Nailing It

Nailing It

April 30, 2010, 1:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Chicago Street Theatre February 4, 2010

During intermission of the opening night performance of “The Pillowman,” a fellow walked up to me with money in his hand. He said “I want to give you this donation, but only if you promise to produce more shows like this one.”Yes sir, I can promise that – we have such great respect for important works such as “Letters Home,” “Coyote on a Fence,” “Doubt” and “The Pillowman” – it is both our honor and a certain artistic calling to bring them to you.

We had a full house on opening night and every single person I spoke with was buzzing with excited observations and conversation. Seriously, it is a thrill to witness a piece of art that brings you close to each of its characters and surprises you with new information and plot twists throughout your stay in our auditorium. To tell you not to miss this show seems too trite… so instead, I’ll suggest you not miss the experience currently playing on our stage.

AS I WAS TYPING THIS LETTER, I received an email from a patron who saw the show this weekend. I’m sharing a bit of it here (I kid you not, this just arrived):

To Whom It May Concern:

On Saturday January 30, 2010 , my wife and I had the privilege of seeing one of the FINEST performances we have ever seen.

…Timmy Gleason and Josh Eggleston were both exceptional in their performances; [they] brought life and a high standard of acting to their characters. With Timmy Gleason’s character being involved in every aspect of the play he had to hit his mark at every turn. Timmy not only hit the mark he absolutely nailed it.

Over the years we have seen many plays with local and/or national talents and this was truly one of the finest performances of acting that we have seen in many years!

There you go – I couldn’t have said it better.

See you soon!

Donna Blanchard
Managing Director
Sponsored by Bang Bang Beauty and Boutique
http://bangbang-boutique.com

P.S Director, Traci Brant continues her Director’s Blog on our “Pillowman” page and we’ve begun a new Teen Artist blog on the “Ascension Day” page. Enjoy the peak behind the forth wall.

P.P. S. I would love to have included links to those blogs in the above paragraph, but the email system we currently use won’t let me (it erases everything that comes after “.com, net and org”). The folks at Vendini tell me they’re working on this problem and should have it solved within the next couple of months. Until then, please don’t think I’m too lazy to insert hyperlinks! You can click on the show links below… those will take you to the specific show pages.

Ascension Day

Ascension Day

April 30, 2010, 1:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

February 24, 2010

We’re breaking new ground at Chicago Street Theatre once again.  Ascension Day is a teen drama, written by Timothy Mason.  It is hard to describe the excitement I feel when I talk about this show and what it means for CST – our artists and audiences.

First, let me say that if I had to give this show a rating, it would be PG-13.  It is set at a Bible camp in 1947… and teen exploration into adult behaviors had already been invented by then.  I wouldn’t describe this show as racey, but I want to make it clear that this isn’t Father Knows Best either.

And that is why this show is so exciting.  The “real” teen years are largely ignored by theatres, playwrights and publishing houses.  This is a rare opportunity to witness an honest glimpse into the rollercoaster ride that is burgeoning adulthood.

We’re not just giving audiences an intriguing production, we’re offering our teen artists something that doesn’t come along very often… the opportunity to explore the real issues of the script on stage and the tumult of running a show back stage.  Yep, the entire cast and most of the crew of Ascension Day is teenagers; teens who are given training and direction and expected to deliver professional results.  And they’re doing it – it’s amazing to watch!

This ground-breaking show is something we hope to include in our seasons for many years to come.  Our spring family show, will not only focus on and provide great roles for our talented teens, but will also include our Mentorship Program, developed by our Director of Education, Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano.  Interested young folk are given options such as lighting, sound, set design, decoration, costuming and marketing from which to choose.  In each of these categories, they’re not only given a hands-on education, but they are responsible for their arena of work.  They’re learning a whole new perspective on the phrase “the show must go on” ‘cause they’re the ones running it.

Please join me in supporting our teen artists by supporting this production.  Bring your friends and tell you neighbors.  We’re making something really great and necessary happen here – be a part of it and let us know what you think.

The show opens this Friday and runs through March 7th.  Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students, seniors and US Veterans and you will receive one free ticket for a child 12 and under with each purchase of an adult ticket (please use your discretion for age appropriateness – see paragraph #2).

