All Theater Content
CHAMPAIGN – Looking back 50 years to when he and his wife first arrived in Champaign County, Carl Altstetter said he would not have called the area a cultural wasteland or swamp.
"It was more like a savannah – rather sparse. Now it's a lush, tropical rainforest of the arts," Altstetter said Thursday night at the Highdive in Champaign.
Parkland College's 18th annual all-student production, "Murder Room," will open Wednesday and run through Nov. 2 at the Parkland Theatre, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C.
Parkland theater students direct the show; design the sets, lights and costumes; and perform. All proceeds from the annual student show will support the Randall Millas Theatre Scholarship program, which pays tuition and fees for an exceptional second-year theater scholarship student.
Parkland Theatre will have open auditions on Sunday for its second annual production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," adapted by Nick Schneider and Tim Schirmer.
The auditions will be at 1 p.m. for youths and 2 to 4 p.m. for adults at Parkland Theatre, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C. Director J.W. Morrissette will cast actors and singers ages 8 to 80 to play various roles.
URBANA – The members of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority will perform the ensemble play "La Soy Latina," which explores their identities and connections in American society, on Wednesday evening at the Illini Union.
"An honest and funny look at what it means to be Latina in America, it explores the stories of six diverse women growing up bilingual, bicultural and proud to declare, 'Yo Soy Latina!,'" according to a news release.
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.
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.
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.
URBANA – The city's public arts program will provide a free mask-making workshop Saturday morning at the Market at the Square farmers' market in Urbana.
The public is invited to participate in the free workshop for all ages any time between 8 a.m. and noon. Artist Lori Caterini of Champaign will guide people in the use of recycled materials to create "out-of-this-world masks," according to the city. The market will have a "Market at the Scare" costume party on Oct. 25.
URBANA – The Krannert Center Student Association will continue its tradition of presenting an interactive murder mystery party with "The Pink Lace Diamond" on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings.
The mystery focuses on a Prince Regent Hotel maid's discovery of a murder and the twists that follow. A detective discovers an infamous jewel, the pink lace diamond, on one of the hotel's guests. During the investigation, all the hotel guests must help to solve the mystery behind the murder and the diamond's discovery.
URBANA – When their daughter was asked to take a role in a recent production at Krannert Center, Brent and Tammi O'Neill had no clue as to what kind of opportunity she was receiving.
"We never thought it would end up so amazing for her," Tammi said.
Caroline, a third-grader at Next Generation School, not only played a key character in The Builders Association's "Continuous City"; she will also travel with the new show, which had its world premiere last month at Krannert – a financial and technical supporter of the project.