Sunday, April 3, 2016

Frank Maugeri of Redmoon Fame Joins Chicago Children's Theatre as Community Programs Artistic Director


WORLDS COLLIDE ALERT: Here at ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows we love it when our friends play well together. So, we were beyond excited to hear about Chicago Children's Theatre's new hire. We've interviewed Frank Maugeri when he collaborated with Chicago Children's on The Elephant and The Whale (check it out below). And we've been shooting stills, including builds and behind the scenes tours, and covering Redmoon's works from their inception through their final, closing production. Click here and scroll down for 31 of our original Redmoon features.

The same goes for Chicago Children's Theatre, where we've been reviewing and relishing their works since their inaugural production. Click here and scroll down for 35 of our original Chicago Children's Theatre features. We can't wait to see what they'll create together, going forward!

Chicago Children's Theatre, the city's largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families, announced it has hired Frank Maugeri in the new position of Community Programs Artistic Director (CPAD).

Maugeri comes to Chicago Children's Theatre (CCT) after serving as Producing Artistic Director for Chicago's Redmoon Theater for two decades. His chief responsibility in his new role will be to guarantee that "education comes first" at CCT, particularly as it relates to the company's first-ever, permanent home, currently under construction in Chicago's West Loop.

Frank Maugeri Credit: Nguyen Tran

In his new position, Maugeri will report to Chicago Children's Theatre's Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Interim Managing Director Steve Abrams. He will support Russell's artistic season by designing and implementing innovative classroom activities, dynamic curriculum development and audience engagement opportunities that reflect the theater's overall programming.

With new opportunities for growth presented by CCT's new home, Maugeri will focus on the construction and implementation of CCT's expanded educational programs, create a fresh brand identity to support the education department's goals and vision, serve as the primary spokesperson for CCT's educational programming and community outreach, and broaden fundraising, partnership engagement and program support.

"We are so thrilled to officially welcome Frank into the Chicago Children's Theatre family. He is such a beloved, respected leader in Chicago's theater community because he brings so much energy, artistry and passion to everything he sets out to accomplish," said Russell. "Frank has had countless, incredible experiences working with Chicago children, creating hands-on, interactive learning experiences that not only entertain, but empower children, help them boost their creativity and confidence, and help gain a competitive edge by teaching life skills like how to think fast, solve problems, and be better team players."

"I have been offered an incredible opportunity with Chicago Children's Theatre. This new position meets many of my core values, including my interest in service, commitment to education, and devotion to my city and our youth," Maugeri responded. 

"I look forward to the opportunity of helping transform a past police station into a performing arts home. I can't wait to develop curriculum, train teachers, create cutting-edge artistic projects for young people of many backgrounds and abilities, establish partnerships, develop a think tank for youth art and education, cultivate education stakeholders, and more than deploy theater instruction, develop creative education opportunities that integrate science, technology, engineering, and math into our curriculum. I hope to expand the theater's work to include teens, and perhaps even create some family events and experiences."

The new Chicago Children's Theatre is an adaptive re-use of the former, 12th District Police Station at 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago's West Loop, which is now being transformed into a beautiful, mixed-use performing arts and education facility designed to serve all Chicago families. 

Phase one, slated to open in January, will include classrooms and support space, where CCT's educational programming will be headquartered and start up immediately. Phase one also includes a flexible, 149-seat studio theater for student performances, Red Kite interactive theater for students with autism and professional shows. Phase two will be completed in 2020, and will boast a second, state-of-the-art, 299-seat mainstage theater. 

More about Frank Maugeri
Maugeri has dedicated his life to being an artist whose highly visual, interactive theatrical work ranges from the miniature to the mammoth. Additionally, throughout his career Maugeri has doubled as an expert collaborator, community builder, ritual maker, educator and inventor of innovative curriculum and artistic programming.

For two decades, Maugeri served as Producing Artistic Director of Redmoon Theater where he mentored hundreds of young designers, artists, performers, and educators from across the nation, while helping guide the institution's art, education and community engagement. 

He established Redmoon's first Youth Board, a team of young committed professionals who pursued the mission of free public art for all, managed its Neighborhood Arts Program leaders for almost a decade, helped oversee the company's branding and messaging, and supervised Redmoon For Hire.

