Fans of local theater and horror came from far and wide - possibly even as far away as Berwyn - to fill Chicago Street Theater (CST) for their eighth annual Halloween party, featuring special celebrity guest, WCIU’s Svengoolie – making this his sixth time returning to the venerable Valpo venue.
“It’s always fun to come out here to Valpo,” said Svengoolie. “They do such great productions here and the people are always willing to come out here to visit with me and that’s just terrific. It’s always a lot of fun and it sort of sets the mood for the production they’re putting on here tonight.”
The popular host of the long-running horror movie show airs weekly on Saturday nights at 7 p.m. CST on WCIU, “The U,” also known as MeTV.
“I really want to thank all the viewers, they’ve helped make us a success, and now that we’re on nationally, the success continues. So, I’m very happy for that, and most of all very happy that I still have a job,” said Svengoolie.
Each year, the theater schedules an appropriately-themed presentation for its Halloween holiday, and this year is no exception, featuring “Toxic Avenger the Musical,” a heart-warming tale of New Jersey’s first Superhero, a seven-foot tall mutant freak with superhuman strength and a heart as big as Newark. “Toxie,” as he’s known to his friends, is out to save New Jersey, end global warming, and “woo” the blind librarian in town.
“It’s a love story, really,” said Michael Glorioso, director of the show. “A really violent, horrible love story. Not unlike Romeo and Juliet.”
Glorioso is no stranger to CST, having directed Evil Dead last year, and Night of the Living Dead two years before that.
“It’s just awesome that we have three performing arts groups right here in Valpo, and they all sort of do their own thing, offering plays and musicals, and giving local residents a choice of entertainment. We even see people come from around the country, even Canada,” said Glorioso.
Vicki Burge and her husband Webster drove to see the show from Hanna, Indiana.
“We come every year,” said Burge. “Chicago Street Theater is just great, and Svengoolie is always so friendly. We’re always happy to come here, see a show and even better to be able to see Sven again.”
Paul Hesla of Tinley Park, Illinois was resplendent in his own very convincing Toxic Avenger costume.
“We were here last year. We came to see Evil Dead, and loved it so much that we decided to come back, and anytime we get a chance to see Svengoolie, you just have to do it.”
“Valpo is such a great little town, and we really enjoy seeing plays here. There’s a certain energy, a kind of ambience that you don’t find anywhere else,” Hesla said.
Toxic Avenger the Musical is playing for two more weekends at Chicago Street Theater. Tickets are $20 for adult general admission, $17 for seniors, veterans and students.
For more information about Chicago Street Theater, including their full 2019-2020 schedule, visit them online at https://chicagostreet.org/