Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are You Ready for June?

I admit I'm shocked it's already June. The good news is that the SUMMER SEASON starts now!

Even though the University of Illinois has suspended their summer repertory, there's plenty to do and see. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, right here in Bloomington-Normal, is back with all its usual delights, plus my favorite, Heartland Theatre's 10-minute Play Festival, starts very soon.

If you've been following my blog, you already know that the theme of this year's 10-Minute Play Festival is "Inns & Outs," with all eight plays set in a hotel lobby. Brand-new plays came in from all over the world, the winners were chosen in three painstaking rounds of judging, directors were assigned, actors were cast, and performances begin June 10. Click on the Heartland Theatre link at left for more information.

As for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, their schedule this year includes "The Tempest" and "The Merry Wives of Windsor," as well as a new translation of "The Three Musketeers" by Robert Kauzlaric and a "Theatre for Young Audiences" version of "As You Like It" performed on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

"The Tempest," directed by ISF Artistic Director Deb Alley, opens June 24th at 7:30 pm, while June 25th is the world premiere of Kauzlaric's "Three Musketeers," with a special reception benefitting "Celebrate the Arts in Our Community." The reception begins at 6, with the performance at 8. Tickets for that special event are $75, although you may also purchase just a ticket to "The Three Musketeers" if any are left.

"The Merry Wives of Windsor" doesn't open until July, but tickets for all three shows are available now.

You may also find madrigals, jazz music in the courtyard, backstage tours, picnics, post-show talkbacks or an ice cream social. Information on all of those choices is available at the ISF website under "Shakesperiences." The ISF box office is open from 11 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 309-438-253. On performance dates, call the Ewing Park box office directly at 309-828-9814between 5:30 and 9 pm.

What else is happening in June? Lots!

The Normal Theater offers a mini-Bogart film fest June 3-6, starting with "The Desperate Hours" on the 3rd and 4th at 7 pm. This 1955 film stars Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March as men on the opposite sides of the law, as a group of convicts on the lam hold a family hostage. Next up is "In a Lonely Place" on the 5th and 6th, with Bogart as a screenwriter suspected of murder. Gloria Grahame is both his alibi and his new girlfriend. Can she keep believing in him when he clearly has a twitchy, scary streak?

Over in Urbana, the Station Theater opens its summer season with Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile, playing June 3-19. All shows start at 8 pm, and ticket prices range from $8-15, depending on the day you pick. "Picasso" is a funny and philosophical musing on the nature of genius, imagination and creativity, showing a day in 1904 when Pablo Picasso (played by Mathew Green) and Albert Einstein (Mike Prosise) shared drinks and conversation at a bar in Paris. Mikel Matthews directs "Picasso" for the Station Theater.

"The Music Man Jr.," presented by the Penguin Project, comes to Bloomington Central Catholic High School at 7 on June 18th. The Penguin Project showcases a group of children with disabilities and their peer mentors performing on stage. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth through high school age. Tickets are available at the door and at the Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts office. Contact Barb Wells, bwells@cityblm.org or visit penguinprojectmcleancounty.org for details.

This year's Miller Park Summer Musical is "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," with performances in July. But auditions are in June, so I'm giving that information here.

Auditions for children entering grades 1 – 8 will take place on Sunday, June 13th. There will be two time slots: The first is from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm with check-in from 9:30 – 10:00 am. All auditioners need to be there the entire time. The second time slot is from 2:00 – 5:00 pm with check-in from 1:30 – 2:00 pm. A maximum of 50 individuals will be accepted per time slot. Call 434-2260 to schedule a time.

Auditions for high school age and older are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, June 13and 14. Auditions will be from 7:00 – 10:00 pm on each night with check-in from 6:30 to 7 pm. You only have to show up for one night and do not need to schedule a time.

If you're looking for music, Sister Groove and the Boat Drunks headline the first outdoor concert of the summer on June 18th on the BCPA’s CEFCU Summer Stage. Sister Groove kicks off the concert with tunes by Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Roberta Flack. The Boat Drunks then close the night with the tropical rock of Jimmy Buffett. General Admission is $5 and the concert starts at 6:30 pm.

Also on the musical front, Urbana's Krannert Center keeps its "Uncorked" series going, with a soulful sextet called the Painkillers playing the Krannert lobby on Thursday, June 3rd at 5pm, and LaMonte Parsons, a solo guitarist, playing June 10th at 5 pm. You can grab a beer at the bar, sample that week's wine selections (from Friar Tuck Beverages on the 3rd and Sun Singer Wine & Spirits on the 10th) and drink in the tunes wafting from Stage 5.