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posted: 10/19/2012 5:30 AM

Arlington Hts. history relived in monologues

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By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent

Charles Sigwalt holds a place in Arlington Heights village history as its first village clerk and the early resident for whom Sigwalt Street is named. He also fought in the Civil War and in his diary, he vividly recounted the tension among his men during the battle for Atlanta in 1864.

His words from that historic battle are among the more than two dozen monologues being read by professional actors Saturday at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre as part of the village's 125th anniversary celebration.

"125 Years of Arlington Heights" is an original production featuring staged readings that are produced and directed by Robin Hughes, artistic director, and director of production and casting at Metropolis.

The performance takes place at 2 p.m. at the theater, 111 W. Campbell St. in Arlington Heights. Tickets are $18 and may be purchased by calling the Metropolis box office, at (847) 577-2121.

The show is one of a series of special events celebrating the village's milestone year. It kicked off last year at the holiday tree lighting ceremony and continued with decorative horses on display last summer, a teen film festival at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library and educational events at local schools.

Hughes says the readings will last about 90 minutes, and without costumes or sets, she expects the monologues to stand on their own merit in terms of historical value and live theater.

Among figures to come alive during the show are early resident E.B. Wheeler, who describes meeting Abraham Lincoln, and Mrs. Joseph Barnes, who documented her family's trip from Chicago in a wagon pulled by oxen.

Other stories include those from Arlington Park racetrack owner Curly Brown; from the wife of the founder of the village, Almeda Wood Dunton; and from more modern day figures, including Jack Seigel, village attorney for more than 50 years, and Mark Anderson, who developed the Metropolis complex.

"You may have read about some of these people in history books, but you haven't heard from them in their own words," Hughes says. "This brings history alive, through their very own words."

Hughes and Metropolis Executive Director Charlie Beck will be among the five actors doing the staged readings. The other readers are Lisa Rock, Lisa Tosti and Patrick Tierney, all veteran actors in Metropolis shows, including musicals, comedies and its annual Christmas Carol production.

The show will open and close with films by two of the winners of the Arlington Heights Youth Commission's teen film festival. An 8-minute film, "Arlington Heights 125 Years of Progress," produced by Dennis Guinlan will open the show, while a film called "Arlington Heights Time Lapse," by Ian Fitzgerald will close the event.

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