While flipping through the paper, I came across an ad for Summer Place – Naperville’s Community Theatre, a local organization I knew little about. Since it is my job as Director of Arts DuPage to know about all of the art offerings in the County, I decided to do some research. A little online sleuthing revealed some very interesting information:
The Summer Place was founded in 1966 by Donald “Doc” Shanower, then Dean of Theatre at North Central College. Operating originally out of a tent on North Central College property, the theatre eventually found a home at Naperville Central High School. The volunteer-supported non-profit provides professional quality, year-round theatre arts entertainment at an affordable price. Supported by its ticket and advertising sales, concessions proceeds, grants, and donations, Summer Place continues to build its audience by making beloved Broadway plays accessible to local patrons.
This year, Summer Place’s 52nd Season has been recognized as an official Illinois State Bicentennial Commission Project. Careful planning ensured that each of the scheduled productions had ties to the state of Illinois. On tap June 8 through June 17 is Joe Mantegna’s nine-inning comedy,” Bleacher Bums.” Set in Wrigley Field, the play centers on a group of die-hard Chicago Cubs fans drinking beer, eating hot dogs, and making friendly wagers that increase in importance.
Next is “Sugar,” the musical based on the great Billy Wilder comedy “Some Like It Hot” about two men who hide in an all-women’s touring band to escape Chicago mobsters out to get them. This show starts the weekend of June 29, skips a weekend for Ribfest, and runs one more weekend beginning July 13.
The season closes with “Footloose, the Musical!,” another regional favorite. The play focuses teenage Ren who is forced to leave Chicago with his mother and move to a small town where dancing is forbidden. Footloose opens July 27 for two weekends.
One more offering is in store for the brave at heart: Ghost Stories in the Park… in the Dark. Fall under the spell of a group of storytellers as they deliver eerie tales to thrill and chill you. Hot cider, cold ‘ectoplasm’ punch, and cookies are provided. Show dates are October 5 through October 7. Advance tickets are available in late August online at NapervilleParks.org. They can also be purchased on site on the night of the performance at the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion.
Tickets for all the events range in price from $10 to $20. Live theater, close to home, free parking: now, that’s quite a deal!
Summer Place – Naperville’s Community Theatre