Starting its eighth season, Gallery Theater has some changes and continues to grow in expertise. One of the biggest changes is its new location at 129 Main Street. Its original location was in the basement of the Gallery 200 building at 204 Turner Court. The first play of the season, “Grace &Glorie,” is the second production staged here.
West Chicago resident and Artistic Director Gail Cannata said, “The location on Main Street improves our exposure. We now have a proper lobby and air-conditioning.” The chairs in the lobby and the pictures belonged to Cannata”s mother. Tom Tawney, West Chicago resident and stage manager, said, “The chairs are from the meeting room at the public library. When the West Chicago Public Library Foundation purchased new ones, they gave us the old ones.”
As the reputation of Gallery Theater grows, so does the audience. Cannata said, “Our audience has expanded from local residents to far away, such as Highland Park, Skokie and Orland Park.” Also their reputation as a professional non-paying theater organization expands the number of persons auditioning for the productions. “We are building a good reputation in the theatrical circle and attracting good actors and actresses. We have had five or six professionals from Steel Beam in St. Charles who have been in our productions. They are willing to work with no pay.” She added, “We had one actress in a recent production, who traveled from South Bend, Indiana for all the rehearsals and performances.”
Another change is in leadership. Cannata begins her second year as artistic director, taking the place of Janet Gilleland, who had the dream and fortitude to start a theater group in West Chicago. She resigned, but she put her heart and soul into the this theater group. “It takes a lot of hard work,” explained Tawney. Cannata became involved when she moved to West Chicago five years ago. Tawney has been involved for the last three years. Others serving on the board of directors are West Chicago residents, Rich Nagel, who also is the set designer, and Carol Townsend, plus Carolyn Larsen, who is one of the original founders.
Yet another change is establishing a networking system with other theaters in the western suburbs. Cannata said, ”We are one of the youngest theater groups in the suburbs” and she saw the need for a source to gather information, resources for various needs and sharing of experiences. “It is a fraternity of attitude, not competition,” explained Tawney. “It is all about building relationships,” said Cannata.
Yet with the changes, there are things that remain the same behind the scenes, such as the selection of plays. There is a play reading committee of three. “We have to be selective because of limitations of space, sound and budget. We try to find plays that emphasize character, pique the interest of the audience and strong characters that can move the emotions of the audience,” said Cannata. “I like to read a play, envision it in my mind and see it come through in the end.” Tawney added, “We try to choose good drama, and sometimes comedy or a combination.”
Once the plays are selected, the search is on for the director, costumes and props. This season there are two guest directors, Carolyn Larsen and Gina Palmer. Rehearsals for each play are six weeks, with the last one a dress rehearsal. Also Gallery Theater added another production, totaling five instead of the usual four as in the past. The other plays are “Miracle on South Division Street” directed by Carolyn Larsen, “Rose Colored Glass” directed by Gail Cannata, “Love, Loss and What I Wore” directed by Carol Townsend.
For further information or to volunteer, visit the website, gallerytheaterstudio.org.
AROUND AND ABOUT
September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month, a time when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents and caregivers that a library card is the smartest card a person can own. The library card provides students with access to a world of print and electronic resources plus programs, activities and clubs. Drop in at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street, to sign up for a free library card.
The Adult Education Program at Community High School District 94 offers tuition free classes in English as a Second Language classes, Citizenship Preparation and Spanish General Education Development classes. The classes are Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m. starting Monday, September 11, 2017. Registration is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 6, 2015, at West Chicago Community High School, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance B. Registration also takes place Monday and Wednesday, September 11 and 13, and 18 and 20. The District received state and federal grants that allow students to attend these classes at no cost. For further information, call (630) 876-6580.
Mariachi Universitario is the entertainment act 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 6, 2017, in the Shell at Reed-Keppler Park. The City of West Chicago and West Chicago Park District sponsor the programs.
