Feb. 10 marked the beginning of Pec Playhouse Theatres 2006 season, its 15th year of producing quality plays and musicals. Next up on the schedule is Death by Chocolate April 21-30.
Although nestled in rural Illinois in nearby Pecatonica, Pec Playhouse has attracted a patron base that extends across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Pec Playhouse was founded in 1991 by adults and students wanting to provide more theater opportunities to the communities, offering one or two plays per year in the high school gym.
In the 15 years, Pec Playhouse has expanded to more than 40 performances of five productions per year, added a two-week childrens theater summer camp, doubled the size of its board of directors, and obtained its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
The venue is a vacant granary storehouse at 314 Main St. in Pecatonica, which Pec Playhouse converted into an intimate and rustic120-seat performance space in 1998, and through the years added a stage, used seats, curtains and air conditioning.
In late 2004, Pec Playhouse purchased the building from their former landlords, making them one of the few community theater organizations to own their own space.
The next major improvement to their venue occurred in March, when they replaced 120 1950s-era seats with larger and more comfortable ones. Normally an expensive undertaking, this upgrade came with little cost to the theater, thanks to the generosity and cooperation of Rockford Memorial Hospital, which replaced the seats in their auditorium in January, and donated the used seats to the theater.
What follows is a list of remaining 2006 productions at Pec Playhouse Theatre:
April 21-30Death by Chocolate, by Paul Freed. A classic murder mystery with outlandish characters. Which one of the staff of the Meadowbrook Health Resort is guilty of poisoning the box of chocolates?
July 28-Aug. 13Mrs. Bob Cratchits Wild Christmas Binge, by Christopher Durang. The classic Dickens story turned upside down with nonsense and absurdity thrown in. A giant bowl of Christmas cheer with a dash of Bah! Humbug!
Sept. 22-Oct. 8The Runner Stumbles, by Milan Stitt. Set in rural Michigan in 1911, Father Rivard, who has fallen in love with a young nun, now finds himself on trial for her murder.
Nov. 17-Dec. 3Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas, based on the books by Robert Fulgham. A collection of 15 stories to give you a chance to laugh at the craziness of the holiday, yet also drives home the message of the season.
Performances will be Fridays through Sundays each weekend with showtimes as follows: Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 p.m. Saturday 2 p.m. matinees are also scheduled for Forum and the last two weeks of the year. Prices are $10 for all seats, or $40 for a season subscription.
Contact the Pec Playhouse Theatre Box Office at 239-1210 for more information, or to be placed on their mailing list to receive season and performance information throughout the year. More information is available online at www.pecplayhouse.org.
From the April 19-25, 2006, issue