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CHAMPAIGN – The first time director Randi Collins Hard saw Martin McDonagh's "The Pillowman," at Illinois State University, she fell in love with the black comedy.
The artistic director of the Parkland Theatre describes it as amazingly deep and complex, with interwoven stories and ambiguities over what is fact and what is falsehood.
"It's a thriller, a mystery, a black comedy and a whodunit," she said. "Even at the end, you're left wondering whether you're right about your own conclusions."
There are eight days to go before the opening-night party at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and Lisa Lillig is at her computer and telephone, taking care of final details.
She calls the eight restaurants that will sell food at the bash Thursday night, discovering, to her dismay, that two planned to bring hummus.
"You don't want that," she says. "You want all the food to be different. You don't want one person to have hummus for $4 and another for $1, and one person's hummus to be better than the other's."
The Westville High School theater arts company will present its first musical production, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 and 3 p.m. Nov. 9 in the high school's Old Gym, 918 N. State St.
Choral teacher Teresa Ross says she is excited about her students having the opportunity to perform on a local stage, since some have been involved with the Red Mask Players and Danville Light Opera in the past.
SAVOY – For the second year, the Savoy 16 will present "The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD" series, which features Met operas broadcast live in high definition, with encore presentations.
This is the third season for the broadcasts, which this year have expanded by 30 percent, to 440 movie theaters and performing arts centers nationwide.
CHAMPAIGN – The touring company of the Chicago-based Second City comedy club will pay satirical homage to the election season with its latest show, "Deface the Nation," to be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign.
The company has customized the all-political revue for the election year. Expect the performers to do skits and songs that poke fun at both political parties and at a variety of pundits.
Whether it's plays, musicals or symphony music, Danville will have plenty to choose from for the 2008-09 season. And the local performing-arts groups welcome season ticket-holders as well as single-show- and concert-goers.
The Danville Symphony Orchestra features Danville musicians as well as professional and student musicians from Illinois and Indiana.
It's opening night for CUTC's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Virginia Theatre, and I find myself in the unfamiliar role of participant rather than observer.
I'm onstage 12 minutes into the first act, along with News-Gazette colleagues Mary Schenk and Jim Rossow, plus so many cast members I can hardly tell what's going on.
The pop musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is often billed as family-friendly, with universal themes and catchy music covering myriad genres.
It's a dependable mainstay of musical theater groups, particularly when producers cast a star as Joseph, as the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company has done with its upcoming production, opening Thursday at the Virginia Theatre.
Chuck Gomez always thought the art-deco Watseka Theatre, designed by Louis Skidmore, would be a good investment. But from day one, he said, the theater that he bought 14 months ago turned out to be a magical building instead.
"It changed both of our lives for the better," Gomez said of himself and his partner, Debra Liddell.
CHARLESTON – The Charleston Alley Theatre will have auditions at 7 p.m. Monday for Marsha Norman's "'Night, Mother" at the theater, 718 Monroe Ave., Charleston.
"'Night, Mother" is directed by Ruth Straith. People planning to audition will read from the script. For information or to arrange an alternative audition, contact Straith at 345-1437, the theater at 345-2287 or e-mail CATmail<@>consolidated.net.