And two more things (now that the hyperlink function works on these emails, I’m going to use it!): Classes for kids and adults begin in March: http://chicagostreettheatre.art.officelive.com/Education.aspx and it’s time for our annual fundraiser, Encores!: http://chicagostreettheatre.art.officelive.com/Encores.aspx.

See you soon!

Donna Blanchard

Managing Director

Chicago Street Theatre

http://chicagostreettheatre.art.officelive.com/default.aspx

Sponsored by Bang Bang Salon and Boutique

http://bangbang-boutique.com/

Moved to Tears

I’d Better Stock Up on Tissue

April 30, 2010, 1:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Chicago Street Theatre April 5, 2010

I have to tell you, I am nearly moved to tears at the outpouring of generous attention given to us in response to the donation request letter I sent out a little over a week ago.  Already, 71 of you have taken time out of your day and money out of your wallet to answer my request for “ten lousy bucks.”  Indeed, several of you have contributed more than ten dollars.  Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Please know that we understand and appreciate the value of every dollar and your ten dollars are no more “lousy” to us than they are to you.  I am so grateful that so many understand our need and appreciated a little levity in the donation request.

It is my job to concern myself with the bottom line of this organization, but I’m moved nearly to tears more by the sheer volume of envelopes found in our mailbox this morning.  71 envelopes is a wonderful thing to find in our mailbox!  71 people received our letter a few days ago and immediately wrote a check, filled in credit card information or put cash in the envelope.  71 people sealed that envelope, put a stamp on it and mailed it already.  What a fabulous start!

I look forward to going to the mailbox each day.  Please, feel free to make me cry in gratitude for many days and weeks to come!  J  (you can also make me weep with joy via PayPal if you prefer).

And again, without you… our donors, subscribers, sponsors, ticket holders and members, we wouldn’t be here.  Whatever your contribution, THANK YOU!

Please don’t forget, we will be holding our second round of auditions for The Heidi Chronicles tomorrow night (April 6th) at 7:00 pm.  We’re looking for three talented men and five talented women.  Come join us!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you are taking time to enjoy the beautiful weather (Monty and I got our bicycles cleaned up and ready to go for the season; we haven’t actually hit the trail on them yet, but are looking forward to our first ride of the year).

See you soon!

Donna Blanchard

Managing Director

Chicago Street Theatre

Sponsored by Bang Bang Beauty and Boutique

Dawg!

Dawg!

April 30, 2010, 1:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Chicago Street Theatre March 16, 2010

You know what I love?  I love it when we go to a great party with fabulous food, quality entertainment and spectacular people AND we get to come home with silent auction goodies.  Well, despite the fact that it looked like we’d gotten out-bid on all of our choice items at our fundraiser, Encores! last Saturday, Monty did manage to surprise me with a couple of silent auction treats.  What a great night!  If you’re looking for proof, just check out the photos.

We thank all the guests, volunteers, performers, sponsors, auction item donors and top-notch team at Strongbow for a lovely and successful evening.  And thank you to Donna Lind of Lind Digital for capturing it all in photos.  You all make supporting a great cause SO MUCH FUN!

Well, there’s no time to nurse my aching dancing feet around here – we keep moving on.  Classes just began last week for our youngest students and adult classes begin this Friday.  If you haven’t already, please check out the new line-up of Master Classes Lisa’s got planned for us.  I’m excited and anxious to participate.

We’re busily working on getting our 2011/12 season posted on the website with the full compliment of performance dates and times.  I’ll let you know as soon as we’re ready to go live with that.  And speaking of the website, Traci has found a fun little gizmo for us.  When you go to our auditions page, you’ll see a box in which you may insert your email address to receive alerts when that page is updated.  So now our website will let you know when it’s time for you to come back for more.  Dawg, that’s cool!

Remember 15 years ago when the internet was just a strange toy for geeks and cell phones weighed about 27 pounds and it cost $.35 a minute to use?  I’ll ponder how we ever got along without email notifications and texting as we get ready for the next class and rehearsals for And Then There Were None tonight.

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon!

