The Chicago Street Theatre kicked off their Preview Party for the its 63rd season on Friday by welcoming a full house to another year of high-quality community theater in Valparaiso.
The event welcomed community members to sneak previews of the 63rd season’s shows, which include well-known shows like the 60’s classic Hair, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Nancy Haller, Board Chair of the Chicago Street Theatre, was very optimistic about the 2017-2018 season.
“I’m looking forward to a very successful season this year,” said Haller. “We’ve got a little bit of something for everyone: we have a musical, we have some family shows, we have drama-driven, gripping stories.”
Before the previews, guests were treated to foods from Chicago Street’s many culinary partners- including Don Quixote, Fork & Cork, and Pikk’s Tavern. After the show, patrons were treated to delicious deserts, including ice cream from Valpo Velvet.
Judy Guernsey, a long-time patron of the theatre, was excited for another season of quality local theatre.
“There’s so much talent around here,” Guernsey said, “and you don’t have to go to Chicago to get it! You’ve got it right here.”
Guernsey, who enjoys local theatre in particular, applauded its ability to bring culture and a sense of closeness to the community.
“[Local theatre] draws people together,” she said, “they have an opportunity to see something they’ve never seen, they may not want to travel into Chicago but can see something just as good here if not better. It’s a cohesiveness to the community.”
One of the actors present for the preview party, Tim Gleason, who has been with the Chicago Street Theatre ever since he was 15-years old and is also the Co-artistic Chair on the board for the theatre, was excited to put on shows for the public.
“I think this season in particular has a great balance of all of the major genres,” said Gleason. “Between comedy, drama, musical, family fair, it’s extremely well balanced.”
This is important to note for the discerning theatre-goer who might be considering attending one of Chicago Street Theatre’s shows, but isn’t sure if they will find something to their liking.
“There’s something there for everybody,” Gleason added, “and it’s an opportunity for someone who maybe thinks they only enjoy comedies, or musicals, but being that we offer some of the heavier stuff like the drama, gives them an opportunity to say ‘maybe I’ll check that out.’ That’s what’s so special about the preview night. Maybe they’ll get a taste of a show that they wouldn’t pursue themselves, but they might see the scene and say ‘I might want to check that out.’”
The performers present tonight were Tim Gleason, Andrew Glorioso, Michael Glorioso, Bobbie Sue Kvatchkoff, Eileen Ross, Lisa Zandy, Sebastian Zieniewicz, and Alexandra Shoppa.
Community theatre is important to the Chicago Street Theatre members and actors. Eric Brant, Director of Marketing for the theatre, was quick to point out that one of his favorite things is being an integral part of the community.
“We offer a lot to the community, and I think that’s the important thing,” Brant said, “The thing I always like seeing is when we have full houses. What that says to me is that we’re reaching more people each time we do a production. That’s what I always look forward to.”
Chicago Street’s 63rd season will include the shows Hair, Much Ado About Nothing, Hurlyburly, It’s a Wonderful Life, Moonlight and Magnolias, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, How to Eat Like a Child, and Fool For Love.
For more information, visit the Chicago Street Theatre’s website at www.chicagostreet.org.