Chautauqua: Week Three

The Chautauqua institution lighthouse

CHAUTAUQUA — Chautauqua Institution is proud to announce the program lineup for Week Three of its 2018 season. The week, which concludes July 13, features presentations by renowned guests such as author of “Wonderland” and “How We Got to Now” Steven Johnson, founding “SNL” cast member Laraine Newman, and renowned pianist and singer Michael Feinstein.

Chautauqua Institution’s nine-week season features morning and afternoon lectures focusing on weekly cultural themes. Week Three examines the multigenerational importance in “The Art of Play.” Lectures on the 10:45 a.m. Amphitheater platform will examine the importance of play, the changing culture of play and gaming, and the innovative work aimed at improving our personal and professional lives through play. The 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture Series in the Hall of Philosophy in Week Three explores the theme “The Spirituality of Play,” on how people in different faith traditions relate to, experience and interpret play.

The Rev. David Goatley will serve as ecumenical guest chaplain for the week. Goatley just this month assumed a new role as research professor of theology and black church studies, and as director of the Office of Black Church Studies, at Duke Divinity School.


Morning: Jill Vialet is the founder and CEO of Playworks, the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. This year, Playworks will reach 900,000 students through on-site coaches, professional training and consultative partnership, serving 1,800 schools and youth-serving organizations. Vialet was named by Forbes as one of the top 30 leading social entrepreneurs and recognized by the Women’s Sports Foundation as one of 40 Women Leaders in honor of the anniversary of Title IX.

Jill Vialet

Afternoon: Rabbi Samuel M. Stahl and Rabbi Zalman Vilenkin will co-lead the afternoon lecture. Stahl served 26 years as rabbi emeritus of Temple Bethe El, in San Antonio, Texas, where he vastly increased the congregation’s attendance. Stahl is the first Jewish leader to receive religious leadership awards from both the Texas Conference of Churches and the San Antonio Community of Churches. This is his 15th season as an associate of Chautauqua’s Department of Religion. Vilenkin is a Talmudic and Kabbalistic scholar and has been an editor and contributor for several Rabbinhas. He has served as executive director and spiritual leader of Chabad Lubavitch of Chautauqua for the past 18 years.


Morning: Steven Johnson is an innovator and author whose most recent book, “Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World,” revolves around the creative power of play. Johnson has also authored several books, including “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation” and “Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter.”

Afternoon: Hussein Rashid is the founder of islamicate, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. Rashid also serves as an adjunct faculty member in Barnard College’s Department of Religion, where he teaches courses on Islam, and religion and popular culture. His research interests focus on representations of Muslims in American popular culture and he has published several academic articles on music, comics, film and television, intra-Muslim racism, and digital humanities in the Study of Religion.


Steven Johnson

Morning: Peter Gray is the founder and current board president of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education and the founder and board member of Let Grow, which is dedicated to renewing children’s freedom to play and explore outdoors, in public spaces, without continuous adult supervision. He is also the author of several books, including the widely used introductory psychology textbook, “Psychology,” as well as “Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.”

Afternoon: Vasudha Narayanan is a distinguished professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Florida and a past president of the American Academy of Religion. Her fields of interest are the Hindu traditions in India, Cambodia and America; visual and expressive cultures in the study of the Hindu traditions; and gender issues. She is currently working on Hindu temples and traditions in Cambodia.


Morning: Brendan Tuohey is the co-founder and executive director of PeacePlayers International, a company that uses basketball to unite and educate young people in divided communities. Driven by the idea that children who play together can learn to live together, PeacePlayers International has worked with thousands of young people across the globe. Tuohey was named one of 50 Most Inspirational People in Sport by Beyond Sport in 2015.

Afternoon: Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She has authored several books, including “Grounded: Finding God in the World — A Spiritual Revolution,” “Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening” and her latest book, “Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.” Butler also served as the project director of a national Lilly Endowment-funded study of mainline Protestant vitality.

Hussein Rashid


Morning: Laraine Newman is an original cast member of “Saturday Night Live” and founding member of The Groundlings. Newman began studying improv and mime at the age of 16 and furthered her studies of mime with Marcel Marceau in Paris. She has appeared in movies such as “Problem Child 2,” “Stardust Memories,” and “Perfect.” She has also created a career in voice animation in films such as “The Emoji Movie,” “Despicable Me 3,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Inside Out,” “Minions” and “The Boxtrolls.” This program is presented in partnership with the National Comedy Center.

Afternoon: Vasudha Narayanan returns to speak as part of the Interfaith Fridays series.


¯ 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 13, Hall of Philosophy: Chris Olsen, author of Lucy Comes Home, and Greg Peterson from the Robert Jackson Center, will host a lecture titled “The story of Lucille Ball in Chautauqua.”

laraine Newman


Aside from the daily lectures, Week Three features a variety of evening entertainment programs in the Amphitheater.

¯ Ellis Paul will perform in the Amphitheater at 2:30 p.m. today Paul uses his singing and songwriting to help tell a relatable story for the entire audience.

¯ At 8:15 p.m. Monday, the Music School Festival Orchestra, directed by Timothy Muffitt, will perform and showcase Chautauqua’s top-quality student talent.

¯ The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra performs “An Evening of Klezmer” at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. Rossen Milanov conducts while David Krakauer serves as the solo clarinetist.

Peter Gray

¯ At 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, the Charlotte Ballet presents an evening of innovative and exciting dance. Highlighting the unique versatility of the company, Artistic Director Hope Muir has assembled a program “Made in Charlotte” for this week’s performance.

¯ The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra brings to stage “An Evening of Concertos” at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday. Rossen Milanov will serve as conductor while Alexander Gavrylyuk serves as the solo pianist.

¯ Five-time Grammy Award-nominated artist Michael Feinstein with very special guest Storm Large take the stage at 8:15 p.m. on Friday for an evening of “Shaken and Stirred — Classic Songs Reimagined.”



Chautauqua Theater Company continues its run of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon, adapted from Dion Boucicault’s 1859 hit melodrama about the fate of “octoroon” woman in the Antebellum South. This hilarious and incisive new play — winner of a 2014 Obie Award for Best New American Play — jabs at the history of slavery and identity in America. An Octoroon will run at 2:15 p.m. Saturday, 2:15 and 8 p.m. today.

World renowned duo David Krakauer and Kathleen Tagg perform at 4 p.m. on Monday in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. Their performance Voyages will take the audience on a journey that travels across cultures.

Ellis Paul will perform at 5 and again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, in Smith Wilkes Hall as part of the free Family Entertainment Series. Paul will perform his newest album The Hero in You, where he sings about America’s important influencers such as Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, Woody Guthrie, Rachel Carson and Jackie Robinson

About Chautauqua Institution

The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue.

Diana Bass

Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution


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