Community Created Performances

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The Community Created Performances program enables community groups from around Chicago to write, create and perform original music theater works that tell the untold stories of their communities using a core element of opera: story-telling through song. Meet our 2017 finalists and learn more about CCP here.

Visit this page often and follow along with the latest blog entries from our finalists and artists as they undergo this artistic journey.

A Musical Landscape

July 21, 2017

Miles Comiskey, Blu Rhythm Collective Participant

Part of what defines the Blu Rhythm Collective (BRC) is its expansive artistic capabilities. Although the majority of the group consists of dance artists, even within that world, we have people who specialize in tap, modern, house, hip hop, ballet… everything. When it comes to music we have rappers, singers, producers, and songwriters of many ages and musical backgrounds who are coming together to work on this project with Chicago Voices. This is a tremendous asset when writing for so many different characters with different genre, instrumental, and tonal shifts.

Miles Comiskey, Blu Rhythm Collective participant, performs at the Hideout for the Chicago Voices launch event in January 2016.

Each musician in the collective knows their strengths and knows the strengths of others. Just recently I knew I needed the input of Lea Violet, a fellow BRC participant, on a certain track because she is really good at writing certain types of melodies. On another project BrittanE, another BRC participant, took a beat I had started and heard something powerful that could be added to heighten the scene for our audience. We have worked together enough, and built trust with each other to a point where we can do our work individually, come in with some sketches, and allow the group to take it to the next level. This project with Chicago Voices has brought us closer as collaborators and challenged us to tell new stories with new tonal ideas.

Part of the challenge of this work, in particular, is our desire to create a musical landscape that sounds like Chicago - past and present. For us, that means infusing each character and scene with blends of blues, soul, gospel, house, and different types of hip hop that connect to who they are and what they’re going through at any one point in the show. With each rehearsal, we are getting closer to finding that balance while making sure the whole thing feels cohesive as a single work. As each musician in the Blu Rhythm Collective adds their artistry to our emotional palette, our story‚Äôs tapestry has gotten richer and that much more connected to the deeper truths we want to share with our audience at the Harris Theater in September.

Want to know more? You can get an in-depth, behind the scenes look and watch it all unfold by visiting our complete Community Created Performance blog at the link below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Community Created Performances?

Community Created Performances are original music theater works created and performed by community groups using the core elements of opera: storytelling through song.

Chicagoans, regardless of background or experience, were invited to submit unique, untold stories from and of their communities. Applications are reviewed by an independent, community-based panel and up to 10 applicant groups are selected to be featured in individual video profiles on the Chicago Voices website. The public then views the videos and votes for the stories found to be most compelling. 

The top three groups with the most votes create and develop their original work, driven by the participants and supported by Lyric Opera professional artists and staff. Working closely with these professionals, the groups each create and develop original scripts, songs, and production elements for the performances, and take part in the culminating final performance of these works.

How do I see a performance?

All performances will be free and open to the public. Sign up for our mailing list or visit our website frequently to hear about the different performances.

How can I vote?

Voting for the 2017 winners is closed. Follow their journey as they develop their stories for the stage at

Community Created Performances Partner