Whether it’s Chicago actors in Broadway-level professional shows or volunteer performers displaying their acting, singing or dancing talent, Kane County has a wide array of live theater entertainment to suit any taste and budget.
Fall and winter are a great time to enjoy a night out at the theater. Whether your plans are a special date night or introducing your kids to the magic of live performance, check out one of Kane County’s great local venues.
Albright Theatre Company Now in its 39th year, the Albright Theater Company has been performing on the third floor of the Batavia Government Center for the last 11 years. The performers and those working behind the scenes are volunteers who simply love the theater.
“People want a chance to explore their creative side, and the company gives them an opportunity to do that,” says Jennifer Ring, president of the Albright Company.
Its members include people from all over the tri-cities area, plus those who come as far as Palatine and Dekalb, Ring says.
The theater seats an audience of 80 and is currently undergoing a renovation to add air conditioning and walls and improve the box office and concession area.
“We’re kind of in the ‘pardon our dust’ phase,” Ring says.
A typical season includes four main stage productions targeted to an adult audience. This season’s offerings include the comedies “I Hate Hamlet” and “Fuddy Meers,” and two dramas, “Hollywood Arms,” based on comedian Carol Burnett’s childhood, and “Beautiful Thing,” a British coming of age story. The productions are rated for language, adult content and other criteria on the company’s website.
For the holidays, the company will present an original comedy written by playwright Rebecca Froehling of Elgin. “The Family Fruitcake,” (rated PG) centers on a holiday dinner, whacky relatives and a mother who longs for a perfect, normal holiday.
Ring says she loves the camaraderie of the group and the joy of working with other creative people. “We all work hard, we want it to succeed and it’s always amazing to see it opening night,” she says.
Albright Theatre Company 100 N. Island Avenue • Batavia Government Center • Batavia, IL 60510 630-406-8838 • www.albrighttheatre.com
• “The Family Fruitcake,” Dec. 7 through 9 and 14 through 16
Reserve tickets by calling the Albright Theater box office. Visit the Albright Theater website for ticket prices, show times and more information.
Fox Valley Repertory A professional equity company, the Fox Valley Repertory performs shows that help its audience laugh, reflect and reconnect to moments in their lives, says the company’s artistic director, John Gawlik. “We tell stories on stage — a wonderful variety of stories and characters,” he says.
The proscenium-style theater seats 320, in stadium-style seating, located inside Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.
“It’s a great place to watch a show,” Gawlik says.
The company draws acting, directing and creative talent predominantly from Chicago.
“Most are working at large and small theaters downtown, and you can see the quality in each production,” Gawlik says. “You don’t have to go downtown to find it.”
The theater’s season consists of musicals and plays. This season’s productions have included “Moonlight and Magnolias,” “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Sirens.”
For the holiday season, the Fox Valley Repertory will present “The Winter Wonderettes,” a musical set in the late 1960s about four small-town girls who stage a holiday concert to save a hardware store.
“It’s a fun, warm-hearted show,” Gawlik says. “All the songs are holiday classics, but with a girl-group spin. The music appeals to all ages, and you’ll hear some great four-part harmony.”
Fox Valley Repertory Pheasant Run Resort Theater 4051 E. Main St.• St. Charles IL 60174 630-584-6342• www.foxvalleyrep.org
• “The Winter Wonderettes,” Nov. 15 through Dec. 23 • The Second City’s “Dysfunctional Holiday Review,” Dec. 7 through 21
Purchase tickets online at www.foxvalleyrep.org or www.pheasantruntheater.com or through the box office. For more information, visit the website or Fox Valley Repertory’s Facebook page.
Steel Beam Theatre The first time Donna Steele stepped into the empty building in downtown St. Charles, she knew it was the perfect place for a theater.
“I was involved with middle school theater as a director and with a former community theater,” the founder and artistic director of Steel Beam Theatre says. “I felt St. Charles could use a theater, I found the right space and went full ahead.
“We had to knock down some walls and erect a steel beam, thus the name,” she adds.
The 79-seat proscenium theater retains the building’s historical character with wooden beams and limestone walls.
“It’s very intimate, and the acoustics are fabulous,” Steele says.
The theater presents mainstage and children’s productions and offers an array of classes for children, teens and adults.
For the holiday season, the Steel Beam Theatre will present two shows – its annual “Sing Along With Santa” and “Scrooge: The Musical.”
“Sing Along With Santa” draws children back year after year, while “Scrooge: The Musical” is back for its second season.
“My Scrooge has played the part in four different productions,” Steele says. “I asked which was his favorite, and he told me this one. It’s a delightful show that’s not done all that often.”
Steele Beam Theatre 111 W. Main St. St. Charles • IL 60174 630-587-8521 • www.steelbeamtheatre.com • “Sing Along With Santa,” Nov 17 through Dec. 23 • “Scrooge: The Musical,” Nov 17 through Dec. 23
Purchase tickets online through the Steel Beam Theatre box office or by phone.
Batavia Fine Arts Centre One of the area’s newer theaters, the Batavia Fine Arts Centre, opened in August 2011. The center is owned and operated by Batavia Public School District 101 for the benefit of students and the local community.
The facility offers an 890-seat theater with orchestra, mezzanine and balcony seating, a black box theater, an outdoor courtyard performance space and full backstage facilities.
“Everything is state of the art,” says Dominic Cattero, the center’s manager.
During its first year, the center hosted primarily school-related performing groups, but this year, it has offered its first community arts offerings.
Upcoming holiday productions include the State Street Dance Company’s “The Nutcracker” and “Humbug! The Musical.”
“It’s the classic Charles Dickens tale, but it’s performed by one actor portraying 27 different characters,” Cattero says.
Future productions will include actor Ed Asner portraying Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a one-man show, “FDR,” concerts by the Elgin Symphony, children’s theater productions, the International Dance Challenge and more.
“Our goal is to bring the arts to life,” Cattero says.
Batavia Fine Arts Centre 1202 Main St., Batavia, IL 60510 630-937-8930 • www.bataviafineartscentre.org
• “Humbug! The Musical,” Dec. 8 • State Street Dance Company’s “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 15 and 16
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the center’s website.
Other Local Theaters And Companies
Arcada Theatre 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, IL 60174 630-962-7000 www.oshows.com Music, comedy and other events take place in this historic, restored 1926 vaudeville house. The Arcada’s upcoming holiday season shows will include Eddie Money, Edgar Winter and John Cafferty’s “Jingle Bell Rock Tour” on Dec. 1; “The Diamonds Christmas Show,” on Dec. 14; and Clay Aiken on Dec. 15.
Paramount Theatre 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, IL 60506 630-896-6666 www.paramountaurora.com This historic theater recently was named “One of Chicago’s Top 10 Attended” by the League of Chicago theaters. Paramount offers its Broadway Series of live theater, music and dance. The holiday season production of “Annie” will run Nov. 21 through Dec. 30.
The Hemmens Cultural Center 45 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL 60120 847-931-5900 www.hemmens.org The Hemmens offers a variety of music, theater and other performing arts. It’s also home of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, which will present the holiday concert “Let It Snow” on Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16. Additionally, GreenRoom Productions presents improv shows monthly. Purchase tickets through the Hemmens Box Office online or by phone, or through GreenRoom Productions’ website, www.greenroomtheater.com.
The Blizzard Theater Elgin Community College 1700 Spartan Dr., Elgin, IL 60123 www.elgin.edu This college performing arts center offers student and professional productions. The Blizzard Theater will present the Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” in December. For dates and ticket information, see below. kc