GREASE co-creator Jim Jacobs announced as chairman of American Theater Company’s Legacy Campaign

Bubba Weiler, Tyler Ravelson, Robert Colletti, Patrick De Nicola, Adrian Aguilar. ATC's The Original Grease

Fundraising effort supports vision of ATC’s late artistic director PJ Paparelli to develop and produce new works, provide free education programs for students


October 30, 2015 (Chicago, IL)—American Theater Company (ATC) proudly announces Jim Jacobs, co-creator of the musical Grease, as chairman of its Legacy Campaign. The season-long fundraising effort supports the vision of ATC’s late artistic director, PJ Paparelli, to develop and produce new work and provide free education programming to Chicago Public High School students.


Jacobs pledged $50,000 to kick off the Legacy Campaign. ATC seeks to match this amount with an additional $50,000 in individual contributions, for a total fundraising goal of $100,000. The Legacy Campaign will culminate with an artistic event hosted by Jacobs in May 2016, celebrating Paparelli’s legacy and the future of ATC. For more information on American Theater Company’s Legacy Campaign or to make a pledge, please visit or call 773.409.4125.


Jacobs has been a supporter of ATC since 2009 when he partnered with Paparelli to produce the world premiere of The Original Grease, an acclaimed re-imagining and restoration of the famous Broadway musical to its original version—which hadn’t been performed since its 1971 Chicago premiere. The Original Grease marked the show’s 40 anniversary and went on to win the Jeff Award for Best Musical. A Chicago native, Jacobs created Grease with co-writer Warren Casey based on his experience at Taft High School.


During his tenure, Paparelli positioned American Theater Company as an incubator of new work. ATC’s current season includes Thomas Bradshaw’s Fulfillment, a co-world premiere with The Flea Theater in New York, as well as the world premiere of Bruise Easy by Dan LeFranc, writer of ATC’s acclaimed world premiere The Big Meal. Last season, ATC produced the world premiere of The Project(s), an original documentary play about the history of Chicago’s public housing, and the world premiere of Stephen Karam’s The Humans, which opened at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company this month and is slated to move to Broadway. In 2012, ATC produced the world premiere of Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, which received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award for Best Play.


In addition to guiding ATC’s artistic programming, PJ also implemented the company’s American Mosaic, Bridge and Youth Ensemble education programs, which currently serve more than 850 Chicago Public High School students each year.


About American Theater Company

American Theater Company (ATC) challenges and inspires its community by exploring stories that ask the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” ATC’s Ensemble includes Patrick Andrews, Kareem Bandealy, Jaime Castañeda, Kelly O’Sullivan, Tyler Ravelson, and Sadieh Rifai.


American Theater Company is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, and the Shubert Foundation.


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