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Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004 03:10 am

backstage pass 8-26-04

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The fall theater season is fast approaching, and many new and exciting shows are scheduled in the Springfield area.

Let's start with a brand new show. Jacksonville Theatre Guild and Allegro Productions present 63, an original musical, at the Sophie Leschin Theatre (Sept. 10-12, 17-19). Mike Savage's show centers around the lives of two best friends, played by Lori Ann Fahnders and Rebecca Watts, during the year 1963. The show also features Aaron Silcox, Darin Harms, and Mac Warren. (For ticket information, call 245-1402.)

Among the most anticipated shows of the year is Springfield Theatre Centre's first production in the Hoogland Center for the Arts, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George (Sept. 17-19, 24-26). Leigh Steiner (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Children of Eden) directs; Dallas Street and Mary Jo Curry are featured in leading roles. (For ticket information, call 523-2787.)

Also on the STC fall schedule is a youth-theater production, The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf (Oct. 15-17 and 22-24), directed by Kari Anderson, and Arthur Miller's landmark play Death of a Salesman (Nov. 12-14 and 19-21), directed by Stephen Sykes. (Auditions for Trial will be held noon-3 p.m. Sunday Aug. 29; auditions for Death will be held noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.)

The Sangamon Auditorium is bringing a touring company of the Tony Award-winning musical Crazy for You (Sept. 25 and 26). It's a great dance show boasting a Gershwin musical score. (Call 206-6160.)

Illinois State University stages a new show, Regina Taylor's Crowns, in Bloomington's new Center for Performing Arts (Oct. 1-9). Crowns, which premiered off-Broadway two years ago, is based on Michael Cunningham's book of photographs and oral histories of churchgoing African-American women. (Call 309-438-2535).

The Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan offers two fall shows this year: the comedy Same Time, Next Year (Oct. 14-17, 21-24) and the popular musical Pump Boys and Dinettes (Nov. 11-14, 18-21). (Call 728-7375 or 888-261-9675.)

The Heartland Theatre Company in Normal presents Lee Blessing's Eleemosynary, a fascinating play about three generations of women (Sept. 9-11, 17-19, and 23-25), followed by Beast on the Moon, a drama by Richard Kalinoski about Armenians who relocate to Milwaukee (Oct. 14-16, 22-24, and 28-30). (Call 309-452-8709.)

Gordon Productions is staging a review of the works of Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, Side by Side by Sondheim, in the third-floor Club Room at the Hoogland Center for the Arts (Oct. 15-17, 22-24). Side by Side features Nancy Diefenback, Doug Hahn, Gus Gordon, Becky Watts, Cynda Wrightsman, and Dennis Rendleman. (Call 523-2787.)

The Jacksonville Theatre Guild presents The Haunting of Hill House at the Sophie Leschin Theatre in Jacksonville (Oct. 22-24, 29-31). (Call 245-1402).

Decatur's Theatre 7 is producing the recent Broadway-revival version of Annie Get Your Gun at the Decatur Civic Center (Nov. 5-7, 12-14). (Call 423-2107. Auditions are being held Sept. 8 and 9.)

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson directs a topical play during election time, Theresa Rebeck's award-winning View from the Dome, at the UIS Studio Theatre (Nov. 5-7, 12-14). Rebeck's 1995 comedy examines the goings-on in the halls of Congress. (Call
206-6160. Audition information will be posted online at www.uis.edu/theatre).

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