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Special Events

Each year, Festival 56 proudly offers a number of special events in addition to our annual slate of productions. Please visit often as we add many wonderful presentations, events and trips through-out the year.

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Comedy Tonight!

Saturday, September 26th, 2015, 7:30pm
Grace Performing Arts Center

Tickets: $18 in advance and $20 at the door

Festival 56's First Ever night of Stand Up Comedy! Featuring Chicago Comedians Martin Morrow, Rob Johnson, Aaron Sutherland, and Jeff Arcuri who perform at Laugh Factory, Zanie's Comedy Club, and Second City and on Fox TV and Last Comic Standing.

Note: This show is R rated.


Rob Johnson
Rob Johnson is an Actor/Improvisor/Stand-Up Comedian. Although he is a newcomer to the Chicago comedy scene he has been performing for years. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rob got his start in theatre at a young age. Eventually he attended Western Michigan University where in 2014 he got his BFA in Theatre Performance. While in Michigan Rob was on showcases at both the 2011 and 2012 Laughfest in Grand Rapids.

Now in Chicago, Rob is currently in the 4th level of The Second City's Conservatory. He has done a number of variety shows in Chicago both as a Stand-Up and Improvisor. Throughout the years he has performed comedy at local bars for kids his own age, in a gymnasium for high school students, and even in a country club setting for special events. His number one goal is to make people smile, and he is comfortable doing that in any medium.

Erin Field
Erin Field is a writer, actor and comedian based in Chicago. On stage, Field tells personal stories about dating, family, and awkward childhood moments. Erin's truthful and relatable observations are sprinkled with humorous anecdotes. Hilariously honest, Field's comedy is bold and engaging, and her energetic storytelling entices you to come along for the ride.

Aaron Sutherland
Aaron is a comedian based in Chicago and performs regularly at Laugh Factory as well as a show he produces at The Bar Celona every Thursday.

Aaron blends a host of voices and characters with a generally confused attitude towards the world that allows him to get really weird and (sometimes) really dirty without making audiences feel the need to judge him. All of this mixes with his sharp writing and relaxed yet intense delivery keeps audiences guessing and wanting more.

Jeff Arcuri
The Chicago Tribune calls Jeff Arcuri "a joke machine," but he's not! He's a person! Jeff ran away from home in Michigan in 2012 and landed in Chicago, where he quickly became a regular at The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Bar, and Zanies Comedy Clubs. Jeff's incisive humor is carried by a huge smile and subtle naivety. His unique brand of comedy has earned him an appearance on Laughs on Fox, Windy City Live on ABC, and a spot in a plethora of comedy festivals around the country. As a producer, creator, and regular host of one of Chicago's most successful independent shows, This Week's Show, Jeff keeps his audiences coming back for more. His fresh point of view and ability to not take life too seriously makes Jeff Arcuri a comic to watch.

Peter and the Starcatcher: Bus Trip

Sunday, October 11th, 2015, 9:30am
Grace Performing Arts Center

Tickets: $135 for adults ($120 for students up to 18).

Join us as we travel to Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook to see the Broadway hit, Peter and the Starcatcher, on Sunday, Oct. 11. The day will include a sumptuous champagne brunch before seeing a matinee performance of the show. Festival 56 theatre-goers will have the opportunity to see a familiar face in a lead role on the Drury Lane stage: Caleb Donahoe, a former Festival 56 company member, plays "Boy" in Peter and the Starcatcher. He was part of the festival's 2013 and 2014 seasons, appearing in the Full Monty, the Putnam County Spelling Bee, Oliver and Into the Woods. Donahoe will meet/greet the Princeton group after the matinee. Drury Lane describes Peter and the Starcatcher as "an enchanting, swashbuckling, grown-up's prequel to Peter Pan that will have you hooked from the moment you let your imagination take flight." Based on the book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, it is a fast-paced, exhilarating theatre experience suitable for adults and children ages 10 and older. The audience follows a captivating cast of characters on a journey to solve the mystery of how Peter Pan became, "the boy who never grew up."

On Oct. 11, we will depart from the Grace Theatre, 316 S. Main St., Princeton, at 9:30 a.m. on a comfortable excursion bus to Oak Brook. The bus will arrive back in Princeton at approximately 7 p.m. Transportation, brunch, and the show are all included in the cost: $135 for adults ($120 for students up to 18).

This theater excursion package may be purchased online, by leaving a message with the Festival 56 box office (815-879-5656, ext.11), or by emailing a request to Phone messages are returned by the next business day. The deadline for ordering tickets is Thursday, Sept. 17.

War of the Worlds: A Radio Play

Saturday, October 31st, 2015, 8:00pm
Grace Performing Arts Center

In 1938, the panic inspired by Welles made War of the Worlds perhaps the most notorious event in American broadcast history ( You've heard tales of widespread terror when Orson Welles aired a fictional newscast of a Martian invasion of earth. Now come and experience the show from inside the radio studio, watching the actors, seeing the sound effects artist at work. The night will include:

  • Costume Contest with prizes ($5.00 discount on tickets if you arrive in a costume!)
  • 50/50 Raffle
  • Complimentary Candy
  • Other Goodies and Prizes

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