Donna Blanchard

Managing Director

Chicago Street Theatre

Sponsored by Bang Bang Beauty and Boutique

Moved to Tears

I’d Better Stock Up on Tissue

April 30, 2010, 1:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Chicago Street Theatre April 5, 2010

I have to tell you, I am nearly moved to tears at the outpouring of generous attention given to us in response to the donation request letter I sent out a little over a week ago.  Already, 71 of you have taken time out of your day and money out of your wallet to answer my request for “ten lousy bucks.”  Indeed, several of you have contributed more than ten dollars.  Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Please know that we understand and appreciate the value of every dollar and your ten dollars are no more “lousy” to us than they are to you.  I am so grateful that so many understand our need and appreciated a little levity in the donation request.

It is my job to concern myself with the bottom line of this organization, but I’m moved nearly to tears more by the sheer volume of envelopes found in our mailbox this morning.  71 envelopes is a wonderful thing to find in our mailbox!  71 people received our letter a few days ago and immediately wrote a check, filled in credit card information or put cash in the envelope.  71 people sealed that envelope, put a stamp on it and mailed it already.  What a fabulous start!

I look forward to going to the mailbox each day.  Please, feel free to make me cry in gratitude for many days and weeks to come!  J  (you can also make me weep with joy via PayPal if you prefer).

And again, without you… our donors, subscribers, sponsors, ticket holders and members, we wouldn’t be here.  Whatever your contribution, THANK YOU!

Please don’t forget, we will be holding our second round of auditions for The Heidi Chronicles tomorrow night (April 6th) at 7:00 pm.  We’re looking for three talented men and five talented women.  Come join us!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you are taking time to enjoy the beautiful weather (Monty and I got our bicycles cleaned up and ready to go for the season; we haven’t actually hit the trail on them yet, but are looking forward to our first ride of the year).

See you soon!

Donna Blanchard

Managing Director

Chicago Street Theatre

Sponsored by Bang Bang Beauty and Boutique

Season Announcement

Don’t Get too Close…

April 30, 2010, 1:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

OUR 56th SEASON IS ANNOUNCED!

I hate to say this on such a gorgeous day, during such an exciting time of year, but I seem to have a black cloud hanging over me at the moment.  I’m just warning you – our coffee machine broke the other morning and I haven’t been the same since.  Things don’t work or fall over or manage to get stained in the washing machine (a very nice new top, by the way) around me.  I hope to be better soon, but for now, if I say “look out,” you ought to take me seriously… I’m just saying…

Bad luck aside, it is a gorgeous day and we’ve got some pretty marvelous things going on here, not the least of which is the opening of And Then There Were None on Friday.  Not only is this show truly a piece of history (it basically defined its genre), but it is also directed by JoBeth Cruz and Piper Bakrevski.  JoBeth and Piper are two of the most exacting directors with whom I’ve ever worked and they make the perfect teammates for Ms Christie.  God is in the details… and so are JoBeth, Piper, Agatha and the makings of a great murder mystery.  We’ve scheduled three matinees and seven evening performances of the show and all dates are selling rapidly.  So, if you haven’t gotten your tickets already, hurry up or risk never knowing whodunit.  (the play is different than the book – so no, you cannot cheat!)

Of course, you can order your tickets online or call or visit our box office.  Definitely go to our website and look at the really cool trailer on the production page.  Thanks again to Matt Pera and Benjamin Garcia for hooking us up with that awesome video.

Our opening night gala is at Dish, the 2nd Saturday after-show party is at Martini’s on the 24th (sponsored by Magic Hat #9 Ale) and the Thursdays Talk post-show discussion is on the 29th.  Tickets are still currently available for each of those, but I wouldn’t wait too long to make those reservations if I were you (we already got our couch tickets for the 24th).

Thank you so much to all of you who have sent in donations in answer to our “Ten Lousy Bucks” donation campaign.  Truly, we are so very grateful for your help!  Envelopes are still coming in every day, so please don’t think you’re too late to add your support to the drive.  You can also donate via PayPal online from here.  You all rock our world – thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

More?  Well, our fabulous Wine, Dine and Stay Shoreline raffle tickets are still on sale (you can purchase them from our box office), our summer of classes will be announced next week and subscriptions for our 56th season will be available soon.   Look out!

(ha – gotcha)

See you soon!

Donna Blanchard

Managing Director

Sponsored by Bang Bang Beauty and Boutique

Spring Anyone?

Spring, Anyone?

