When people look at old images of the building, they usually comment that it looks so picturesque "just like a castle." Another frequent response: "What a shame we were not more architecturally sensitive" in the early 1960s when "that lovely, massive Romanesque structure fell to the wrecking ball." They are referring to the stately, elegant structure known as the Scoville Institute, Oak Park's first library.
I've seen a lot of productions at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn the past couple of years, but their latest one, Broken Fences, is definitely one of the best. I wish everyone could experience this touching, insightful play. Though it's not a comedy, it's often very funny.
Frankly, I feel a little weird writing about my new book, Legendary Locals of Oak Park, just released by Arcadia Publications. Chatting about my work in these pages is obviously self-serving, but it wasn't my idea.
I was not fully prepared for the new show enjoying its world premiere at Open Door Repertory Company called "Clara," by McKinley Johnson. I knew it was about Clara Ward (1924-1973), a gifted and hugely successful gospel artist of the mid-20th Century, but I guess I was anticipating either a musical revue or a dramatized history lesson.
BRAVO! is an acronym for the Band, Repertoire, Art, Vocal, and Orchestra. The fine arts department at Brooks provides learning opportunities in the arts all year long — workshops, concerts, assemblies, and musicals. "Bravo" is the summer musical theater program. The popular summer camp program provides rigorous, intense experience for the students, ranging from improvisational acting, costuming and theatrical make-up to script development, scenic design and dance.
Opening night of Oak Park Festival Theatre's Amadeus was threatened by impending predicted showers but the rain held off until literally the last lines of dialogue were being delivered. Talk about a show-biz miracle! This classy, riveting production was savored by a large, receptive audience; not one person left early despite the ominous distant rumblings of thunder.
Local restaurateur Charlie Robinson learned his 200-year-old barbecue recipe from his grandfather while growing up in the Mississippi Delta. It's been passed down in his family for, he estimates, 14 generations.
The current production at Open Door Theater, Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts, premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre four seasons ago. This entertaining cross-racial, cross-generational comedy celebrates the power of love and friendship. It is also definitely a Chicago play with an unmistakable local feel and mood. Insightful director Mary Pat Sieck and her cast of nine actors bring out the realism and the humor in this bittersweet comedy.