Out and About

A preview of the upcoming weekend's arts activities in Central Illinois with your host, Jenn Gordon of Arts Partners of Central Illinois.

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Corn Stock Theatre’s Winter Playhouse provides valuable training for actors and directors alike. Chip Joyce joins Jenn Gordon in the studio to give a preview of the unique productions being staged this winter season, beginning with “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”. 

The tradition of acapella barbershop singing has been a part of America’s musical roots for more than a century. Find out how the Heart of Illinois Chorus, aka “The Hearts” keeps this tradition alive here locally and at international competitions.

Julie Frank joins Jenn Gordon in the studio to talk more about The Hearts upcoming concert “Celebrate America” which features songs that uplifted and inspired our nation during times of war. The concert takes place October 13th at 2:30pm at the ICC Performing Arts Center, and will benefit the Greater Peoria Honor Flight.

Where should art live and how should it be experienced by a community? Natalia Villanueva Linares joins Jenn Gordon to talk about The Terrain Biennial – and international festival of site-specific art made for front yards, balconies, and porches. Listen and find learn about the local artists featured at the Hale Memorial Church site as well as other Peoria locations.

Orion Weiss and George Stelutto join Jenn Gordon for a candid conversation about Stravinsky, Ravel, and the magic of Paris in the 1920’s. This concert marks the Maestro’s 10th Anniversary with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Internationally acclaimed pianist, Orion Weiss will share the stage with the PSO on Saturday night for a stirring program that will transport you back in time – nearly a century – to the City of Lights.


Take a trip aboard the S.S Neverland in this inventively staged prequel to Peter Pan. Jenn Gordon talks with Chad Bradford and Scott Kanoff about this genre-bending bit of theatre that relies on creative staging, movement, and story telling to unlock the audiences imagination on an unforgettable journey with Peter and the lost boys. 

David Commanday joins Jenn Gordon in the studio to talk about “Brahms and Bruch”, the concert opening the 11th Season of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. Featuring Brahms’ melodious Second Symphony and the Bruch Violin Concerto, tune in to find out why this particular symphony holds a special place in the heart of the maestro.

Arturo Vargas and Michael Adams were class mates at Manual High School in the 90’s. Arturo never would have guessed that 20 years later he would be showing Michael’s work in his very own art gallery in Peoria’s Warehouse District. Listen to the conversation as Jenn Gordon talks with Arturo and his wife Carla about their desire to start a unique art gallery/eatery that honors their Mexican roots while shining a spotlight on Peoria’s local art scene.

Steve Hausler makes his directorial debut at Peoria Players Theatre with the regional premiere of Tarzan, The Musical. The show, based on the 1999 animated Disney film scored by Phil Collins, incorporates eye-catching sets and costuming, fly-systems, and unique staging to bring to life the story of Tarzan and Jane.  Themes of family and self-discovery abound in this high-flying production.

Musical acts from as far as France will be featured as part of this year’s Peoria Irish Fest. Learn more about the interactive exhibits, musical acts, and  the “Snug Pub” as Jenn Gordon talks with John Miller and Tom McConnaughay. The festival runs this weekend at the Riverfront.

The Prairie Center of the Arts’ residency program has impacted 200 artists. In this week’s show, Resident Artist Susan Czechowski joins Jenn Gordon to talk about the Alumni Exhibition featuring the works of artists the world over who’ve benefited from time spent at the Prairie Center. The show features interactive, thought provoking works from 72 artists, including printmaking, multi-media, sculpture, lettering, fiber arts, and more.

Brandon and Sarah, of Sarah and the Underground, join Jenn Gordon in the studio this week, to discuss Sensory Ignite Peoria; a sensitive part of Ignite Peoria, which uniquely showcases the arts and makers community in Central Illinois. 

Visiting artist Jennifer Mannebach joins Jenn Gordon in the Studio to talk about the collaborative art installation coming to life at the Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum. From honeybees to city naps, listen and learn what inspires Jennifer’s art and how industrial plastic remnants can be transformed into sculpture that makes you think!

Cole Rich joins Jenn Gordon in the studio this week as the two talk about Peoria Players Youth Production “Back to the 80’s”. The show tells the story of Corey Palmer and his quest to take the girl of his dreams to Prom. Featuring classics like “Man in the Mirror”, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Footloose”, Cole talks about playing Corey, wielding a light saber, and how this cast of young performers have bonded over the iconic music of the 80’s.

Ever wonder how Peoria earned the title “The Whiskey City”? Beth Johnson from the Peoria Historical Society joins Jenn Gordon in the studio to talk about the diverse line-up of history tours offered weekly by the Peoria Historical Society. Tours offered include “Roll Out the Barrel”, “Haunted Peoria”, “Notable Women of Peoria” and  much more!

Cast Members Ed Peck and Kiana Baylor join Jenn Gordon on Out and About to talk about the award winning musical opening this weekend at the Tent in Upper Bradley Park. Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, RAGTIME weaves together the stories of a Harlem ragtime musician, a loyal upper-class wife, and a determined Latvian immigrant. Find out what went into bringing this show to life and how its message remains relevant in the 21st Century.

William Butler of the Contemporary Art Center joins us in the studio today to talk about the Fifth Annual Harmonica Invitational, how it got started, and why it continues to attract the finest “harp” players from around the country. Memphis-based Tony Holiday headlines the event and will be joined by regional Harmonica greats Brian Stear and “Rockin” Billy Gress.

