Pec Playhouse unveils 2005 season

Pec Playhouse Theatre, a volunteer community theater in Pecatonica, recently announced the five productions of its 2005 season.

The all-volunteer organization was founded in 1991 by adults and students, offering one or two shows per year in the high school gym. In its 14-year history, Pec Playhouse has grown to become a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that produces five full-stage productions each year, as well as other activities, including two weeks of children’s theater camps each summer.

In 1998, the theater moved its base of operations to its present location at 314 Main St., converting a vacant granary storehouse into a 120-seat intimate and rustic performance space. Renting their location for the past six years, they have made several major improvements in the space—especially adding air conditioning and better heating in 2003, a new stage in 2002, and curtains in 2001. The latest milestone in their growth occurred last month, when Pec Playhouse Theatre purchased its theater building from its previous owners, now owning their venue—a rare commodity for community theater organizations.

Pec Playhouse Theatre’s 14th season continues the tradition of providing musicals, comedies, dramas, and holiday family favorites with the following five shows:

Feb. 4-13—Greater Tuna: A hilarious send-up of small-town mores set in Tuna, the third-smallest town in Texas, with a population of 20 wild characters and upstanding citizens. They all take the stage, but are played by only two men! This “tour-de-farce” of quick-change artistry in costumes and characterizations will keep you laughing for hours. This production is being co-produced with Beloit Civic Theatre. The show is written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard.

April 22-May 1—The Groom Said No: Steve Cameron returns home after two years in the Navy for a little rest and relaxation, only to find that Clara, the girl he left behind, is planning their wedding—with the help of their two mothers. To avoid a family upheaval, Steve invents a fake serious illness, convincing the women he needs specialized nursing care from his former Navy nurse. When Lt. Shirley Anderson arrives, it doesn’t take long for her to realize Clara is engaged to Steve. Only one problem—Steve and Shirley fell in love in the Navy. In less than no time, the girls are on one hilarious war path. The show is written by Ruth and Nathan Hale.

July 29-Aug. 14—Man of La Mancha: A winner of five Tony Awards in 1965, including Best Musical, this play-within-a-play is a poignant story of Miguel De Cervantes, a failed playwright and poet, dying as an old man in a Seville prison awaiting his trial by the Inquisition. His fellow prisoners, in a makeshift kangaroo court, propose to confiscate his incomplete manuscript of a novel called Don Quixote. Cervantes proposes to perform the story as his defense and to keep the manuscript. The “court” agrees, Cervantes transforms himself into Don Quixote, and with the help of his faithful servant and the prisoners, plays out the story. His fellow prisoners, moved by the story, return his manuscript to him, only to bid him farewell as the Inquisition summons him to his own trial. The show is written by Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh (music), and Joe Darion (lyrics)

Sept. 16-Oct. 2—Jake’s Women: Jake, a novelist who is more successful with fiction than with life, faces a marital crisis by daydreaming about the women in his life. The wildly comic and sometimes moving flashbacks played in his mind are interrupted by visitations from actual women. Among these are a revered first wife, killed years earlier in an accident; his daughter, whom he remembers as a child but is now a young woman; his boisterous and bossy sister, an opinionated analyst; his current wife, who is leaving him for another man; and a prospective third wife. Written by Neil Simon.

Nov. 18-Dec. 4—A Christmas Story: Based on the film written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark , and the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd.

Based on the beloved motion picture, this memoir of growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. He pleas before his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself, (at Goldblatt’s Department Store) get the same response: “You’ll shoot your eye out.” All the elements from the movie are here: the temperamental exploding furnace; a wet tongue frozen to a cold lamppost; the Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; the lamp shaped like a woman’s leg in a fishnet stocking; Ralphie’s fantasy scenarios; and more.

There will be no changes in performance times for their 2005 season, as well as no changes in prices for tickets or subscriptions. All performances are Fridays through Sundays on each weekend, with show times at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets will remain at $10 for adults, or $40 for a season subscription. Patrons older than 65 or younger than 18 will receive the discounted price of $8 per ticket, or $32 for a season subscription.

Contact the Pec Playhouse Theatre Box Office at 815-239-1210 for more information, or to be placed on the mailing list to receive season and performance information throughout the year. More information is also available online at

Directors needed

Pec Playhouse Theatre is also accepting applications for directors for their 2005 season productions of The Groom Said No, Man of La Mancha, Jake’s Women, and A Christmas Story. Although the ideal candidates would be individuals who are willing to volunteer their time, talent and expertise to one or more of the productions, the position of director for each show is a paid position. Other opportunities and needs exist in other key positions, such as stage managers, costumers, production managers, musical directors, and more.

Those interested in applying for director are encouraged to send a letter and résumé to: Pec Playhouse Theatre, c/o Brad Keyes, 6725 Shirland Rd., Rockton, IL 61072-9660; or call 815-629-2240 for info.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!