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Community theater brings out the musicals for summer

“Cabaret” is be performed Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theater.  |   Submitted photo

“Cabaret” is to be performed at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theater. | Submitted photo

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NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE

♦ ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

♦ June 28 to 30 and July 5 to 7

♦ Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville

♦ Tickets, $10-$15

♦ (630) 637-7469

Northcentralcollege.edu/showtix

BRIGHTSIDE THEATRE

♦ ‘Rent’

♦ June 14-30

♦ Meiley-Swallow Hall at North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville

♦ Tickets, $20-$24

♦ (630) 637-7469

Northcentralcollege.edu/showtix

FOX VALLEY REPERTORY

♦ ‘Why do Fools Fall in Love?’

♦ To July 28

♦ Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles

♦ Tickets, $42-$32

♦ (630) 584-6342

Ticketmaster.com, foxvalleyrep.org

LATITUDE 41

♦ ‘Cabaret’

♦ June 14-23

♦ Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theater, 201 W. Jefferson St., Joliet

♦ Tickets, $10-$12

♦ (815) 724-3760

Bicentennialpark.org

PROGRESSIVE VILLAGE PERFORMANCE NETWORK

♦ ‘Annie’

♦ June 21-23, 28-30

♦ Westmont High School, 909 N. Oakwood Ave., Westmont

♦ Tickets, $10-$13

♦ (630) 969-8080

http://pvpn.weebly.com

NATURAL TALENT PRODUCTIONS AND ONESTI ENTERTAINMENT

♦ ‘Seussical the Musical’

♦ July 19-21 and 27-28

♦ Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles

♦ Tickets, $10-$15

♦ (630) 962-7000

Naturaltalentproductions.com

WMC PRODUCTIONS

♦ ‘School House Rock Live’

♦ July 12-14 and July 19-21

♦ Warrenville Park District, 3S240 Warren Ave., Warrenville

♦ Tickets, $10-$12

wmcproductions.org

FIRST FOLIO THEATRE

♦ ‘Shakespeare’s Cymbeline: A Folk Tale with Music’

♦ June 22 to July 21

♦ Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook

♦ Tickets, $26-$37

♦ (630) 986-8067

Firstfolio.org

WHEATON DRAMA PLAYHOUSE II

♦ ‘Broadway Gems: Musicals You Might Have Missed’

♦ Aug. 9-11

♦ 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton

♦ Tickets, $10

♦ (630) 260-1820

wheatondrama.org

SUMMER PLACE THEATER

♦ ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

♦ June 28-30 and July 12-14

♦ ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!’

♦ July 26 –Aug. 4

♦ Naperville Central High School, 440 W. Aurora Ave., Naperville

♦ Tickets, $10-$17

♦ (630) 355-7969

Summerplacetheatre.org

JOLIET DRAMA GUILD

♦ ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

♦ Aug. 16-18, 23-25

♦ Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theater, 201 W. Jefferson St., Joliet

♦ Tickets, $13-$15

♦ (877) 534-1933

jolietdramaguild.org

MORRIS THEATRE GUILD

♦ ‘Rent’

♦ July 19-21 & 26-28

♦ 516 W. Illinois Ave., Morris

♦ Tickets, $10-$15

♦ (815) 942-1966

Morristheatreguild.com

PHILIP LYNCH THEATRE

♦ ‘Legally Blonde’

♦ July 19-21, 25-28

♦ Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville

♦ Tickets, $11-$12

♦ (815) 836-5500

Lewisu.edu/plt

THEATRE-ON-THE-HILL

♦ Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center, 375 W. Briarcliff Road, Bolingbrook

♦ ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ June 28-29, July 5-7, 12-14

♦ ‘Zenobia the Musical,’ Aug. 15 and Aug. 30-Sept. 1

♦ (630) 908-2538

tothbolingbrook.com

FOOTLIGHTERS THEATRE COMPANY

♦ ‘The Music Man’

♦ July 25-Aug. 4

♦ Prairie Lakes Community Center, 515 E. Thacker St, Des Plaines

www.dpparks.org

CIRCLE THEATRE

♦ ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

♦ Aug. 8-11 and 15-18

♦ 1010 Madison St., Oak Park

♦ Tickets, $15

♦ (708) 660-9540

circle-theatre.org

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Updated: June 21, 2013 4:59AM



Don’t be surprised if you find yourself hearing music this summer.

