All Arts and Entertainment Content

Annual ACE Awards to fete area's cultural life at new venue

CHAMPAIGN – The fourth annual ACE (Arts, Culture and Entertainment) Awards ceremony will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Highdive, 51 E. Main St., C.

The awards recognize and celebrate outstanding contributions to the cultural life of Champaign County. A panel of independent judges representing a cross- section of the community selected seven winners for 2008; they will be announced and the awards given out at the ACE Awards ceremony.


Novices sink their teeth into lead roles in 'Little Shop of Horrors'

As just a little boy, Josh Bough became obsessed with the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" after seeing a production at Tuscola High School.

"Basically, I've been trying to be Seymour since then," he said. "When I heard CUTC was doing it, I thought, 'I'm going to drop out of Eastern and go to Parkland.'"

He admits there were other reasons he left Eastern Illinois University for Parkland College. But he was successful with one: landing the lead role of Seymour in the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company production of "Little Shop," opening Thursday evening at the Virginia Theatre.

This is the first time that CUTC has presented the rock musical by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman.

It focuses on Seymour, a nerdy florist shop worker on Skid Row in New York who unwittingly raises a plant that feeds on human blood, and his love for Audrey, another worker at the shop.

The music is styled after 1960s rock 'n' roll, doo-wop and early Motown and will be performed by a 23-member cast and 13-piece orchestra directed by Cody Halberstadt. Music director is Brad Jenks.

Among the musical numbers are "Skid Row (Downtown)," "Somewhere That's Green" and "Suddenly, Seymour."

The role of the human Audrey is being played by Leanne Noland, a promotions staff member at WCIA-TV Channel 3. This is her first foray into local community theater, as she grew up near St. Louis and moved here just a year ago.

"I always liked Audrey a lot," said Noland, an EIU graduate in broadcast jour-nalism. "I like how naive she is.

"Throughout high school I always had Audrey-esque parts – the girls who are kind of clueless but likable."

Todd Salen, who is producing, said more powerful actor-singers auditioned for the roles of Seymour and Audrey, but producers liked the naivete and freshness that the 20-year-old Bough and 23-year-old Noland bring to the parts.


'Psychedelia' artist Fred Tomaselli to speak at museum

CHAMPAIGN – Visual artist Fred Tomaselli, described by The New York Times as contemporary art's "most technically gifted purveyor of psychedelia," will give a talk at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Krannert Art Museum.

Tomaselli's lecture in Room 62 in the lower level of the museum is part of the annual Jerrold Ziff Distinguished Lecture on Modern Art series.


Workshop aims to be catalyst for social engagement, change

When animosity and lack of trust were tearing apart an Ohio community, the Americans for the Arts paid for a theater troupe to go in and bring about change.

Soujourn Theater worked with the local arts agency to identify different sectors of the city and county that needed to be engaged in the process of building trust. Represented mong the 20 groups involved were farmers, the city council, the county board, African-Americans and schools.


Vendors sought for Covington, Ind., school's bazaar

COVINGTON, Ind. – Covington Elementary School will sponsor its annual holiday bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the school.

Vendors interested in booth information or registration should contact the school at 765-793-2254 or write to Holiday Bazaar, c/o Mitzi Barnes, 1110 7th St., Covington, IN 47932.


Jewish families erect sukkot to mark third fall holiday

Temporary housing constructed last weekend will be torn down by Tuesday.

But it was meant to be temporary.

Simple wooden, plastic or cloth-covered structures in the yards of residences are huts for the celebration of Sukkot, the third of three fall Jewish holidays. The first two are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The Hebrew word "sukkot" stands for both the name of the holiday – which, translated into English, is the Feast of Tabernacles – and two or more hut structures. A single hut is a sukkah.


Child role in Polar Express will be auctioned on eBay

DANVILLE – A role is up for bid, and the winner will see their child, grandchild or special young person on stage with Santa for the magical ending to this year's Polar Express.

The Provena United Samaritans Medical Center Festival of Trees has placed the role of the child who will receive the first gift of Christmas in the re-enactment of the Polar Express up for bid on eBay.


Willie Nelson returning for Assembly Hall concert

CHAMPAIGN – Country music icon Willie Nelson is "on the road again," returning to the home of his first Farm Aid concert 23 years ago with a concert in December at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall in Champaign.

Appearing with the 75-year-old singer-songwriter-actor-activist will be another musician-songwriter with a long list of movie credits, Billy Bob Thornton, and his band, the Boxmasters.


DACC recreating Lincoln-Douglas debate this weekend

DANVILLE – Danville Area Community College theater instructor Glenda Boling had to rethink the way she would direct a presentation of a Lincoln-Douglas debate.

The presentation at 7 p.m. today and Saturday is sponsored by the Vermilion County Museum through an Illinois Arts Council grant and written by museum society president Don Richter as part of the "Celebrating Lincoln" series of events.


Perspective gained on tragedy in M-S production of 9/11 play

MAHOMET – On Sept. 11, 2001, Dylan Roderick watched as his fourth-grade teacher put her ear to the radio. She turned on a tiny television and the class watched as the disaster unfolded. It didn't seem quite real to him, but he remembers his teacher, "she just put her head into her hands," he said.

Flash forward more than seven years, and Roderick is a junior at Mahomet-Seymour High School, about to perform in "Voices from September 11th," a play by Lavonne Mueller that tells the stories of a few people around the country and how they were affected by the tragedy.