By Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council
Artists’ Ensemble Theater, on the campus of Rockford University, ends its 12th season with Women Who Steal, by Carter W. Lewis. Lewis currently serves as Playwright-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches Advanced Playwriting and Dramaturgy.
The show is described as, “gal pals out for night of vengeance,” but the women are brought together as the result of an extra-marital affair, not the usual way of making a new friend.
Betsy Baker, who plays Karen, was born in Belvidere, attended Parkland on a musical theatre scholarship and then attended University of Illinois. Upon her return to Rockford she acted at New American Theatre, Starlight, Studio Theater and Artists’ Ensemble. Scott Chachula, playing multiple roles in this production, has been acting in the region for over 25 years. He is also half of the duo, One Less Tenor, section leader for Mendelssohn Chorale and musical director at St. Bridget’s Church. Susan Gosdick, who plays Peggy, received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego and a BA from the University of Notre Dame. Gosdick is currently teaching Voice at Columbia College Chicago and has served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice and Speech at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
The crew behind the scene includes: Director, Richard Raether; Costume Designer, Pam Ruenger; Sets and Light Design, Angelo O’Dierno; Stage Manager, Amy Creuziger; Technical Director, Laurie Oliver; and Production Assistant, Kris Walters.
On June 18 for the 8 p.m. performance you can grab your BFF and take advantage of the “Girls’ Night” Special, two tickets for just $50, mention Girls’ Night when you call the box office to order your tickets. And on Fridays and Saturdays during the run of the show when you dine at Five Forks mention “Steal of a Deal,” when ordering and you will get a free dessert! Also, 10 percent of your bill will be donated to Artists’ Ensemble, because Betsy said so and she may be packing a BB gun!
Imagination Station, a program presented by the Rockford Park District brings performing arts to the young and the young at heart. In its 26th season, these free, 45 minute shows are presented at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays now through July 27, at the Sinnissippi Band Shell, 1401 N. Second Street. June 29 AE will be presenting Campfire Tales, a series of creative, sometimes spooky, and always silly tales for all to enjoy!
Artists’ Ensemble is taking it to the park again on Thursday, July 14 at 7 p.m. at the Sinnissippi Park Music Shell. They will be presenting another AE Radio Theater show. It will be an evening of adventure, comedy and mystery with characters including Captain Cosmo and Detective Jack Granite.
You may get your 2016-2017 season subscription now by calling 815-394-5004 or online at artistsensemble.org. The 13th season includes: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, September 9-25; Talley’s Folly, December 2-18; The Last Romance, March 10-26, 2017; Whistling in the Dark, May 12-28, 2017.