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Centerstage in Lake Forest

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Dance, Music, Theater

Mission: Founded as "Group For..." in 1971, CenterStage has been providing a creative outlet and source of entertainment to the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities for over 40 years. The mission of CenterStage is to produce theatrical events with people of all ages from Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Knollwood, and surrounding communities. We attract, train, and retain talent in all aspects of the theater arts, while emphasizing a fun, rewarding experience.

Geographic areas served: Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Knollwood, Highland Park, Waukegan

Programs: CenterStage in Lake Forest provides not only a source of live entertainment to its audiences but, more importantly, a wealth of educational opportunity in theater arts for all members of the community. Its mostly volunteer casts and crews represent a kaleidoscope of young and old, dedicated amateurs and aspiring professionals, seasoned veterans and rookies. Through the years, our productions have served as a foundation for many a career in theater and the related arts. Many more have discovered their lifelong love of theater, literature, music, art, design, and other creative pursuits while working on our shows.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Scott25

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have supporting Community Theater for over 25 years. And the quality of shows, talent, etc at CenterStage of Lake Forest, IL is second to none. I have introduced their shows to friends and they have been amazed at what they do there, bringing top entertainment to the area.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with CenterStage Theater in Lake Forest for 21 years now, having first acted in one of their plays. I have never been involved with a better organization, full of people who are passionate with bringing great amateur entertainment as a professional level. The level of impact that the theater has had on the community is the number of kids who started acting in shows at a young and kept coming back thru high school and college. And to see their faces in the audience, at a rehearsal when they come back into town for a visit. Ive seen theaters come and go, especially in a tight economy, but CenterStage has found a way to keep it going. This is truly a labor of love, of family (whole families have acted together in shows there, even where the parents never acted before). Last year I had friends who never seen a play there before (Joseph) and were blown away with the quality of the production.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CenterStage in Lake Forest has existed for 43 years. The group has always attracted professional directors, choreographers, costumers, and musicians as well as technical directors to provide a great experience for the cast, crew and audience members alike. A hallmark of their annual summer musicals is a live orchestra, and, in fact, often the smaller shows feature a combo when appropriate. The group presents a variety of productions, from the recent Twelve Angry Men and The Glass Menagerie, with the audience and set all on stage, to Guys and Dolls, The Music Man and Oliver! Dozens of volunteers work behind the scenes to create the productions, manage the house, sell the tickets...all jobs that need to be done. I have worked many shows and can attest to the quality of the productions. In addition, the group is famous for a welcoming attitude, from auditions to set strike. This is community theatre as it is meant to be. While not guaranteed, several couples met and got married thanks to their participation in CenterStage shows!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Centerstage has put on a number of wonderful plays we have attended for many years. As an example, the last one, 12 Angry Men, was a powerful lesson to put aside our prejudices about race and social standing and put ourselves in another person's shoes. The audience and also the participants benefit as well- to expand their talents in the arts- whether acting, directing, scripting, casting or set creating.

3 Sandy H.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Centerstage in Lake Forest is a community theatre with over 100 productions over the past 30 years. There is a place for everyone of all ages and experience from novice to pro in the cast or crew. Where else can someone like me with a lot more passion than talent have a chance to perform some of the best music ever written? I will always remember being a part of Kiss Me Kate, Annie, The Pirates of Penzance, and Community Capers. Music and theatre reach people in unique ways, and Centerstage is a labor of love that deserves all the support they can get.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CenterStage is a great community theater! I have been a performer in the shows as well as an audience member, and I have found the people to be warm and welcoming. The shows are always well done. CenterStage is a wonderful place to meet new friends, and it provides a great source of entertainment for the entire community!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Twelve Angry Me
Upon arriving for the production of “Twelve Angry Men,” I was warmly greeted by the production staff and shown to the seating area. The audience seating around the stage area gave an intimate view and made the audience feel part of the production. The set was simple, yet detailed enough to highlight the actor’s passionate delivery of their lines. Their passion made me feel like I was living in that time period, seated in the jury room listening to the deliberations. The actors assumed the characters they were portraying as angry, argumentative, begrudging, with fairness, or quick to condemn. They showed how stereotyped people could be. The play brought out many emotions we all have felt in our lives. It was well worth seeing this play.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

For over 40 years, CenterStage in Lake Forest has exemplified the full potential of community theatre for developing and showcasing local talent. CenterStage has been a home to gifted performers of all ages, from all over the Chicago area. I have been a supporter of CenterStage for almost twenty years. While I now participate as an audience member and financial supporter, in past years, my wife, two daughters, and I have all participated both on-stage and behind the scenes. Not only has CenterStage provided us with wonderful entertainment, it has been the source of many new friends. When I count my blessings, my wonderful extended CenterStage family is always included.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

First time to the theater and loved Twelve Angry Men. Great use of space and superb acting. Felt this show could have been at Northlight with a higher ticket price.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Centerstage in Lake Forest is a wonderful community organization that provides entertainment that includes a wide variety of venues. Lively musicals, hilarious comedy and thought-provoking dramas give us in the community an opportunity to enjoy our talented neighbors and friends right in our own background (Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest).

