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

This week, we're talking with Lee Wenger, organizer and MC of the third annual "Peoria Public Radio in the Park" concert, a fund-raising event for this very station. The concert features selections from two upcoming community theatre productions and one past show, along with a couple of choirs and instrumentalists. We talk about some of the acts on the program, about the food that will available on site, and about the venue. Doors open tonight at 6:00 at the Glen Oak Park Amphitheatre; the concert gets underway at 7:00.

Peoria Civic Center

Kathy Chitwood joins us to talk about this weekend's IGNITE! Peoria event, being held at the Peoria Civic Center. She describes it as an opportunity for participants to express their own creativity, and learn about some of the hundreds of artists in the region. She also talks about some of the attractions -- ranging from wearable art, to a musical instrument "petting zoo" aimed at kids. IGNITE! Peoria runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

Corn Stock Theatre

A series of children’s books forms the basis of the musical “A Year with Frog and Toad,”which opened last weekend at Corn Stock Theatre. 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.

Corn Stock Theatre

Nate Downs is directing Corn Stock Theatre's production of "A Year with Frog and Toad." he talks about how he first discovered the musical, which is based on a series of children's books. He also talks about his own affection for the show (this is the second time he's directed it), why he thinks it works for audiences of all ages, and how he hopes patrons will respond to the production. "A Year with Frog and Toad" opens tonight, and continues through August 9th at the Corn Stock tent.

This week, we're talking with Jim Wilhelm. The host of "Illinois Adventures" on WTVP will portray Wyatt Earp in a new one-man show, “Wyatt Earp: The Other Side.” Earp was raised in Monmouth, and spent an eventful year in Peoria in his twenties, long before the fateful shootout at the OK Corral. Wilhelm talks about what inspired the production, and what to expect from the show. Performances are Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Apollo Theatre in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Justin Fenwick (also known as "Donk’e Punch.") Tennis shoes are his medium of choice. Since 2004, he's been making modified sneakers; his customers have included several notable athletes and musicians. He's one of the artists featured in IGNITE! Peoria, taking place August 9th at the Peoria Civic Center.

Corn Stock Theatre

Corn Stock Theatre continues its summer season with a production of “Guys and Dolls.” 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.

Summer is in full swing, and that can only mean theatre is thriving at Corn Stock Theatre again.  Guys & Dolls opened last night in weather that was just as wonderful as the show.

Corn Stock Theatre

Alex Mansoori plays Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Corn Stock Theatre's production of "Guys and Dolls." Trained as an opera singer, he talks about the opportunity the production offered to perform with his wife. He also talks about the sometimes itinerant lifestyle of an opera performer, and about some of his favorite moments in the show. "Guys and Dolls" opens tonight, and continues through Saturday, July 19th.

Peoria Riverfront Museum

Nathan Irwin and Suzette Boulais talk with Ann Schmitt from the Peoria Riverfront Musuem, about their exhibit, "The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not." It presents an array of of oddities, anomalies and fantastic feats -- along with the science behind them. The exhibit runs through September 7th.

This week, we're talking with vehicular artist Darius Donaldson, one of the artists involved with IGNITE Peoria, on Saturday August 9th. He talks about his own work, and about the car show he's organizing in conjunction with IGNITE. He's hoping to bring rarely-seen customized vehicles to Peoria from around the country.

Corn Stock Theatre

Neil Simon’s play, “Lost in Yonkers” uses the playwright’s sharp humor to underscore a turbulent moment in the life of one American family. Douglas Okey 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

We're talking with Corn Stock Theatre Manager Cindy Hoey, about their production of "Lost in Yonkers." Hoey says it's her favorite among Simon's works; it has multiple strong roles for actors, and tells a story that pulls on the heartstrings. She also talks about the two young actors anchoring the production, and what she hopes the audience will take away from the show. "Lost in Yonkers" runs June 20th through 28th.

This week, we're talking with Andrew Rhodenbaugh. He's playing Hamlet in a production by The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe. The group has been presenting Shakespeare at Camp Wokanda in Chillicothe since the summer of 2012, and has staged other productions at venues in and around Peoria. He talks about the genesis of the company, about the challenges of taking on an iconic role Shakespeare, and about taking theatre to unconventional locations. The Great Work begins performs "Hamlet," Saturday at 11:30 a.m., and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., at Camp Wokanda.

