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News Archive



Festival 56 Season Finale Cabaret

Posted July 23rd, 2016

Festival 56 presents the season finale cabaret at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, at the Grace Performing Arts Center, 316 S. Main St., Princeton. The event is free and open to the public and offers patrons a last chance to hear their favorite Festival singers. No reservations are necessary for this event.

In addition to musical numbers ranging from classic Broadway to contemporary, the evening will feature a silent auction of posters signed by cast and crew as well as select prop, set, and costume pieces from the season. The lobby bar will sell wine, beer, soft drinks, and desserts from Kramer's Kitchen.

The Grace Performing Arts Center is completely accessible with ample parking nearby. For additional information, call 815-879-5656 or stop by the theater box office. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and one hour before performances of Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Neil Simon comedy running through Sunday, July 31.



Festival 56 Presents Guys and Dolls

Posted July 6th, 2016

Festival 56 Presents Guys and Dolls"Guys and Dolls" opens Friday, July 15, and runs through Saturday, July 23, at the Grace Performing Arts Center, 316 S. Main St., Princeton.

Few classic musical comedies have given us songs that became part of our everyday language, but "Guys and Dolls" has been doing just that since its debut in 1950. "Luck Be a Lady," "A Bushel and a Peck," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," and many other unforgettable songs by Frank Loesser highlight the drama, antics, and romance of this story about gamblers, gangsters, showgirls, and a virtuous lady.

Nathan Detroit, professional gambler, needs to finance an important crap game. To win $1,000, he bets another gambler, Sky Masterson, that Sky can't succeed in taking a certain "doll"-the beautiful but virtuous Save-A-Soul Mission Sergeant Sarah Brown, on a date to Havana, Cuba. After spurning Sky, Sarah discovers that she has to produce a dozen sinners at a revival meeting or her mission will be shut down. She and Sky strike a deal, but Sarah has too many "Havana milkshakes" and falls in love with Sky ("If I Were a Bell") and he falls in love with her ("I've Never Been in Love Before").

Meanwhile, Nathan is maneuvered into finally marrying his fiancé showgirl Adelaide, but fails to show up; Adelaide is angry ("Take Back Your Mink"). Sarah realizes that Sky intends to continue gambling, but loves him anyway. The crap game takes place as planned, but the presence of a dozen sinners at the mission depends on the outcome of the game ("Luck Be a Lady"). Sky wins the game and Sarah agrees to marry him, Nathan makes up with Adelaide, and the ending surprises us with Sky's new occupation.

"Guys and Dolls" is sponsored by Centrue Bank, Bureau Valley VisionCare, and Langhenry, Gillen, Lundquist & Johnson, LLC. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. July 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, and 23, and at 2 p.m. on July 17 and 20. A Late Night Cabaret follows the July 16 performance. The Grace Performing Arts Center is completely accessible with ample parking nearby. To purchase tickets, visit www.festival56.com, call 815-879-5656, email boxoffice@festival56.com, or stop by the theater. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and one hour before performances. Tickets are $29, $26 (seniors 65+), and $14 for students. Cabaret tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Ticket packages and gift certificates are also available.



Festival 56 Launches Its 2016 Summer Season with The Fantasticks

Posted June 7th, 2016

Festival 56 Launches Its 2016 Summer Season with The FantasticksFestival 56 will launch its 13th summer season June 17 with the musical "The Fantasticks," a beloved classic that enjoyed an off-Broadway run of 42 years.

What's the recipe for the enduring success of "The Fantasticks"? Try a surprisingly perfect mix of unlike ingredients. Combine the following: a pair of fathers trying to trick their children into falling in love, a wall between neighboring houses, a fake melodramatic abduction of the heroine, a narrator addressing the audience and joining the action (think: "The Glass Menagerie" and "Our Town"), a few strong, symbolic props on a nearly bare stage (audience must imagine settings), classic songs ("Try to Remember"), and of course, the story-love, disillusionment, and reconciliation.

Add the influence of traveling theatrical troupes (16th century commedia dell'arte), the original play by Edmond Rostand of "Cyrano de Bergerac" fame, and unabashed borrowings from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Romeo and Juliet." Mix it all together on a college theater stage in 1959. Move it to a Greenwich Village theater the next year. Then watch it achieve immortality through more than 17,000 performances.

In the play, two neighboring families want their children to fall in love and marry. Acting on the assumption that young people will do the opposite of what we want them to do, the families pretend to feud. The young couple, Matt and Luisa, tumble into the trap and fall in love. The fathers then hire El Gallo, the narrator, to "abduct" Luisa so Matt can rescue her.