WeGo Drama at West Chicago Community High School begins its 2017-18 season with the comedy “The Complete History of America (Abridged)” by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 7, 8 and 9, 2017, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. The ticket price is $5 for students and $8 for adults. Tickets may be purchased at wegotheater.com or at the door.
This satirical look at society is a fast-paced series of sketches from the founding of America to today. It is intended for high school and adult audiences, answering the question, “How did Americans get to be who we are today?”
The company of actors and crew for the show are Ryan Castiglia, Kenneth Correa, Andres Espinoza, Ricky Gieser, Sammy Incrocci, Nora Zamora, Grecia Bahena, Nathan Bradley, Abby Carr, Alexia Gountanis and Megan Kordik. Others are Noemi Lara, Evy McLean, Jose “Rudy” Muñoz, David Brown, Emily Carroso, Abbie Lundblad, Neve Ryan and Connor Thompson. The director is Mark Begovich. Scenic Design and Technical Direction is by Chris Jensen. Costume design is by Lauren Roark and hair and make-up design is by Jamie Elza. (www.merleburl.com)
Mexican Cultural Center-DuPage hosts the Fifth Annual Miss Mexican Heritage Scholarship Pageant Friday, September 8, 2017, in the Fine Arts Center at Wheaton Academy, 900 North Prince Crossing Road. Doors open a 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6:00 p.m. The program celebrates Mexican history and culture as contestants tell about their selected Mexican States through speeches, costumes, and performances during the event. Mariachi Monumental de Mexico provides the musical entertainment. The program is in English.
The ticket price is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Tickets are available from board members, the contestants, Republic Bank at 101 Main Street and 105 West Roosevelt Road, Supermercado Tampico at 516 Main Street and West Chicago City Museum at 132 Main Street. For further information email Mexican Cultural Center DuPage at MCCDuPage@gmail.com.
Contestants and their chosen states are Joanne Andrade representing Zacatecas, Leslie Soto representing Michoacan, Maritza Cuautle representing Oueretaro, Bianca Reyes representing Jalisco, Karen Amaro representing Estado de Mexico and Vanessa Delgado representing Guanajuato.
The second 1.5-mile community walk in the Move with the Mayor Challenge is Saturday, September 9, 2017, at Gary School, 130 East Forest Street. Sign in and a pre-walk warm up and stretching session led by West Chicago resident Jessi Bass of Rhythm N Motion is at 8:30 a.m.; walk starts at 9:00 a.m., lasting about one half hour. Persons participating have the opportunity to win fun prizes and their names entered for the grand prize drawing of an all-expense paid trip to the Museum of Science and Industry or to Six Flags Great America. HWC is providing 10 bicycles and Northwest Medicine is providing bike helmets at World Heart Day celebration, Friday, September 29. Participants who walk in at least 3 of the walks, recorded in their Walking Passports are entered into a drawing for a bicycle.
At the Saturday, September 3, walk 151 persons registered. Families and staff at Currier and Wegner schools participated in the walk. Both participants and non-participants can log in their physical activity, either steps or minutes at www.westchicago.org, under Move with the Mayor.
West Chicago is one of 11 cities participating in the Move with the Mayor Challenge, an initiative of the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention, in the month of September. (www.merleburl.com)
With the approach of Homecoming 2017 at West Chicago Community High School, there is a full schedule of events starting Friday, September 6, through Saturday, September 16. The theme is “WeGo Through Time” with each class representing different decades. Senior class is 1980s; junior class is 1970s; sophomore class is 1990s; and freshman class is Future. Staff is 1950s.
To add a festive look at the school, members of classes and clubs decorate the windows and walls after school Friday and from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday and decorate floats from 1:00 to 10:00 p.m. Many of week’s activities and events involve the decades theme. To bring forth the casual look of the years the dress attire for Monday is pajamas. The Dodgeball Tourney is at 7:00 p.m. in Bishop Gym. Tuesday is Mustache Day. Wednesday the dress is sunglasses and concert shirts. The movie “Back to the Future,” is at 7:00 p.m. in Memorial Stadium. Thursday students wear the outfits of their class decade, I will highlight the remaining homecoming activities in next week’s column.
