2017 Fifth Star Honors Presented by Allstate Insurance Company to Include Performances by Rhymefest, Dee Alexander, JC Brooks, Sam Trump, Nora O'Connor, Toronzo Cannon, Kelly Hogan and More

July 27, 2017

This year’s celebration and tribute concert honors Chicago’s arts heroes: Common, Jeanne Gang, Kerry James Marshall, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and 25 “Rising Star” youth honorees in Millennium Park on Monday, August 28

Christine Carrino    312.744.0573, christine.carrino@cityofchicago.org


The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will honor four of Chicago’s arts heroes for their contributions to the city’s cultural landscape at the 4th annual Fifth Star Honors presented by Allstate Insurance Company. The free event celebrates the 2017 honorees with electrifying performances and moving tributes on August 28, at 6:30 p.m., in Millennium Park. With special performances by hip hop artist Rhymefest, poet McKenzie Chinn, spiritual singer Yaw Agyeman, actors representing The Yard Theater, Second City, The Gift Theater, and many more, the show will culminate with a concert featuring an all-star Chicago lineup including Dee Alexander, JC Brooks, Sam Trump, Nora O’Connor, Toronzo Cannon, Kelly Hogan and others.

Started in 2014, the Fifth Star Honors celebrates Chicago’s creativity and recognizes institutions and individuals who have made significant contributions in arts and culture. The City of Chicago is committed to supporting and growing the arts by recognizing influential artists and our rising stars.

The free public event will feature special performances by hip hop artist Rhymefest, poet McKenzie Chinn, spiritual singer Yaw Agyeman, actors representing The Yard Theater, Second City, The Gift Theater and many more, the show will culminate with a concert featuring an all-star Chicago lineup including Dee Alexander, JC Brooks, Sam Trump, Nora O’Connor, Toronzo Cannon, Kelly Hogan and others.

“The Fifth Star Honors will be an exciting show featuring artists who have been influenced by this year’s honorees with dynamic performances that include music, spoken word, dance and even a few surprises,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of DCASE. “We recognize their contributions and will celebrate the significant influence they have had not only on Chicago’s art scene but the world’s.

2017 City of Chicago Fifth Star Honorees

Common is a hip hop recording artist, actor, film producer and poet from Chicago, Illinois. He won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song for his song "Glory" from the 2014 film Selma, in which he co-starred as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel. Che “Rhymefest” Smith, his friend and collaborator on “Glory” and other projects, will honor Common with a dynamic performance.

Jeanne Gang is an architect, MacArthur Fellow and the founder of Studio Gang. She is best known for advancing the possibilities of architecture and design in the twenty-first century. Her analytical and creative approach has produced some of today’s most innovative architecture, including the 82-story, undulating Aqua Tower in downtown Chicago, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, the curving landscape of the University of Chicago’s Campus North Residential Commons and many more.

Kerry James Marshall, an accomplished artist and MacArthur Fellow, is widely known as a painter, but he also uses a broad range of media including collage, photography, video, sculpture, murals and comic books. His work, often addressing the American culture and history of the Civil Rights era and Black Power movement, has been shown and collected at museums throughout the world. As a tribute, poet McKenzie Chinn will honor Marshall along with local spiritual singer Yaw Agyeman.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company was formed by a collective of actors in 1976 and has grown to 49 members who represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. The legendary theater company’s accolades include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards, andnearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed national and international success. With Anna D. Shapiro as artistic director and David Schmitz as executive director, Steppenwolf’s artistic force remains rooted in the original vision of its founders: an artist-driven theater, whose vitality is defined by its sharp appetite for groundbreaking, innovative work. To honor the nation’s premier ensemble theater company, actors from The Yard Theater, Second City and The Gift Theater will perform snippets from some of the Steppenwolf’s original productions.

New for 2017 Fifth Star Honors, the City of Chicago will recognize 25 outstanding young artists as members of the Rising Star Honor Roll. The Honor Roll recognizes Chicago youth who show creative leadership, passion and exceptional skill in the arts. Arts organizations, school arts programs and community organizations were invited to nominate a Rising Star in visual arts, music, dance, theater, literary arts or media arts. The 2017 Rising Star Honor Roll inductees will be honored at a special reception at the Chicago Cultural Center on August 22 in advance of the Fifth Star Honors show and concert in Millennium Park. This great honor celebrates the creative spirit of the next generation as an essential part of Chicago’s cultural life. The full list of Rising Stars and their nominating organizations can be found at fifthstarhonors.org.

“At Allstate and The Allstate Foundation, we believe good starts young,” said Vicky Dinges, Allstate’s senior vice president of corporate responsibility. “Helping America’s youth gain the skills, resources and confidence to achieve success in their lives is an Allstate priority. That’s why we’re so proud to support The Rising Star Honor Roll, recognizing the tremendous talent among our hometown youth.”

The Fifth Star Honors is made possible through generous private support from Allstate Insurance Company. Media support provided by the Chicago Transit Authority. For event details visit fifthstarhonors.org and join the conversation on Facebook (Millennium Park), Twitter @Millennium_Park and Instagram @Millennium_Park.


Millennium Park

Millennium Park is Chicago’s town square, the #1 attraction in the Midwest and among the Top 10 most-visited sites in the U.S. Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am–11pm daily. For the latest news and events, download the Millennium Park app, visit millenniumpark.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @Millennium_Park.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


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