Ravinia Festival Honors Bernstein with New Immersive Theater Show

The show will take place in the festival's new 4D theater and gallery space, the Ravinia Music Box

(Photo credit: Courtesy of BRC Imagination Arts and the Ravinia Festival)


Illinois' Ravinia Festival — the oldest outdoor music festival in the United States — is celebrating the legacy of American composer Leonard Bernstein with an immersive theater experience.

The permanent exhibit, which is now fully open to the public, includes a 10-minute video production that plays in the festival's new Ravinia Music Box. The Ravinia Music Box, created by the design and production company BRC Imagination Arts, contains a 65-seat wraparound 4D theater with a museum gallery space.

"The goal of the project is to introduce, in an engaging, fun, and interactive way, new listeners to classical music, as well as to offer new insights to those who are already fans," according to a festival press release.

The video is hosted by folk-jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin and asks tough questions about the role of music in humans' day-to-day lives — accompanied by 4D audiovisual effects and a performance by the Chicago Children's Choir.

The project is the result of a longstanding collaboration between BRC Imagination Arts, Ravinia's previous president and CEO Welz Kauffman, and Bernstein's eldest daughter Jamie.

In addition to the theater, visitors to the Ravinia Music Box can also explore its gallery space, which is currently dedicated to increasing the accessibility of music education through the festival's Reach Teach Play program.

Concertgoers at any Ravinia Festival performance gain admission to the Ravinia Music Box for free, anytime from when the park opens to 30 minutes before the start of a concert. Learn more and purchase tickets at ravinia.org.