Whether it was from planning or just an act of God, Mother Nature will allow musical stages in the state of Illinois some time to clean up the roads from the blizzard that just went through. Based on the 473 high schools for which we have information, no musicals are scheduled to open this weekend of Feb. 3-6, 2011.
That’s the last weekend until May where nothing opens, so get ready for a flood of musicals in Illinois. The spring season actually started a few weeks back, and Belleville West High School, Lake Park High School in Roselle, and Palatine High School grappled with the blizzard and rescheduled and/or cancelled performances a few days ago. See our front page for more information.
But next weekend, we start to pick up again after a one-week break.
‘Footloose’ at Highland Park (Ill.) High School
Highland Park High School is set to perform Footloose in the school’s auditorium, Feb. 10, 11, and 12 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 13 at 2:30 p.m.
The story is about Ren, an ordinary kid growing up in Chicago, who works at a dead-end job eight hours a day. His only release is that when the workday ends, he can head to the clubs to dance his anxiety away. Ren and his mother, who have just suffered the loss of Ren’s father, find themselves in financial trouble and are forced to move to Beaumont, Calif., because Ren’s aunt has offered them a place to live. Ren is unhappy about leaving his friends, but what awaits him in Beaumont is another thing entirely.
This is the first of 10 runs during this school year in Illinois for Footloose. It will next open on March 3 at Naperville North High School.
‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ at Addison Trail High School
Addison Trail High School is set to open a production of the musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for four performances beginning Feb. 10 at the high school.
The junior version of this musical has added songs for all the Golden Ticket winners. Otherwise based entirely on the 1971 film with music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, book by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy A. McDonald, based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, we hear new songs from Augustus (“I Eat More”), Veruca (“I Want It Now”), Violet (“Chew It”), and Mike (“I See It All On TV”).
The musical ran in November 2010 at Peotone High School and Illini Bluffs High School in Glasford and plays again at Evergreen Park High School next weekend (opens Feb. 18). As far as we know, those are the only four production runs for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Broadway musical, at Illinois high schools during this academic year.