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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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.

PeoriaBallet.com

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.

Peoria Players Opens Its Production of "Dreamgirls"

Mar 8, 2019

This weekend, Peoria Players is presenting the musical "Dreamgirls." We talk about the production with director Lisa Voyles; and with Ronnie Hudson II, who plays Curtis in the show.

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Music Director of Youth Music Illinois. YMI is hosting its annual fundraising event, "A Musical Masquerade" tonight. The event features performances by the YMI ensembles, silent auctions, and wine and craft beer tastings.

This week, we're talking with Jerry Kolb from public television station WTVP. The station is holding a CD release party with the bands The Deep Hollow and UpState. Both groups have been featured on WTVP's program "State and Water," and both are now out with their second albums.

Eureka College Presents "Pippin" This Weekend

Feb 15, 2019

This week, we're talking with Marty Lynch, about Eureka College's production of the musical "Pippin." It's the story of a young man, seeking to find his place in the world -- his "Corner of the Sky." The musical was the result of a collaboration between Stephen Schwartz (the creator of "Godspell" and "Wicked") and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse.

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra; and with Todd Kelly, about the PSO's concert this weekend. Stelluto says the concert is like a box of Valentine's Day chocoloates, offering a sampler of musical experiences. The Todd Kelly Quintet will present original jazz compositions toward the middle of the program; dancers from the Central Illinois Ballet will perform alongside the PSO to a handful of dances; and local jazz musicans will performa at an after-party following the concert.

This week, we're talking with singer-songwriter Barry Cloyd. He's presenting a concert Saturday night at the Forest Park Nature Center. He has a long history with the venue; he considers his annual performances there as a kind of "home concert," an opportunity to share his music with some of his most loyal fans. This concert reunites Cloyd with some of his longtime musical collaborators, who have performed together under the name, "Celtricity."

This week, we're talking with Clifford Clark, Assistant Director of Peoria Players' production "West Side Story." It's one of his favorite shows -- this is the fifth time he's been involved in a production.

Our guest this week is William Butler, Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria. He joined us to talk about two of their exhibits -- "Natural Wonder," featuring work by Bethany Carlson Coffin and Stephanie Sailer; and "New Surrealism," which shows the contemporary influence of the Surrealist movement through the work of seven regional artists. Weather dealyed the arrival of some works for these exhibits, but they should be complete by this weekend.

HFO Greets 2019 with a Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald

Jan 11, 2019

This week, David Commanday is with us to talk about the Heartland Festival Orchestra's first concert of 2019. "It's called New Year's Greeting - A Tribute to Ella." Like some of the HFO's earlier New Year's concerts, Commanday says this one incorporates the music of Broadway, and highlights the joy, spontaneity and personality of Ella Fitzgerald. He also talk about what he looks for in selecting soloists for a program like this, and about how this program in particular allows his to bring an improvisatory element to the concert.

This week, we're talking with Michael Ragan, about the "22VA Verterasns Art Exhibit." The exhibit features works of art by veterans; it's intended to give vets an opportunity to feature their work, and to raise awareness of the issue of veteran suicides. The show also includes works from veterans' family members, to show that families are affected, as well.

Ragan talks about the origins of the exhibit, and about the value that creative expression has for veterans, and his own attempt to "find beuaty in something dark."

This week, we're talking with Kelleen Nitsch, founder of Nitsch Theatre Arts. The program aims to make theatre experiences available to kids ranging in age from 5 to 18. Since its start in 2015, NTA has grown from 6 participants, to over 200.

Nitsch talks about the model that has enabled her to expand so quickly: NTA produces multiple productions of the same show, with a different cast in each of the communities they serve. Those productions share a set, costumes, and choreography -- and by sharing those resources, each company needs less rehearsal time.

Peoria Players Theatre Presents "Christmas One-Acts"

Dec 14, 2018

This week, we're talking with Bruce White, from Peoria Players Theatre. Their 100th anniversary season continues this weekend with "Christmas One-Acts."

This week, we're talking about the annual "Sing It Yourself Messiah" with conductor John Jost, and with Russ Boulton from First Federated Church in Peoria. As in past years, the organizers are providing the soloists and orchestra; the chorus will consist of the attendees.