West Chicago Historical Society hosts its Annual Ice Cream Social and Silent Auction from noon to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 9, 2017, on the lawn at the Kruse House Museum, 527 Main Street. The $5 ticket price includes beverage, ice cream, pie or cake and a chance for a door prize. There is a cakewalk. Among the silent auction items are gift certificates to local area restaurants and businesses, books, artwork, jewelry, sports memorabilia and collectibles.
The KHM is open for tours highlighting the 2017 summer exhibit, “The Cookie Caper.” The gardens, restored and maintained by the West Chicago Garden Club, lawn care donated by Chuck Strayve Landscaping and the towering trees provide the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of socializing. Tickets are available from Society board members or at the door. For further information, call Donna Orlandini at (630) 231-2671 or Joan Conkright at (630) 231-2329.
West Chicago Lions Club holds an “Eat Out For Charity” event from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, September 10, 2017, at John & Tony’s, 27W371 North Avenue. Ten percent of the pre-taxed bill benefits the Lions Club. Persons must have an event flyer, which is available from a Lions Club member or at https://www.facebook.com/westchicagolions/.
Following the 9:30 a.m. worship service at St. Michael’s United Church of Christ, 400 West Washington Street, member Kathryn Duerr hosts the Third Annual Sunday sundae in the Fellowship room.
The Gallery Theater holds auditions from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, September 10 and from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, September 11, 2017, at the theater, 129 Main Street. Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 10, 11, and 12, and 17, 18 and 19. To schedule appointments email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The play is “Miracle on South Division Street” by Thomas Dudzik. The characters are Clara and her three unmarried children, Beverly, Ruth and Jimmy. The family matriarch, Clara, is in her late 60s, lovable and forward, was born in Poland and came to Buffalo as an infant and has a charmingly naive “old world peasant” air about her.
The eldest daughter Beverly, in her late 30s, is loud spoken, opinionated, sarcastic and wickedly funny.
The middle daughter Ruth, in her mid-30s is a bit gangly, awkward, but has an appealing energy and spark, and aspiring to be an actress, wants to move to New York City.
Jimmy, 30ish, is the baby of the family, simple and witty, loves to tease his sisters, is a garbageman who loves his work and has a kind disposition.
Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services offers hour-long computer classes for senior citizens at Wayne Township, 27W031 North Avenue. Not only do seniors learn basic skills, but also have the opportunity to socialize. The fee is $2. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (630) 231-7166.
“Downloading Books on Your iPad or iPhone” class is at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2017. “Downloading Games on Your iPad or iPhone” is at 2:00 p.m. Friday, September 15.
“Garden Appetizers with Chef Cherise” is the program at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2017, in the meeting room at West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. The featured appetizers are Grilled Corn Crostini, Strawberry Cilantro Salsa and Chips and Zucchini Thyme Bruschetta.
Chef Cherise Slattery is the owner/chef instructor of Hazelnut Market in St. Charles. She also is a chef instructor at Marcel’s Culinary Experience in Glen Ellyn. Call the adult service department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4 to make a reservation.
The West Chicago Park District monthly social gathering for senior citizens is at noon Thursday, September 14, 2017, at the ARC, 201 West National Street. To celebrate Mexican Independence Day, the fiesta theme is highlighted with the lunch menu of marinated chicken, sautéed onions and peppers, soft tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheese, and Churros for dessert. Entertainment is provided by Folkloric Dancers. The charge is $11 for residents and $13 for non-residents. Reservations are required by Friday, September 11, and may be made in person at the ARC or online at www.we-goparks.org.
Hawthorne’s Backyard and Grill, 1200 West Hawthorne Lane, holds a fundraiser for Neighborhood Food Pantries from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thursday, September 14, 2017. Fifteen percent of the beverage and food sales benefits the pantries. The food pantry in West Chicago is located on the Real Life Church campus, 525 North Neltnor Boulevard.
