As summer comes to a close, the overwhelming heat and touristy jaunts are becoming distant memories. The sunscreen is being packed away, and you’ve enjoyed yet another summer of stimulating activities, but now what?
Go to a show. There are many opportunities for theatrical leisure in your community.
Jacksonville Theatre Guild will feature Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, an adult drama that tells the story of an American family caught up in the struggle between personal responsibility and duty to their country. Showing Sept. 13-15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 16 at 2 p.m., get your tickets by calling 217-245-1402. Also be sure to check out The Jungle Book Oct. 11-13 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. at the JTG Studio Theatre at 210 West College in Jacksonville. More information is at www.jaxtg.com.
Hoogland Center for the Arts is a superb organization and will host the Sound Celebration Chorus presenting I’ll Be Seeing You: A 1940s USO Tribute on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. This performance is general admission. Twelve Angry Men, based on the Emmy-award-winning movie, is set for Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 5-6 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. Rocky Horror Show: LIVE! is another fall favorite for many. Step into the whimsical world of Frank-N-Furter and prepare to shout fun obscenities and dress in your not-so Sunday best. Show dates are Oct. 26 and 27 at 9 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Dynamic Patterns Theatre will present Last of the Red Hot Lovers by Neil Simon. Featuring radio personality Johnny Molson, as well as Jennifer Alessia, Michelle Dearing and Sissy Brown. Check out this delightful play about a man’s hopes of finding one last beautiful moment before life passes him by. Performances are Nov. 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. Finally, join Sing-A-Long-A-Sound of Music on Nov. 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. Sing along with Julie Andrews as you encounter this classic movie on the wonder of the big screen. For tickets or more information to any of these events, call 217-523-2787 or visit www.hcfta.org.
Illinois State University is known for its brilliant theater department, and this fall season is sure to not disappoint. Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka is about a nameless refugee from Southeast Asia who journeys around the United States searching for his family and his own identity. This production is Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 3-6 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Center for the Performing Arts. The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman is about a 15-year-old who thinks she can escape the misery of living with her trailer-park prostitute mom by fleeing with a car thief. This piece runs Oct. 4-6 and 9-13 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 7 and 13 at 2 p.m. at Centennial West 207. The rest of the season is comprised of Mother Courage and Her Children on Oct. 18-20 and 23-27 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. and The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov on Nov. 1-3 and 6-10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 4 and 10 at 2 p.m., both at Centennial West 207. Finally, Noises Off by Michael Frayn will show Nov. 2-3 and 7-10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. at the Center for Performing Arts. Call 309-438-2535 or visit http://finearts.illinoisstate.edu for more information.
Millikin University in Decatur has housed some of the most talented students in the country. This fall, experience The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane Oct. 10-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. at the Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella Nov. 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. Call 1-800-373-7733 or visit www.millikin.edu/theatre for more information.
The Legacy Theatre has thrilled the local community with quality productions and performances steadily taking place. This fall check out the smash hit and local premiere of Spring Awakening, an electrifying musical. This production is Sept. 7-8, 13-15 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 9 and 16 at 2 p.m. Sordid Lives: A Black Comedy About White Trash is set for Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 5-6 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. Sure to bring laughs, it is the winner of 14 Drama League Awards. The Widows of Whitechapel is written by local author Amy Sayre-Roberts and will make its premiere on Oct. 13 and 31 at 8 p.m. Come experience this witty play as Jack The Ripper’s victims come to life during a “Ripper Tour” in London. Finally, The Roxy Group brings back a favorite, Halloween Dreams: A Spooktacular Musical Revue, on Oct. 19-20 and 26-27 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. For more information or tickets for these events contact 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.atthelegacy.com.
The Springfield Theatre Centre is a venerable organization that offers ever-present entertainment opportunities for local patrons. Be certain to experience 9 to 5, a musical based on the popular movie made famous by Dolly Parton. Directed by Craig Williams II, this production can be seen Oct. 12-13 and 19-20 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. In addition, arguably one of the most famous television shows will be brought to the stage on Nov. 9-10 and 16-17 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. M*A*S*H is sure to spark memories. For more information contact 217-523-ARTS or www.springfieldtheatrecentre.com.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum will premier a new play in the area called, The Heavens Are Hung in Black by James Still. This beautifully written historical piece paints a picture of our greatest leader in a time of personal and professional crisis – writing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Directed by Phil Funkenbusch, the play presents on Nov. 8-10 and 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 and 18 in the afternoon. Contact the museum at 217-558-8934 or http:/alplm.org/ for information.
So embrace the changing season with an exuberance of fresh theatrical opportunities. Fall is in the air and it’s time to create new memories. Are you ready?
Cory Blissett is a graduate student at Northern Illinois University and a former actor at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. He can be reached at email@example.com.