Theatre

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 Charles Killen. He's directing "August: Osage County" at Peoria Players Theatre. He describes the play as a multi-layered family drama, and the cast includes long-time Peoria actors, along with a few new faces. He also talks about the rehearsal process he and the cast engaged in to prepare the production, and he makes the case that author Tracy Letts' writing style is as rewarding for actors as it is for audiences.

"August Osage County" opens tonight, with performances continuing through March 19th at Peoria Players Theatre.

This week, we're talking with Scott Kanoff, from the Bradley University Department of Theatre Arts, about their production of "These Shining Lives." The play tells the story of women who worked at the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, IL, the toll that work took on their health, and the legal case they pursued against the company. Kanoff talks about the play, why they selected it, and some local connections to the story it recounts. The performance on Sunday, February 26th, the department will also present a moot court trial on the legal issues involved in the story.

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.

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.

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'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.

The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee / Facebook

The Chicago Theater community gathers in Oakbrook tonight to celebrate the year’s best work on the stage. Illinois Public Radio's Brian O’Keefe visited with the one of the creative forces behind one of last year’s big winners and this year’s nominees.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Dick Van Dyke Returns to Danville

Jun 24, 2016
Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

One of the biggest show business names to come out of Central Illinois is back home for a couple days with hopes of nurturing more talent, and making sure he always has a place to call home.  Friday, the city of Danville gets a chance to honor native son Dick Van Dyke.  Illinois Public Radio’s Jeff Bossert has more. 

 

The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe

We're joined this week by Jess Hemmis and Rebekah Dentino. Hemmis directs, and Dentino performs in, The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe's production of "Seascape with Sharks and Dancer." They talk about the play itself, about how their production has changed since a previous performance last year, and about moving the show into a different performance venue.

Performances of "Seascape with Sharks and Dancer" are tonight and tomorrow in the Broadway Lounge at the Waterhouse in downtown Peoria.

Bradley University Theatre

This week, we're talking with Susan Felder, from the Bradley University Theatre Department. She's directing their production of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull."

She talks about how the characters and conflicts in the play make it a good fit for younger actors, and about how Chekhov writing style. His works profoundly changed both the way characters are written, and how actors today try to interpret those characters.

"The Seagull" runs through Sunday, March 6th, at the Hartmann Center on the Bradley campus in Peoria.

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.

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it. 

Second City says the improv comedy troupe will reopen a few days earlier than anticipated after a fire destroyed its offices in Chicago.

This week, we're talking with Jack Mertes, author of the new play, "The Springfield Experiment." It explores a chapter in the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, who had been committed to an asylum and sought to regain both her autonomy and control of her finances. Mertes talks about about why he chose this particular moment in Lincoln's life to dramatize, about the long process that led to this production, and what he hopes audiences will learn about Mary Todd Lincoln. The play will be presented Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 at the Inspired Arts Academy in Morton.

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.

Corn Stock Theatre

The relationships that form among five women in college form the basis of the play “The Dixie Swim Club.” 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

Lana Warner is the co-director of "The Dixie Swim Club" at Corn Stock Theatre. The play focuses on the lives of five women, former members of the same college swimming team, who reunite each summer. Warner talks about why she chose the show, about working her cast, and about what she thinks amkes this production special.

"The Dixie Swim Club" opens tonight, and continues through June 27th at Corn Stock Theatre in Peoria's Upper Bradley Park.

Chicago's Goodman Theatre will undergo a major $15 million expansion.

Shakespeare Corrected: Opening Night In Decatur

May 1, 2015
Jeff Bossert / WILL

Back in February, Illinois Public Media first visted with some of the women involved in the spring production of Macbeth at the Decatur Women’s Correctional Facility.  This past weekend, they wrapped up their 6-performance run at the prison, including one show for friends and family. 

The first performance a week ago Wednesday was a final dress rehearsal, but good enough to start performing in front of offenders.  About 65 other inmates filled the prison’s auditorium.

Illinois Central College

This week, we talk with Doug Rosson, one of the directors of Illinois Central College's production of "All in the Timing." The show is a collection of six short plays by David Ives, each of which explores ideas about chance and variability. Rosson explains the premises behind some of those pieces. He also talks about the logistics of organizing a production that includes a large cast, working on multiple scripts, with three directors. And he talks about why David Ives is so frequently produced in American theatres.

Eureka College

Joel Shoemaker is directing Eureka College's upcoming production of "August: Osage County." A graduate of Eureka, he talks about returning to campus in a different capacity. He also talks about the show, which is driven by the complicated dynamics of an extended and multi-generational Oklahoma family. Shoemaker also talks about what he has learned as a first-time director. "August: Osage County" runs April 14th to 18th in the Pritchard Theatre at Eureka College.

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.

Corn Stock Theatre

Tim Wyman directs "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," opening this weekend at Corn Stock Theatre. The play is set in the early 1990s, towards the end of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Wyman talks about the dark humor of the script, about how it treats on- and off-stage violence, and about some of the technical challenges he faced in staging this production in Corn Stock's Winter Playhouse. "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" opens tonight, and runs through Sunday, March 29th.

Peoria Players Theatre

Peoria Players Theatre continues its season with a production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta that brings together orphans, musical pirates and a modern major-general. 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.

Peoria Players Theatre

Laura Garfinkel is directing "The Pirates of Penzance," which opens this weekend at Peoria Players Theatre. She talks about the decision to propose the operetta as part of Players' current season; about the her cast and production team; and about the approachability of the work by Gilbert and Sullivan. Performances of "The Pirates of Penzance" begin tonight, and continue through Sunday, March 22nd.

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