Beverly Theatre Guild celebrates with ‘Fabulous @ Fifty’
By Jessi Virtusio firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @JessiVirtusio May 15, 2013 4:14PM
Tom Fagan (left) gives notes to Beverly Theatre Guild's "Fabulous @ Fifty" opening-number performers Eileen Cosgrove Casey (from right), Wayne Wendell, Janis Dignan, Karen VanDevelde, Julie Spencer, Jim Seeberg and Susie Giampaolo. | Glenn Hering photo
♦ 8 p.m. May 18, 2 p.m. May 19 (the May 17 gala and show is sold out)
♦ The Morgan Park Academy Arts Center, 2153 W. 111th St., Chicago
♦ Tickets, $20
♦ (773) 284-8497;
Updated: June 18, 2013 7:05AM
Southland theater fans are spoiled — in a good way.
Not only can they travel to downtown Chicago for a number of Broadway shows, but they also have a bevy of close-by community theater.
Case in point is the Beverly Theatre Guild, which is billed as the oldest community theater group in Chicago.
“We truly love the theater in every aspect and we want to support our mission to constantly put up quality productions and embrace the community,” said Barbara Moore, a Tinley Park resident who is the guild’s publicity director.
“There’s a love of the theater. There’s just something about it.”
The Beverly Theatre Guild has roots dating to 1929 as a program of the Chicago Park District at the Ridge Park fieldhouse.
On May 17, 1963, the troupe officially launched with “The Desk Set” at what was then St. Xavier College (now St. Xavier University) in Chicago.
Although Moore wasn’t a member when the guild debuted, she was a longtime fan and officially became a member in 1980.
“We always knew about the Beverly Theatre Guild since we lived in Beverly and enjoyed their shows,” the Evergreen Park native said.
“I auditioned for ‘The Fantasticks’ and got the part as the Mute and haven’t been quiet since. It’s the hardest role I ever had.”
All joking aside, Moore is serious about keeping the guild going.
She is part of a committee with Emil Zabella, Cheryl Cooper and Bonnie Ryniec that planned May 17’s “Fabulous @ Fifty” gala.
Although the gala is sold out, tickets are available for productions of the show on May 18-19 at Morgan Park Academy’s Arts Center.
“It’s basically remembering where the guild came from. Nostalgia is fabulous,” Moore said.
“There are young people in there, too. It brought back many people who have not been on stage to again give their love and contributions on stage.”
“Fabulous @ Fifty” also will feature Liz Kearney singing the title song from her late mother Carol Kearney’s “My Home, My Heart, My Ireland.”
♦ Elaborating on Entertainment, blogs.southtownstar.com/entertainment, has more from Barbara Moore in the topic titled “Theater: Beverly Theatre Guild’s 50th anniversary.”