Illinois Theatre Association
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The Paramount Theatre
Million Dollar Quartet
7/7/17 - 10/22/17
Wed. at 1:30 pm and 7 pm
Thurs. at 7 pm, Fri. at 8 pm
Sat. at 3 pm and 8 pm
Sun. at 1 pm and 5:30 pm
Region 2: Aurora

Peoria Players Theatre
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
9/8/17 - 9/17/17
Thurs., Fri. and Sat. at 7:30 pm
Sun. at 2 pm
Region 4: Peoria

Ludlow Theatre Group
The Green Children
9/14/17 - 9/16/17
Thurs. - Sat. at 7 pm
Region 5: Champaign

Peoria Players Theatre
The Woman in Black
10/6/17 - 10/15/17
Thurs., Fri., and Sat. at 7:30 pm
Sun. at 2 pm
Region 4: Peoria

Want your performance to be featured here?  

Visit the    ITA Performance Calendar  for details.

Illinois Theatre Association

The ITA is a network of dedicated theatre artists and educators  advocating quality theatre throughout Illinois.  Please join us!

123 Mill Pond Dr.
Glendale Heights, IL  60139
312-265-5922 (office)
312-265-6101 (fax)


The Illinois Theatre 
Association is partially 
supported by a grant from 
the Illinois Arts Council, 
a state agency.  

ITA's Red Carpet Gala a Success!

On August 26th, 70 members of the ITA, friends of the theatre community, award recipients and their guests gathered at the Harper College's Wojcik Conference Center in Palatine to celebrate the value of theatre in our lives. 

The event featured a red carpet entrance set in front of large glass windows overlooking a pond, with all guests being photographed in front of the ITA backdrop, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, dessert, and an awards ceremony honoring outstanding achievements in theatre throughout the state.

The centerpieces for the event were fabulous, with each one featuring a specific Broadway show. As guests checked in, they were provided a special ticket and assigned the task of "looking for their show." The "show tables," included: "Hair," "The Book of Mormon," "Les Miserables," "Jekyll and Hyde," and more.

Adding perfect ambience to the event was background music provided by accomplished pianist Andrew Blendermann ( Andrew delighted the group by playing a wide variety of show tunes , taking requests, and adding fun, improvisational pieces in between award recipients' speeches, which were inspirational and extremely gracious.

Jonathan Meier, ITA Secondary School Theatre Division Board Representative served as our wonderful emcee and engaged the audience with his charm and humor. 

A particular highlight of the evening was when Jonathan looked out in the crowd
and saw Paramount Theatre's Jim Corti. He asked Jim if he remembered choreographing the first dance of a wedding for Jonathan and his bride, Jill Meier, ___ (mumbling) "many" years ago. Jim immediately jumped up shouting, "YES!" He ran to Jill's table and gave her a hug. The audience cheered!

The evening concluded with numerous pictures being taken of friends being reacquainted, new friends made, and celebrations of the award winners.

Several "die-hards" of the evening then ventured out to the Wyndham Garden hotel in Schaumburg for an after-glow celebration, which featured a salsa dancing lesson, cocktails, and more conversation.

For those interested in staying in touch with us regarding next year's Gala, or if you'd like to view photos from the event, please join our Gala Group on Facebook!


On August 27, ITA Members and guests gathered at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Schaumburg to participate in ITA's Annual Meeting, which featured a keynote presentation by Paramount Theatre's Artistic Director, Jim Corti, and a wonderful surprise guest appearance by Paramount's Shannon Cameron. Corti and Cameron enthusiastically shared their plans for creating an education program at Paramount and engaged the group in dynamic conversations about cultivating audiences, exploring diversity, and recognition of the arts.

Allan Kimball, ITA Board President, then presented the annual "State of the Association Address."

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes...
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear...
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes...
How do you measure - measure a year in the life of an ITA member?

In workshops - in Festivals
In Professional Auditions - in Kevin Long's cups of coffee
In members joining - in miles driven
In laughter - in service

After taking a look back at those five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes of exciting activities in the ITA, Kimball reported that the  ITA currently has an active membership of 525 theatre  artists  throughout the state! He concluded with:

It has been an honor to serve as your President for the Illinois Theater Association this year. I offer immense thanks to all members of the 2017-18 Board of Directors for all of your diligence, vision and thoughtfulness, you have been an inspiring group to work with.

