Save the date for New Philharmonic’s April 12-13 concerts – The Ultimate Rebel - Ludwig Van!
The April concerts feature Beethoven’s groundbreaking Fifth and Seventh symphonies in one program. For more information or tickets visit

Monday, October 7, 2013

The MAC Welcomes Diana Martinez as Interim Executive Director

This season, not only do we have a new McAninch Arts Center, but we have a new leader at the helm as well.  We are thrilled to announce that Glen Ellyn’s own Diana Martinez has joined us as our Interim Executive Director.  The former President of The Second City and Executive Director of the Paramount Arts Center is the perfect candidate to triumphantly return us back to the MAC.

A true Illinois native, Martinez grew up in Glen Ellyn and is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana Fine Arts Department. She began her professional career as the Director of Entertainment and Marketing for Pheasant Run Resort and Mega Center in St. Charles for 13 years. She presented more than 30 concert and comedy events at the Mega Center including Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Jones, Jay Leno, Tim Allen, Willie Nelson, Dana Carvey and Kenny Rogers. Martinez served as Executive Director for Aurora’s Paramount Theatre from 2001 to 2010, where she was instrumental in the design and funding for a $6.2 million dollar lobby and production space addition. She was honored with the Woman of Distinction Award in 2003, Influential Women in Business Award 2002, and 2003 Today’s Young Executive Award by the Business Ledger.

After serving as Chief Administrative and Marketing Officer of The Second City International, she was promoted to President to assume responsibility for Second City's day-to-day operations. Overseeing an annual operating budget of $35 million, more than 350 employees and talent, and three locations (Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto), Martinez left her mark on The Second City during her three year tenure. She was instrumental in opening a third theatre at The Second City in Chicago under a new brand: UP Comedy Club. This venue also created an opportunity to showcase and develop more talent, showcase national headline comics, create new rental revenue and catering revenue streams, and offer new matinee programming and children's programs.

Bringing years of experience producing everything from full-scale musicals to comedy acts, Martinez is ready to help usher in a new era of performing arts at the McAninch Arts Center. We asked Diana a few get-to-know-you questions to help introduce her to the community!

What are you looking forward to most about your new role with the MAC?
Having the opportunity to work in my home town is very heart warming to me.  I was a student at the College of DuPage for a year before going to the University of Illinois, but the campus is a very different place now. It's such an exciting time for the McAninch Arts Center with the gorgeous renovations and addition of a new outdoor space and expanded art gallery. The MAC is truly poised to re-define its role in the greater community and engage new audiences.

As a resident of Glen Ellyn, what are some of your favorite parts of the area?
The downtown! My mom owned Maria's Beauty Salon for 40 years, so I spent a lot of time helping out there. I'm a big fan of supporting the local business community in Glen Ellyn. Lake Ellyn holds the soft spot in my heart, I literally grew up on that lake. I rode my bike there as a kid, fell in the lake while trying to "catch a fish," and it's where I  directed and produced my first show in the park with the Before Broadway Players sponsored by the Glen Ellyn Park District, and now it's where I go to walk my dogs and clear my head.

What has been your proudest achievement?
I'd say commercially, conceptualizing, and opening UP Comedy Club for the Second City and philanthropically, Founding  the Dreams Do Come True Program for the Paramount which annually afforded over 1000 underprivileged children the opportunity to see live theatre (sometimes for the first time in their life).

What book is on your nightstand right now?
DRIVE by Daniel Pink

What are your top three favorite things you produced?
  • Michael BublĂ© Concert
  • The Adventures of Ratdog and Princess Toad: A children's show that ran for five years with nine episodes
  • Second City's 50th Anniversary Weekend Celebration: Hundreds of Alumni, thousands of attendees, red carpet events, parties and shows.

What are three words to describe you?
Funny, Fair, Determined

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mixed Emotions

The following letter was posted to MAC Subscribers on July 1, 2013...

