Hey Nonny brings history of Arlington Heights alive

  • How did William Dunton pave the way for the launch of Hey Nonny? Find out Aug. 30.

    How did William Dunton pave the way for the launch of Hey Nonny? Find out Aug. 30. Courtesy of Hey Nonny

Updated 8/16/2022 12:24 PM

Since its opening in 2018, variety has been the hallmark of performances at Hey Nonny, the music venue and bistro in downtown Arlington Heights.

In keeping with that adventurous spirit, co-owners Chip Brooks and Chris Dungan have planned a new series of shows for the months ahead to bring to life the history of Arlington Heights through multimedia performances.


The first show takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, as Brooks and a talented group of performers present "How Did I Get Here: The Coincidental Birth of Arlington Heights and the American Popular Song."

The show will feature pictures, maps, slides, skits, hats (lots of hats) and songs to tell the story of how Arlington Heights was founded -- from the first cabin in 1844 to the registration of a town plat in 1854.

"Both Arlington Heights and American popular music are central to the Hey Nonny magic," said Brooks. "So we're going to take a page from the great Talking Heads song 'Once In A Lifetime' and ask 'How did I get here?' In one fun night, we'll tell how both Arlington Heights and the truly American popular song were invented -- almost simultaneously. Those two things ultimately led to Hey Nonny."

In this show, written by Brooks, the audience will see parallels between the first settlers in Arlington Heights and those elsewhere, all of whom faced hardships in the wilderness as they founded new communities, experiences captured in the works of songwriters like Stephen Foster in songs like "Hard Times Come Again No More."

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"We'll use skits, musical numbers performed by Maggie Vagle, Rob Anderlik and Mike Church, and even a reading from a speech that Almeda Dunton gave in 1885, recounting her marriage to William Dunton and how they took up residence in a house in the middle of nowhere -- right where today the train tracks cross Arlington Heights Road," said Brooks.

"It's funny, fun, and you'll learn some amazing things about the series of real estate hustles that led to our town's creation. It should be a fascinating and entertaining look at how this great community evolved to become home to a venue like Hey Nonny."

Hey Nonny plans that the next installment of its history series (as yet unscheduled) will look at The Cellar -- the Arlington Heights teen club that, in the late '60s, played host to the biggest bands in the world, including The Who, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, Cream, Steppenwolf, and Three Dog Night.

"Future shows will include 'Death of the Cardinals (The Battle Over Closing Arlington High School),' 'Religion Comes to Arlington Heights' and 'Wild Arlington: Drunkenness and Gambling On The Prairie,'" Brooks said.

"We're really excited to take on the opportunity to challenge our patrons with some thought-provoking, new entertainment."

Tickets for the Aug. 30 show can be found at www.heynonny.com.

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