Theatre

Dick Van Dyke Returns to Danville

Jun 24, 2016
Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

One of the biggest show business names to come out of Central Illinois is back home for a couple days with hopes of nurturing more talent, and making sure he always has a place to call home.  Friday, the city of Danville gets a chance to honor native son Dick Van Dyke.  Illinois Public Radio’s Jeff Bossert has more. 

 

The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe

We're joined this week by Jess Hemmis and Rebekah Dentino. Hemmis directs, and Dentino performs in, The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe's production of "Seascape with Sharks and Dancer." They talk about the play itself, about how their production has changed since a previous performance last year, and about moving the show into a different performance venue.

Performances of "Seascape with Sharks and Dancer" are tonight and tomorrow in the Broadway Lounge at the Waterhouse in downtown Peoria.

Bradley University Theatre

This week, we're talking with Susan Felder, from the Bradley University Theatre Department. She's directing their production of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull."

She talks about how the characters and conflicts in the play make it a good fit for younger actors, and about how Chekhov writing style. His works profoundly changed both the way characters are written, and how actors today try to interpret those characters.

"The Seagull" runs through Sunday, March 6th, at the Hartmann Center on the Bradley campus in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Scott Kanoff, from the Bradley Theatre Department, about their production of "High Fidelity." The musical is an adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel (and the subsequent film), and features a score that draws inspiration from several decades of rock and pop music. Kanoff talks about some of the music featured in the show. He also talks about introducing his students -- raised in a world of iTunes and Spotify -- to vinyl LPs.

Performances of "High Fidelity" continue Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon at the Hartmann Center on the Bradley campus.

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it. 

Second City says the improv comedy troupe will reopen a few days earlier than anticipated after a fire destroyed its offices in Chicago.

This week, we're talking with Jack Mertes, author of the new play, "The Springfield Experiment." It explores a chapter in the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, who had been committed to an asylum and sought to regain both her autonomy and control of her finances. Mertes talks about about why he chose this particular moment in Lincoln's life to dramatize, about the long process that led to this production, and what he hopes audiences will learn about Mary Todd Lincoln. The play will be presented Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 at the Inspired Arts Academy in Morton.

Corn Stock Theatre closes its summer season with the regional premiere of “The Color Purple.” It’s a musical adaptation of the best-selling novel. Stan Strickler has this review of a production at Corn Stock Theatre, for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria.

Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we talk Molly Burroughs and Sharon Reed, the co-directors of the musical "The Color Purple" at Corn Stock Theatre. The musical is an adaptation of the novel and motion picture. They talk about why they chose this production in particular, and what they saw in its story and its music. The show features an entirely African-American cast and a racially diverse crew - things they think are important in local community theatre.

Corn Stock Theatre

The relationships that form among five women in college form the basis of the play “The Dixie Swim Club.” Stan Strickler has this review of a production at Corn Stock Theatre, for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Corn Stock Theatre

Lana Warner is the co-director of "The Dixie Swim Club" at Corn Stock Theatre. The play focuses on the lives of five women, former members of the same college swimming team, who reunite each summer. Warner talks about why she chose the show, about working her cast, and about what she thinks amkes this production special.

"The Dixie Swim Club" opens tonight, and continues through June 27th at Corn Stock Theatre in Peoria's Upper Bradley Park.

Chicago's Goodman Theatre will undergo a major $15 million expansion.

Shakespeare Corrected: Opening Night In Decatur

May 1, 2015
Jeff Bossert / WILL

Back in February, Illinois Public Media first visted with some of the women involved in the spring production of Macbeth at the Decatur Women’s Correctional Facility.  This past weekend, they wrapped up their 6-performance run at the prison, including one show for friends and family. 

The first performance a week ago Wednesday was a final dress rehearsal, but good enough to start performing in front of offenders.  About 65 other inmates filled the prison’s auditorium.

Illinois Central College

This week, we talk with Doug Rosson, one of the directors of Illinois Central College's production of "All in the Timing." The show is a collection of six short plays by David Ives, each of which explores ideas about chance and variability. Rosson explains the premises behind some of those pieces. He also talks about the logistics of organizing a production that includes a large cast, working on multiple scripts, with three directors. And he talks about why David Ives is so frequently produced in American theatres.

Eureka College

Joel Shoemaker is directing Eureka College's upcoming production of "August: Osage County." A graduate of Eureka, he talks about returning to campus in a different capacity. He also talks about the show, which is driven by the complicated dynamics of an extended and multi-generational Oklahoma family. Shoemaker also talks about what he has learned as a first-time director. "August: Osage County" runs April 14th to 18th in the Pritchard Theatre at Eureka College.

