Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eastlight Theatre "20 for 20" Capital Campaign

The following is from Eastlight Theatre's Executive Director:

Can you believe Eastlight Theatre is 20 years old? In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we have a tremendous 2011 Season lined up for you that includes 3 Tony Award winning Best Musicals - "Avenue Q," "Hairspray," and "Phantom and the Opera," April's regional premiere "Xanadu" and the seasonal favorite "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Over the past 20 years, Eastlight Theatre has provided some of the Peoria area's best quality shows and we would like to continue to do just that for the next 20. To that extent, we have embarked on a capital campaign to raise $20,000 in honor of our 20th Anniversary and we are asking for your support. Would you consider making a tax deductible donation to our "20 for 20" Campaign? If every Eastlight Patron in your family would donate at least $20, we would easily reach our goal. Every dollar donated to Eastlight Theatre also benefits East Peoria Community High School, so your donation serves a dual purpose!

You will quickly see your donation be put to use for our 2011 Season, as our goals in raising money include:

New smart lights to enhance stage lighting.
Specialty needs for this season's shows such as puppets for "Avenue Q" and specialized set pieces such as a chandelier and a boat for "Phantom of the Opera."
Upgrading Byron Moore auditorium electrical wiring, benefiting both Eastlight and EPCHS
Many more items that enhance the quality of shows we perform for you at Eastlight Theatre.
If you are willing to participate, please fill out the 20 for 20 campaign form by clicking here. Your donation can be mailed to Eastlight Theatre, Attn: "20 for 20", PO Box 8055, East Peoria, IL 61611. As Eastlight Theatre is a Not-for-Profit organization, your employer may provide matching funds for your donation. Please contact the Eastlight Box Office if you need a Matching Funds Form. Thank you so much for your support!

We are also looking for Show Sponsors and video advertisers for our 2011 Season. Please contact Campaign Manager, Robin Hunt at 648-4383 or if you or your business would be interested in more information about this opportunity.

With gratitude,
Steve Cordle
Executive Director


Sunday, May 15, 2011

May Poetry Corner

My Thoughts
- Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev

Why did you come, my thoughts, in instant,
Like thieves to rob my quiet habitation,
Like vultures, gloomy and malignant,
With thirst for dread retaliation.

My hopes are gone, and ran away my visions,
My eyes were opened by fierce agitation,
And, in the sacred books of new religions,
I read my words, my deals and plans for future actions.

For that, that I with looks so calm and quiet,
Watched them who sailed to victory and glory,
That with my lips I touched the lips in fire,
Which did not have the former sinning story,

That those hands of mine, my own fingers,
Didn’t know a plough, were so thin and pliant,
And that my songs, the rambling meistersingers,
Could only sing, while making a sad sound,

For all this now came repudiation.
Blind men will smash the gentle, deceptive temple,
And thoughts will come into my habitation,
And strangle me, like thieves – a shabby tramper.


Friday, May 6, 2011

- Theater Review - The Drowsy Chaperone

Peoria Players Theater closes out their regular 2010-2011 season with the regional premiere of "The Drowsy Chaperone".

This play within a play is one of my current favorites. It is a brilliant musical for people who love musicals.
The entire play takes place in the apartment of the nameless Man In Chair. This is a character with whom it is easy for me to identify, having spent many nights in my life remedying "the blues" by losing myself in a Broadway cast album.

I am fortunate to have seen this show professionally, once with Georgia Engel, who originated the role of Mrs. Tottendale on Broadway.

Having such a fondness for the show, I was somewhat nervous to see it undertaken by a local amateur group.

Well, I am pleased to say that not only does Peoria Players rise to the occasion, they knock this one completely out of the park!

Under Mike Ream's flawless direction, the cast delivers a wonderful and memorable evening that will take you back to the glorious days of the Busby Berkeley-style musicals.

As the curtain rises we meet Man In Chair, who is feeling somewhat blue and decides to spend the evening listening to one of his favorite cast albums, a 1920's musical called "The Drowsy Chaperone".

As he listens, the musical comes alive in his living room.
This play within the play is about a wedding hosted at the home of Mrs. Tottendale, a ditzy and eccentric woman with her servant Underling always in tow.
The bride is Broadway star, Janet Van De Graaf, who is at the peak of her career yet ready to give it all up to marry Robert Martin, the wealthy son of an oil baron.
Janet's producer is on hand to try to stop the wedding and keep his revenue-producing star.

The extensive cast also includes a pair of mobsters posing as pastry chefs, a shrill chorus girl who wants to replace Janet, best man George, Latin Lothario Adolfo, and of course the chaperone accompanying the bride.
The Chaperone loves her drink, even though it tends to make her "drowsy".

The plot soon becomes complicated and involved, moved along by some of the most clever and delightful songs you are likely to hear.

The cast here is uniformly good.

Nate Downs is quite simply perfect as Man In Chair.
Molly Smith wows as Janet. She sings, dances. juggles, does cartwheels, and generally "shows off" in this role. That signature number is worth the ticket price in itself.
Not to be out done, Jacob Hazzard as her groom, also sings, dances, and even roller skates blindfolded!
Barb Couri perfectly captures the essence of the title character. Her rendition of "As We Stumble Along" is wonderful.
Also delightful is Jim Willard as Underling. His deadpan performance is a comedic classic.
Steve Bartolotti wrings every bit of comedy out of his larger than life portrayal of Aldolpho. His performance is as good as I have seen in this role.
Katie McLuckie as Kitty and Matt Stubbs and Robert Pugh as the Tall Brothers are all great, as is Dave Montague as George.

Kudos to Mr.Reams and the entire cast for ending their season with such a bang.

I will go as far as to say that "The Drowsy Chaperone" is the best show that I have seen on the Players' stage in ...well, ever.

In the end, this show "does what a musical is supposed to do. It takes you to another world and it gives you a little tune to carry in your head when you're feeling blue..."

The show runs this weekend and next (through May 15th) at the theater in Lakeview Park.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grand Tour 2011

The Grand Tour 2011 will be held Sunday May 15th from noon til 5pm.
Featured homes are:

1723 West Moss - (Jan Krause)

301 NE Madison - (Peoria Women's Club)

802 N Sheridan  #A-3 - (Paula Sepich and Richard Elam)

802 N Sheridan  #A-1 - (Ron Homan)

201 West Columbia Terrace - (David Stotz, George Traylor)

802 West Moss - (Stacey Robertson, Tom Thurston)

1118 N Glenwood - (Sue Nowland)

Tickets: $12 in advance or $15 the day of the tour.
Tickets can be purchased at the following area locations: Sterling Flower Shoppe, Marilyn's Bow K, Floral Expressions, Geier Florist, The Olde Hair Shoppe, Rhythm Kitchen, Best Buds and Haddad's Restaurant at 319 Main St.