Out and About

A preview of the upcoming weekend's arts activities in Central Illinois with your hosts, Peoria Public Radio's Nathan Irwin and Jennifer Gordon of Arts Partners of Central Illinois.

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Director Chip Joyce is with us to talk about Corn Stock Theatre's production of "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson." The rock musical depicts the personal life and political career of the nation's seventh President. Joyce says the show's emo-rock score fits the charged, tumultuous era in which Jackson lived. He talks about how he first discovered the show, and why he thinks Corn Stock's Winter Playhouse is a good venue for it. He also contrasts it with the more recent musical, "Hamilton."

BarryCloyd.com

Singer-songwriter Barry Cloyd is back this week, talking about his upcoming concert at the Forest Park

Nature Center on Saturday. The performance is part of their "Songs From the Woods" concert series, and  Cloyd considers it his annual "home concert." He talks about the repertoire he has planned for the concert, and  about "Freedom Street," the new name he's given the long-time collaborators who are joining him. He also talks about his songwriting process, and how new distribution platforms -- like Internet radio stations -- have changed the music business in recent years.

Peoria Players Theatre

This week, we're talking with Connie Sinn. She's directing "Into the Woods," the latest production at Peoria Players Theatre. The musical is based on familiar fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, and features recognizable characters like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack and his beanstalk. Sinn says the show weaves those characters together to tell a story that's more nuanced, darker and more mature. She also talks about what drew her to this musical.

"Into the Woods" runs tonight through Sunday, February 12th, at Peoria Players Theatre.

This week, Nathan Irwin and Jenn Gordon talk with Jerry Kolb from public television station WTVP, and with Cody Diekhoff (who performs under the name Chicago Farmer). Kolb talks about WTVP's new program, "State and Water," which is designed to spotlight local bands and musicians. They're hosting Chicago Farmer with a live taping tonight at 6:00. Diekhoff talks about his musical background, the origin of the name "Chicago Farmer," and about his evolution as a songwriter.

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. They're presenting a matinee concert this weekend, tailored to children and families. It opens with "Gershwin's Magic Key," a presentation that introduces us to George Gershwin and some of his best-known songs. It's one of several productions from  Classical Kids LIVE! which the PSO has featured. Stelluto talks about how it works to open the concert

This week, we're talking with Andrew Morgan, founder of The Penguin Project, and director of their upcoming production of "Crazy For You."

He reviews the purpose of The Penguin Project - to provide an opportunity for children with special needs to participate in the performing arts. He also talks about this particular show, a musical that weaves together many of George Gershwin's best-known songs.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartkand Festival Orchestra. Their next concert is "New Year's Greeting: Vienna to Broadway." The program blends opera favorites and music from the Broadway stage. Commanday talks about some of those pieces, the history of the HFO's New Year concerts, and about the two featured soloists - Sarah Jane McMahon and John Cudia.

The Heartland Festival Orchestra presents "New Year's Greeting: Vienna to Broadway" Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

The Waterhouse

This week, we're talking with Andrew Driscoll. He joined us to talk about some of the activities at The Waterhouse, which moved a few years ago from its location on Water Street to the MAXAM building. As part of the change in venue, The Waterhouse is now able to offer more performances, especially in its Broadway Lounge. He talks about the current production in that space, "The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged)," and some his plans for 2017. He also talks about the new venue, and how the business has changed as a result of having a larger facility.

Peoria Ballet

This week, we're talking with Wendy Thomasson and Eric Otto, from the Peoria Ballet. They're presenting their annual production of "The Nutcracker," with performances Saturday and Sunday at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre. Otto stepped in as Artistic Director of the production earlier this fall, when another director had to drop out. He talks about how production of the holiday standard differ from company to company, about the advantages of performing with a live orchestra, and about his own transition from professional dancer to choreographer.