Barry Cloyd

This week, we're talking with Barry Cloyd. He and his band Celtricity are headlining the "Roots of Folk" concert, Saturday night at 7:30 at the GAR Hall in downtown Peoria. He talks about the two other bands on the program -- The Way Down Wanderers, and Walten Pond. He contrasts the generational approaches to folk music the three bands offer. And he updates us on some of his other musical projects.

Corn Stock Theatre opens its summer season with the musical “Funny Girl.” 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.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, talks about this weekend's upcoming concert. "Victorious Beethoven" pairs the composer's Fourth and Fifth Symphonies. Commanday contrasts the two symphonies, and talks about another piece on the program, which features the orchestra's principal instrumentalists. "Victorious Beethoven" will be performed Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Peoria Players Theatre

This week we're talking with Peggy Beaux Hupp. She;s directing "Smokey Joe's Cafe" at Peoria Players Theatre. The show is a "jukebox" musical, built around the music of Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber. We talk about some of the numbers featured in the show, about finding the right voices to make up the cast, and about the challenge of directing a musical with no story line and no recurring characaters. "Smokey Joe's Cafe" runs June 5th through 9th at Peoria Players.

Peoria Players Theatre

Peoria Players Theatre is staging the first Central Illinois production of “Shrek: The Musical,” based on the animated films 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.

Peoria Area Civic Chorale

This week, we're talking with Mark Grizzard, from the Peoria Area Civic Chorale, about their spring concert, "Music of Our Homeland." The program draws from range of American musical traditions -- folks songs, gospel, bluegrass and contemporary pop. Grizzard talks about some of the individual pieces, and about what ties them together. Performances are Saturday night at 7:30, and Sunday afternoon at 2:30, at First Federated Church in Peoria.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. They've added an additional concert to their 2013-14, featuring a return appearance by soprano Barbara Padilla. Padilla has performed with the HFO. For this concert, she'll be presenting material from her forthcoming CD. The concert is Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Illinois Central College

Illinois Central College closes its current theatre season with Humpty Dumpty,” which uses the children’s nursery rhyme as a metaphor for contemporary life. 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.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall”

This week, we;re talking with Mary Rous, about the Arts in Education Spring Celebration. Now in its 29th year, the program spotlights the performing arts programs in local schools with performances and exhibits at the Peoria County Courthouse Plaza. The Spring Celebration continues weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., through May 23rd.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra

This week, we're talking with banjo virtuoso and multiple-Grammy-winner Bela Fleck. He's performing his composition "The Imposter," a concerto for banjo and orchestra, with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra in their concert on Saturday night. He talks about the piece itself, the story behind its composition, and his wide-ranging musical career and collaborations.

 

Peoria Art Guild

We're talking with Josh Cox, Exhibitions Coordinator at the Peoria Guild, about two current exhibits: "Between the Void" by Mel Cook, and "Memorial" by Angela Inez Baldus. Cox says both artists bring novel approaches to traditional genres, such as portraits and landscapes. Cooks incorporates other media and thick brush strokes into her paintings; Baldus bases her portraits on people and stories she's drawn to. Both shows continue through April 30th.

Sandy Fisher

This week, we're talking with Sandy Fisher about "Beginnings" -- an exhibit of her work -- at Exhibit A Gallery, at Junction City Shopping Center in Peoria. Fisher talks about her choice of medium, her collaboration with gallery owner Barbara Milaccio, and about the inspiration behind some the works on display. The exhibit opens with a reception Friday night at 5:00 p.m.. It continues through April 28th.

Corn Stock Theatre

This week, we're talking with Alex Larson, director of Corn Stock Theatre's production of "Superior Donuts." He talks about why he chose the script, about the subjects the play addresses, and the actors he cast to play the two principal roles. "Superior Donuts" continues with performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Corn Stock Winter Playhouse.

Peoria Players Theatre

The play, “The Miracle Worker” re-tells the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. Douglas Oakey has this review of a production at Peoria Players 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.

Peoria Players Theatre dusts off William Gibson’s “The Miracle Worker” this spring, directed by Charles Killen.  Good news: The play retains all of its charm and emotional power. 

Illinois Central College

This week, we're talking with Jacob Colgan, about "An Evening with Fred." The event honors Peoria's Fred Stobaugh, who became a YouTube sensation, and the oldest songwriter to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with his song, "Oh Sweet Lorraine." Colgan talks about discovering Stobaugh through a songwriting contest, and about the love story that inspired the song. The event also features performances by the ICC Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the Larry Harms Trio and others. It takes place Saturday night at 7:00 at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria

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.

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