Edgeville Buzz

Andersonville Resident To Perform Dramatic Concert Honoring Her Mother-In-Law Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Art by Tom Bachtell

The life of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is filled with amazing stories about a woman who broke gender barriers in school, worked in order to support a family and faced the unthinkable challenge of taking care of a spouse with cancer. That dynamic drive has given rise to a woman that has worked her way to the Supreme Court by championing people who faced unfair practices and has now inspired a ‘dramatic concert’ to honor her achievements.

Andersonville resident Patrice Michaels married Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s son James Ginsburg in 2011. Since then she has been influenced by the judge’s inspiring life. While her husband runs Edgewater’s not-for-profit record label dedicated to extraordinary classical music Cedille Records, Michaels has been a successful composer and soprano who blends elements of both performance and song. She has looked to unconventional material as an inspirational source for her work, so the idea of using the poignant life of her Mother-in-law was a natural fit.

The concert is named Notorious RBG in Song and features music from Michael’s latest album of the same name which contains nine songs in honor of its subject. The event will also include personal stories and illuminations to showcase Justice Ginsburg’s personal and professional life as a equal rights advocate and pop culture icon.

Patrice Michaels

Michaels will be accompanied her collaborative pianist Kuang-Hao Huan and a team of incredible guests who will each bring to the performance their own talents. Those artists include soprano Michelle Areyzaga, baritone Evan Bravosand tenor Matthew Dean

The idea for the album came about six years ago for Justice Ginsburg’s 80th birthday. Her two children Jane and James decided that they wanted to something very special, so they asked three female composers to write a song from text that came directly from the Justice’s life. The collaboration was a hit and would lead Michaels into the recording studio where she developed her emotional album.

“The success of the album gained a lot of interest,” said Michaels. “Around the same time an exhibit and the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life debuted in Los Angeles at the Skirball Cultural Center and they invited me to come and give a performance of the live version of the show which I was currently developing. That official debut of the one woman show was in January and then the debut of the show with the chamber music ensamble was in Washington DC in February.”

Though the Chicago debut of Notorious RBG in Song is only one night, Michaels is hoping to add other area shows by the end of the year. The Chicago performance will be a bit of a departure from the last shows as it can be told by just one or by multiple persons. This will be the first time that the four artists will come together to divide up the songs taking on the work’s different characters. For instance, baritone Evan Bravos (who is also an Andersonville resident) will be taking on a selection that characterize Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s late husband Martin Ginsburg. But in the end all the performers will all come together like a Greek chorus to sing the final part of the show.

“I hope people will leave the performance feeling good because it is a positive, hopeful story,” Michaels added. “The work is about how one woman can really can make a difference and how one woman can influence each of us to make our own difference. I hope they will learn things about Justice Ginsburg that they didn’t know before while listening to beautiful music that they can enjoy.”

The event will take place on Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership (610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago). The concert runs about 75 minutes with no intermission an tickets are priced at $18 ($10 for Spertus members and $8 for students). You can purchase online at spertus.edu.


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