Dear Friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I write to tell you that I am leaving the College of DuPage/ McAninch Arts Center to take a position in Early August at California State University, Chico. I am grateful to College of DuPage for giving me the opportunity to serve this community for the past seven years. It has been my pleasure. I believe we have stayed true to our mission to enrich the cultural vitality of the residents we serve, and have laid the groundwork for the MAC to reopen in 2014 stronger and more beautiful than ever.

In my new position as Director of Public Events at Chico State I will oversee the Chico Performances series as well as North State Public Radio - NPR for Northern California. It is a wonderful opportunity for me professionally and for my family to be closer to our extended family.

As some of my last duties as Director of the MAC, I am putting the final touches on a fantastic 2013-14 season that includes performances by wonderful artists including Madeleine Peyroux, Pilobolus, David Sedaris, our own New Philharmonic and Buffalo Theatre, and many more. Our great MAC staff will be sending information out to you about upcoming events and the reopening of the McAninch Arts Center in December. I promise you will be astonished by the amazing renovation and upgrade to the MAC.

Thank you for the kindness and generosity you have shown me and my family. I am sad that I will not greet you at the steps of the new McAninch Arts Center, but hope you enjoy many more performances at the best venue in the Western Suburbs.

Stephen Cummins
Director, McAninch Arts Center

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Calling All Champions

Currently the MAC has three ongoing campaigns to raise dollars for the arts. That's a lot, some would say too many, that our focus is too spread out. But our focus has always been broad and diverse. We have never catered to only one community.

So we find ourselves soliciting money for the Cleve Carney Art Space (contemporary art gallery and collection), Buffalo Theatre Ensemble (resident Equity theatre company), and New Philharmonic (professional orchestra in residence). At present New Philharmonic is 46% of the way to its three year pledge goal of $450,000 and Buffalo Theatre has reached 17% of their $240,000 three year goal.

The first on the list, the Carney Art Space, is assured a secure future because of the generosity of one man, Cleve Carney. Cleve's seed gift of dollars and art (estimated $1.2 million) has formed the solid base that will ensure that contemporary art has a home at College of DuPage for many years to come.

Cleve joins a long line of arts benefactors in the U.S. Some with names you know like the competing wine families in California (Mondavi Center at UC Davis and the Gallo Center in Modesto CA. Or closer to home Pritzker Pavilion, Harris Center, the new Logan Center at U of Chicago, and North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall. Every community has champions. Individuals who realize that the greater good cannot be served unless they themselves step up. They embody the etymological definition of philanthropist, "lover of humanity".

We are grateful to Cleve for his generosity, vision and humanity. We thank all those who give at whatever level they are able, because they love the arts. In the coming year our community will hear more about opportunities to be champions like Cleve.

be well

Monday, March 18, 2013

Make Art Work

More often than not I hear from people I work with and for, "what is the ROI?" For those of you who do not know the acronym for Return on Investment, count yourself lucky. I suspect there are very few of you who work in and around the arts who have not met with a board member, a patron, an investor, or an administrator who has not asked this question at one time or another.

Well the answer is in for our state: $2.75 billion and 78,000 jobs.

The Illinois Arts Alliance is asking Governor Quinn to, "show your support for the arts", by adopting the Make Art Work principles.

  • Grow Jobs in the Creative Economy
  • Leverage the Arts and Creativity to Strengthen the Workforce
  • Incorporate the Arts in Community Planning

You can too by signing a petition at the Illinois Arts Alliance web-site (link).

be well

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Board Presentation - MAC 2014

Recently I presented to our Board of Trustees an overview of the McAninch Arts Center. This was intended to be a short and concise view of the MAC: its history, operation and our plans for the future when we come out of our present reorganization. As much as I vainly dislike how I appear on video (remember the camera and the 10 pound rule), I think these 15 minutes are of value if you wish to better understand the MAC. If you have a question or comment - please let us know.

be well

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Support the Arts? Why?

Randy Cohen, vice president of research and planning at Americans for the Arts posted on Arts Blog ten months ago a nice list of the top ten reasons to support the arts. The McAninch Arts Center has a bright future ahead of it, but it will depend on whether the community we serve and the senior administration of the College of DuPage believe the arts provide something of value, and if that value is worth supporting with their dollars.

be well

I give you Randy Cohen's "Top Ten Reasons to Support the Arts" from April 11, 2012

1. True prosperity. The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. They help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. When times are tough, the arts are salve for the ache.