Corn Stock Theatre

We're talking this week with Steve Vinovich and Cindy Hoey, who appear in Corn STock Theatre's production of "Love Letters." It's a return visit for Vinovich - a Peoria native who's had a long career as an actor in New York and Los Angeles - who last appeared at Corn Stock three years ago. The production also marks Hoey's retirement as Corn Stock's manager.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

Our guest this week is Ann Schmitt, talking about "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," now on display at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto - Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra - and with cellist Richard Hirschl. The PSO presents a concert of Russian music in its next concert, including an overture by Mikhail Glinka, Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony,  and the Cello Concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich. Hirschl offers a performer's perspective on the Shostakovich work and it's historical context, and Stelluto describes how Tchaikovsky's symphony reflects the composer's emotional state.

Today, we're talking with Dr. John Jost from the Bradley Music Department. He's conducting the Bradley Community Chorus, Chorale and Symhony Orchestra in a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem" next Sunday. Jost notes that Verdi's background as an opera composer is on display in this choral work, in it's intensity and sudden emotional contrasts. He also gives a little background on the work, and talks about the process of putting three large ensembles and soloists together for the upcoming performance.

The Art Garage Studio and Gallery

This week. we're talking with Jessica Ball from The Art Garage Studio and Gallery, and with artist Justin Fenwick. Fenwick, who works under the name "Donk'E Punch" featured in The Art Garage's new exhibit, "3 The Hard Way." The exhibit opens tonight, with an opening reception in conjunction with First Fridays. We talk about Fenwick's work, which uses tennis shoes as his primary medium. We also talk about The Art Garage's outreach activities - which include classes and workshops, "art parties" and programs for kids.

Central Illinois Ballet

We're joined this week by Rhea Keller and Malachi Squires, dancers with the Central Illinois Ballet. They're dancing the principal roles in the company's performance of "Dracula: Dance on the Dark Side" this weekend. They talk about how their roles differ physically from other roles in the ballet repertoire, and about how the Dracula story lends itself to portrayal in dance . The ballet itself is more recent, and this production features more contemporary choreography.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra

This week, we're talked with young pianist Harmony Zhu, and with George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Zhu is the featured soloist in the PSO's upcoming concert, which features the works of three musical prodigies -- Mozart. Mendelssohn, and Beethoven. Zhu offers us a look inside the life of a young performer. Stelluto talks about how he became aware of her, and invited her to perform with the PSO.

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra's concert, "Prodigies," will be performed tomorrow night at 8:00 at Grace Presbyetrian Church in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. Their next concert, "Mozart's Masterpieces," is tomorrow night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington. The program includes two pieces by Mozart, accompanied by works of Luigi Boccherini and Giovanni Paisiello. Commanday talks about the works in the concert, about pairing Mozart with his two contemporaries, and about the orchestra's community partner for this concert.

YAKU

This week, we're speaking with two local artists and preservationists who are turning a historic Peoria church into an international art destination. 

Natalia Villanueva and Earl Power Murphy purchased the aging Hale Memorial Church on High St., with hopes of converting it into an interactive art space and destination for artists around the world to do residencies. Their non-profit Yaku, which means "water" in Quechua, aims to serve as a bridge that connects people of different cultures through art. 

Bradley University Theatre

Our guest this week is Scott Knoff, who's directing "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play" at Bradley University. The play features three retellings of an episode of "The Simpsons:" as a tale told around a campfire, again as a performance by a group of re-enactors, and finally as a grand opera. Kanoff says the play is an exploration of the act of storytelling and the function stories have in a our culture. He also talks about some of the "table work" the company did in its preparation, and about audience response to the show's opening weekend.

Peoria Art Guild

This week, we're joined by Cathi Hawkinson and Ardelle Wright, from the Peoria Art Guild's Fine Art Fair. This year's fair includes 150 participating artists, along with food vendors, live music and other activities. We talk about two of the spotlight artists, and how they were recruited; the economic impact the fair has on the community; and some of the logistical and behind-the-scenes work that goes into organizing the event each year.

The Fine Art Fair runs tomorrow and Sunday, from 10 to 5 each day, on the Peoria Riverfront.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra

This week, we're on the phone with jazz legend Ramsey Lewis. The Peoria Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season in a concert with the Ramsey Lewis Trio this weekend. The program includes jazz standards, and Lewis' own "Concerto for Jazz Trio" and orchestra. Lewis talks about the genesis of his piece, which was first written for the Joffrey Ballet. He also connects the work to the improvisational traditions of the Baroque era, and reflects on the state of jazz today.

