Musical theatre

Scott Kanoff and Susan Somerville Brown are with us this week, to talk about the Bradley University Theatre Department's production of "Little Women." It's a musical adaptation of the well-known novel, and Kanoff describes it as perhaps the department's most ambitious undertaking. After staging several rock-oriented musicals in the past few seasons, the department wanted its students to experience a more traditional musical this year. They were also looking for a show that offered multiple prominent roles for female performers.

Peoria Players Theatre

Our guests this week are Dave Montague and Vicky Snyder. They're playing Frollo and Esmeralda (respectively) in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" at Peoria Players Theatre. Snyder and Montague talk about their roles, and some the themes of the show. They also praise the score, and expect that audiences will be impressed by the show's costumes and set.

Peoria Players Theatre opens its 99th season with "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." It opens tonight, and performances continue through Sunday, September 17th.

Corn Stock Theatre

Bryan Blanks is the director of the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie," which closes the summer season at Corn Stock Theatre. He describes it as a high-energy show, that's appropriate and fun for all ages. Set in the Flapper era of the 1920s, it tells the story of a young woman who sets out for New York City to marry for money. Blanks talks about the music of the show, which hearkens back to the jazz age, and the intense, tap-driven choreography.

We talk with Kelleen Nitsche and Sarah Marie Dillard about this year's Ignite Peoria event. Nitsche is the coordinator of the main performance stage, which features appearances from local performing arts groups -- theatre, dance, even magic. There are also musical theatre and improv workshops for young performers, and a "ticket booth" with special offers from area performers.

Nyk Sutter and Sandra Iadipaolo are the co-directors of "Bring It On: The Musical," the summer youth production at Peoria Players Theatre. The show features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda (of "Hamilton" fame) and demands a range of dance, cheerleading and tumbling from its cast. They talk about adapting their rehearsal process to those needs, the elements of the show that they found to be universal, and about the challenges (and rewards) of working with a cast of 14- to 20-year-olds.

"Bring It On: The Musical" continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Peoria Players.

Co-directors Erica Franken and Sarah Beth Leasor are with us, to talk about Peoria Players' production of "Billy Elliot." The musical is known for its heavy use of dance. They talk about how that shaped everything from their casting, to the rehearsal process, to numerous physical improvements made to the Peoria Players stage. They also talk about the specific historical context of the show, and about some of what they lerned as first-time directors.

"Billy Elliot" opens tonight, and runs through Sunday, May 14th, at Peoria Players Theatre.

This week, we're talking with Andrew Driscoll from the Peoria Cabaret Theatre, about "The Irish... And How They Got That Way." Written by Frank McCourt, the show celebrates the history of Irish immigrants to America. Driscoll talks about the show itself, and how it lends itself to a cabaret style presentation in his particular venue. He also talks about how it fits in among the other events presented in the Broadway Lounge, and an upcoming performance which spotlights the music of Peoria-born songwriter Richard A. Whiting.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

Eastlight Theatre

This week, we're joined by Travis Olson. He's directing "Disney's Beauty and the Beast," which opens tonight at Eastlight Theatre. He talks about his previous experience with the show -- as both performer and designer, about the creative team he's put together for this production, and about what makes the show an audience favorite. "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" runs thorugh July 2nd at Eastlight Theatre, at East Peoria High School.

This week, we're talking with soprano Marisa Buchheit, and with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra's George Stelluto. Buchheit is the featured soloist in their concert, "Romance." Along with works of Rachmaninoff and Ravel, the concert features a selection of love songs from opera and musical theatre. Buchheit also performed with the PSO at its outdoor concert on the Peoria Riverfront back in September.

The concert is Saturday night at 8:00 at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

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.

George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony, is with us this week to talk about the orchestra's upcoming concert. It features a performance by Tony and Grammy Award winner Audra McDonald. Stelluto talks about the logistics of finding artists for the PSO's World Artist series, about the repertoire that will be featured on the program, and about McDonald's unique artistry. The concert is Saturday night at 8:00 at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

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.

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.