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URBANA – If you listen to Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion," you have a good idea of what kind of life Brant Pope had growing up in Minnesota.
It would have involved hockey, baseball and Norwegian ancestry, but no small town like Keillor's fictional Lake Wobegon.
CHAMPAIGN – For decades, Tracy McCabe has imagined a fantasy.
He would listen to Prokofiev's score of "Cinderella," and conjure up choreography for a ballet that would blend modern, classical and art nouveau ballet, all telling a tale of how beauty is within.
"Cinderella may be in rags, but she is true beauty; the Fairy Godmother first appears as a decrepit beggar before transforming into the quintessential of grace; and we even manage to turn a pumpkin into the most fabulous glistening coach any production has ever seen," McCabe wrote in an e-mail. "To me, the message of Cinderella isn't that you need to dress like a princess to catch a prince – but that there is beauty to behold in everything, just the way it is."
About a year ago, McCabe borrowed the reins of the Champaign Urbana Ballet from artistic director Deanna Doty to bring his dream of "Cinderella" alive.
URBANA – Krannert Center for the Performing Arts opened on April 19, 1969, but will pay tribute to that anniversary with a celebration on Friday, May 1.
"Minus 10: Forty and Forward" will feature tenor saxophonist Phil Doyle and alto saxophonist Henning Schröder performing at Stage 5 in the Krannert lobby. The event is free; no tickets required.
The Rantoul Theatre Group will present, starting Friday, the double bill of "Red Carnations" and "Sorry, Wrong Number" at the Grissom Hall Theatre, 914 Arends Blvd, on the former Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul.
The group's new Studio Theatre Concept double-feature presentations, directed by Blake Quinlan, feature actors from Rantoul, St. Joseph, Champaign and Urbana.
Opera music historian Katherine Syer will direct an abridged production of Mozart's "Magic Flute" – with 3-D projections – at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Smith Memorial Hall, 805 S. Mathews Ave., U. The event is free and open to the public.
The University of Illinois professor is collaborating with Professor Julie Gunn and her German song literature class on the one-time production. Also working with them are two computer science students, who will try out path-breaking 3-D projections in the performance, according to Syer.
URBANA – The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre will hold auditions from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for two summer productions.
The first show of the summer will be the musical comedy "The Full Monty" to be directed by Mikel L. Matthews Jr. and presented June 11 to July 11.
Once upon a fairy tale, two children had a sick mother who needed milk to make her healthy.
The children went to town to buy some, but could not afford it. They sang for money, but no one could hear their little voices in the crowd.
Meanwhile, an evil organ grinder named Brundibar grew jealous of the children and tried to stop them from singing. But three animals came to their rescue with a plan. They recruited all the children in the town to sing with the two siblings, defeating the organ grinder and emerging victorious.
Once upon a horror, Jewish children in the Terezin concentration camp sang "Brundibar," a children's opera about banding together to fight a bully and, allegorically, to fight the big bully: Adolf Hitler.
On April 19, the Central Illinois Children's Chorus will bring "Brundibar" to Champaign as part of Sinai Temple's service for Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, a memorial by Jews around the world for the 6 million killed in the Holocaust, said the Champaign temple's rabbi, Norman Klein.
The Country Theater Workshop will have auditions this and next month for its 2009 season at the theater 2 miles north of Cissna Park on Illinois 49.
The Youth on Stage auditions for "The Big Bad Musical" (the trial of the big bad wolf), directed by Pat Ward, will be at 2 p.m. April 18 and 19. The show dates will be June 19, 20 and 21.
Thirty-five hours a week, Kate Hosier keeps on her toes. They develop blisters. Her blisters turn into calluses. Her toenails turn shades of black and blue. It's a pain, but for Hosier, that pain is well worth it.
In June, Champaign native Hosier, 18, will graduate from the National Ballet School of Canada, a boarding school that allows kids the opportunity to earn a high school diploma while training to become a professional dancer.
CHAMPAIGN – Parkland Theatre will close its 2008-2009 season with the play, "The Miracle Worker," a dramatization of the story of Helen Keller.
The play, by William Gibson, tells the story of the blind, deaf and mute Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, who struggles to communicate with Keller. The turbulent and emotional production portrays Sullivan's work with Keller and her ultimate success in teaching her to communicate.