Sat, 01/15/2022 - 7:30pm to Sun, 01/16/2022 - 5:03pm

The Auditorium Theatre presents Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, an annual tradition performed over Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend on January 15 and 16. Tickets available at A one-hour student matinee performance will take place on January 14. The performance will also be streamed and screened to correctional facilities around the country.

“In 2006, I was at the Auditorium for the first-ever production of Too Hot, and I knew then that this would always be a special concert for us,” says Rich Regan, Auditorium Theatre CEO. “As we continue to celebrate our reopening in 2022, Too Hot to Handel is just the inspiration and joy that we all need right now!"  

For 17 years, this “exuberant, jazz-gospel makeover” (Chicago Tribune) of George Frideric Handel’s classic Messiah has brought Chicagoans together every Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Arranged by Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson, with the original concept created by Marin Alsop, Ravinia Festival's Chief Conductor, this inspirational performance features world-class musicians filling the Auditorium’s historic stage, including three gifted soloists: Alfreda Burke (soprano), Karen-Marie Richardson (alto), and Rodrick Dixon (tenor). 

The show also features legendary Detroit pianist Alvin Waddles; a 100-person choir directed by Bill Fraher, former director of concert choirs at Chicago's Old St. Patrick’s Church; and a chamber orchestra and jazz band led by Michigan Opera Theatre assistant music director Suzanne Mallare Acton.

Since 2017, the Auditorium has worked with correctional facilities across the country to share the messages of Too Hot with those who are incarcerated. In 2022, the theatre hopes to stream and host screenings of Too Hot to Handel in these facilities as COVID-19 safety protocols allow. The theatre will announce their correctional center partners in early January.  

Click here to watch a Too Hot to Handel: Jazz Gospel Messiah preview.

The Presenting Sponsors of Too Hot to Handel are Dave Samber and Darrell Windle. The Performance Sponsors are JLC Colmar Foundation and Friends of Too Hot to Handel.

The Student Matinee Series Sponsors are The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Streaming 2022 Too Hot performance into correctional facilities is made possible in part by Anonymous and Chicago Sunday Evening Club.



Saturday, January 15, 2022 @ 7:30PM | Sunday, January 16, 2022 @ 3PM | One-hour student matinee - January 14, 2022 @ 11AM

Tickets start at $28 and are available now at, by calling 312.341.2300, or at the Box Office at 50 E Ida B Wells Drive in Chicago, IL. Click here for phone and in-person hours.

Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah may be added to the Auditorium Theatre’s “Create Your Own” Series subscription, which offers a 15-25% discount. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more people are also available.

Student Matinee tickets (for K-12 groups of 10 or more people) are $10 and are available by phone at 312.341.2300. Inquiries regarding Student Matinee tickets may also be submitted online here.

The Auditorium Theatre offers $15 student rush tickets to full-time college students and $5 tickets to young people ages 13-19 with Urban Gateways' Teen Arts Pass program. The Auditorium also offers a Student Savings Club for both college and high school students. The Auditorium Theatre's ADMIT ONE program offers complimentary tickets to Chicago-area community groups. 

The Auditorium Theatre is fully committed to the health and safety of our patrons and our staff. For this event, patrons 12 and over are REQUIRED to show proof of vaccination at the door or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entry. Guests under 12 may gain entry by wearing a mask at all times when not eating and drinking. All guests must wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Click here for the most recent safety protocols

About The Auditorium Theatre

The Auditorium Theatre, located at 50 E Ida B Wells Dr at Roosevelt University in Chicago, is an Illinois not-for-profit organization committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community, and educational programming to all of Chicago and beyond as The Theatre for the People. The organization also is committed to the continued restoration and preservation of this National Historic Landmark that originally opened in 1889.

The Auditorium Theatre 2021-2022 Season is made possible in part with support from The Florian Fundthe John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The Auditorium’s official hotel partner is the Palmer House Hilton and their official magazine is Chicago magazine.

For a complete listing of events at the Auditorium Theatre, please visit