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

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.

This week, we're talking with Brian "Fox" Ellis. The annual Springdale Cemetery Tours continue this weekend. Ellis and others will portray notable residents of Peoria who are buried at the cemetery. This year, they will be re-visiting several figures they've portrayed over the last ten years. The tours continue Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

Just in time for Halloween, a musical at Corn Stock Theatre parodies the standard tropes of horror movies, with its production of “Evil Dead: The Musical.” 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.

This week, we're talking with Jim Babrowski, from Peoria Players Theatre's production of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park." The play depicts a pair of mismatched newlyweds and their different expectations for married life. He also talks about other productions coming up in Players' 2013-14 season. "Barefoot in the Park" opens tonight and continues through October 13th at Peoria Players Theatre.

Review - "Scapin"

Oct 2, 2013

Illinois Central College opens its theatre season with the comedy Scapin. An adaptation of the story by Moliere adds contemporary flavor to classic character types. 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.

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra opens its 2013-14 season with a concert Saturday night. We talk with PSO Music Director George Stelluto, and with soloist Olga Kern. They talk about the works on the program, and about the the connections between "high" classical music and "pop" culture. Kern also talks about how winning  the Van Cliburn competition in 2001 affected her career path.

This week, we're talking with the Peoria Art Guild's Beth Reusch. The 51st Annual Fine Art Fair runs September 28th and 29th on the Peoria Riverfront. The fair features the work of 150 artists, selected from a pool of 600 applicants. Reusch talks about one of the artists appearing for the first time this year--he's coming all the way from Israel--about some of the interactive art experiences the fair offers, and about all of work that goes into organizing the event each year.

Peoria Players Theatre opens its 95th season with the musical “Les Miserables.” 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 David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. Their new season opens this weekend with a concert, "Very Mozart." It features Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony, the Flute and Harp Concerto, and a set of Ancient Airs and Dances by Ottorino Respighi. Commanday talks about some of the pieces on the program, the soloists featured in this concert, and the distinctove appeal of Mozart. The concert is Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington

Charlie Brown is playing Jean Valjean in Peoria Players Theatre's upcoming production of "Les Miserables." He talks his own interest in the long-running musical, the specific story arc of his character, and how he's approached the character. "Les Miserables" runs September 6th through the 15th.

Nate Downs joins us to talk about Corn Stock Theatre's production of "Company." A fan of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, Downs says this was one of his "bucket list" shows. Through the stories of perennial bachelor Bobby, his girlfriends and his married friends, the show presents multiple takes on love, marriage and relationships. "Company" runs August 23rd through 31st at Corn Stock Theatre in Peoria.

This week, we're talking with Lee Wenger, organizer of the concert Peoria Public Radio's Concert in the Park. He talks about how the event was first developed last year to replace the station's annual record sale. Like last year's concert, this year's event features a variety of musical entertainers -- cast members from musical theatre productions, two choirs, vocalists and instrumentalists. The concert is Friday night at 7:00 at the Glen Oak Amphitheatre. Gates open at 6:00.

This week, we're talking with Eric Mills, from the Fogelberg Foundation of Peoria. Their annual Dan Fogelberg Celebration Weekend is August 30th and 31st (Labor Day Weekend). It features a Friday night concert of acoustic musicians paying tribute to Dan Fogelberg. Saturday night's concert features The Don Campbell Band. Eric talks about both concerts, and about the nationwide "Fogelberg family" that the event brings to Peoria each year.

Review - "The Wiz"

Aug 8, 2013

Corn Stock Theatre’s summer season is currently presenting “The Wiz.” Brian “Fox” Ellis 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 Bryan Blanks. He's directing Corn Stock Theatre's production of "The Wiz." It's the first time this show has been staged at the Corn Stock Tent. Blanks talks about his own history with the show, what he looked for in casting his production, and about the work he did ahead of time to ensure a strong turnout at auditions.

This week, we're talking with Jimmy Ulrich about Peoria Players' upcoming youth production of "All Shook Up." The "jukebox" musical features music made famous by Elvis Presley, and a story about a small Midwestern town, thrown into disarray by the arrival of a motorcycle-riding drifter. Ulrich says the music -- along with the fact  that it's a newer musical --  makes the show a treat for both the performers and the audience. "All Shook Up" runs August 7th through the 11th at Peoria Players Theatre.

Arc Light Productions is currently presenting the musical “The Music Man.” 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 photographer Scott Cavanah. He and Matt Buedel are the creators of the exhibit "Every Other." Over the course of a year, the two took turns creating photographs based on a theme suggested by the other. The resulting photos are now collected in the exhibit. "Every Other" is on display through July 30th at the Peoria Public Library Main Branch. A reception with the artists is Saturday morning from 10:00 to noon.

Corn Stock Theatre is presenting the musical “Anything Goes,” as part of its summer season. Douglas Okey 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.

OutThis week, we're talking with Erin Craig. She plays Reno Sweeney in Corn Stock Theatre's upcoming  production of "Anything Goes." The show features a treasure-trove of Cole Porter music and a heavy dose of tap-dancing. "Anything Goes" opens tonight, and runs through July 20th under the tent at Upper Bradley Park.

This week, we're talking with Kristan McKinsey from the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Their exhibit, "Ansel Adams: Western Exposure" includes more than 120 of Adams' photographs, including many which have rarely been publicly displayed. Other items in the exhibit include drawings, camera equipment and Adams' personal items. The exhibit has been curated by daughter-in-law, Jeanne Adams. It continues through September 22nd. Also on display at the museum is "Lincoln: Self-Made in America," which chronicles Lincoln's early life, political career, Presidency and assassination.

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