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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
I would echo what Idona said about how CenterStage welcomes newcomers. My experience with this wonderful group of people has made me feel like one of the family. Being allowed to perform in a number of shows and treated so well, the way every organization should treat newcomers as well as oldtimers. I love this wonderful group of people, and feel loved back.