As a Redmoon artist, Maugeri served as a conceiver, director, and designer of countless spectacles and interactive events, including inventing family favorites like The Youth Spectacle, Skelebration, and serving as artistic director of several Winter Pageants. He also was the artistic leader of every Spectacle Lunatique, each of the theater's famous Halloween events, Boneshaker, and all of their New Years events, Revolution

He additionally co-directed large-scale outdoor spectacles like Sink, Sank, Sunk... in Chinatown's Ping Tom Park, and was a core collaborator and community organizer of all of the famed All Hallow's Eve ritual celebrations in Logan Square. He created Redmoon's longest running production The Cabinet, and co-directed its final production, The Devil's Cabaret.

Collaborative credits include the direction of Once Upon a Time, which toured to The World Puppet Theatre Festival in Charleville-Mézières, two works for the Chicago Children's Humanities Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Laika's Coffin and Cape and Squiggle, as well as Astronaut's Birthday, a large-scale animation, graphic novel projected on the Museum of Contemporary Art's façade, and co-direction of the critically acclaimed world premiere of The Elephant and The Whale with Chicago Children's Theatre, Shadow Swan Lake with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Salao: the worst kind of unlucky and The Feast: an intimate Tempest, both at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. 

Maugeri also co-directed such Chicago-centric events as the closing ceremony of the Great Chicago Fire Festival, elements of the groundbreaking ceremonies for Millennium Park and components of the grand opening of Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. He also has been commissioned to create art and experience for The White House, The Chicago Park District, The City of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Los Angeles Music Center, Chicago Ideas Week, Lollapalooza, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, RedBull, JAM Productions, and many more.

Maugeri is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and is trained in animation, sculpture and object design. After college he spent seven years in the mental health field working with mentally ill adults. He currently makes his teaching home at The University of Chicago. He is a native of Chicago and resides in Oak Park with his wife, Susan, and their nine-year-old twin children Samson and Frida. 

About Chicago Children's Theatre
Since its launch in 2005, Chicago Children's Theatre has cemented its reputation as the city's largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. The company believes children should be treated as the sophisticated audiences that they are with high-profile and award-winning talent, inventive production values and compelling stories that challenge, educate and entertain. Chicago Children's Theatre evolved out of Chicago's need for high-quality, professional year-round children's programming to match the quality and significance of theatrical powerhouses such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre.

Audiences have embraced Chicago Children's Theatre since its inaugural production, A Year with Frog and Toad, at the Goodman Theatre in 2006. The company also has had a strong focus on new work producing 12 world premieres including The Selfish Giant, The Hundred Dresses, Jackie and Me, Dot and Ziggy, The Houdini Box, The Elephant and The Whale (in association with Redmoon), Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, Leo Lionni's Frederick, Wonderland, Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure, A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter and Jabari Dreams of Freedom. These enjoyed highly successful inaugural runs in Chicago, followed by new productions at family theaters across the U.S.  Chicago Children's Theatre productions feature everything from black-light scenery to live music to interactive four-dimensional sets to life-size puppets, and performances showcase the heart of Motown to Vaudeville to contemporary, current and modern styles.

Chicago Children's Theatre offers a full roster of after school theater classes and summer camps. It also honors a strong commitment to low-income families and children with special needs. In partnership with Chicago Public Schools and Target, the company has offered free tickets and transportation to more than 5,000 Chicago-area low-income students each season. 

Meanwhile, Chicago Children's Theatre has pioneered immersive theater designed for children on the autism spectrum via its Red Kite Project, and recently expanded programming to address the needs of children with impaired vision or hearing and Down's syndrome.

Led by Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, the company is supported by a dynamic Board of Directors comprised of dedicated individuals from the fields of entertainment, philanthropy and business. Officers include Jeff Hughes, President; Lynn Lockwood Murphy, Vice Chair and Secretary; David Saltiel, Vice Chair; and David Chung, Treasurer. Chicago Children's Theatre is sponsored in part by ComEd, Goldman Sachs Gives and Target. 

For more information visit, or call (773) 227-0180.

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