One year after the driving force behind the Fremont Street Theater Company passed away, his cast and crew are remaining true to their promise: The show must go on!
Elroy "Sandy" Sandquist died unexpectedly from cancer during last summer's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone." Cast members finished out the show's run with heavy hearts, but this year they return with renewed energy, to perform the Gershwin musical, "Crazy for You."
If you goWhat: "Crazy for You"
Who: Fremont Street Theater Company
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8-9 and Aug. 15-16; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10 and Aug. 17
Where: Cutting Hall, 150 E. Wood St., Palatine
Cost: $18 in advance, $20 at the door; $16 for students and seniors in advance, $18 at the door; $15 in advance for groups of 10 or more
Information: Cutting Hall Box Office, (847) 202-5222, or www.cuttinghall.org
"Sandy and I always loved the old classic musicals, with lots of singing and dancing, and this one fits the bill beautifully," says Colleen Sandquist, who took over the reins of the theater company with her husband's passing.
Madeline Franklin of Palatine, who has performed in multiple community theater shows, returns to direct the musical. Since the company's founding in 2012, Franklin has directed all three of its shows.
She describes "Crazy for You" as bringing together the best of musical theater, with its classic Gershwin tunes and large production numbers, as well as a case of mistaken identity and clever plot twists.
"Audiences will leave the show singing and tapping their feet to some of the best music ever to hit the Broadway stage," Franklin says.
She points to the show's nine dance numbers, which feature some of the Gershwins most recognizable songs, including: "I Got Rhythm," "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Embraceable You."
The show also features such classics as: "I Can't Be Bothered Now," "Stiff Upper Lip," "They Can't Take That Away from Me" and "Naughty Baby."
All are choreographed by Dina DiCostanzo of Wood Dale, while Ken McMullen of Palatine provides musical direction.
"The task of producing 'Crazy for You' without Sandy has been a monumental undertaking," Colleen Sandquist says, "but the board, staff and cast have supported me and the entire production company in ways that even I could never have imagined."
Principals include: Jerry Seiling, Judith Ross, Kylen Sandquist and Neal Heatherly, all of Palatine; Tim Dowling of Mount Prospect; Kevin and Jennie Goss of Elgin; Stephen Pickering of Fox River Grove; Lindsey Prerost of Downers Grove and Karen Neidlinger of St. Charles.
Nicki Padron-Glass of Glenview and Brett Baleskie of Naperville play the show's romantic leads, Bobby Child -- a wealthy playboy who dreams of performing on Broadway -- and Polly -- whose father owns a theater on the verge of foreclosure in a small Nevada town.
Both bring solid musical theater backgrounds to their roles. Baleskie has performed with Theatre Nebula and the Harper Theater Ensemble, both in Palatine, as well as at Elgin Community College and in Naperville, while Padron-Glass, a recent music major from Illinois State University, performed with Music on Stage last fall, in "White Christmas."
Jerry Seiling of Palatine plays the role of Polly's father, Everett Baker. But he also gets the chance to appear in the show with his real daughter, Alyson Stanzcak of Palatine, who plays one of the Follies Girls.
"The Fremont Street team is quite dynamic and professional," says Seiling, a consultant by day, who also has performed at Harper and with the Round Lake Park District theater productions. "They are able to bring out the best in all the actors, regardless of their roles."
Sanquist says she remains committed to her husband's goal of offering the community shows that feature all the splendor and pizazz of Broadway.
"Sandy's vision was to bring exceptional community theater to life -- one show at a time," Colleen Sandquist says. "We are striving to keep his dream and legacy alive, one year at a time."