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World Premiere/SummerScape Commission


June 23 – July 2

Add to Calendar2023-06-23 7:30 pm2023-06-23 7:30 pmEDTIllinois

Music and Lyrics by Sufjan Stevens
(based on the album Illinois)
Story by Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed and Choreographed by Justin Peck

Limited Availability
New Performance Added
Thursday, June 29 at 7:30 pm

Fisher Center, Sosnoff Theater,
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Three brilliantly imaginative artists—Justin Peck, Sufjan Stevens, and Jackie Sibblies Drury—unite to create an ecstatic pageant of storytelling, theater, dance, and live music. Stevens’ 2005 concept album Illinois enjoys cult status for its lush orchestrations and wildly inventive portrayal of the state’s people, landscapes, and history, complete with UFOs, zombies, and predatory wasps.

Tony Award-winner Justin Peck (Carousel on Broadway, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, New York City Ballet) transforms the album into a full-length theatrical performance with a cast of virtuosic dancers, singers, and musicians in a narrative crafted with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury.

Featuring new arrangements of the entire album for a live band and three voices, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, Illinois will lead us on a mighty journey through the American heartland, from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos.


Justin Peck

Director, Choreographer, Story

Sufjan Stevens


Jackie Sibblies Drury


Cast & Creative Team

Music and Lyrics by Sufjan Stevens
(based on the album Illinois)
Story by Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed and Choreographed by Justin Peck

Music Direction and Supervision by Nathan Koci
Music Arrangements and Orchestrations by Timo Andres
Scenic Design by Adam Rigg
Lighting Design by Brandon Stirling Baker
Costume Design by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung
Sound Design by Garth MacAleavey
Props Design by Andrew Diaz
Masks by Julian Crouch
Associate Direction & Choreography by Adriana Pierce
Associate Music Direction by Sean Forte
Production Stage Manager: Natalie Hratko


Shara Nova (vocals, guitar), Tasha (vocals, guitar), and Tariq al-Sabir (vocals, synth)

Kara Chan, Ben Cook, Jeanette Delgado, Gaby Diaz, Tilly Evans-Krueger, Jonathan Fahoury, Jennifer Florentino, Brandt Martinez, Craig Salstein, Ahmad Simmons, Byron Tittle, and Ricky Ubeda Performers

Jada German, Matthew Johnson, Zachary Gonder, Dario Natarelli Swings

Christina Courtin (violin/viola), Domenica Fossati (flute), Daniel Freedman (drums), Sean Forte (piano and keys), Kathy Halvorson (oboe), Nathan Koci (banjo), Eleonore Oppenheim (bass), Brandon Ridenour (trumpet), Kyra Sims (horn), and Jess Tsang (vibraphone)

Production Manager: Brian Freeland
Technical Director: Chris Swetcky
Assistant Stage Manager: Anthony Rigaglia
Dance Captains: Jeanette Delgado and Craig Salstein
Associate Scenic Design: Kate Campbell
Associate Lighting Design: Serena Wong
Assistant Lighting Design: Coby Chasman Beck and Roya Abab
Assistant Costume Design: Chris Hynds
Music Copyist and Assistant: Nate Thacher
Production Assistant: Rosalind Winslow ’24



“Mr. Peck can do anything he wants with choreography: a virtuoso of the form.”—New York Times

“Sufjan Stevens is the rarest of talents: prolific, intelligent, and—most importantly—brimming with heart-wrenching melodies. Illinois is his masterpiece so far.”—NME

“Breathless and radiant” and just.”—New York Times on Jackie Sibblies Drury


Illinois is a co-commission of the Fisher Center, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Southbank Center, and TO Live, and has been made possible with a commissioning grant from The O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, residency support from Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals, and The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund.

The production is generously supported by Emily Blavatnik and the Blavatnik Family Foundation.


Justin Peck

Justin Peck is a Tony Award-winning choreographer, director, filmmaker, and dancer based in New York City.

He is currently the acting Resident Choreographer of the New York City Ballet.

Justin began choreographing in 2009 at the New York Choreographic Institute. In 2014, after the creation of his acclaimed ballet EVERYWHERE WE GO, he was appointed as Resident Choreographer of the New York City Ballet. He is the second person in the institution’s history to hold this title.

After attending the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center from 2003-2006, Justin was invited to join the New York City Ballet as a dancer in 2006. As a performer, Justin has danced a vast repertoire of works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Alexei Ratmansky, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Benjamin Millepied, Christopher Wheeldon, and many others. In 2013, Justin was promoted to the rank of Soloist, performing full-time through 2019 with the company.

Justin has created over 50 dance works—more than 20 for New York City Ballet. His works have been performed by the Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Australian Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Boston Ballet, Juilliard, National Ballet of Canada, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, LA Dance Project, Dutch National Ballet, the School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet Austin, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Bordeaux, Finnish National Ballet, Ballet MET, Royal Danish Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, University of Southern California (USC), and Ballet Arizona.