Peoria Civic Center

This week, we talk with Harold Meers. He's bringing actor/singer Ron Raines and arranger/accompanist Don Pippin to central Illinois to present their program "Legends of Broadway." The show is a tour through the history of American musical theatre, focusing on the songwriters, and songwriting teams, that shaped the Great White Way. Meers offers some background information on Raines and Pippin, and talks about what to expect from the performance. "Legends of Broadway" is Friday night at 7:30 at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

Corn Stock Theatre

Tim Wyman directs "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," opening this weekend at Corn Stock Theatre. The play is set in the early 1990s, towards the end of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Wyman talks about the dark humor of the script, about how it treats on- and off-stage violence, and about some of the technical challenges he faced in staging this production in Corn Stock's Winter Playhouse. "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" opens tonight, and runs through Sunday, March 29th.

Peoria Players Theatre

Peoria Players Theatre continues its season with a production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta that brings together orphans, musical pirates and a modern major-general. Stan Strickler has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Peoria Players Theatre

Laura Garfinkel is directing "The Pirates of Penzance," which opens this weekend at Peoria Players Theatre. She talks about the decision to propose the operetta as part of Players' current season; about the her cast and production team; and about the approachability of the work by Gilbert and Sullivan. Performances of "The Pirates of Penzance" begin tonight, and continue through Sunday, March 22nd.

Bradley University Theatre

This week, we're talking with Susan Felder, who's directing Bradley University Theatre's production of "The Mountaintop." The play, by Katori Hall, depicts an invented interaction between Dr. Martin Luther King and a hotel maid, in the hours before King's assassination. Felder talks about the play's "warts-and-all" look at King, and the realities of race in 1960s America. She also talks about the two actors featured in the production, and working with them to create performances that worth both as history, and as drama.

Corn Stock Theatre

Corn Stock Theatre's upcoming production, "Humanity Stew," is a collection of short plays by local author Hale Garrison. It offers a biting, sometimes ludicrous, but often sympathetic, look at relationships, politics and celebrity. We talk with Garrison about his writing process. We also talk with director Victoria Rians about bringing the works to life on the Corn Stock stage. "Humanity Stew" runs February 13th to 22nd at the Corn Stock Winter Playhouse.

Chip Joyce joins us this week to talk about Peoria Players Theatre's upcoming production of "Cabaret." He tells us this show has been on his "bucket list" for several years. He also talks about how the show has been updated and revised over the years. The Peoria Players production is based on the 1990s Broadway revival; it's a little darker than earlier versions, and uses cast members to supplement the orchestra. "Cabaret" runs February 6-15 at Peoria Players Theatre.

Corn Stock Theatre

Corn Stock Theatre’s production of 2015 is “Other Desert Cities,” a 2011 family drama written by Jon Robin Baitz. Stan Strickler has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

The Penguin Project

Andrew Morgan is the director of The Penguin Project, which allows children with special needs the chance to participate in the performing arts. Their next production -- "Seussical, Jr." -- will be presented January 23rd-25th at Eastlight Theatre. He talks about the mission of the organization, how they differ from other areas theatres, and about some of the performers in this year's production.

Peoria Players Theatre presents “The Sound of Music” as it final production in 2014. Stan Strickler has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

This week, we're talking with actor Doug Day. This weekend, he'll present a reading of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." He talks about editing the well-known holiday story down to a manageable lengthy, about using both the text and his voice to help distinguish the many characters in the story. He also gives us a sample of what's in store. The performance is Sunday afternoon at 3:00 at the GAR Hall in downtown Peoria.

Bradley University Theatre

This week, we're talking with Danielle Dyksterhouse. The fifth-year senior at Bradley University is directing their mainstage production of "Proof." The four-person play explores themes of family, identity, and mental illness. Dyksterhouse talks about what drew her to the play,, about working with her actors, and about how she prepared for her role as director. "Proof" continues through Sunday, Novemebr 23rd, at the Hartman Center Theatre at Bradley University.

David Mamet’s play “November” offers a blistering satire of American politics, in its depiction of a U-S President. Marty Lynch reviews a production, now on stage at Corn Stock Theatre, for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League of Peoria. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we're talking with Christine St. John. The Peoria native is in town this week, with a premiere of her one-woman show, "Bette Davis: On the Edge." She plays Davis at a turning point in her career, waiting on the reviews for her film "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" St.

Peoria Players Theatre

This week, we're talking with Nate Downs. He's playing Oscar Madison in "The Odd Couple." The production opens tonight at Peoria Players Theatre. This will be the Downs' fourth time Downs has done the show, and the third time he's played Oscar. He talks about how the themes of the play, and Neil Simon's sharp dialogue, make the work timeless. He also talks about the relationship between Oscar and Felix, and about how the other characters in the play contribute to the experience.

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