Sharon Samuels Reed joins Jenn Gordon in the studio to talk about the Heritage Ensembles’ Annual Juneteenth Celebration happening Saturday night at the ICC Performing Arts Center. Find out how the choir started 20 years ago, and how they continue to build cultural bridges and keep history alive through their inspiring performances. 

Today’s guest is Jimmy Ulrich, director of the Corn Stock’s current production of Shrek – The Musical. Based on the hit DreamWorks animated film, the production opens the 66th Season at Corn Stock Theatre sand offers an irresistible night of high-energy fun that’s perfect for the whole family. Listen as Jimmy takes us “behind the curtain” and talks costumes, cast, make-up, and more! Performances continue this Friday and Saturday in Upper Bradley Park.



We're talking with David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. The HFO is closing its current season with an all-Tchaikovsky program tomorrow night. They'll be performing Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, which Commanday describes as a "barn-burner." The composer's Piano Concerto No. 1.  features a return appearance by pianist Michael Brown; it's a technical challenge for the performer, and it's noteworthy among the Piano Concerto repertoire in the way it puts the orchestra and the solo instrument in opposition to one another. 

Wheels O' Time Museum

This week, we're talking with Marcia Johnson from the Wheels O' Time Museum in Dunlap, about some of their exhibits and events for the 2019 season. The museum is currently displaying an autonomous car made in Morton. There will also be will an exhibit featuring the history of cars, from the Model T to the present day. That exhibit runs June 22nd and 23rd.

Morton Civic Chorus Presents "Encore 2019" Next Week

May 17, 2019

Our guest this week is Denise Adams, director of the Morton Civic Chorus. The Chorus is presenting its spring fundraising concert, "Encore 2019" next week. It's also celebrating Adams' 35-year anniversary at the podium.

Adams talk a bit about the history of the Chorus: It grew out of a fundraising event to raise money for someone who needed a kidney transplant. Now, proceeds from the spring concert go to the Central Illinois Memorial Kidney Fund, which provides services to patients with chronic kidney disease.

Sculpture Walk Returns Next Weekend

May 10, 2019

This week, we're talking to Bill Conger, from the Peoria Riverfront Museum, and Lynette Steger with Sculpture Walk Peoria. Sculpture Walk 2019 gets underway next Saturday (May 18th), with 9 new sculptures along Washington Street in downtown Peoria. Opening day activities include opportunities to see the sculptures and interact with the artists. Local arts groups will also be on hand, with information about their classes, programs and scholarship opportunities. Steger says this is intended to allow people to experience and participate in the arts year-round.

Peoria Players Theatre Presents "A Chorus Line"

May 3, 2019

This week, our guest is Chip Joyce. He's directing "A Chorus Line" at Peoria Players Theatre, and also appearing in the production as Zach the director.

Our guest this week is George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Their 121st season closes this week with the concert, "Great Cities: New York." Selections from Edward MacDowell and Samuel Barber reflect the Romantic tradition of the city; Broadway is represented by "West Side Story" and a "collage" of show tunes.

Bradley Theatre Presents "Sense and Sensibility"

Apr 19, 2019

Bradley University is closing its current season with a production of "Sense and Sensibility" -- an adaptation of the classic novelby Jane Austen. We're talking with director Dan Matisa; and with Susan Falk, who plays Elinor.

This week, we're talking with Jimmy Bridgeman, the owner of Rock Solid Studios in Dunlap; and with musician David McDonald. Bridgeman says he started his studio in an affort to provide a quality recording facility for local musicians. They've since expanded to add songwriting workshops amd open-mic nights, and their "Coffeehouse sessions." Those combine elements of a recording studio and a small performance venue.

"The Marty Monologues" Return to the Apollo Theater

Apr 5, 2019

This week, we're talking with Marty Wombacher, about this weekend's performance of "The Marty Monologues." He's the writer behind the "Meanwhile Back in Peoria blog," and the show features his stories of growing up in Peoria in the 1960s.

The performance incorporates local musicians Sarah Marie Dillard and Brandon Mooberry.

After the Peoria performance, Wombacher will present the show in Chicago and  New York.

"The Marty Monologues" will be performed Sunday night at 7:00 at the Apollo Theater in downtown Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Jonathan Wright, Editor-in-Chief of Peoria Magazines. The company is launching a new publication, "Peoria Magazine," that will combine their coverage of business, lifestyle, and the arts in central Illinois. The new magazine will combine the features that were previously available in the company's "Art and Society" and "Interbusiness Issues" publications. It also incorporates new features and contributors.


This week, Jenn Gordon talks with Wendy Thomasson and Jorge Laico of the Peoria Ballet. They discuss the upcoming production of Alice in Wonderland and Paquita. Lewis Carroll’s classic story is transformed into a charming ballet. This family friendly adventure will transport you to a colorful fantasy world full of exhilarating fun! Plus, one of the ballet world’s all time classics – Paquita.

This week, we're talking with Erin Buczynski about Bradley University's International Print and Drawing Exhibition. The bi-annual event is one of the largest, and longest-running, of its kind. It features 134 different works, on display at 7 participating locations across Peoria. The pieces include examples of drawing, printmaking and book arts.