Other Projects


On September 7th, 2008 at 7:00 p.m., Collage Productions presented a concert of new music by its long-time music director and composer in residence Clayton J Horath. The evening featured Mr. Horath at the piano performing original music composed for Collage Productions’ staging of Eugene O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, as well as vocal compositions based upon passages extracted from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and Chicago-area poet David Gecic. Also included within the program were excerpts from Sign of The Times, a contemporary chamber operatic setting of a verse play by Jeff Helgeson which was included in “Chicago Calling” as a part of the 2007 “Chicago Artists Month.”

The final section of the program consisted of a musical setting and full presentation of
Fall From Grace, a one-man play that was originally produced at The Victory Gardens Theatre featuring Dr. William Graham Cole, the retired president of Lake Forest College, and was performed on this occasion by its author, Chicago-based playwright and novelist Jeff Helgeson.

Clayton J Horath began playing piano at an early age, “making it up as he went along,” while his father would improvise melodies on the guitar. Later, Mr. Horath would come home from church and try to play the songs he had heard while he was there. This was the beginning of a love for music that has blossomed in the years since. Clay attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, where he was an active participant in the choir and other musical ensembles. There, his desire to create new music was encouraged. After Bethany, Clay went on to Concordia University, in River Forest, to complete a Bachelor of Music degree, studying Composition and Music Theory. At Concordia, he was given the opportunity to work with such Church Music composers as Richard Hillert and Carl Schalk. He composed several pieces there, including a piece for the Kappela choir of the university. Since college, Clay has worked as Associate Director of the Lutheran Festival Chorus and Musical Director for Collage Productions. In that time, he has written a setting of the Mass, arranged and orchestrated songs for a new musical by Huck Walton and Johnny Lombard, as well as several pieces for Collage. Currently, Clay is researching for two large operatic works: “Ithaca,” the story of Ulysses after the Odyssey, based on a play by Jeff Helgeson; and “Prometheus Unbound,” based on the dramatic work of Shelley.


after hours

A Showcase of Visual and Performing Arts to Celebrate 20 years of Affordable Programming in Theater, Music, Spoken Word, Prose and Poetry Publication.

Co-Sponsored by “After Hours” Magazine& Puddinhead Books

Hosted by Collage Founder Jeff Helgeson & Barbara Button


The Gunder MansionNorth Lakeside Cultural Center6319 N Sheridan RoadChicago, Illinois

8:00 p.m. October 27th & 28th

2:00 p.m. October 29th

$20.00 per person

Refreshments and Entertainment included. 773-764-0353

( Parking Available with Advanced Reservations )

Including the performance of an original song with lyrics by Owen Kalt.

Lord Issac Hood

Lord Isaac M. Hood III is a Chicago-based magician who has worked the night clubs of the city’s north side for over twenty-five years. In addition to entertaining patrons at clubs like Butch McGuire’s, Whiskey, The Leg Room, and many, many more, he has worked his close-in magic throughout the Gold Coast at private parties and at numerous theatre openings.

If you don’t believe in magic when Isaac begins his act, once your wedding ring has appeared on his key-chain inside a zipped wallet, or a cigarette floats before your eyes between his hands two feet away from where you are standing, you just might begin to believe in it. His explanation for anything – “It must be magic”.

Vocalist Eleni Manka

Eleni Marks was born and raised in Sweden, and she speaks and sings in five languages. In 1992, she won the National Karaoke Competition in Stockhol, Sweden. She has performed throughout Europe and came to The United States in 1996. In Chicago, Eleni has sung at the Inaguration of the Hungarian Honorary Consulate and performed professionally at Magnum’s, The Hellas Cafe, Cyrano’s, The Parthenon Restrurant and The Pegasus Restaurant, as well as at numerous private events.

Trooper Tru McCray

Trulawn McCray (known on stage and at poetry venues as “Trooper Tru”) has been performing since the age of 13. His first performance was with Free Street Programs Inc. He has traveled worldwide with many performances, including London with “PROJECT” (the musical documentary about Cabrini-Green) in 1989. Years later he worked with the TeenStreet ensemble within Free Street, traveling to Germany twice. He has also played percussion on occasion with the Fisher Dance Center/The Dance Foundation. When not performing professionally on stage, he can be seen occasionally at poetry venues such as Mental Graffiti (on Mondays), Polyrhytmic (on Tuesdays), and the Green Mill (on Sundays). On his spare time, Tru has created several rap songs and created his own music to them.

In addition to his success on stage and with his music, Tru got married on 17-September-2000 to Grace Emma Kirk, to whom he refers as “The Queen Of Graceland.”

Clayton | Wheeler | Catherine

Clayton J.Horath

Clayton J.Horath( director/Composer) is excited to be a part of another Collage Productions project. As his directorial debut, Clay is proud to work with such a great cast and crew. He previously played Beverly Carlton in “The Man Who Came To Dinner”, which he also assistant directed. Clay has co-directed the Lutheran festival Chorus for the last several years.

The Chorus recently premiered two movements of his “Mass for The Trinity”. Clay has also written an original score to accompany “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”. Writing this Score has provided him with a wonderful new challenge. Clay would like to thank his mother for her continued support and the members of Zion Lutheran Church in Crete for their constant encouragement.