I know I speak for our Board of Directors when I also offer thanks and gratitude to Aimee-Lynn Newlan, the ITA's Executive Director. Her passion for this organization shines through everything she touches, and she continues to help the association's work resound throughout the state.

And a final thanks to you,  to every member of the ITA for your continued support and loyalty to this organization. Without you we could not continue to grow.
Again, to quote RENT, "NO DAY BUT TODAY!"

So let us take today and everyday  to celebrate our association and our dedication to Theatre in Illinois.

(To view this presentation, and see move coverage of the Gala and meeting, simply visit ITA's Facebook Group Page and scroll down in the thread!)

The Illinois Theatre Association 
Recognizes Excellence in Theatre!

College/University Theatre:
Cyndee Brown

Community Theatre: Jessi Hersman

Creative Drama:
Center for
Creative Arts Therapy (Azizi Marshall)

Professional Theatre: Molly Hernandez

Secondary School Theatre: Patricia Cheney

Theater Unspeakable (Marc Frost)

Extraordinary Contributions to IHSTF: Cyndee Brown

Anne Thurman Mentorship Award: Donna Stone

Award of Honor: Paramount Theatre
(Jim Corti)

Award of Honor:
Stephen Leaver

We are thrilled to announce this year's Board of Directors!

Allan Kimball

Kevin Long

First Vice-President:
Jolaine Orlin

Second Vice-President: Carmel DeStefano

Amelia Kmiec

Gregory Tullis
College/University Theatre
John Curran
Richard Arnold
Community Theatre
James Crow
Don Shandrow

Creative Drama
Susan Antman
Elisabeth Westphal 
Professional Theatre
Reginald Edmund
Joan McGrath

Secondary School Theatre
Beth Ann Barber
Britnee Kenyon

Peggy Hupp
Cassandra Quinn

For those leaving the Board this past year, 

Dinah Barthelmess, Christopher Kidder-Mostrom, 
Jonathan Meier, Kathy Missel, Faye Ryan, Jeremy Schaefer, and Kurt Steinhauser

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by Don Shandrow, Community Theatre Rep.

Sam Cook, one of our theatre's most dedicated volunteers and a leader on our production staff, passed away June 7th of this year. On his Facebook page, there is a comment he posted earlier this spring when he started developing healt h problems, "I'm 23 years old and got a full life to live." Within three months Sam had passed away. It was unexpected and quick. But the impact of his dedication on our theatre company will continue with us.  As our Production Stage manager said, "Sam was dedicated to theatre in ways most theatre people just talk about.

Sam came to New Route Theatre in 2014 on the recommendation of a high school drama teacher, Susan Cortesi. She considered herself his "Drama Mama" and wanted to make sure he was established in a local theatre. He became a leader on our production staff and our master electrician. In the three years that he was with us he was involved in all of our productions and festivals, and served on the board of directors tracking inventory.

Some ITA members may recognize him from the Illinois Community Theatre Festival in Streator this last Fall. Not only did he work New Route Theatre's production of Suppos'd to,but he was also asked to assist in the Festival, and attended all of the tech workshops. Wherever he was, he offered to help. He had the true heart of a committed volunteer and was always ready to serve.

Everything Sam did was with full effort. He gave himself completely to whatever he chose to do. Less than a month before he passed, even though he wasn't feeling well, he volunteered to work our Voices of Pride new play festival. He gave of himself fully throughout his life. It was no surprise, at his funeral, to hear his coworkers and other organizations he was working with talk about a young man who gave the same level of energy and enthusiasm to every aspect of his life.  

Most theatres are families and a loss of any member of a part of that family hurts the whole family. ITA is also a family. A family of theatre practitioners from across Illinois. We are connected by our larger mission and any loss is a loss that should be shared. Any celebration is a also a cause for sharing.

Please let ITA know of any life changing events that have happened in your local theater family. These are events that need to be shared. Theatre is about relationships and the ITA wants to be a place where you can celebrate as well as mourn. We want you to share. We "got a full life to live" so let's share it.

