For over 50 years, Chicago Street Theatre has produced incredible live theatre for the Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana communities. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit communities around the country, Chicago Street Theatre made the decision to postpone its shows in order to keep patrons, staff, and cast members safe.
“We’ve continued to adapt to the pandemic and the governor’s orders,” said Erin Sharpe, Secretary and Director of "James and the Giant Peach" at Chicago Street Theatre. “Every time we make plans to open the doors to the public, things have changed, and we’ve decided to pull back. Our first priority is safety and making sure everyone is comfortable.”
Now Chicago Street Theatre is excited to announce new live shows coming to the theatre starting this April. Two shows, "James and the Giant Peach" and "Stop Kiss," will premiere in April, while the cult classic, "Heathers," will begin its run this summer.
“We are just so excited to welcome people back to Chicago Street Theatre,” Sharpe said. “We’re so excited that all three shows, ‘James and the Giant Peach,’ ‘Heathers,’ and ‘Stop Kiss’ have already been fully cast. So, we’re out here trying to bring live theatre back to Valparaiso.”
Starting in April, patrons can begin to reignite their love for community theatre with two shows that will run simultaneously; something Chicago Street Theatre has never done before. For those looking for family-friendly theatre, parents and kids can together enjoy "James and the Giant Peach." The musical, which is based on the book by acclaimed writer Roald Dahl, is the perfect family show for everyone to enjoy.
"'James and the Giant Peach' is geared more towards families and younger theatre-goers,” Sharpe said. “It’s a fun show people can enjoy that will uplift their hearts at the same time.”
"James and the Giant Peach" will run on Chicago Street Theatre’s main stage. With a run time of a little over an hour and earlier start times, families can come in, enjoy the show, then meander out into downtown Valparaiso to enjoy the rest of their evening.
“At the same time, Chicago Street Theatre will be trying out a Late Night Series, where we do a show that is deeper, that makes you think, and is perfect for a date night,” Sharpe said. “This show is called 'Stop Kiss,' written by Diana Son.”
"Stop Kiss" will be in our Black Box Theatre - a more intimate setting for a smaller audience that compliments the play’s more serious and deep themes of relationships, violence, and love.
“Both plays have started rehearsals, and while the casts rehearse, they are social distanced and wearing masks,” Sharpe said. “We’re listening to what the governor has set for capacity levels. Audience members will be distanced, which is really important, and can expect more hand sanitizer stations, a mask mandate, and more room to spread out in the theatre as we undergo a lobby renovation.”
For theatre enthusiasts looking to get their fill of Chicago Street Theatre excellence before April, they can enjoy a virtual performance of the holiday classic, "It’s A Wonderful Life," on December 23. Adapted by Joe Landry and directed by Donna Henry and Kelly Hite, the show will run on Broadway On Demand all day December 23.
For more information about the performance and how to watch it, visit https://www.broadwayondemand.com/series/6pUoMuU9tomn-its-a-wonderful-life-a-live-radio-play--chicago-street-theatre?fbclid=IwAR1DBukwnjXum0P1Ttfoqq34k6-0tCdCRKMVkbvgFrrssViwDUCpc8EQMV4.
For more information about the Chicago Street Theatre and for updates on their upcoming shows, please visit www.chicagostreet.org.