According to Don Haefliger, artistic director of Elgin-based Independent Players, Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" has been on the company's "to do" list for years.
The company can soon check it off the list, as "Our Town" will open Independent Players' 40th season.
If you goWhat: Independent Players' production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town"
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 22 - Oct. 7
Where: Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St.
Tickets: $15; $12 for seniors age 65 and older; and $10 for students ages 14-21.
Details: Call (847) 697-7374 or visit independentplayers.org.
The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, and performances continue on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 7 at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St. Tickets are $15; $12 for seniors age 65 and older; and $10 for students ages 14-21.
"Our Town" tells the story of the fictional American town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens. Wilder creates an allegorical world which essentially represents the universality of human existence.
The play is directed by Larry Boller of Elgin. A veteran of theater, Boller directed his first play in 1976 and has been involved with Independent Players since the early 1990s. "Our Town" will be the 16th show Boller has directed for IP.
"I was the one who suggested our doing 'Our Town' this fall," Boller said. "It is a classic that portrays what we all have in common. People need that now, and the play is sweet, funny and touching. And Don (Haefliger) thought it was a perfect choice for IP's 40th season."
Boller explained the casting process for the play.
"Although I did audition interested actors, meeting with them at the library one-on-one for a couple of weeks, I cast the rest from among those I had known or had been recommended," Boller said.
"For example, I had acted with Gabor Mark, JoAnn Smith, and Mary Kirkman. I had directed both Steve Delaney and Richard Helland in 'Wait Until Dark' for Elgin Theatre Company. I knew Paul Anderson from Steel Beam and Cindy and Alan Bolds from Wheaton Drama."
Although the cast has been rehearsing since August, this is the first week they'll be able to rehearse at Elgin Art Showcase, Boller said.
"Many times, theater companies don't really get to work at the actual performance space until the final week, and IP is no exception."
Boller spoke highly of the cast and crew of "Our Town."
"It has been very rewarding to work with this warm, friendly cast in general, and especially to witness the brilliant work of our narrator Chris Williams, called the stage manager in this play, even after he was injured walking his dog and was reduced to hobbling around on crutches. He's just very good. I am lucky to have him.
Asked what he thought audiences would enjoy most about the show, Boller said, "I think the audience will especially love the romance between George Gibbs and Emily Webb (played by Alex Small and Emily A. Beck) and share their awkward teenage love interest. I also think they will be charmed by Chris Williams and his storytelling ability. What a charmer!"