Cabinet of Curiosity is composed of diverse project-by-project collectives who authentically collaborate on original celebrations and productions. Cabinet uses sophisticated puppetry and handmade devices to develop unique interactive experiences, productions and events. We focus on creating new types of gatherings, ceremonies, and rituals which promote community and interactivity amongst people who may not normally mix. Our intention is to support multi-cultural professionals in the field of theatre, visual arts, dance, sculpture and music, while mindfully training high school and college age apprentices to become the future creators of new meaningful rituals. All of the objects and devices created by cabinet are engineered to expose their mechanical operations so they are simultaneously educational, informative, and magical. We embrace commissions which require unique elements of ritual, ceremony, procession, and pageantry. These commissions create funding that establishes an innovative revenue stream, reduce the responsibility of sustainability from the board, audience, and foundations, trains apprentices through a unique scholarship apparatus, builds community, funds our free and greatly discounted public work. We are committed to social engagement — both grand and intimate. Our purpose is to promote curiosity, community and culture.
For us, the world is a Cabinet of Curiosity.
What is a “spectacle in miniature?” CoCE is dedicated to the power of artistic immersion and the thrill of intimate performance, by presenting fully-realized and detailed worlds, all of which contain their own original logic. Founder Frank Maugeri's impulse has always been to draw an audience deeply into the work, so that they become truly part of the story or universe of objects, and experience what Joseph Campbell called “aesthetic arrest.”
Cabinet of Curiosity is dedicated to creating sophisticated, strange and original rituals. We wish to explore the sacred through work ranging from naming ceremonies to celebrating marriage and honoring the dead. Founder Frank Maugeri designed massive community-based rituals with Redmoon including the closing ceremony of The Second Great Chicago Fire Festival, a massive collaboration with faith leaders and dozens of performers. Cabinet of Curiosities Events will continue this legacy of sustained engagement with ceremony and celebration that honors the spiritual.
CoCE works with non-performers and emerging artists to develop public events that interrupt the everyday through unanticipated moments of spontaneous beauty. We are dedicated to collaborations engaging local businesses, neighborhood organizations, and new co-creators and performers. Out ambition is to galvanize community through collaborative artworks and invigorate a sense of place through works that engage collective imagination.
About the Artist
Frank Maugeri is an artist, director, producer and designer of unique art, education, ceremony and event. His creations are highly visual, design-driven, movement-inspired, object-centered and range from intimate miniature-scale to mammoth public spectacle.
Throughout his career, he has been an inventor and designer of worlds, events, and objects; choreographer of people and mechanisms; and ritual and ceremony maker.
Frank’s life revolves around the arts and how the arts bring people together. When he’s not bringing art to life, he’s bringing art to lives through his work as an expert collaborator, educator, innovator of curriculum and artistic programming, and community builder.
He is the founder of Cabinet of Curiosity Events. He is also the Community Programs Artistic Director at the Chicago Children’s Theatre where he develops educational classes and camps for children 0 – 14, and selects and supports the CCT teaching community.
Prior to joining CCT as the Community Programs Artistic Director, Frank was a 22-year veteran Producing Artistic Director at Redmoon Theater.
As Producing Artistic Director at Redmoon Theater, he mentored hundreds of young artists, sculptors, puppet-makers, set designers, performers, and educators from across the United States, while simultaneously helping to guide the institution's art, education and community engagement. Frank is expert in developing experience and events — from branding to casting to directing to execution
With Redmoon, Frank created art and experiences for The White House, developed original works for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Los Angeles Music Center, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. He proudly co-directed a number of public spectacles for the City of Chicago and other Chicago-centered civic events, including: The Art Institute’s groundbreaking of the North Wing, Millennium Park opening evening, Looptopia. His productions, art and events toured to Amsterdam, Charleville-Mézières (France), Brazil, and Japan. In his time at Redmoon Theater, Frank also authored, designed, and created Redmoon's longest running and most acclaimed production, The Cabinet, and created and led Redmoon’s celebrated annual Boneshaker and New Year’s Revolution events, featuring numerous memorable objects of his own creation, including some of Redmoon’s most remarkable inventions- The Momentary Opera, The Monkey Butlers, The Libation Machine and most famously, The Bubble Man.
Frank created Redmoon’s first Youth Board which he grew from an idea to over 20 consistently active members.
Frank was trained in the discipline of animation and soon found he was drawn to puppetry and material objects, pursuing the desire to realize animation through live theatre experiences.