Jost says that this weekend's performance is a slightly scaled-down version of the three-hour oratorio. Boulton talks about how the work is a perfect choice for performance in the church. The performance is aimed at encouraging potential first-time singers to participate.

This week, we're talking with Shelly Crespo, about the Community Festival of Nativities. A joint efort by three local churches, the event brings together 950 individual nativity scenes, from 47 different countries. One of the highlights of this year's festival is a nativity that includes 2000 pieces; Crespo says this is the first time all of them have been on display.

The event also includes a piece by guest artist Julia Fish Thompson. There's also a full schedule of musical performances -- including the Peoria Area Civic Chorale, church choirs, and high school madrigal singers.

This week, we're talking with the Peoria Riverfront Museum's Bill Conger, about four of their current exhibits. Those exhibits include a tour through the history of bronze sculptures; a private collection of Tiffany lamps; production art from the golden age of Disney animated movies; and a celebration of Peoria Players Theatre.

This week, our guest is Dr. Cory Ganschow, Director of Choral Activities at Bradley University. The Bradley Community Chorus and Bradley Symphony Orchestra will present a program that includes Mozart's Solemn Vespers and Lux Aeterna by American composer Morten Lauridsen.

This week, we're talking with Scott Kanoff, about Bradley University Theatre's production of "She Kills Monsters." The play tells the story of a young woman who delves into the world of the Dungeons & Dragons game in an attempt to better understand her late sister.

Eureka College Student Premieres New Play

Nov 2, 2018

This week, we're talking with Newt Holt. He's the author and director of the new play, "Imprimatur," which runs next weekend at Eureka College. Set during World War II, the play tells the story of two cartoonists who go to work in the Office of War Information, and discover unpleasant truths about their own country.

Holt talks about an earlier play, which he staged last year, and what he learned from that experience. He also talks about his dual roles as writer and director, and about the rewards of seeing his work brought to life by a company of actors.

Our guest this week is Jeff Craig, with the Caterpillar Employees Mixed Chorus. He's appearing as the Jester in  their production of the musical, "Once Upon a Mattress."

For 77 years, the Chorus has provided a musical outlet for CAT employees, retirees and dependants. In addition to a musical production each fall, the Chorus also has performances through the winter and spring.

This week, we're talking with guitarist Jason Vieaux and conductor David Commanday. The Heartland Festival Orchestra presents a concert this weekend called "Guitar Classic." Vieaux is the featured soloist in a performance of Joaquin Rodrigo's "Fantasy for a Gentlemen," and in a contemporary piece called "Six Sixteen."

This week, Nathan Irwin is talking with Doug and Eileen Leuning about Big Picture Peoria. Big Picture is an attempt to create more opportunities for artists in central Illinois. A Street Art Festival on Saturday will include multiple murals, live music, chalk art and a "paint fling." Later in the day, the Peoria Riverfront Museum is hosting the Big Picture Film Festival features short films by local filmmakers. Big Picture also spearheaded "Abraham Blue," an oversized mural depicting Abraham Lincoln. It's color is intended to call attention to Lincoln's struggles with depression.

This week, Nathan Irwin talks with Susan Hazzard. She’s directing “Steel Magnolias” at Peoria Players Theatre. The play centers on six women, the changes in their lives over a three-year span, and the bonds among them. Hazzard says she was drawn to the script for its portrayal of strong female characters, and the ways in which those characters develop and change over the course of the show. The Players production features a cast that includes some community theatre veterans, and a few newer performers.

Expanded Fine Art Fair Returns to Peoria Riverfront

Sep 28, 2018

This week, we're talking with Shannon Cox and Kim Sanders from the Peoria Art Guild's Fine Art Fair. This year, the Fair is starting early, beginning Fridat night at 6pm. As in past years, 130 artists will have works on display and for sale, and full schedules of entertainment and activites for children are planned. Cox and Sanders also talk about some of the demonstrations and hands-on activities that are available.

This week, Nathan Irwin talks with George Stelluto, conductor of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra; and with violinist Catherine Cho. The PSO opens its new season with a concert that includes the "Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra" by Max Bruch, a piece that incorporates Scottish folk songs. The program also includes the Seventh Symphony by Antonin Dvorak. Stelluto says that the composers represent a trend in the late Romantic era, to draw on the influences of traditional folk music.

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