News Column

All the world in Central Illinois is a stage this summer

June 5, 2014

By Dan Craft, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

June 05--Whether you prefer your summer theater al fresco or with the air conditioner running inside, there's no shortage of choices this season as Central Illinois' troupes get ready to entertain both the vacationing hordes and regular working stiffs.

Two rites of the summer theater open this weekend, beginning with Heartland Theatre's annual "10-Minute Play Festival," with the eight winning entries centered on the designated theme, "Fowl Plays," opening a month-long run Thursday.

Also on tap is the Penguin Project of McLean County's annual summer offering, featuring actors teamed with special-needs performers, "The Little Mermaid," with performances Friday through Sunday in University High School'sStroud Auditorium.

Following are thumbnail previews of all of the area's warm-weather offerings, both outdoors and in:

--Conklin's Barn II Dinner Theatre, Goodfield: "Boeing Boeing," through June 15; "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," June 19-July 27; "Is There Life After Fifty?," July 31-Sept. 14. Tickets, 309-965-2545; located a mile northeast of Goodfield.

--Community Players Theatre, Bloomington: "Shrek the Musical," July 11-27. Tickets: 309-663-2121; the indoor Players theater is at 201 Robinhood Lane.

--Corn Stock Theatre, Peoria: "Funny Girl," June 5-7; "Lost in Yonkers," June 20-28; "Guys and Dolls," July 11-19; "A Year with Frog and Toad," Aug. 1-9; "Monty Python's Spamalot," Aug. 22-30. Tickets: 309-676-2196; the outdoor venue is in Upper Bradley Park.

--Country Workshop Theatre, Cissna Park: "Boeing Boeing," June 5-15; "The Little Mermaid Jr!," July 3-13; "Bye Bye Birdie," Aug. 7-17. Tickets: 815-457-2626; the indoor stage is two miles northwest of Cissna Park, off Illinois 49.

--Heartland Theatre Company, Normal: "10-Minute Play Festival: Fowl Plays," June 5-29; "Summer in the Heartland: New One-Act Plays from the Midwest," July 18-20. Tickets: 309-452-8709; the indoor stage is at One Normal Plaza, Lincoln and Beech streets.

--High School Summer Theater, Normal: "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," June 12-22; "Oliver!," July 17-27. Tickets sold at the door only; shows are performed outdoors at the Connie Link Amphitheatre in Normal.

--Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Bloomington: "Much Ado About Nothing," "Elizabeth Rex" and "Antony and Cleopatra," in rotating reperatory, July 8-Aug. 9. Tickets: 866-IL-SHAKE; the outdoor theater is located at Ewing Manor, Towanda Avenue and Emerson Street.

--Little Theatre on the Square, Sullivan: "42nd Street," June 5-15; "Big River," June 18-29; "Little Shop or Horrors," July 2-13; "Sound of Music," July 16-27; Legally Blonde ," July 30-Aug. 10. Tickets: 217-728-7375; the indoor venue in on the downtown square.

--Miller Park Summer Theater, Bloomington: "The Music Man," July 26-Aug. 2. The outdoor theater is at the Miller Park Bandstand. Admission is free. Call 309-434-2260 for information.

--Muni Opera, Springfield: "Sound of Music," June 13-28; "All Shook Up," July 11-26; "Shrek the Musical," Aug. 8-23. Tickets: 217-793-MUNI; the outdoor theater is at 815 E. Lake Drive.

--Penguin Project, Bloomington: "The Little Mermaid," June 6-8. Ticket info: 309-434-2260; venue, University High School Stround Auditorium.

--Prairie Fire Theatre, Bloomington: TBA, July 31-Aug. 3. Tickets: 309-824-3047; venue, IWU Westbrook Auditorium.

--Streator Community Players, Streator: "Noises Off," June 15-21; "Les Miserables," July 12-19; "Seussical Jr.," Aug. 10-16. Tickets: 815-672-4066; the indoor Engle Lane Theater is located south of Illinois 18 at Streator's west edge.

--Theatre in the Park, Petersburg: "Diary of Anne Frank," June 5-7; "Footloose," June 20-28; "The Music Man," July 18-26; "Mr. Lincoln," Aug. 8-9 and 28-29; "The Pajama Game," Aug. 15-23." Tickets: 800-710-9290; the outdoor theater is at New Salem State Historic Site.

--Vermillion Players, Pontiac: "And the Winner Is ...," June 12-15; "The Wizard of Oz," July 10-13; "A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody," Aug. 7-10. Tickets: 815-844-3221; performances are indoors at the Chautauqua Park Pavilion in Pontiac'sChautauqua Park.

--Tri-County Players at Market Street Theatre, Paxton: "Once Upon a Mattress," June 20-29. Tickets: 217-579-1099; the indoor venue is at 120 N. Market St.

--U of I Krannert Center Summer Theatre, Urbana: "The Brothers Size," June 5-7; "New Short Play Festival," June 11-14. Tickets: 217-333-6280; venue, Studio Theatre in the Krannert Center.


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