Octoberfest takes place from 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. Friday, September 15, from noon to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, September 16, and from noon to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, September 17, 2017, at Sonny Acres Farm, 29W310 North Avenue. The hosting sponsors are West Chicago Rotary Club, Winfield Township Republicans, Wayne Township Republicans, Bike Bald and Allegra. Event activities include food, beer, wine, DJ and a German “Oompa” band. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes. The entrance fee is $5. To purchase tickets in advance, call Burt Minor at (630) 674-9096 or email email@example.com.
Mexican Independence Day Celebration, organized by Mexican Cultural Center DuPage, takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 16, and 17, 2017, in historic downtown district.
With the assistance of persons attending Mexican Independence Day festivities from noon to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, the MCCD seeks to set a world record with the creation of a colorful mosaic design using more than 11,700 reusable cups with colorful lids. To highlight the connection between the railroad history and the Mexican heritage of West Chicago, the design features a box car design surrounded by the colorful pattern in a Mexican motif. The mosaic will be on the 100 block of Main Street. To take part in the creation of the mosaic and or its disassembling from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, visit http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080845aba62aa2f85-west. Republic Bank and People Made Visible sponsor this event. (www.merleburl.com)
As part of the festival, MCCD is presenting its First Lifetime Achievement Award to Emma Rios, a long time resident of West Chicago. She was a mentor, helping those in need and serving as a business entrepreneur role model for many residents. Her business, Casa Rios, was a staple in the downtown area for more than 35 years. Rios is the Parade Grand Marshal. A luncheon in her honor, plus other past and present Mexican-American local leaders is from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday at American Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street. Mariachi Aztlan provides the musical entertainment. The ticket price is $45 per person, $300 for a table of eight. To reserve tickets, call Angie at (630) 440-4053. Event sponsors are Republic Bank, Western Dupage Chamber of Commerce, Supermercado Tampico and Daniel and Associates Real Estate. (www.merleburl.com)
Through the Make Your Way Program of WorkNet DuPage, youths between the ages of 18 through 24, have the opportunity to explore career paths in the fields of manufacturing, logistics and office/administration. The program takes place from Monday, September 18 through Friday, October 13, 2017, at Western DuPage Chamber, 306 Main Street. Eligible youths receive four weeks of career and employer exploration, get a paid internship up to eight weeks, get help finding a job at a local employer in West Chicago and receive financial help for school or technical training. For further information call (630) 955-2074 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago City Museum Histiography program is a non-fiction book reading group. The discussion group meets at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, September 21, 2017, at the museum, 132 Main Street. Guests can bring a sack lunch; dessert and drinks are provided.
The book under discussion is “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. In his third book about the Vietnam War, novelist O’Brien writes a collection of short stories about a platoon of American soldiers in the war. It is based upon his experiences as a soldier in the 23rd infantry Division. Copies of the book are available at the museum and West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. Call the museum at (630) 231-3376 for further information.
During the fall, the League of Women Voters of Wheaton and Cantigny Park, present a series of programs focusing on the theme of civic awareness. The first program begins with a reception of wine and appetizers at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 21, 2017, in the Visitor’s Center, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. LWV members receive two drink tickets; a cash bar is available. Dessert and discussion follows each presentation. There is no charge for the program and parking is free. Registration is limited to 100 attendees per event. Advance registration is required and may be made at http://www.wheatonlwvil.org/civics-awareness.html#news
The program, “News Literacy—Fake or Not?” begins at 7:00 p.m. Peter Adams from the News Literacy Project speaks about the evolution of various forms of misinformation and the tools available to combat it. Persons learn how news literacy can help them gain trust in the media and know what to believe.
