Doug Deuchler has been reviewing local theater and delving into our history for Wednesday Journal for decades. He is alsoa retired teacher and school librarian who is also a stand-up comic, tour guide/docent and author of several books about Oak Park and surrounding communities. Here's your chance to tap into Doug's knowledge of local theater, film and history.
Oak Park Festival Theatre's 41st season opened this past weekend with a moving, heartfelt production of Christopher Sergel's dramatic version of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most studied and revered books of the 20th century. This outdoor staging in Austin Gardens on Forest Avenue just north of Lake Street is a real triumph. The performances are riveting and the story still packs a wallop.
People who don't have a long relationship with Oak Park often think that the community has always provided a classic example of racial integration. I have new young neighbors who were shocked to hear about the fear and upheaval of the 1960s — an era of blockbusting and panic-peddling, a time of white flight and rapidly "changing" neighborhoods on the West Side.
Open Door Repertory Theater's world premiere of improv actress and comedienne Mary Olivieri's one-woman show, Sex is Painful ... and Other Lessons My Mother Taught Me, played to an enthusiastic full house, May 7, which gave her performance a standing ovation.
The Artists of Concordia Theatre have mounted an outrageous, hilarious, and thoroughly enjoyable production of Monty Python's Spamalot. This hugely irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend gets sillier and sillier as the show progresses.
The award-winning tour in which costumed interpreters portray assorted "residents" of the 140-year-old Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park at their grave sites has been a very popular event for two decades.