World premiere/preview of new musical in Woodstock Aug. 10-11

Online Staff Report

WOODSTOCK, Ill. — Chemical. Musical. Comedy.

Those three words describe Red Glow Czar, a brand-new musical written by two first-time playwrights/composers: Janie Harrison of Lockport and Susan Handelsman of Woodstock. These two sisters-in-law have teamed up with TownSquare Players, McHenry County’s oldest community theater group, to produce two special preview/workshop performances at Woodstock North High School in August.

The show is being produced as part of the TownSquare Players program “Phoenix Workshop,” which is designed to give first-time playwrights and/or first-time directors a chance to show their talents.

The action in Red Glow Czar takes place in a subterranean cave, and the characters are atoms. The population is stable until there is a sudden influx of carbon dioxide molecules (COOs) being sequestered as a result of global warming issues. Noble gases presume to be in charge and fear a disruption of equilibrium. Hal, an entrepreneurial halogen atom, exploits the situation by building a business involving the COOs, but romance and other complications may interfere with Hal’s plans.

Artistic/Music Director Betsy Stemple of Marengo, plus co-producers Kelly Waterman (Richmond) and Megan Marshall (Woodstock), are shepherding the production. Cody Halberstadt of Lake in the Hills will conduct the orchestra.

A large ensemble cast of talented northern Illinois actors have been tapped to bring the show to life, including: Jamie Behrendt (Zinc and Palladium), James Gritschke (Carbon), Sara Haverty (Goldie), Maggie McCord (Platinum), Dan Philpot (Prof. Fermium), Eva Powers (COO and Chromium), Brian Spengel (Argon, Mo, Nitrogen), Emily Svendson (Silva) and Tim Vance (Hal), all of Crystal Lake; Kelsey Rosenorn (Neon) of Huntley; Jessica Smith (Sodium) of Lake Villa; Elijah LaMontagne (Coo-COO) and Jim Stemple (Chromium) of Marengo; Carrie MacDonald (Oxygen) of McHenry; Kelly Waterman (Krypton) of Richmond; Jessie Juska (Madame Professor Curium) of Spring Grove; Amoreena Karmis (Copper), Dan Kreisman (Prof. Nobelium), Lynne Kreisman (COO, Chromium, Rhodium), Nino Ma (Cootchy-COO, Iron, & Tungsten), Jonathon Sara (Beau-COO), Stephen Schuch (COO) and Char Ulanowski (Xenon), all of Woodstock.

Other staff members include: Amanda Krumrei of Woodstock, technical director and stage manager; Kara Williams of Elgin, Maggie McCord of Crystal Lake and Sara Haverty of Crystal Lake, choreographers; James Lundstrom of Barrington, musical arranger; Julane Sullivan of Batavia, costume designer; Deanna Haverty of Crystal Lake, costume assistant; Victoria Harrison of Johnsburg, props mistress; Barry Norton of Woodstock, set painter/scenic artist; Jim Stemple of Marengo and Bob McKnight of Sandwich,set construction.

A limited number of free invitations are available to the public for the 8 p.m., Aug. 10, and 2 p.m., Aug. 11, performances. Those interested in attending should e-mail their name, address, desired performance date, and number of attendees to

A maximum of 100 seats at each performance will be given away to the public; subsequent e-mail requests may not be able to be filled, so interested attendees must submit their requests quickly to guarantee their seats.

Posted Aug. 8, 2012

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