The Summer Place returns with 'Summer Lovin' June 18-20

  • The cast of the "Summer Lovin'" show gather (safely) for a photo showing off their newly home-silkscreened show costumes. Pictured, from left, front row: Tracy Kay, Mackenzie Grattan and Lidice Riveiro; second row, Katie Casserilla, Kelly Bailey, Kelsey Nichols, Emily Senkowsky, Jeff Harding, Hannah Gleason, Gina Kovanich and Cheryl-Lynn Penedo; and back row, Jason Sheldon, Nicholas Kniebusch, Alex Rogers, John Kladis, music director Rex Meyer, Amy Jackson, and co-director Jeff Sand. Not pictured: Co-director Emma Gingold.

    The cast of the "Summer Lovin'" show gather (safely) for a photo showing off their newly home-silkscreened show costumes. Pictured, from left, front row: Tracy Kay, Mackenzie Grattan and Lidice Riveiro; second row, Katie Casserilla, Kelly Bailey, Kelsey Nichols, Emily Senkowsky, Jeff Harding, Hannah Gleason, Gina Kovanich and Cheryl-Lynn Penedo; and back row, Jason Sheldon, Nicholas Kniebusch, Alex Rogers, John Kladis, music director Rex Meyer, Amy Jackson, and co-director Jeff Sand. Not pictured: Co-director Emma Gingold. Courtesy of Emma Gingold

 
 
Updated 6/10/2021 6:39 PM

Summer is back, and so is live theater! The Summer Place is thrilled to return to the stage after a 15-month hiatus. They're kicking off their three-show program with an original musical revue called "Summer Lovin'" to celebrate their favorite season. This concert of summertime Broadway favorites will be performed outdoors by a talented cast of Chicago-area singers and a live band the weekend of June 18.

"Summer Lovin'" was conceived by co-directors Emma Gingold and Jeff Sand, and music director Rex Meyer, the same team that produced Summer Place's spring fundraiser in March of 2020.

 

"(That show) was one of the last live events in Naperville before the shutdown last March, so it feels like coming full circle to produce another musical revue as we begin to emerge from the pandemic together," Sand said.

Gingold adds, "We're literally getting the band back together!" The four-piece live band will provide the accompaniment for the cast of 19 singers, and they can't wait to finally perform again. "The joy on everyone's faces at the first in-person rehearsal spoke volumes."

For safety reasons, rehearsals were held online for the first few weeks. But Zoom music rehearsals present some unique challenges. "With latency, you can't actually sing 'together,'" says Gingold, who taught the music using a combination of traditional rehearsal techniques and homework. "They had to be super independent, but frankly, it paid off."

All that hard work at home meant that their first in-person rehearsals were both efficient and spine-tingling. "It was a thrill to finally hear the cast sing together in person after several weeks of Zoom rehearsals," Sand said.

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Audiences will lounge on their picnic blankets and camp chairs to be serenaded by classics like "Too Darn Hot" ("Kiss Me, Kate") and "Sunday" ("Sunday in the Park with George"). Kick off your shoes and dance in the grass to "Another Day of Sun" ("La La Land") and "The Schuyler Sisters" ("Hamilton"). And sing along to hits like "In Summer" ("Frozen") and, of course, the karaoke classic "Summer Nights" ("Grease"). Tunes from favorite shows like "Mary Poppins," "Shrek: The Musical," and "Come From Away" are also featured, plus a song from "In the Heights," which will be released in movie theaters this week. The songs were chosen to invoke memories of picnics, ice cream, climbing trees, taking vacations, and good times -- something many of us have been looking forward to all year.

Summer Place president Don Gingold, who also serves as the show's emcee, is just as excited to be back on stage as the rest of the cast. "It'll be a little different outdoors, but anytime we can perform in front of a live audience is time well spent," says Don.

Interestingly, Summer Place began as an outdoor theater company that performed in a tent at North Central College, "so this year will be a bit of a throwback for some of our longtime season ticket holders," Jeff says. He also likens it to Ravinia, with a more palatable ticket price.

And really, the talent of the cast and the summery subject matter can't be beat: "I didn't know there were so many show tunes about summer!" says Don, "but deservedly so ... We should do this every year!"

"Summer Lovin'" will be performed live outdoors at 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday, June 18-20, at the Wagner Family Pavilion at the 95th Street Community Plaza in Naperville. Bring blankets or chairs. Tickets are $20 or $15 for seniors, students, and children. Visit summerplacetheatre.org/tickets to buy online.

Follow www.facebook.com/SummerPlaceTheatre.

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