The following sunrise, however, brings disillusionment. Matt and Luisa and their fathers begin squabbling, and the lovers go their separate ways. Matt's troubles are portrayed in vignettes on stage, while Luisa flirts with El Gallo, who eventually deserts her. Matt and Luisa rediscover their love for each other, this time informed and strengthened by reality and disappointment rather than fantasy.

See it again or for the first time. And try to remember...Follow, follow, follow!

"The Fantasticks" opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, at the Grace Performing Arts Center, 316 S. Main St., Princeton. Additional performances are at 7:30 p.m. June 18, 22, 23, 24, and 25, and 2 p.m. June 18, 19, and 22.

The Grace Performing Arts Center is completely accessible with ample parking nearby. To purchase tickets, visit www.festival56.com, call 815-879-5656, email boxoffice@festival56.com, or stop by the theater. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and one hour before performances. Tickets are $29, $26 (seniors 65+), and $14 for students. Ticket packages and gift certificates are also available.



A Letter from the Artistic Director

Posted October 25th, 2015

Dear Citizens of Princeton,

First of all, let me say thank you for the warm welcome I have received in your town the past two summers as an actor and director. As I have begun my term as Artistic Director of Festival 56, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I cannot express my gratitude enough.

This time in our world is full of change:
For Festival 56, there is change in artistic leadership.
For Princeton, there is change in the local government, and in the ever-evolving Main Street.
For the country, there is change in the law and very soon, there will be change in presidents.

As someone who believes that art imitates life, it seemed fitting that when I began my new position, I would use this transformative time as inspiration for the artistic direction of the Festival. So, I did. All of the productions in the Festival 56 Summer 2016 season revolve around the concept of change. Do people ever change? Is change good? Is it bad? What happens when people change? What happens when people resist change? Find out this summer with fun musicals, a touching comedy, and a Shakespeare like you've never seen. Without further ado, ladies and gentleman, Festival 56's 2016 Summer Season:


Tickets Available Soon!

Frog and Toad

June 23rd through June 30th, 2018

Individual Show Times & Dates
  • 7:30pm, Saturday, June 23rd
  • 2:00pm, Sunday, June 24th
  • 7:30pm, Tuesday, June 26th
  • 7:30pm, Wednesday, June 27th
  • 7:30pm, Thursday, June 28th
  • 7:30pm, Friday, June 29th
  • 2:00pm, Saturday, June 30th
Tickets Available Soon!

A Midsummer Nights Dream

July 1st through July 29th, 2018

Individual Show Times & Dates
  • 2:00pm, Sunday, July 1st
  • 7:30pm, Sunday, July 8th
  • 7:30pm, Wednesday, July 11th
  • 7:30pm, Sunday, July 15th
  • 7:30pm, Wednesday, July 18th
  • 7:30pm, Sunday, July 22nd
  • 7:30pm, Wednesday, July 25th
  • 7:30pm, Sunday, July 29th
Tickets Available Soon!

The Addams Family

July 6th through July 13th, 2018

Individual Show Times & Dates
  • 7:30pm, Friday, July 6th
  • 7:30pm, Saturday, July 7th
  • 2:00pm, Sunday, July 8th
  • 7:30pm, Tuesday, July 10th
  • 2:00pm, Wednesday, July 11th
  • 7:30pm, Thursday, July 12th
  • 7:30pm, Friday, July 13th
Tickets Available Soon!

The MOMologues

July 3rd through July 19th, 2018

Individual Show Times & Dates
  • 7:30pm, Tuesday, July 3rd
  • 7:30pm, Thursday, July 5th
  • 7:30pm, Saturday, July 14th
  • 7:30pm, Tuesday, July 17th
  • 7:30pm, Thursday, July 19th
Tickets Available Soon!

Peter and The Starcatcher

July 20th through July 26th, 2018

Individual Show Times & Dates
  • 7:30pm, Friday, July 20th
  • 7:30pm, Saturday, July 21st
  • 2:00pm, Sunday, July 22nd
  • 7:30pm, Tuesday, July 24th
  • 2:00pm, Wednesday, July 25th
  • 7:30pm, Thursday, July 26th
Tickets Available Soon!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

July 31st through August 5th, 2018

Individual Show Times & Dates
  • 7:30pm, Tuesday, July 31st
  • 2:00pm, Wednesday, August 1st
  • 7:30pm, Wednesday, August 1st
  • 7:30pm, Thursday, August 2nd
  • 7:30pm, Friday, August 3rd
  • 7:30pm, Saturday, August 4th
  • 2:00pm, Sunday, August 5th

Season tickets and gift certificates are available NOW! They are a great Holiday gift! You won't want to miss a single show.

I hope you'll join me in this "Season of Change".
Best,
Shannon Hill

2 Geeks Web Design,
Princeton, IL
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