Leadership, motivation, sustaining purpose, creating mission and empowering all participants are great satisfactions for Frank’s spirit and keep service at the center of all his art making and engagement practices.
He currently makes his teaching home at the University of Chicago.
With Redmoon, Frank Maugeri, as Producing Artistic Director, conceived, created, and co-directed numerous theatrical productions and events.
Some of the highlights include:
THE ASTRONAUTS BIRTHDAY
Maugeri led and directed Redmoon’s 2010 Spectacle was a massive shadow show which rendered a 5-story high graphic novel on the façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art. The team brought art outside the gallery walls and amazed audiences as they sat in the MCA plaza in a collision of science fiction, comic book, spectacle performance, drive-in movie, wild shadow, silhouette performers, and an all original music score.
WHITE HOUSE HALLOWEEN CELEBRATION
Maugeri directed a day long event at Obama's White House Halloween celebration. Over 2,500 school children were invited to trick or treat on the grounds of the President's home while delighting in Redmoon’s Halloween-themed performance moments. School children, military families, dignitaries, and the First Family enjoyed the performers and objects.
PUNK BIRD ESCAPADES
Maugeri created the Punk Bird Parade... a series of original performances each featuring a highly engineered spectacle object: a parade in flight with Hawkman and his Entourage.
LAST OF MY SPECIES
Maugeri art directed Last of My Species, and co-directed its mass ensemble cast, amazing aerial acrobatics, and the wild aesthetic. Part rock concert, part theatrical spectacle.
ART INSTITUTE NORTH WING GRAND OPENING
Maugeri directed the activation of the north garden of the Art Institute by directing a ritual of giving, adoration and hope. Performers in the Groundbreaking Ceremony anointed the garden with flowers, scents, and ritual activity, honoring the old and celebrating the new. Mobile metal sculptures overflowing with flowers, fruits, and seeds as well as many performers roamed the Art Institute's garden, while a three tiered gong and other percussion instruments created an enchanting soundscape to the evening's celebrations.
MILLENIUM PARK GRAND OPENING
Maugeri directed the grand opening of Millennium Park, where Redmoon created an extraordinary illumination installation with projections, fire towers, lanterns, and over 70 performers.
THE DEVILS CABARET
Maugeri directed the thrilling spectacle performance celebrating the Devil’s “greatest accomplishments” – The Seven Deadly Sins - while enjoying a hosted craft beer bar. A 30’ tall Crane Tower equipped with multiple stages was the centerpiece for this event in Redmoon’s past massive warehouse and featured an eclectic mix of performances by aerialists, drummers, a rock-n-roll band, DJ music, video wall, unique puppets, and….a special appearance by God.
Maugeri created Redmoon Theaters longest running show “The Cabinet", a production that received great critical acclaim—two extensions atRedmoon Central, and a tour of four cities in Brazil. A spectacle in miniature, “The Cabinet” set the story of the murderous Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist slave Cesare in an off-kilter world of puppetry and intricate machinery. Inspired by the 1919 German Expressionist silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, “The Cabinet” creates a wild, abstract "cabinet of curiosities" in which five puppeteers manipulate and maneuver the characters and objects much as Caligari controls Cesare's plight.
Maugeri explored struggle, sorrow, and salvation in “Boneyard Prayer.” The production drew from such varied sources as William Kennedy’sIronweed, Dante’s Inferno, T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men, tramp art, Santos sculpture, and other period literature, music, and art. “Boneyard Prayer” tells a Depression-era tale of one man’s fractured life and ultimate redemption using various forms of puppetry and shadow images, along with original, live music inspired by the songs of the age. “Boneyard Prayer” traces one man’s cycle of regret through the upheaval of his grave by five gravediggers. The burial site becomes the arena in which the gravediggers use song and performance, centered in shadow images, and puppetry, to recreate key moments from this man’s story which reveal themes of salvation, redemption, fatherhood, and amends.
SALAO, THE WORST KIND OF UNLUCKY
Using a life-size wooden bunraku puppet to represent the “Old Man,” Maugeri and Jessica Thebus created a one hour adaptation of Hemingway’s classic, The Old Man and the Sea. In this adaptation, Santiago wages his struggle with the marlin from a boat suspended by block and tackle from a massive arced truss. Critically acclaimed, this production was made in association with Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
HEAR the international debut of the Shiryayev choir, performing at Surprise! Death is not the End!