Melissa Merli

Melissa Merli

Melissa Merli | 'Marisol' offers a feeling of invigoration

No one has seen the moon in nine months, insecticides have killed half of the Bronx and there's no more blue in the sky.

Melissa Merli | Station's take on 'Doll's House, Part 2' a top-notch show

The insistent knock on the door comes and is finally answered by longtime Helmer servant Anne Marie, who is not surprised to see Nora Helmer re-enter the home she left 15 years earlier, in a door slam that the literati say was heard around the world.

Melissa Merli/review | Love wins over hatred in Station's 'Women of Lockerbie'

Seven years after the 1988 midair explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, American Maddie Livingston roams the hills near the town, searching in vain for her son's remains.

Melissa Merli/review | 'Marat/Sade' actors offer an energetic performance

"Marat/Sade," the abbreviated title of the latest offering by Illinois Theatre, premiered in England in 1963, launching the fringe and experimental theater movement there and influencing the careers of many, among them famed British director Mike Leigh.

Melissa Merli/review | Builders Association's 'Strange Window' will make you think

The Builders Association's new piece, "Strange Window: The Turn of the Screw," succeeds in at least one respect: reflecting the "ambiguity and unreliability" that's so much in the air these days, as association artistic director Marianne Weems put it.

I left the theater wondering what she and her crew were trying to tell us. Maybe that was the point.

Melissa Merli/review | 'Sweat' reflects rage, ruin of blue-collar workers

URBANA — After playwright Lynn Nottage read in 2011 a New York Times article about Reading, Pa., population 88,000, being the poorest city of its size in the country, she set out to get to know the town.

In Tilton, Mike's Grill is the family business

TILTON — If you drive too fast on Illinois 1 between Danville and Westville, you might just miss one of Vermilion County's greatest attractions.

It's tucked away on the west side of the highway, just south of Ross Lane, next to Carnaghi's garage and across the street from farm fields and an Indiana produce stand.

It's Mike's Grill.

'Title and Deed': A play that strikes home

URBANA — After Deb Richardson and David Barkley saw "Title and Deed" two years ago at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, Richardson knew she had to direct the one-man show at the Station Theatre.

She proposed it the following year, but the Celebration Company had already slotted a one-person play.

C-U offers Oktoberfest events this weekend

CHAMPAIGN — Many area taverns have already hosted Oktoberfest events, following the example of the world's most famous Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

It kicked off Sept. 16, so Riggs Beer Company in east Urbana started its Oktoberfest celebration two days earlier.

Studio Visit: Halim Beere

Staff writer Melissa Merli chats with Halim Beere, 38, of Mahomet, the composer and chief technical officer for the startup Illiac Software, founded by University of Illinois music composition Professor Heinrich "Rick" Taube.

Did you get both of your advanced degrees in composition from the UI?