To share a Community of Life Event with the ITA, be sure to click on the "Submit an Announcement" link (found in the Quick Link section of this newsletter, and in each of our Friday Finds). 

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by John Curran,  College/University Theatre Rep.

This year I've been seriously considering the practice of collaborating.  I remember my years as a college student preparing to be a professional sculptor.  Compared to my work now as a theatrical artist, studio work was a fairly lonely experience.  "The Idea Island" is what one of my Art colleagues calls it.  Just you stranded with your idea.  At the core of theatre is the idea of collaboration and I've found that suits me very well.  What little I give up in my individual "vision" as an artist, I regain threefold in the shared experience.  Honestly, sharing the road with other artists lightens the burden as well.

In theatre we know what it is to collaborate.  Most of the folks I work with have their stack of stories about the value of working together.  Even if the experience is always perfect, I suspect in our own schools we all do a pretty good job of working together to make the magic.  But can we take that experience beyond our walls and make an even bigger impact?

With our current financial situation in the state, we've all been thinking about ways to creatively keep our programs afloat.  Considering our expertise at collaborating, I went on a research binge to try to find some great examples so schools working together.  I'm still search.  I haven't found much, especially when it comes to different theatre programs collaborating.  I think this may be an untapped resource we should all consider.  Imagine what we could accomplish bringing together our collected expertise and experiences.

One article that really stood out to me is from The Chronicle of Higher Education.  If you do not have access to these articles, they may be available through your library.  Although it only briefly discusses theatre schools collaborating, it does give some very interesting examples of schools working together sharing resources. Click here for the article.

For another fine example of external collaboration can be found in an exciting co-production between Northwestern and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival click here.

So what do you think?  Should we collaborate more between schools?  Put aside the traditional isolation and competition and find some new ways to come together for the benefit of our students and programs.  I'll get the ball rolling: 

"Hi.  I'm John from Aurora University.  My specialty is technical theatre and design.  I also have an extensive background in large scale sculpture and computer design.  How can my experience blend with yours?  How can we help each other?"

Happy collaborating everyone!

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by Kenneth L. Chumbley

The Green Children is a new, original musical based on my book of the same name, which is the Literary Classics Enchanted Page Award winner for 2017 (for best children's storybook). The book/play is based on a 12th-century English legend about the green children of Woolpit. I took the legend and turned it into a sort of Celtic Wizard of Oz. 
There are 12 songs that utilize traditional Celtic melodies (e.g., Sally Gardens, Star of the County Down, Ash Grove, Slane, etc.). There is a big Riverdance reel in Act I involving gnomes, brownies and hobgoblins (the lead dancer is the current Irish dance world champion in the 18-yr-old category). There are some enchantments that fit seamlessly into the context of the story. And there is a great story involving laughs, high jinks, suspense, friendship, courage, and love. The principle singers are drawn from the Lyric Theater program at the University of Illinois. A five-piece ensemble, Kathleen's Awl, provides all the accompaniment. 
People have asked me if there are any scary parts? Of course there are! The bad guy's name is Squire Scrum, how could there not be some scary parts? But the scare is the good kind of scare that children like. I agree with C. S. Lewis on this. Kids are going to meet scary things in life, and since they are, "let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage." There are no knights in the play, but ther
 a cast rehearsal pic; Colleen Bruton, staring as Blossom, the green girl; and John Brenton Strauss starring as Bud, the green boy.
e are some brave Otherfolk who live in the forest of Ballybogey!
Seven shows are scheduled for September 13-17 at the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre at Parkland College in Champaign. The first three shows are daytime shows and area schools are sending students. These three are already sold out. The evening shows are Sept. 14-16. @ 7 PM each evening; the final show is a Sunday matinee on Sept. 17 at 2:00 PM. All tickets on the 14th are $10; all other shows are $20 reserved and $10 general. 
I and my coauthor, Jim McGuiggan of Belfast, Northern Ireland, are sole owners of the show. We're hoping other theaters (junior high, high school, and community) will want to consider staging the show. If any theater owner or manager would like to come to a performance, they can contact me and get a 50% discount on their ticket. 
Two of our brownies, Faun and Flora, were on local TV a couple weeks ago: here's a clip of them singing one of the songs from the show. I defy you to watch this and not smile.