No curtain call planned for 'Street Scenes' Waukegan Room performers

 
By Abby Scalf
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 2/7/2018 12:51 PM
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  • This group has performed in Carmel Catholic High School's Street Scenes event for 40 years. From left sitting, Nancy LeMieux of Waukegan, Karen Scanlan of Waukegan, Jane Conarchy of Grayslake. Back, Jim LeMieux and Bob Asma, both of Waukegan.

      This group has performed in Carmel Catholic High School's Street Scenes event for 40 years. From left sitting, Nancy LeMieux of Waukegan, Karen Scanlan of Waukegan, Jane Conarchy of Grayslake. Back, Jim LeMieux and Bob Asma, both of Waukegan. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Jane Conarchy, left, serves breakfast to her fellow Street Scenes actors at her house in Grayslake. Jane Conarchy of Grayslake, left, Karen Scanlan, Bob Asma, Jim LeMieux, and Nancy LeMieux, all of Waukegan.

      Jane Conarchy, left, serves breakfast to her fellow Street Scenes actors at her house in Grayslake. Jane Conarchy of Grayslake, left, Karen Scanlan, Bob Asma, Jim LeMieux, and Nancy LeMieux, all of Waukegan. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Jane Conarchy says a prayer after serving breakfast to her fellow Street Scenes actors at her house in Grayslake.

      Jane Conarchy says a prayer after serving breakfast to her fellow Street Scenes actors at her house in Grayslake. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • One of the annual Carmel High School Street Scenes performing groups. The group has performed in Carmel Catholic High School's Street Scenes event for 40 years.

    One of the annual Carmel High School Street Scenes performing groups. The group has performed in Carmel Catholic High School's Street Scenes event for 40 years. Courtesy of Carmel High School

  • Flyer for the 2018 Carmel High School Street Scenes.

    Flyer for the 2018 Carmel High School Street Scenes. Courtesy of Carmel High School

  • The theme of last year's Street Scenes event was "Carmel Street Scenes Spaces Out." This year Street Scenes "Goes Tropical" at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10. Carmel Catholic High School is at 1 Carmel Parkway, Mundelein.

      The theme of last year's Street Scenes event was "Carmel Street Scenes Spaces Out." This year Street Scenes "Goes Tropical" at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10. Carmel Catholic High School is at 1 Carmel Parkway, Mundelein. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer, 2017

They've brought Superman, Peter Pan and Shrek to the stage, as well as some shows that sounded familiar but featured a unique twist, such as the "Wizard of Odd" and "Gong with the Wind."

Performing annually for 40 years, the Waukegan Room will again be part of the entertainment lineup at Carmel Catholic High School's annual Street Scenes fundraiser.

Featuring the theme "Street Scenes Goes Tropical," the event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9 and 10, at the Mundelein school. Street Scenes is Carmel's largest fundraiser, raising more than $350,000 each year to support the school.

Jane Conarchy, whose daughter started at Carmel in 1976, got involved in Street Scenes, like many parents and community members do, by volunteering and watching the shows. She approached Street Scenes chairman Dick Jacob, who is still involved with the event, and offered to put together a show.

Conarchy recruited friends, including Bob Asma, Karen Scanlan and Jim and Nancy LeMieux, who all live in Waukegan and are still involved in the event today. None of them had acting experience, but simply wanted to support the school, she said.

Their debut, "Our Miss County Fair," featured the women serving as the escorts and the men dressed as the female pageant contestants.

Then there was the pig, which was supposed to be part of the show, but instead got out of its pen and tore apart the biology lab.

"Dick Jacob said he remembered when a worker told him, 'We got a problem. We got a pig loose in the biology lab,'" said Conarchy of Grayslake. "It's amazing we've been invited back."

Scanlan and Conarchy have taken turns writing the script for the 20- to 25-minute skit, incorporating song and dance, which has included some notable names, such as former Waukegan Mayor Dan Drew, former state Rep. Timothy Osmond and state Sen. Terry Link.

Nancy LeMieux requests every year to say only a few lines, but audiences who recognize her know the one line she'll always deliver.

"For years now, I will say, 'This show sucks,'" she said.

This year, the cast will present "Pinocchio," a show the group first brought to Street Scenes 30 years ago with much laughter, perhaps because Jim LeMieux and Asma came onto the stage dressed as fairies.

"That's why we decided to go with "Pinocchio" again, because it was so much fun," Conarchy said.

Because the weekend dates are open only to patrons ages 21 and older, the cast acknowledges their kids missed out seeing their parents for several years on stage. But now that their children and grandchildren are older and can attend the shows, members of subsequent generations fill the audience.

Were their children ever embarrassed about their parents performing at their high school so many years? Conarchy responds with a smile, "They weren't given a choice."

Many cast members have come and gone after their children graduated from Carmel. Asma, who has accrued a lengthy list of characters, including the beast in "Beauty and the Beast," Frankenstein, Cleopatra and Superman, continues because it's still fun to be on stage with people who have become like family.

"They're right there for you," he said.

And this group doesn't see a curtain call anytime soon. They just take it one year at a time, enjoying the fun and giving back to Carmel.

"I told the president at Carmel we're the reason that tuition is as low as it is," Conarchy said with a laugh.

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