Community theater groups generally wait for summer to trot out the big musical productions with plenty of song and dance. It’s a season when amateur thespians have more time to devote to learning, rehearsing and performing in a big show.

This summer is no different, except that you’ll find newer productions like “Legally Blonde” and “Rent” sprinkled in amongst classics such as “Cabaret” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

BrightSide Theater in Naperville is staging Jonathon Larson’s Pulitzer and Tony Award winning “Rent” June 14-30 at the Meiley-Swallow Hall at North Central College. It is a full production, complete with costumes, lights, sets and a six-piece rock band.

Director Jeffrey Ross of Chicago is excited to bring “Rent” to the western suburbs.

“I think the universal message of the show is the draw and the appeal — unconditional love and living life in the moment and to its fullest,” he said. “The story is about people who aren’t related who come together and create their own family.

If you’ve seen the movie, be prepared to hear some new music. There are some songs that are in the stage production that aren’t in the movie. If you haven’t seen either, “Rent” is based on Puccini’s” La Boheme,” and tells the story of a group of friends in New York City who are impoverished young artists and musicians living in the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

“Rent” isn’t your typical shiny, happy summer musical. There’s sickness and death and plenty of human suffering. Yet, it strikes a chord with a generation, and might attract new theater-goers, he said.

“’The Music Man’ and ‘Oklahoma’ are great, but I come across so many people who say, ‘I don’t do musicals, but I love ‘Rent,’” he said. “It’s in its own little category of rock opera, and there are not many rock operas.”

Expect a high-energy, entertaining evening, he said.

“You will be moved and inspired by the story of these kids’ lives,” he said. “It is the story of surviving in the world and finding those friends you call a family, and accepting each other and unconditional love. That’s the power of the story.”

Performances will be 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through June 30 in the Theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall at North Central College.

‘Cabaret’

Meanwhile, Latitude 41, Joliet’s newest theater troupe, is mounting the classic “Cabaret” June 14 to 22 at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theater in Joliet.

“It’s got everything you’re looking for in a show,” said director Ryan Flynn of Homer Glen. “It’s got the big, beautiful musical numbers; the big, sweeping story. But at its core, it’s got these great characters you can’t help but get attached to, and that’s really what everyone wants in a story. You like pizzazz and you love the music, but you need those characters. And that’s why it’s a great show.”

Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, “Cabaret” tells the story of a young English woman singing at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and her relationship with a young American writer.

Performances are at 7 p.m. June 14, 15, 21 and 22; and 2 p.m. June 15 and 23.

He’s thrilled with his cast and predicts they will knock it out of the park.

“I hope people are thoroughly entertained in every way,” he said. “I hope the show really has a strong impact. It has those big musical numbers, but it also has a strong heart. So I hope people walk away from the show really feeling like they’ve had a full theatrical experience.”

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

Also at North Central College this summer is a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Six performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. June 28 and 29 and July 5 and 6 and at 2 p.m. June 30 and July 7 at North Central College.

Susan Craig-Olsen, choreographer and director of the production, of Naperville said an entire generation and more has grown up with the score.

“The rock riffs are unforgettable,” she said via email. “Although it technically is not the first rock musical, it was and remains one of the most popular due to, in my opinion, the music, the emotions explored by the characters, and the subject matter — the greatest story ever told.”

“Jesus Christ Superstar” became a smash hit Broadway musical in its 1971 debut. Both critically and publicly acclaimed, it received five Tony Award nominations in 1972, including Best Original Score.

Audiences should expect to see a rock concert-inspired production with full lights, sets and costumes, live orchestra and a cast of 65, she said. The cast includes area residents as well as more than two dozen North Central students and alumni, she said.

“They will hear all the amazing rock riffs of the original album,” she said. “The score is not easy — the high notes, rock sound and dramatic intensity could not be easily pulled off by just anyone.”

With the story is a box with other musicals happening this summer.



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