1 Liliana M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Although I have yet to see a show at the theatre as I just very recently joined the group, I am very please at the communication level the theatre provides. Reading past reviews and the theatre's location is the main reason I decided to join up as a member. I look forward to upcoming shows (when my rehearsal schedule allows) and am pleased to know we have Centerstage as a substitute for downtown shows. Lili

1 Joseph7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working as an actor with CenterStage was a fabulous and enriching experience. In my many decades of participating in amateur theater productions, very few companies have come close to the level of professionalism, commitment and skill that CenterStage consistently demonstrated. From the first audition to the final strike of the set, it was clear that everyone associated with this group was invested not only in the task at hand, but also in their commitment to the production team and to the community they served. I grew as an actor by working on this production. I honed my craft and learned new skills. I developed new friendships and new affiliations. But for me, the most important benefit of my association with CenterStage was a renewed comitment to the idea that the performing arts can be so much more than "entertainment" or a way to pass the time. CenterStage showed me again that the theater can be a way to explore who we are as people, and what we can be as a community. For that, I will always be grateful.

1 Craig11

Board Member

Rating: 5

My family has been involved with CenterStage for the last 10 years, since our daughter first became enamored with theatre. At first, like most parents, we took on the role of "proud observer", watching our daughter's skills and confidence progress, but over time, we realized that CenterStage offered a UNIQUE opportunity for us to participate in our daughter's love of theatre, without necessarily having to be "in the spotlights". My wife began helping with costuming and general administrative and "front of the house" volunteering, and I found myself drawn to the set construction area. In these roles we've been able to volunteer alongside our daughter, often working hand in hand (almost literally, both in costuming and set construction!). The CenterStage leadership and volunteer group is unbelievably welcoming and supportive, and together we offer wonderful opportunities to our community - both in terms of participating in CenterStage as volunteers and actors, but also offering exceptional theatre at a low ticket price, offering the arts lo our community, locally.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with CenterStage in Lake Forest since 1973--if I didn't believe in their purpose and accomplishment, I wouldn't have such an extended relationship. CenterStage brings entertainment, teaching, community involvement, and just plain good old-fashioned fun to the theatrical and artistic community, not to mention some truly high quality performances. They would not be recognized as "typical" community theatre, although they are, for the most part, non-paid and volunteer. Any organizaton that can get people to volunteer for that many years and feel they are benefitting from the experiences provided is worth being a part of. I'm proud my name is among those.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Center Stage's Classic Series gives our community excellent theater right at home! No long drive, difficult parking or high ticket cost. Great theater: fun, thought provoking. Center Stage welcomes volunteers. I loved ushering for 12 Angry Men. Greeting neighbors and friends and then joining them in the audience. Give them a call and try it. We are very fortunate to have this talented dedicated group!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have attended and acted in community theater productions in the Chicago area for many years. Your recent mounting of "12 Angry Men" was one of the best community theater productions I have ever seen. The acting, direction and production design were uniformly excellent. Thank you for an exciting and thought-provoking evening of theater.

Megan26

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

We are very lucky to have such a great, accessible theater so close to home. Talented actors in an intimate setting. Check out what Centerstage has to offer!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It was a great show, very interestingly staged so we could be up close and involved. Felt like we were at a meeting, sitting in the usual array of chairs around the walls among the folks who needed to watch the "big boys" going through their corporate deliberations. Many of us have had that experience in our lives. Each cast member's character's personality came through. Excellent performances throughout. More important, the message of the play rang true and reminds us all that innocent until PROVEN guilty remains the foundation of our legal system and what makes us, in comparison to so many others, who we are. BRAVO!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We feel very fortunate to have a theater with the high caliber of talent so close to home. It is a treasure in the community and although it took a friend of ours staring in "12 Angry Men" to get us to come, we are hooked! The directing, stage sets, actors, volunteers were outstanding.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love the high quality of the performances and ease of getting tickets online. The last play that we saw was "Twelve Angry Men" and we liked the intimate stage setting where we were close to the actors and could see and hear everything. It is great to have such great entertainment so close to where we live...and knowing some of the performers is great fun, too!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Twelve Angry Men. The title didn't draw me to the theatre. I was pleasantly surprised by the creative staging CenterStage adopted to tell the story of a jury in a murder case. The theatre company smartly created a "black box" surrounding the central action of the jury room. As an audience member, I felt I was part of the jury myself, and able to see facial expression and nuance more clearly. It was a brilliant choice outside the "box" of their typical presentation. I was also impressed by the caliber of the acting and the commitment to excellence by the production team.