After selling out multiple tours worldwide and blowing away festival audiences at Coachella and Lollapalooza in 2018, global sensation Tash Sultana is returning to North America in May 2019 for a huge run of headline shows and festivals.
Possessing one of the most outstanding and instantly recognizable voices in music, Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and actor Josh Groban has entertained fans across the globe with his multi-platinum albums and DVDs (over 30 million sold worldwide), electrifying live performances, and comedic film and television appearances.
A two-time Grammy winner, John Prine is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Almost 50 years into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and others who would know, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good.
He is a 2019 nominee for both the Rock & Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member, and a PEN New England Lyrics Award recipient whose classic debut album, simply titled John Prine, is recognized in the Grammy Hall of Fame and whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Carly Simon, Bette Midler and many others.
Michael McDonald and Chaka Khan
Michael McDonald, a former Doobie Brothers frontman and Steely Dan collaborator, is known for his distinctive and ultra-smooth vocal style. He has won five Grammy Awards and has released nine solo albums. A younger generation of artists have embraced McDonald’s music in recent years, leading a groundswell of unexpected collaborations. Virtuoso bassist Thundercat recruited the singer (and Kenny Loggins) to co-write “Show You the Way,” a track on his 2017 LP, Drunk, which they performed together at the Coachella Festival. “[McDonald’s] singing is so specific, and it has so much depth,” Thundercat told the LA Times. “Michael is such a stark example of staying honest and open in your music.”
Chaka Khan is one of the world’s most gifted and celebrated musicians, and the 10-time Grammy Award winner has curated a rich musical legacy. A songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and activist, Khan has influenced generations of recording artists. She has the rare ability to form-fit her voice across music genres, from R&B and gospel to pop, rock, and country to world music and classical. Affectionately known around the world as Chaka, she is revered by millions of fans as well as her peers for her timeless, classic, and unmatched signature music style and ability. Miles Davis often said, “[Chaka] sings like my horn,” and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, said, “[Chaka] is a one-of-a-kind, premier vocalist.”
Ravinia Gala: Jennifer Hudson
Hers is the kind of story that dreams (and movies) are made of: a Chicago girl with a voice as big as her heart catches the world’s attention on a televised talent show, then goes on to win the Grammy and countless other awards—including the Oscar for her very first film. Jennifer Hudson, who made her only Ravinia appearance in 2011, is a star by any measure. And we’re thrilled to announce that she’s the star of our 2019 Gala Benefit Evening. Handpicked by Aretha Franklin to play the Queen of Soul in an upcoming biopic, Hudson also starred in Sex and the City, Winnie Mandela, the animated Sing, and the upcoming adaptation of Cats, as well as in the Broadway production of The Color Purple. In Dreamgirls, she famously sang, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” but you simply must go to this once-in-a-lifetime gala.
By popular demand, Ravinia’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, named one of the best concerts of 2018 by the Chicago Tribune, will be given an encore performance featuring conductor Marin Alsop and baritone Paulo Szot, who once again heads up the hundreds of artists onstage, from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the Highland Park High School Marching Band.
Announcing the Chicago-area professional premiere of the work last summer, Ravinia president and CEO Welz Kauffman called Mass “a giant, exhilarating work that was misunderstood in its day, and audiences need to hear it”—the Tribune ’s Howard Reich agreed in his review, proclaiming it “simply quintessential, stylistically unbound, anything-goes Bernstein, presented on the grandest scale possible.” Don’t let the title fool you; this exciting musical theater piece is more like Hair than church!
"Weird Al" Yankovic
“Weird Al” Yankovic is the biggest-selling comedy recording artist in history, earning four Grammys and 15 career nominations. The legendary musical satirist follows his sold-out 2018 tour of intimate venues—where he played deep cuts for his hardcore fans—with his biggest show ever. “Weird Al” is back to playing the hits and classics with his “Strings Attached” tour, a high-energy rock and comedy production featuring his original band, costumes, props, a video wall and, for the first time, background singers and a full symphony orchestra.
Yankovic is best known for sending up the biggest hits in the world with his own hit parodies, including “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon,” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Amish Paradise,” “White and Nerdy,” and “Word Crimes.” Yankovic’s last album, 2014’s Mandatory Fun, made history as the first comedy album ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band
and The Beach Boys
Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band return to Ravinia for the first time in 24 years on a double bill with perennial Ravinia favorite The Beach Boys for back-to-back concerts.
The recently knighted Starr is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the first tour with his supergroup, the All Starr Band, which includes Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Santana and Journey keyboardist Gregg Rolie, David Lee Roth drummer Gregg Bissonette, Average White Band co-founder Hamish Stuart, Men at Work frontman Colin Hay, and popular singer and instrumentalist Warren Ham. “Ultimately what’s most impressive about Ringo Starr isn’t what he’s been, but rather who he is,” said Rolling Stone about the two time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, whose Grammy-winning catalogue includes such favorites as “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Don’t Pass Me By,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Back Off Boogaloo,” and “You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine).”
The Beach Boys stand shoulder-to-shoulder with The Beatles in finding unfading youth through their music. To these guys, the beach isn’t just a place where the surf comes to play—it’s where life is renewed and made whole again. From their first hit, “Surfin’,” to the Grammy-nominated “Good Vibrations” and “Kokomo,” The Beach Boys and co-founder Mike Love birthed a torrent of hit singles and sold albums by the tens of millions, but their greater significance lies in the fact that they changed the musical landscape so profoundly that every generation of pop acts since is in their debt.
The multiplatinum-selling quintet Pentatonix boasts not only three Grammy Awards and nearly 10 million albums sold, but also 15.5 million subscribers on its YouTube channel, which has over 3.4 billion views. Moreover, nine of the group’s albums have made Billboard’s top 10, including back-to-back number ones in 2015’s Pentatonix and 2016’s A Pentatonix Christmas, and its original track “Can’t Sleep Love” is a gold-certified single, joining their renditions of “Mary, Did You Know?” and “Hallelujah” as a top seller. Pentatonix also appeared in the feature film Pitch Perfect 2 and has had two holiday specials on NBC. In the past year, the quintet released the first volume of its PTX Presents series of Pentatonix-curated modern pop performances and also released its fourth holiday album, Christmas Is Here!
O.A.R. first began to develop its unique sound while its members were in high school in Rockville, MD. With three albums to their name before they had even finished college, they began pursuing their musical dreams full time in the summer of 2001. By the end of 2008, the band had released six studio albums and three live double-disc CDs. To date, O.A.R. has sold close to two million albums and more than two million concert tickets, including two sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.