J.R. Sullivan’s Hometown Holiday returns Dec. 10-12

From press release

J.R. Sullivan’s Hometown Holiday, the popular music and theater holiday show produced and presented by Sullivan from 1994 to 2008, returns to downtown Rockford’s Sullivan Center Dec. 10-12 on the stage named for Sullivan himself, the New Sullivan Theater. The new show, returning after a one-year absence, will be presented by the Coronado Performing Arts Center, in association with Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts.

Musicians and vocalists Megon McDonough, Randy Sabien and Shawn Wallace return to the Hometown Holiday company, joined for the first time by actress/singer Marcella Rose Sciotto. Actors Linda Abronski and Stephen F. Vrtol will again be featured in the show’s comedy segments, while actor Daniel Patrick Sullivan is slated to appear as well.

Wishing to continue a holiday tradition of shows for the Christmas season, a tradition he had established for the Rockford area’s New American Theater audiences, J.R. Sullivan first partnered with Charlotte’s Web in 1994 and Hometown Holiday began in downtown Rockford’s Memorial Hall, continuing in the upstairs auditorium of the museum until 2006.

Hometown Holiday performances began taking place at the former home of Rockford’s New American Theater with Sullivan’s 14th and 15th annual productions of the show, in 2007 and 2008. Popularly known as NAT, New American Theater was established by J.R. Sullivan in 1972. He continued to lead the company in its steady progress to success and ultimate national recognition for 22 seasons.

In 1994, Sullivan departed from the company to realize new opportunities in national regional theater as well as in New York City. After 15 seasons of free-lance direction for companies as diverse as the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among many others, as well as working as associate artistic director for the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Sullivan was named the new artistic director of the Pearl Theatre Company in New York in 2009.

The 2010 Hometown Holiday marks the first time Sullivan’s production will be presented on the stage named for him in honor of his dedication and his efforts in establishing a professional theater company in Rockford for the northern Illinois area. New American Theater continued operations for 12 more seasons at the building at 118 N. Main St., until financial difficulties in 2006 forced the end of the company and the temporary shutdown of the building. Richard Nordlof assumed ownership and control of the space in 2007, and recently had the building christened The Sullivan Center.

“I am thrilled to be returning home for a new Hometown Holiday,” Sullivan said. “And I am humbled by the extraordinary honor given me by Richard Nordlof in the naming of the building. This will truly be a coming home to remember for me, and I am deeply grateful.”

The Hometown Holiday show blends music, comedy and story to create a uniquely original Rockford holiday show. With music ranging from jazz and folk traditions to popular standards and Broadway show tunes, and original comedy sketches from the actors joining Sullivan for the show, Hometown Holiday had become a Rockford holiday tradition over its 15 annual productions.

“It is a remarkably talented group of folks who absolutely love working together and doing this show,” said Sullivan. “And for me, this is a cherished opportunity for coming back to northern Illinois for a true hometown holiday.”

Performances of J.R. Sullivan’s Hometown Holiday are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12.

All seats are reserved and can be purchased at select Charlotte’s Web outlets: both Postal Shoppe locations: Edgebrook Center, (815) 397-7301 and 2205 S. Perryville, (815) 484-0940 and JustGoods, 201 Seventh St., (815) 965-8903 or visit the Coronado Box office, 314 N. Main St. Call (815) 968-0595 for location and hours.

Credit card payment accepted only via Coronado Performing Arts Center Box office: In person at 314 N. Main St.; by phone at (815) 968-0595; or online at CoronadoPAC.org.

From the Dec. 1-7, 2010 issue

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