David Commanday is with us this week, talking about the first concert in the Heartland Festival Orchestra's upcoming concert. Their eighth season opens, fittingly, with a performance of Beethoven's Symphony no. 8. The orchestra is also joined by violinist Rachel Barton Pine in Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D. Commanday talks about both of those pieces, about some of the events Barton Pine will be presenting ahead of the concert, and about the orchestra's featured community partner, the Community Workshop and Training Center.

This week, we're talking Jack Manis, about the Peoria Blues and Heritage Music Festival. The Festival is even bigger than in past years -- and features a new name, as well. Manis talks about some of the musicians and bands who will be featured this weekend, how the festival has grown, and the experience the organizers are hoping to provide for attendees.

The Peoria Blues and Heritage Music Festival runs Friday from 6:00 p.m. to midnight, and Saturday from noon to midnight, on the Peoria Riverfront.

This week, we're joined by Lyndsay Byers, from Dramatic Crossroads. The concert presents what the group calls "a new spin on what you think of as opera." The program blends opera and classical music, with musical theatre, and contemporary music performed in an operatic style. The intent is to show the parallels between opera and musical genres, and to make opera more accessible to concert-goers.

"Hip-hOpera" will be presented Saturday night at 6:30 at t

he Contemporary Art Center in downtown Peoria.

Galactic Cowboy Orchestra

Nathan Irwin talks by phone John Wright, founder of the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra. The band is playing tonight at the Contemporary Art Center in downtown Peoria - part of the CAC's weekly "Live at the Five Spot" concert series. Wright talks a little bit about the style of music the band plays, which grew out of the myriad interests and influences of the band members. He also talks about the band's busy touring schedule and output of new CDs.

The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra performs tonight at 5:30 at the Contemporary Art Center, 305 Water Street in Peoria.

We're talking with this week with Lyn Roth, one of the artists participating in Fashion Ignite at Ignite! Peoria on Saturday. Fashion Ignite gathers designers, models. hair and makeup artists, and photographers to present a full-sepctrum look inside the world of fashion and haute couture. This year, Fashion Ignite is moving to the show floor, alongside the other Ignite! events and exhibits. Roth talks about what event-goers can expect to see and experience.

Ignite! Peoria and Fashion Ignite runs tomorrow (Saturday) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center.

Corn Stock Theatre

We talk with Eric Ewan and Cheri Beever, from Corn Stock Theatre's production of the musical, "The Spitfire Grill." They talk about what sets this show apart from other musicals -- it's smaller in scale, and the score borrows as much from bluegrass and folk music as it does from Broadway. They also talk about the advantages the Corn Stock Tent offers as a venue for a production like this one.

"The Spitfire Grill" opens tonight, and runs through August 13th at Corn Stock Theatre.

This week, we're talking with Pam Orear. She's directing a production of "The Lion King Jr.," which is being presented in conjunction with Ignite! Peoria in August. The show is also an attempt to boost the profile of the performing arts in the District 150 school system, and it features a cast more than 100 young performers.

Orear talks about the unique workshop program that accompanies the rehearsal process, about her hopes for the show, and about the educational value it offers the students.

Prairie Center of the Arts

We're joined this week by Dawn Gettler, Program Manager at the Prairie Center of the Arts, about their Summer Maker's Market Bazaar. The event featured local artists and their work, activities for kids, and entertainment. We talk about the kind of work that will be available for sale, about the history of the Prairie Center, and about how the bazaar ties in to the Center's other activities.

The bazaar runs Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00 at the Prairie Center of the Arts.

This week, we're talking with Cindy Hoey, Manager of Corn Stock Theatre. Their new production, "Seussical the Musical" opens tonight at the Tent in Upper Bradley Park in Peoria. The show is based on the works of children's author Doctor Seuss, and features many of his beloved characters. With a cast of 80, this production provides plenty of opportunities for new performers of all ages, and for family members to be on stage together.

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