Nathan Irwin

Program Director

Nathan Irwin has been WCBU’ s Program Director since 2001. Prior to that, he was a talk-show producer and announcer for New Hampshire Public Radio. His first radio job was KFJM-FM in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He grew up in upstate New York, Wisconsin and Karachi, Pakistan. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in political science.

Outside the studios, Nathan spends most of his time as an actor and singer. He has performed with Corn Stock Theatre, Peoria Players and the Bradley Community Chorus.

Ways to Connect

Peoria Players Theatre

This week, we're talking with Charles Killen, director of Peoria Players Theatre's upcoming production of "The Miracle Worker." He talks about his own history with the play, about casting the two principal roles, and about the subject matter of the show remains relevant in 2014. "The Miracle Worker" runs March 14th through 23rd at Peoria Players.

Illinois Central College

The musical “Working” presents a multi-faceted look at work and its role in American life. A production of the musical is now on stage at Illinois Central College. Marty Lynch 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.

Bradley University Theatre

This week, we're talking with Egla Birmingham, director of Bradley University Theatre's production of "Clybourne Park." Set in the same house as "A Raisin in the Sun," the play offers a perspective on how race and family have changed over the past fifty years. Birmingham talks about what she finds appealing in the script, and about working with young actors to bring the text to life. "Clybourne Park" continues through Sunday, March 9th.

This week, we're talking with Cindy Hoey, Corn Stock Theatre Manager, about their production of "Art." The play tells the story of three friends, whose friendships are upended when one of them acquires a piece of modern art. She talks about the three actors who make up the cast, and about what the show has to say about both art and relationships. She also talks about an art exhibit Corn Stock is hosting in conjunction with the production.

The purchase of a piece of modern art escalates into a conflict among three friends, in the play “Art.” A production is now on stage on Corn Stock Theatre. Douglas Oakey  has this review for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer, not those of Peoria Public Radio or the Live Theatre League.

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, about "Romance," tonights concert with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Stelluto talks about striking  a balance between large, orchestral pieces on the program and smaller works performed by a jazz combo. He also talks about working with soloists Linden Christ and Ryan Lanning to select the music in the concert. And he talks about some of his own favorites -- from Nat "King" Cole and Billy Eckstine, among others.

Peoria Players Theatre

This week, we're talking with Chip Joyce, who plays Fagin in Peoria Players' upcoming production of the musical "Oliver!" Joyce says it's one of a handful of roles on his "bucket list." The role requires a fair amount of stage makeup, and adopting a specific voice and gait. "Oliver!" opens tonight, and runs through February 16th at Peoria Players Theatre.

Nathan Irwin and Suzette Boulais talk with Roberta Koch about "Seasonings," a multi-media presentation at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. A group of actors will read from essays and columns by Jerry Klein, longtime columnist for the Peoria Journal-Star. The essays, which reflect on the changing seasons in Central Illinois, will be accompanied by local photographs by Joe Couri. "Seasonings" will be performed Sunday, February 9th at 2:00 p.m. in the Giant Screen Theatre.

Randy Witte

This week, we're talking with Randy Witte about "The Monkey Project," a multi-year effort to collect drawings, paintings and sketches of monkeys. Participants have included celebrities like Betty White and Jack Black; artists and filmmakers; and notable Peoria residents. An exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center features 30 works drawn from his collection of more than 900. It runs through February 7th.

Corn Stock Theatre

The play, “A Piece of My Heart” presents a different perspective on the Vietnam War, telling the stories of six women who served. Douglas Oakey has this review of a production at Corn Stock Theatre, for Peoria Public Radio and the Live Theatre League. 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 Cindy Hoey, manager of Corn Stock Theatre.  Their latest production, "A Piece of My Heart," recounts the stories of six women during the Vietnam War. Hoey talks about the cast director Amy Williams has assembled for the production, about the play's resonance at a time when more women are involved in and affected by wartime service, and about the theatre's desire to stage a production with multiple strong roles for women. "A Piece of My Heart" opens Friday night, and continues through January 26th.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, talks about the orchestra's upcoming concert, "Vienna to Broadway," which traces the musical evolution from Viennese waltzes and light opera to the Broadway stage. The concert features a return performance from vocalist Doug LaBrecque, and newcomer Lisa Vroman. It begins Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

Sam Gappmayer is the new President and CEO of the Peoria Riverfront Museum. He talks about his plans for the museum: He hopes to make it more "nimble," to pursue programming that reflects the region and be  open to collaboration with partners across the community. He also talks about one of the Museum's current exhibits.

Peoria Area Civic Chorale

This week, we're talking with Mark Grizzard, Music Director of the Peoria Area Civic Chorale. They're presenting their annual holiday concert, "An American Family Christmas," with performances Friday and Saturday at 7:30, and Sunday at 2:30, at Five Points Washington. This is Grizzard's first season with the Chorale, and he talks about bringing his own touch to the group's signature concert. Grizzard also contributed two original arrangements to the program.