May 4, 2010, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Now that we live in a condo, the one thing I miss about having a house – and I mean the ONE thing – is having my flower and vegetable gardens.  Now mind you, I have the sort of verdant foliage on our balcony that can only be achieved by an ex-avid-yard-gardener like myself.  That gives me my annual dose of “playing in the dirt,” on a smaller scale.

You may remember that we partnered with our friends at Yeager’s Greenhouses last spring and sold vibrant and gorgeous flowers, vegetables and herbs at the theatre.  Not only did that benefit the theatre and our local greenhouse, but the herbs I bought delighted on the balcony and in my recipes all summer long (until the mourning doves moved into my basil – which is an entirely different story altogether).

And so, it gives me great pleasure to announce to you that this spring we are partnering once again with Yeager’s Greenhouses AND our friends at Special Olympics to bring to you our:

Plant and Flower Sale

sponsored by Special Olympics and Chicago Street Theatre

Plants will be for sale on the following days:

Friday May 7  from 1 – 6 pm

Saturday May 8  from 8 am – 3 pm

Saturday May 15  from 8 am – 3 pm

Sunday May 16  from noon – 4 pm

Saturday May 29  from 8 am – 3 pm

Sunday May 30  from noon to 4 pm

at

Yeager’s Greenhouses

348 N 450 E, Valparaiso

From central Valparaiso, travel east on Hwy 2 to 450 E (about 1/4 mile east of Washington Township School), turn south on 450 E, greenhouses will be on the right side of the road

Huge variety to choose from including: flats, hanging baskets, pre-made pots, gerbera daisies, impatiens, geraniums, wave petunias and much more

(including basil that mourning doves love to nest in)

Your participation benefits Special Olympics, Chicago Street Theatre,  Yeager’s – a local grower, and YOU!

See you soon at Yeager’s!

Donna Blanchard

Managing Director

Sponsored by Bang Bang Beauty and Boutique

Denim & Diamonds Announcement

Think Escape!

June 22, 2010, 3:18 pm
Filed under: Email Blasts

We’re getting ready for our private season preview here at the theatre.  This event is held as a special treat for those individuals who have supported the theatre financially over the last season.  This year, we had a little mishap with the invitations and many didn’t arrive at their intended destination, but I believe all of those individuals have been reached via email or phone call over the last several weeks.  AND, we have some openings left…

I’m going to do something a little tricky here; I’m going to give you the details and ask that you let me know via email right away if you would like to attend.  This way, I can literally keep track of the time line of your responses, in case I get more than we can accommodate.  I will respond to everyone requesting a reservation, and will let you know if I still have space available and was able to reserve a spot for you (we have limited seating for the event, otherwise I would invite all of you upfront).

Please forgive me if the timing of this offer prohibits you from accepting.  Truly, I wish I could share this with all of you!

FYI: This is a free, really fun event and you may respond for up to 4 reservations each while we have space available.

CHICAGO STREET THEATRE

Presents

The 2010/2011

VIP SEASON PREVIEW

Denim & Diamonds

Please join us

Saturday, June 26

7:00 – 9:00 pm at Chicago Street Theatre

154 W Chicago Street, Valparaiso

Enjoy excerpts from our upcoming season,

behind-the-scenes tours of the theatre,

light hors d’ourvres, and a complimentary

wine and craft beer tasting*

2010-2011 Season Tickets will be Available

And Introducing…

The Studio

Attire:  Denim and Diamonds

(any casually elegant combination you prefer)

Please RSVP to Donna Blanchard no later than June 24th, by email.

donna@chicagostreet.org

We thank our Denim & Diamond partners,

Kelsey’s Steakhouse, Tabor Hill Winery and

Goose Island and Upland Breweries

*must be 21 or over to attend

Other than the invitation snafu, all has been moving along swimmingly here.  Chess rehearsals sound amazing and the set is looking intriguing.  I cannot wait to see and hear that show!

Now that summer has officially begun, I hope yours is off to a great start.  I’m looking for suggestions for my beach reading list.  Please let me know if you’ve got a recommendation, but fiction only please (think escape)!

See you soon,

Donna Blanchard

Managing Director

Chicago Street Theatre

Sponsored by Bang Bang Beauty & Boutique