Working on a wide array of projects, Justin’s collaborators include composers Sufjan Stevens, The National, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, Dan Deacon, Caroline Shaw, Chris Thile, Stephen Sondheim, M83, Dolly Parton; visual artists Shepard Fairey, Marcel Dzama, Shantell Martin, John Baldessari, Jeffrey Gibson, George Condo, Steve Powers, Jules de Balincourt; fashion designers Raf Simons, Mary Katrantzou, Humberto Leon (Kenzo, Opening Ceremony), Tsumori Chisato, Dries Van Noten; and filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Sofia Coppola, Damien Chazelle, Elisabeth Moss, Frances Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Jody Lee Lipes.

In 2014, Justin was the subject of the documentary BALLET 422, which presents Justin’s craft and creative process as a choreographer in great detail as he creates New York City Ballet’s 422nd commissioned dance.

Justin has worked extensively as a filmmaker. In particular, his focus has been exploring new innovative ways of presenting dance on film. Peck choreographed the feature films RED SPARROW (2016), starring Jennifer Lawrence and directed by Francis Lawrence; WEST SIDE STORY (2021) in collaboration with director Steven Spielberg; and MAESTRO (2022) in collaboration with director/actor/writer Bradley Cooper. Peck’s work as a director-choreographer for music videos includes: THE DARK SIDE OF THE GYM (2017) for The National; THANK YOU, NEW YORK (2020) for Chris Thile; and THE TIMES ARE RACING (2017) for Dan Deacon. In 2018, Justin directed the New York Times GREAT PERFORMERS Series (starring Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Lakeith Stanfield, Glenn Close, Toni Collette, Yoo Ah-in, Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, Regina Hall, Yalitzia Aparicio, Elsie Fischer, and Rachel Weisz).

Justin choreographed the 2018 BROADWAY revival of CAROUSEL. The production was directed by Jack O’Brien and starred Jessie Meuller, Joshua Henry, & Renée Fleming.

Justin’s honors include the National Arts Award (2018), the Golden Plate Honor from the Academy of Achievement (2019), the Bessie Award for his ballet RODEO: FOUR DANCE EPISODES (2015), the Gross Family Prize for his ballet EVERYWHERE WE GO (2014), the World Choreography Award for WEST SIDE STORY (2022), and the Tony Award for his work on Broadway’s CAROUSEL (2018).

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens is a singer, songwriter, and composer living in New York. His preoccupation with epic concepts has motivated two state records (Michigan and Illinois), a collection of sacred and biblical songs (Seven Swans), an electronic album for the animals of the Chinese zodiac (Enjoy Your Rabbit), a full length partly inspired by the outsider artist Royal Robertson (The Age of Adz), a masterwork memorializing and investigating his relationship with his late mother (Carrie & Lowell), and two Christmas box sets (Songs for Christmas, vol. 1-5 and Silver & Gold, vol. 6-10).

BAM has commissioned two works from Stevens, a programmatic tone poem for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE) and an instrumental accompaniment to slow-motion rodeo footage (Round-Up). He has collaborated extensively with the New York City Ballet choreographer Justin Peck (Year of the Rabbit, Everywhere We Go, Countenance of Kings, Principia, The Decalogue, and Reflections). Stevens’ Planetarium, a collaborative album with Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, and James McAlister imbued with themes of the cosmos, was released in 2017 to widespread critical praise. Stevens also contributed three much-lauded songs to Luca Guadagnino’s critically acclaimed film Call Me By Your Name, including the Oscar and Grammy-nominated song “Mystery of Love.”

In 2020 he shared Aporia, a collaborative new age album made with his stepfather Lowell Brams, and his eighth studio album, The Ascension, a reflection on the state of humanity in freefall and a call for a total transformation of consciousness. In early 2021, he released Convocations, a five-volume, two-and-a-half-hour requiem mass for present times. The most recent studio album by Stevens—A Beginner’s Mind—features songs inspired in part by popular films. It was released in the fall of 2021 and is a collaboration with singer-songwriter Angelo DeAugustine.

Jackie Sibblies Drury

Plays include Marys Seacole (OBIE Award), Fairview (2019 Pulitzer Prize), Really, Social Creatures, and We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915.

The presenters of her plays include Young Vic, Lincoln Center Theatre, Soho Rep., Berkeley Rep, New York City Players & Abrons Arts Center, Victory Gardens, Trinity Rep, Woolly Mammoth, Undermain Theatre, InterAct Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Company One, and Bush Theatre.

Drury has developed her work at Sundance, Bellagio Center, Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab, New York Theatre Workshop, Bushwick Starr, LARK, and MacDowell Colony, among others. She has received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a Jerome Fellowship at The LARK, a United States Artists Fellowship, a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, and a Windham-Campbell Literary Prize in Drama.

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