Taking place at 7:00 p.m. Thursdays, the other two presentations are “Why We Need People to Run for Office,” October 19, and “Money in Politics: How Much Is Too Much?” November 16. West Chicago resident Barb Laimins and Mary Tworek-Tupper, Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of Wheaton, stress that series touches on one of the major goals of the League too helping encourage voter engagement and involvement.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. The League of Women Voters of Wheaton serves the people of Wheaton, Winfield, West Chicago, Warrenville, and Carol Stream.
Cantigny Park, part of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is the 500-acre Wheaton estate of Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), long-time editor and publisher of the “Chicago Tribune.” It is home to the McCormick House, First Division Museum, formal gardens, picnic grounds, walking trails and a Visitors Center with banquet and dining facilities.
Both of the West Chicago veterans’ organizations hold Bingo as a fundraiser on a weekly basis. American Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street, games are on Fridays. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., games start at 7:00 p.m. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, 431 North Neltnor Boulevard, games are Wednesdays. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., games start at 7:00 p.m. The Auxiliary games are Sundays. Doors open at noon, games start at 2:00 p.m.
Winfield Farmers Market, organized by Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce, is from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Wednesdays through October 25, 2017 at Prairie Trail Shopping Plaza, Geneva Road and County Farm Road.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of James Blickle, who at the age of 66 passed away Tuesday, August 29, 2017.
Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Laura Lynn Macko, who at the age of 55 passed away Friday, August 25, 2017.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Betty Lee Williams, whoa at the age of 96 passed away Thursday, August 31, 2017.
Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Richard Klein, who at the age of 64 passed away Saturday, September 2, 2017.
New staff in Benjamin School District 25 at Evergreen Elementary School is Bennett Nelson, Teacher Assistant and at Benjamin Middle School are April Tepe, teacher; Jennifer Harvel, Teacher Assistant; Heather Glanville, Teacher Assistant; Megan Peterson, Half-time Teacher/ Teacher Assistant; Christine Murphy, Lunchroom Assistant; and Corey Mondul, Teacher Assistant.
An agenda item regarding the request for the removal of a book from the children’s section brought forth a standing room crowd of more than 150 at the Monday, August 28, 2017, meeting of the West Chicago Public Library District Board of Trustees. Of the 138 who signed in to oppose removal of the book, 84 were residents and 54 were non-residents. Ten of the 13 were for removal of the book were residents and three were non residents.
The book in question was ‘This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyn Litten. The book, written mainly for children between the ages of four to eight, is the winner of 2015 Notable books for A Global Society Awards and according to book reviews is a “wildly whimsical, validating and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community…, welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day we are all united. Also included is a Reading Guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a Note to Parents and Caregivers with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways…is an excellent tool for teaching respect, acceptance, and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
The issue came to the forefront when the three-year-old daughter of Michaela Jaros pulled this book off the shelf, asking her mother to read it, who found the content not suitable for young children Executive Director Ben Weseloh explained that she sent “an email asking the book be removed from the children’s section.” Her husband Kurt then came to the July meeting to share their concern and asked for its removal. The board agreed to address the issue at the August meeting.
During the 30-minute public participation period of the meeting, the majority of those speaking were against removal of the book from the children’s section or banning of books in general. The Board of Trustees had a discussion on the issue. A motion was made to retain “This Day in June” in the collection as it is currently and passed with a 6-1 vote. David W. Reynolds cast the nay vote. The vote reflects the Library’s Collection and Material Selection Policy.
“In its selection of materials, the WCPLD endorses the Freedom to Read Statement as adopted by the American Library Association. The Library has the duty to provide a representative selection of materials on controversial subjects of interest to its readers and not prohibited by law, including materials on all sides of a specific controversy. This library holds censorship to be a purely individual matter and declares that while anyone is free to reject for himself/herself books and other materials of which he/she does not approve, he/she cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others.”
At the Friday, September 1, 2017, football games, the scores were West Chicago Community High School-28, Elgin-26, and Wheaton Academy-6, Raby High School-38.
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