Timber Lake Playhouse, the premier professional summer theatre of northwest Illinois, announces that they will Live Stream the Saturday, December 11th performance of the new holiday-themed musical comedy What a Wonderful World. The musical features a score of classic and contemporary pop hits made famous by artists including Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Kelly Clarkson, R.E.M., Imagine Dragons, Kenny Chesney, The Romantics, Shawn Mendes, Hootie & The Blowfish, and Nancy Sinatra among many others.
“Since COVID shut down production at Timber Lake, we have been looking at how we can continue to bring our productions to our patrons as well as expand our audience base around the world,” said Executive Director, Dan Danielowski. “Live stream technology is a way to put TLP productions into your homes on your television, phone, or computer.”
Recently, TLP has partnered with DePaul University to create a pilot program to live stream the world premiere musical of What a Wonderful World. JoAnne Zielinski and Wendy Roderweiss from DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts faculty will lead a team of professional crew members whose credits hale from TV shows such as “The Kominsky Method”, “Euphoria”, “How to Get Away with Murder”, and “Twenties”.
“When Broadway shut down due to COVID-19, Timber Lake Playhouse saw their industry completely halted,” said JoAnne Zielinski, Associate Professor, DePaul University. “No one knew the kind of impact it would create. Theatres scrambled to reinvent themselves and look for new opportunities to stay relevant. As a patron and supporter of Timber Lake,” said Zielinski, “I felt a real calling to initiate a conversation about the possibilities of live streaming.” Soon after, she made a connection with TLP’s Artistic Director, Paul Stancato, and the project was born.
“When people cannot be with us in person for a show, live streaming allows our patrons to still be a part of it,” said Paul Stancato, TLP Artistic Director. “We are thrilled to be working with DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts and Broadway On Demand to bring What A Wonderful World to audiences across the country.”
The goal of the pilot is to create a sustainable framework for the playhouse to live stream all productions beginning in the summer of 2022 by hiring DePaul’s film students in paid internship positions. “DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts has been successfully live streaming high-end events through their Visiting Artist Series for a decade,” said Zielinski. “We train our film students in the medium of live streaming and these internships will give our students the practical, professional experience they need in live-event production.”
What a Wonderful World was developed by Lively McCabe Entertainment of New York City in partnership with BMG. It features a book by Jeremy Desmon, an award-winning musical theatre book writer, and lyricist. Arrangements and orchestrations are by Jesse Vargas, and the show is directed by TLP Artistic Director Paul Stancato. The Live Stream will be available through Broadway on Demand at $25 per ticket. A link is provided on the TLP website.
“Over the past year and a half, TLP audiences have grown to include theatre patrons from around the country,” said Danielowski. “To be able to live stream this show will allow those new audiences, as well as our TLP summer patrons who travel to warmer climates in the winter to see this incredible World Premiere event.”
Opening night events will include a tree lighting event where the entire Front of House Forest will be decorated with thousands of lights. The lighting event will take place at 6:30 with hot chocolate, cider, and cookies available. Opening Thursday and Friday night patrons can take a ride around the TLP campus on the Christmas Trolley and Santa Claus will visit TLP before the show the entire first weekend. Pictures can be taken with Santa in the lobby before the show.
“I am excited about our new partnership with Broadway On Demand and DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts,” said Stancato. “To be able to share this wonderful experience with audiences all across the country is what the streaming space is meant for.”