Summer Place 52nd Season Named Official State Bicentennial Project
Come Celebrates Illinois’ 200th Birthday With Us!
The Summer Place, since 1966 Naperville’s Community Theatre, announces its 52nd Season as a tribute to the 200th Birthday of the state of Illinois. Each production this year has ties to the state and the Spring Musical Revue is an original creation with words and music specific to Illinois.
To add to the excitement of our 52nd season, the Illinois State Bicentennial Commission has named this season an official Bicentennial Project with a listing on it’s website and inclusion in its announcements and programs. Special thanks to Naperville City Councilwoman Patty Gustin for writing a letter of support on the behalf of the Theatre, and to Kate and Emma Gingold from our publicity committee for soliciting the endorsement from the state.
Here's what we're planning this year:
Summer Starts This Spring
Summer starts early this year, with “By Thy Rivers Gently Flowing,” a musical celebration of the Illinois Bicentennial. The title of the show is taken from the title of the state song and the show was written and directed by Cynthia Lauren-Grant, a long-time board member. The show takes us through our state history and its role in the major events of the nation. Each scene is narrated by Ed Green, former Summer Place President, and tells the story in song and choreography.
Many of the songs are either written by Illinoisans, have something to do with the state or a city in it, or are just a light-hearted tie-in to the period of history. For instance, in a segment depicting the Great Chicago Fire, the troupe will be singing “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”
Not only does the show reference history, but it also offers tributes to great citizens of the past and present who are native or have ties to Illinois - Jack Benny, Walt Disney, Charlton Heston, John Belushi, Harrison Ford and of course, Oprah!
“By Thy Rivers Gently Flowing” opens Friday, March 23 at 7:30pm. It can be seen two other times: Saturday, March 24 at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 25 at 2:00pm. All performances are held in the Naperville Central High School Little Theatre, door #3 on the far east side of the campus. Use the Aurora Road entrance in front of the school, then turn left to reach the theatre entrance.
The Three Big Summer Shows:
The summer run of big Broadway hits are all held in the High School Auditorium, door #24, on the far west side of campus.
Bleacher Bums Opens June 8
Our summer run begins on June 8 with Bleacher Bums, a nine-inning comedy, created by Chicago’s own Joe Mantegna (TV’s Criminal Minds), about the lives of some kooky inhabitants of the Wrigley Field bleachers.
Laugh at the local human and be surprised at the local celebrities you might see during the 7th inning stretch!
Sugar Opens June 29
Next is “Sugar,” the musical based on the great Billy Wilder comedy “Some Like It Hot” about two men wanted by mobsters in Chicago who hide in an all-women’s touring band - with hilarious consequences! "Sugar" is Sugar Kane, the role made famous by Marilyn Monroe. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon were the men who disguised as women to escape the mob. This show starts the weekend of June 29, skips a weekend for Ribfest, and runs one more weekend beginning July 13.
Footloose Opens July 27
The final big show is a favorite here: Footloose, the Musical! Young Ren leaves Chicago (there’s that tie-in to the Bicentennial!) for a small town and finds that dancing is forbidden. Featuring great chart-topping songs of the 80s and so, so many young dancers! Footloose opens July 27 for two weekends.
Watch for Summer Place at the St Patrick’s Day Parade “Thinking Summer” and handing out special coupons and schedules and starting the celebration.
Happy Birthday, Illinois!