2. Improved academic performance. Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, lower drop-out rates, and even better attitudes about community service—benefits reaped by students regardless of socioeconomic status. Students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with one-half year or less.

3. Arts are an industry. Arts organizations are responsible businesses, employers, and consumers. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating nearly $22.3 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, and advances our creativity-based economy.

4. Arts are good for local merchants. The typical arts attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, not including the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters. Non-local arts audiences (who live outside the county) spend nearly twice as much as local arts attendees ($39.96 vs. $17.42)—valuable revenue for local businesses and the community.

5. Arts are the cornerstone of tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown annually since 2003 (17 to 24 percent), while the share attending concerts and theater performances increased five of the past seven years (13 to 17 percent since 2003).

6. Arts are an export industry. U.S. exports of arts goods (everything from movies to paintings to jewelry) grew to $64 billion in 2010. With U.S. imports at just $23 billion, the arts achieved a $41 billion trade surplus in 2010.

7. Building the 21st century workforce. Reports by The Conference Board show creativity is among the top-five applied skills sought by business leaders—with 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. The biggest creativity indicator? A college arts degree. Their Ready to Innovate report concludes, “…the arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the 3rd millennium.”

8. Healthcare. Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and even staff. 78 percent deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients—shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.

9. Stronger communities. University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates. A vibrant arts community ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace.

10. Creative Industries. The Creative Industries are arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, and theaters to for-profit film, architecture, and advertising companies. An analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data counts 904,581 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 3.3 million people—representing 4.25 percent of all businesses and 2.15 percent of all employees, respectively.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Philharmonic Concert Cancellation

The New Phil's New Year's Eve concert was bitter sweet this year. The music was sweeter than ever under Kirk's direction, but it was bitter knowing that the last two concerts of the season would not go on. It is a difficult decision to cancel a concert and one I have only had to make a few times in my career. As theatre people the idea of "the show must go on" is engrained in our fiber; thus, not going on with the New Philharmonic season is hard to accept.

When we were presented with the reality of being away from our concert home for two seasons we asked ourselves how will we sustain the artistic momentum that New Philharmonic and Maestro Muspratt have been gaining. The orchestra has steadily been growing audience and ticket revenue over the last five years. And all would agree that the concerts are a delight to attend, so what effect would two years away from the MAC have? We were advised by some at the College to shutter the operation, that our audience would come back when we were ready for them. At the same time many of our fondest patrons were asking us where they would go for classical music through the Spring of 2014?

It roughly costs the orchestra on average $40,000 to produce each two evening concert concert cycle. The math is pretty simple, at the $32 average ticket price we need over 1,250 people to attend a concert. So when we made the decision to rent concert halls away from our own home and present a modified season (2 fewer concerts) we calculated that 80% of our current audience base would need to follow us. In reality only 40% did. When asked, and we called every subscriber, the reply we heard over and over was, "we love New Phil, we love Kirk, but venue x is too far to travel to in the winter. We'll see you next year when the MAC is back up and running."

Facing a 60% drop in ticket revenue, I made the only decision that seemed prudent. We cancelled the final two concerts of the season, Cosi fon tutte and Great Russians. We will end the season in the red and the College will have to cover our deficit. Something they have consistently done to one degree or another for the last decade.

Going forward is the next question. In the era of revenue neutral (see post from December 28) we will need to know that the dollars through the door, in the form of donations, ticket sales and sponsorships, can cover all the expenses of this fine orchestra. The College does not want to cover any deficit at the MAC with income from student tuition or tax revenues. This policy includes all MAC operations including the MAC Artist Series, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and Schoolstage, our K-12 education program.

So the onus now is on you, our patron. If you enjoy the orchestra or value any of the offerings of the MAC let us know how you are willing to support your community performing arts center. Comment here or contact me (630) 942-3008 or

be well