Peoria Ballet

The Peoria Ballet presents its annual production of "The Nutcracker" this weekend, with three performances at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre. The Ballet's Tamra Challacombe explains what makes "The Nutcracker" a good introduction to the art form. She also talks about what a live orchestra adds to the experience, and about some of the guest artists featured in the production this year.

Eureka College

Joseph Henry directs the Eureka College Chamber Singers in their 25th annual Christmas Renaissance Dinner this weekend. Henry talks about the program, and how it differs from other madrigal dinners in the region. The event features a new script written each year, and period music selected to tell the story of the Nativity. Performances begin at 6:00 Saturday and Sunday at the Cerf Center at Eureka College.

Illinois Central College

We're talking with Loyd Kirby, from the Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center. They're presenting Chicago-based comedy troupe The Second City, with their "Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue." It's The Second City's third appearance at ICC in the last several years. The performance features improv and sketch comedy based on familiar holiday situations. The performance is Saturday night at 7:30 at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria.

photo: Bradley University Department of Music

This week, we're talking with John Jost, conductor of the Bradley Community Chorus. Their fall concert, with the Bradley Symphony Orchestra, presents settings of the "Te Deum."  Jost talks about the celebratory nature of the text has inspired many composers to "pull out all the stops," and about how the chorus and orchestra practice separately for most of the rehearsal process. The concert will be presented Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Blake Stubbs, from Corn Stock Theatre. He's one of three directors in their upcoming production, "Relatively Speaking," a set of three one-act plays. He talks about the "act" he's directing, about collaborating with the other two directors and about what he's learned as a first-time director. "Relatively Speaking" runs next weekend, with performances Thursday through Sunday at the Winter Playhouse.

The 1940s film “Meet Me in St. Louis” is best known for introducing the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Peoria Players Theatre is currently presenting the stage adaptation of the film. Marty Lynch 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.

We look at the last set of art galleries participating in the Citywide Celebration of Women Artists. The Liz Pearce Gallery in Dunlap features the work of five artists, exploring small, intimate spaces. Four Morton artists have works on display at the Jefferson Street Gallery. Finally, two events held in conjunction with the celebrations examine the business of art, and a panel of women artists talking about their experiences.

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra presents its latest concert, "Allure of Paris," tomorrow night at Grace Presbyetrian Church in Peoria. We're talking with Music Director George Stelluto about some of the works on the program, including a Mozart symphony and a Viola Concerto by Gösta Nystroem, a Swedish composer who lived and studied in Paris.

The 1967 film “The Graduate” introduced the world to “Mrs. Robinson” and launched the career of actor Dustin Hoffman. A stage adaptation of the film is now playing at Corn Stock

Theatre. Marty Lynch 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 Citywide Celebration of Women Artists continues with exhibits around the region. The Peoria Heights Library is exhibiting the work of 24 members of the Illinois Art League, including early members Jo Ann Bell and Pat Dale. The Picture This Gallery displays photos by owner Cheryl Dean and paper artist Susan Plott. Nearby, the Exhibit A Gallery features a number of works by women artists in the manner of an artist whose work has influenced them.

This week, we're talking with Chip Joyce. He's directing "The Graduate," which opens tonight at the Corn Stock Winter Playhouse. He talks about directing his first non-musical, why he likes this particular script, and why he thinks the story will resonate with multiple generations.

In conjunction with the Citywide Celebration of Women Artists, Bradley University’s Heuser Gallery is showing paintings by Chicago artist Eleanor Coen. Bradley’s Hartmann Center exhibits works from Bradley’s collection. Nearby are the Studios on Sheridan, with pieces by six women artists. And further north on Sheridan Road, Gallery Romain shows work by Sapphire and Crystals, a collective of African-American women artists in Chicago.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and violist Max Mandel who featured in the HFO's upcoming concert. They talk about some of the works on the program, which includes Carl Stamitz's Viola Concerto; and about the differences between playing with full orchestras, chamber orchestras and smaller ensembles. The Heartland Festival Orchestra performs Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

As part of the Citywide Celebration of Women Artists, the Peoria Public Library is displaying the Balance Crazy Quilt and other works on loan from the Peoria Historical Society. The Peoria Women’s Club is furnished with multiple artifacts and works of art, including several paintings by sisters Nona and Emily White. And the Peoria Riverfront Museum is showing eight newly-acquired works by women artists.

This week, we're talking with Jared Bartman about his new album "Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows." It's being released in conjunction with a concert on Thursday, October 31st at the Apollo Theatre, which also features performances by John Vanderslice and Samantha Crain. We listen to a few tracks from the new album, and talk a little about Bartman's upcoming tour of the East Coast.

Today, we’re looking at works on display in downtown Peoria, all participating in the city’s Celebration of Women Artists. The Contemporary Art Center features works by Chicago artist Christie Rojek and members of the Prairie Fiber Arts Guild. Around the corner, the Peoria Art Guild displays a sculpture by Ashley Morgan, and photographs by Barb Hoffman.

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