Musical premieres at Main Street Players

Carole Ryan Sullivan and Leslie Gilkey team to pen musical set to debut July 27

GALENA—A new musical about adoption in nontraditional families premieres in Galena July 27. Blessings to Share was written by Carole Ryan Sullivan and Leslie Gilkey and is produced by Galena’s Main Street Players Theatre Company, of which Sullivan was co-founder.

According to Sullivan, the idea for the musical’s warm-hearted story came to her in a dream. She shared this idea with Les Gilkey, an award-winning composer who had been her music teacher at Waukegan Township High School more than four decades ago. His response: “You dream good dreams. Let’s do it!”

But collaboration presented a huge logistical problem. Sullivan lives in rural Galena, while Gilkey now lives in Indiana. Their solution: computer software that facilitates musical communication via the Internet. Sullivan wrote most of the show’s script, they both wrote songs, and Gilkey arranged and orchestrated all the music.

After a successful staged reading last summer in Galena, they have refined the show and mounted a full production for its world premiere, made possible with the support of an Illinois Arts Council grant and sponsorship from The Captain Merry, Ramada Galena, The Irish Cottage, JDWI Screen-Printing, Dick’s Piggly Wiggly and Jamie’s Wine Studio. Sullivan is directing the show, with musical direction by John Woodin and set design by Jan Lavacek.

“Can two men parent a child? Is a single mom enough?” asks Sullivan, who did considerable research on the subject of adoption before completing her script. “This musical tackles these situations and looks at the plight of vulnerable parents and children caught in the crosshairs of unscrupulous scam artists. Along the way, it takes the audience on a roller coaster of emotions, ultimately renewing our faith that when blessings are shared, love can thrive and form family bonds to last a lifetime.”

Blessings to Share performances will be July 27-29 and Aug. 3-5 at 8 p.m. at historic Turner Hall, just past the intersection of Bench and Hill streets. Ticket price is $12 for adults, $5 for children, with tickets available at the door on performance nights, or in advance from Dick’s Piggly Wiggly, the Galena River Wine & Cheese Store, the Elizabeth State Bank and Dubuque365 (1st and Main streets in Dubuque, Iowa). For more info, contact Main Street Players at (815) 777-2787.

From the July 26-Aug. 1, 2006, issue

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