THE UNEXPECTED 2014: a collaborative performance featuring Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions

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For the second consecutive year, Creative Partners will present THE UNEXPECTED, an evening of performances featuring its partner companies: Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions. On Wednesday, May 21st, these three companies will share the Dance Center of Columbia College stage to showcase their current projects through an interwoven evening of music, dance and puppetry.


DATE: Wednesday, 5/21/14
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL
TICKETS: Reserve tickets online at, prices range from $30 (standard ticket) to $80 (includes post-performance VIP reception)

This event celebrates Creative Partners, a collective that provides professional fundraising to three Chicago-based, nationally-recognized arts organizations, which allows the companies to focus on what they do best: creating world-class theater, music, and dance. Tiered pricing for audience members gives fans the option to see the performance, or to snap up VIP tickets for the post-show reception: drinks and snacks with the artists and a facilitated conversation by Columbia College Dance Professor, audience dramaturge and dance historian Bonnie Brooks about the work.

The evening will feature the following pieces, alternating between playfulness and virtuosic movement and musicality:

  • Blair Thomas & Co.: Stephen Montague’s Mirabella y Tarantella for toy piano and Frederic Chopin’s Scherzo in b flat minor
  • eighth blackbird: Tom Johnson’s Counting Duets and György Ligeti’s Études, arranged by the ensemble.
  • Lucky Plush: an excerpt from The Queue

Equal parts dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s The Queue unfolds in a fictional airport, where travelers stumble humorously, tragically and awkwardly into the high stakes of each other’s private lives; co-created by Julia Rhoads & Leslie Danzig, and featuring live music by drum & piano duo The Claudettes. Blair Thomas & Co.’s puppet appetizers, Mirabella y Tarantella and Scherzo in b flat minor, combine a piano recital and a puppet show. And if eighth blackbird’s take on Tom Johnson’s Counting Duets is Sesame Street on Acid, the ensemble’s new arrangements of Ligeti’s Études are Chopin Gone Wild!

Original piano-based interstitial performances written by Lisa Kaplan (pianist for eighth blackbird) will facilitate interplay between the companies’ performances. The event demonstrates that Creative Partners companies share not only a dedicated development team, but also broad artistic sensibilities – all are doing work that is genre-bending, playful, and technically rigorous.

Launched in 2013, Creative Partners was strategically developed following three years of research and collaboration Creative Partners addresses a contemporary problem in a meaningful way. At a time when artists must exhibit administrative savvy, social influence, and responsible financial practice while also generating ever-more-ambitious creative work, Creative Partners promises to help artists of all kinds do more with less.between Blair Thomas & Co., eighth blackbird, and Lucky Plush Productions, with additional assistance from the Arts Work Fund and The Center for Entrepreneurial Law at Northwestern University and major funding from the John G. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Prince Charitable Trusts.

The Chicago Cultural Plan recognizes that investing in organizational stability and longevity in the nonprofit sector yields promising returns. In Creative Partners, we advance a model that shares resources “focused on function instead of discipline”, promising broader exposure for our partners and a richer experience for our shared audiences. Creative Partners has already received recognition for taking up these sound principles:

  • Creative Partners was recognized the 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award.
  • Creative Partners members have participated in discussions at the Chicago Creative Expo, the National Performance Network Convention in New Orleans, a convening led by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and at the Chicago Suburban Arts Conference.