'Gettysburg Address Rap' set for bicentennial
program for 200th birthday in December includes Chicago’s ‘Hamilton’ Miguel Cervantes, Joe Mantegna, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Buddy Guy, and — if you can believe it — REO Speedwagon
By Ted Cox
Roll over, Abe Lincoln, and tell Alexander Hamilton the news.
The state’s Bicentennial Office set the program Thursday for Illinois’s 200th birthday celebration Dec. 3 at the United Center, including a “Gettysburg Address Rap” to be performed by Chicago’s “Hamilton” title star Miguel Cervantes.
Former Second City and “Saturday Night Live” trouper Tim Kazurinsky made the announcement at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in downtown Chicago in the midst of an “SNL” exhibit.
“Yes, she’s turning 200, but she doesn’t look a day over 190,” Kazurinsky said. “It’ll be a night to remember for the next 200 years.”
“It’ll be a night to remember for the next 200 years.”
Tim Kazurinsky (One Illinois/Ted Cox)
Cervantes’s “Gettysburg Address Rap” is the central attraction, as it will also include award-winning music students from high schools across the state.
Other confirmed stars include newscaster Bill Kurtis, actor Joe Mantegna, and Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, leading a parade of champions including representatives (and trophies) from the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks.
The Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League will be honored on their 75th anniversary. Blues artist Buddy Guy will perform the finale leading into an arena-wide singalong on “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Happy Birthday.”
Eli’s Cheesecake will also be given out to those who attend at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago.
REO Speedwagon gets a performance slot after the ‘70s and ‘80s arena rockers recently won an online bicentennial poll on “the top musicians in Illinois history.” REO finished ahead of Alison Krauss, Nat King Cole, and Cheap Trick, with Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke, and Guy lower in the top 10.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said REO’s Kevin Cronin, calling into Thursday’s event from Los Angeles. “We’re going to be up there with our good buddies Styx.”
Stuart Layne, executive director of the Bicentennial Office, said a limited number of tickets are available, at $50 and $75.
“We’re not looking to make a profit,” Layne said. Instead, proceeds will go toward production costs.