Wheeler Cole

Wheeler Cole ( Sound Designer) joined the crew of Long Day’s Journey into Night in July 2005. he holds a B.A and an M.A. in Education from Roosevelt University. Mr. Cole is presently the senior technician at the Roosevelt University Educational Technology Resource Center. His credits include sound engineering for “Interface”, a weekly syndicated radio program; sound design for “the Rock That Glowed”, an educational children’s drama ( May 1997 ); “Voice”, a documentary on the Holocaust; and the PBS Emmy Award Winner “Food for the Anchestors”( 1999 ). Past theatre design credits include: “Self Portrait”( 1986 ), “The Collage Project” ( 1988 ), “Time and Tide” ( 1992), and “Liberty and Justice” (1993 ).

Catherine Rategan

Catherine Ratagan ( Production/ Public Relations Assistant) is thrilled to be a part of Collage Productions’ wonderful staff and team. Born & raised in Chicago, she grew up in the BUcktown/Logan Square area. Catherine recieved her Associates Degree in Apllied Science in Hospitality Management in June 2003 from Northwestern Business College ( Chicago campus); and looks forward to continuing her education at Roosevelt University.

Catherine is currently employed by both Broadway in Chicago and American Girl Place. She would like to thank her family and friends for their support and encouragement.

George C. Clark

George C. Clark, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute, served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and worked in graphic design before he began exhibiting his artwork in 1978. Since then his landscapes, figure paintings and graphics have been shown at many Midwest museums and galleries and have been awardedprizes by the Art Institute of Chicago, Evanston Art center, the Artists Guild of Chicago, the Muncipal Art League, Rockford College, Beverly Art Center, the Lexington ( Kentucky ) Art League, and the Rockford Museum.

Work by Clark is represented in the United States Air Force Collection and numerous private and corporate collections, including those of KPMG, Sandoz Crop Protection Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation, the Quaker Oats Company and Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Two large railroad-themed murals by Clark were commisioned by the Ritz Carlton Hotel of Cleveland, Ohio, for its new Century Restaurant, and another Clark mural is featured in the lobby of the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

To visit George C. Clark’s Personal Space & view his paintings

Poetry Slam


In both 1999 & 2003, Collage was involved with the National Poetry Slam held in Chicago, Illinois.In each Instance, preliminary events at the Chopin Theater over three nights were managed by Collage Productions members. These events were included within a CBS “60 Minutes” broadcast and were widely covered by such notable publications as Time Magazine, The NewYork Times, The Los Angeles Times, and both the Chicago Sun Times and The Chicago Tribune. 


Chicago Royal Airs (2002/03)

In 2002, Collage Productions took on the responsibility of public relations for the reunion of the alumni of The Chicago Royal Airs. After a period of over forty years, members of what has been described as the “greatest drum and bugle corps – ever” reunited for a season and then continued during 2003, recreating the style of performance which had won the organization the distinction of gaining three national championship titles within a single year during 1965. Performances of this reunion group were broadcast nationally on the ABC-TV program “A Day of Music In America,” hosted by Peter Jennings, as well as on FOX-TV, and feature articles also appeared in numerous local and national publications.

In 2003, Collage Productions founder, Jeff Helgeson, an alumni member of the 1962 -68 Royal Airs, won an individual national championship as a brass performer on the mellophone.

100th Anniversary “Bloom’s Day” reading from James Joyce’s


On the 100th Anniversary of Bloom’s Day, Collage Productions presented readings from James Joyce’s “Ulysses” at Chicago’s Red Line Pub on June 16th 2004. In addition to readings by members of the cast of ” The Man Who Came To Dinner”, an open mic with audience members was conducted. Music was supplied by Collage Production member Vince Rock. The event was co-sponsored by “Puddin Head Books”.


Bloomsday is a secular holiday, celebrated annually on June 16.

The day both celebrates the life of the Irish writer James Joyce and commemorates the fictitious events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on a single day in Dublin: June 16, 1904. The name Bloomsday is derived from Leopold Bloom, the name of the central character in the book.

The day is commemorated by activities such as academic symposia, re-enactments and readings from Ulysses, pub crawling and general merriment. One often sees enthusiasts dressed in Edwardian costume to celebrate the day. Joyce chose June 16 because he first went out with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, walking to the Dublin village of Ringsend on that day.

The first celebration took place in 1954 and a major five month-long festival (ReJoyce Dublin 2004) took place in Dublin between April 1 and August 31, 2004. On the Sunday prior to the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday (2004) 10,000 people in Dublin were treated to a free open air breakfast on O’Connell Street consisting of sausages, rashers, and black and white puddings.


 “Bloom’s Day in Chicago”


 Originals was a script development series conducted in cooperation between Collage Productions and The Boxer Rebellion Ensemble within a theatre space on the north side of Chicago. Within this series, new scripts submitted to the theatre were reviewed and selected for further development through workshop and staged readings. Using members of The Boxer Rebellion Ensemble, these works were read, discussed, revised, and given full staged readings, as well as discussed with audience members following their presentation as a way to provide immediate feedback to the participating playwrights.