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article imageChicago influence fills Timber Lake Playhouse as its season opens

By Tim O'Brien     Jun 5, 2012 in Entertainment
It is not uncommon for many in the Chicagoland area to head west to escape, but not too far. For example, Galena, IL is an ideal spot. But, for theater lovers, Mt. Carroll can be that spot as well.
Heading west on I-88 and then slightly north is a restful community not far from the Iowa border and near the Mississippi River. There also lies Timber Lake Playhouse, where the stars shine at night.
But, Galena is one spot where Gen. U.S. Grant trained Civil War troops and a historic house where he lived is open for tours. Then, the shopping. One cannot help but browse the history and tradition of the city while stopping in the many shops along the way. When browsing, ask the shop owners for a sample and a slice of history because they will know. Nestled near the Mississippi River and not far from the Wisconsin border, Galena is rich in history and known for letting visitors relax.
The theater in the woods officially raises its curtain with a performance of "Guys and Dolls" June 7. This acclaimed theater company is known for attracting talented performers over the years and many hail from Chicago or work in the city.
"Guys and Dolls" runs June 7-17 for the general public. In a nutshell here is what it is about.
Set in Damon Runyon’s mythical New York City of 1950, and considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy, "Guys & Dolls" soars with the spirit of Broadway as it introduces us to a cast of vivid characters who have become legends in the canon: Sarah Brown, the Save-A-Soul missionary out to reform the evildoers of Time Square; Sky Masterson, the slick, high-rolling gambler who woos her on a bet; Miss Adelaide, the chronically sniffling nightclub performer whose condition is brought on by the fact she’s been engaged to one man for 14 years; and Nathan Detroit, her devoted fiance, always desperate to find a spot for his infamous floating crap game. "Guys & Dolls" is everything you could want in a musical comedy. RATED PG.
Meanwhile, as reported here in earlier stories, a couple examples are Chuck Smith and Lili-Anne Brown.
Her story
Lili-Anne Brown has twisted her way through many aspects of show business. Before she heads to New York this Fall, she will twist to that theater in the woods in August. Brown will direct the ever-popular and explosive "Cabaret" from Aug. 2-12. She was also named the new Bailiwick director earlier this year. For complete story head here.
His story
It is not every Chicago-based director who will take time out to travel west and end up near the Mississippi River every summer. But this veteran of the Chicago theater scene does. He is Chuck Smith and that place is Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP), located in Mt. Carroll, IL. For his complete story go here.
More talent
Among the many talented company members, notes Managing Director Melissa Mattingly Parsons from TLP, is guest choreographer, Will Taylor. Taylor had been at TLP in 2010, when he staged the dances in "Oklahoma." “I fell in love with TLP during 'Oklahoma'. It is a retreat,” he stated when asked why he chose to return.
Taylor is also working with Broadway star, Kristin Chenoweth, while at TLP. On Saturday night, he left to be one of the only three singer/dancers performing with her in the Broadway/Pop Concert Tour. Taylor will be touring with Chenoweth in nineteen cities across the country.
Taylor was able to take time out of his busy schedule to return to TLP. “When you work on a show, you create a family. As theatre people, we look for that. We aren’t looking for a job, we are looking for the next family. I love the TLP stage and the people here,” he said, “I am excited to work on 'Guys and Dolls' because it is one of the greatest musical comedies ever written. I am excited to see the company bring it to life, to put a smile on people’s faces. Also, I played Sky Masterson in high school, so the show is very special to me personally.”
"Guys and Dolls" performs June 7-17 at Timber Lake Playhouse, 8215 Black Oak Road, Mount Carroll. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturdays and there are 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays and Wednesdays. New this season, there is also a Saturday matinee performance at 2 p.m. Tickets are available through the box office during regular business hours, 11a.m. – 6 p.m. daily, at 815-244-2035
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