Online Staff Report
MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP), the professional summer theater in Mount Carroll, Ill., entertains more than 20,000 ticket buyers each year with a full line-up of shows and events through August. The 53rd Resident Company includes performers and designers from around the country, chosen from auditions in six cities.
TLP’s 53rd season opens with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (June 5-15). Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical for the whole family has become a massive international hit everywhere it plays. Executive Director James Beaudry put his personal choreographic stamp on this new production, featuring Melissa Weyn as The Narrator and Gabe Brown as Joseph, chosen from more than 1,000 hopefuls around the country.
TLP Hall of Fame Director Chuck Smith returns for a record 13th consecutive year as a guest director for J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, June 19-28. In 1912 England, an Inspector interrupts an engagement party, implicating each person in the apparent suicide of a young woman. But is this inspector really who he claims to be? And is this a whodunnit? or a who didn’t do it? John Chase of Mount Morris returns to TLP as the patriarch, Arthur Birling, and three-time Jeff Award-winning Chicago actress Danielle Brothers comes to TLP for the first time in the role of Sybil Birling.
Brad Lyons, longtime TLP artistic director and revered master of the ridiculous, returns to direct at TLP for the first time since 2009’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Lyons will translate Mel Brooks film masterpiece Young Frankenstein (July 3-13) to the stage in this musical adaptation starring some of TLP’s best-loved comedians. Cody Jolly and Matt Webb, who were adored as they faced off in The Music Man, Unnecessary Farce and Spamalot last year, team up as Dr. “Frokensteen” and “I-gor.” Analisha Santini, who stole the show in Boeing Boeing, returns as Frau Blucher.
American comedy writer Neil Simon takes on the New York society types of the late 1980s in Rumors (July 17-26). Derek Bertelsen returns to direct the comedic mayhem, featuring a slew of TLP favorites, as well as brilliant newcomers Grant Brown and Allison Hunt. Part farce and part side-splitting sitcom, Rumors remains one of Simon’s funniest scripts.
Les Miserables, the most popular musical of all-time, will be at TLP for the first time July 31-Aug. 10, and it’s packed with guest stars. Matthew Teague Miller (The Spitfire Grill at TLP) spent several years as a performer in the first national tour of Les Miserables. He returns to TLP to direct the show. Special guest star Jason Kraack plays the role of Jean Valjean, one of the most challenging in musical theater. He has done the role on the first national tour, and was chosen after an extensive national search. Jeff Award-winning Chicago actor John Leen makes his TLP debut as Inspector Javert. Lexie Plath and Erica Stephan return to TLP as Fantine and Eponine, respectively. Newcomers Caroline Murrah and Nathan Goodrich play the young lovers, Cosette and Marius.
Associate Artistic Director Courtney Crouse directs SHOUT! The Mod Musical (Aug. 14-24) with choreography by James Beaudry. This musical review features the best songs of the 1960s, including the title song, as well as: “Downtown,” “Those Were the Days,” “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” “To Sir With Love,” “Wishin’ & Hopin’,” “I Only Want To Be With You” and even “Goldfinger”! Five women sing out the stories of the ’60s to the soundtrack of a generation. Daryn Harrell (Children of Eden, Sweet Charity) returns to TLP as a guest star.
Tickets to TLP’s mainstage shows are $23 (seniors $21 and students $17). To see each show for $18.33, become a season subscriber until June 15. Subscriptions are $110. Beaudry said of the ticket prices: “The generosity of individual donors, corporate sponsors, private foundations, the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts keep Timber Lake Playhouse an essential cultural and economic driver for the northwest Illinois region. Without their support, every ticket to TLP would cost $35. We thank them for their continued belief in our work.”
To purchase tickets, call the box office at (815) 244-2035, or visit them at 8215 Black Oak Road in Mount Carroll. Tickets may also be purchased online at timberlakeplayhouse.org.
Posted June 4, 2014