Starmites set for Feb. 21-22

The Rockford Public School District is set to present its fourth all-city theater production Starmites Feb. 21-22 at Coronado Theatre in downtown Rockford.

Starmites is a musical of science fiction and fantasy involving a teen-age girl who spends her free time wrapped up in her favorite comic books and her imagination.

The musical is packed with dialogue, dance and music, all performed by Rockford Public School students in grades 2-12.

Auditions for the musical began in October 2005. “We had over 400 kids audition from different schools,” said LuAnn Widergren, fine arts coordinator for the Rockford Public School District. “Financially, we could only afford about 100 kids.”

Due to a lack of a federal Department of Education grant, the budget for this year’s production was greatly reduced.

“Rockford Area Arts Council has given us a grant, and I’m waiting on two other grants to see if we got them or not,” Widergren said. “The arts community is very much involved in this.”

Stepping forward to help were YouthBuild Rockford, Rockford Area Arts Council, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, New American Theater, Rockford College, Rock Valley College and Northern Illinois University.

YouthBuild was one of the larger contributors, donating a warehouse where the students set up the stage for rehearsal.

Parents of the students have assisted by making T-shirts and posters.

“We also have some generous parents who have helped out a lot,” Widergren said. “It’s so large and there’s so many things, you almost have to have a lot of people to help.”

Widergren thinks this type of exposure to the arts is a tremendous educational experience for the students both academically and socially.

“I think there’s a lot of learning that you just couldn’t learn in a classroom,” Widergren said.

Starmites will be at Coronado Theatre, 314 N. Main St., Feb. 21-22. An evening show for the public is set for 7 p.m. both nights. Tickets are available at the MetroCentre Box Office: 968-5222 or online at

From the Feb. 15-21, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!