MOUNT CARROLL, Illinois — Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP), the professional summer theater of northwest Illinois, and Executive Director James Beaudry have announced their 54th consecutive summer season for 2015. The theater company, which has more than 20,000 visitors annually, announced a lineup of six mainstage shows.
The season will be begin June 4, 2015, with the musical Hairspray. Winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Hairspray is a family-friendly musical piled bouffant high with laughter, romance and deliriously tuneful songs. It’s 1962 in Baltimore, and the lovable plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad has only one desire — to dance on the popular Corny Collins Show. When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star, using her newfound power to dethrone the reigning teen queen, win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a TV network, all without denting her ’do.
Following Hairspray, is a big-hearted new play called The Big Meal, which premiered in Chicago in 2011 and tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary family. Somewhere in America, in a typical suburban restaurant on a typical night, Sam and Nicole first meet. Sparks fly. And so begins an expansive tale that traverses five generations of a modern family, from first kiss to final goodbye. The Big Meal is humorous, human and ambitious. Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker recently called it “The greatest play ever written.”
In July, for the first time ever, TLP will present the Broadway musical Peter Pan. Since 1955, when Mary Martin first took to the air as Peter, the show has become a must-see classic around the world. Beloved by generations, the playhouse will offer additional matinees of the productions.
The fourth show and second play of the season is Greater Tuna, the hilarious comedy about the third-smallest town in Texas, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. The eclectic band of citizens that make up this town are portrayed by only two performers, making this send-up of life in rural America even more delightful as they depict all of the inhabitants of Tuna — men, women, children and animals. The action takes place in the early ’80s, though nothing in Tuna has changed since then anyway.
In 2003, film director Tim Burton transformed the novel Big Fish into a beloved film starring Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor and Jessica Lange. Last year, the story was turned into a glorious new Broadway musical. TLP will present the area premiere of this show in a special production starring long-time TLP favorite Karl Hamilton (last seen as Rev. Moore in Footloose) and Elizabeth Haley (who starred as his wife, Vi Moore). The two are also married in real life.
The final production of the 2015 season will be Roger Miller’s Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Propelled by an award-winning score from Roger Miller, the king of country music, this journey down the mighty Mississippi provides a brilliantly theatrical celebration of pure Americana.
Subscribers may reserve advance tickets. Tickets for individual shows will go on sale in 2015. Gold series subscriptions are $105 (30 percent off the individual ticket price), and are available through Labor Day only. Silver series subscriptions are $119 (20 percent off the individual ticket price) and will be available following Labor Day. Audition opportunities for area teens and kids will be announced in March. To purchase a subscription, visit www.timberlakeplayhouse.org or contact the TLP box office at (815) 244-2035.
From the Dec. 24-30, 2014, issue