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THE RIVERFRONT PLAYHOUSE

The Miracle on the Mall

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NOW SHOWING

Minus Some Buttons

by Mark Dunn

Streaming performances

January 29 & 30 / February 5 & 6

A delightful comedy by the author of Belles, is about what happens at Graceland Elementary School when a new teacher is hired. Penny who, shall we say, is minus some buttons, is a con artist. The victim of an autocratic school environment as a child, Penny appears to have dedicated her life to breathing some fresh air into the schoolroom, much to the consternation of principal Clarence Olander who looks out his office window one morning to see Penny's pupils throwing their desks out the window! Is Penny a complete lunatic or is she the only one at Graceland Elementary School with any sense whatsoever. Audiences of all ages are sure to delight in the antic comedy in this wonderful play.

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Abbreviated for 2020

Premiers December 24  at 12:00 pm

Continuing for a limited run

For the 27th consecutive year, The Riverfront Playhouse at 11-13 South Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora will present their own original version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This year’s performance will be a whittled down, virtual presentation available on the Riverfront’s YouTube channel on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24 and Christmas Day, Friday, December 25, continuing for a limited run.​

Adapted from the classic Charles Dickens story by Riverfront veteran, the late Jack Schultz, this production of A Christmas Carol is an abbreviated version of the show and includes new topical content and song lyrics, written by Schultz’ children, Jackson Jackson-Schultz and Heidi Schultz.

The Riverfront’s version of A Christmas Carol has become a tradition for not only the playhouse, but for many of the actors who frequently revive their portrayals from year to year, as well as many area families who return time and again to relive the unique and sometimes heart-warming but always hilarious retelling of the Dickens’ classic. For more than two decades, Sherry Winchester Schultz has directed, working closely with musical director, Kathleen Dooley to produce the annual presentation. “This year, I’ve turned over the directorial reins to Kathleen who among her many and varied talents, professionally records and edits video. The cast is as excited to see her finished cut as our audience!” said Winchester Schultz. 

In his adaptation, playwright Jack Schultz has taken the Dickens story and tells it in the traditional way, but with an untraditional spin: imagine that a travelling band of itinerant actors have come into town on a circus wagon to tell the story. This seemingly bizarre twist blends seamlessly into the action of the story, providing the audience with a frame of reference to explain the phenomenon experienced by Ebeneezer Scrooge in the other-worldly visits he receives from his long deceased partner, Jacob Marley, and the three spirits of Christmas, representing the past, the present, and the dreaded future. Schultz’ son Jackson and daughter Heidi have squeezed the 3 hour play down into a fast, fun, topical presentation that riffs on current events and pokes fun at itself.
 

This year’s presentation features veteran A Christmas Carol actors including John Vinopal as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Gary Puckett as The Ghost of Christmas Present, Jeff Pripusich as Bob Cratchit, and introduces Ellis Lanthrum as Tiny Tim in his acting debut. Christmas Carol favorites returning to reprise their roles: Jackson Jackson-Schultz, Heidi Schultz, Kathleen Dooley, Sherry Winchester Schultz and Shawn Dooley as audience-favorite, Howard.

“Using a pre-recorded video format allows us to include previous cast and accompanists in fresh, fun ways”, said Kathleen Dooley. Dooley and Eric Peter Schwartz (2017-2019) will accompany the cast on keyboards and guitar with additional guitarists Eric Prebys (2012-2016) and John D. Klatt (2016) rounding out this year’s Pit Band. “Unlike the Riverfront’s stage, we have an infinite amount of video stage space so Mom reached out to as many cast members from the past 26 years as she could find to participate in the last song of the show. I can’t wait to see who all pops up in the video”, added Jackson-Schultz.

Tickets for A Christmas Carol are free this year. “Performances of A Christmas Carol sell out quickly in the Riverfront’s 90-seat theatre every year. We are thrilled that for the first time ever, we won’t have to turn any audience away since this is virtual. We also wanted to be able to include as many families as possible since 2020 has been extra tough on so many people and thought the best way to do that would be a free show. The Riverfront has also been hit hard with rent and utility expenses but no income due to the Pandemic so tax-exempt donations to the not-for-profit theatre will be gratefully accepted” said Winchester Schultz.
 

 

COMING SOON

Minus Some Buttons

by Mark Dunn

Streaming performances

January 29 & 30 / February 5 & 6

A delightful comedy by the author of Belles, is about what happens at Graceland Elementary School when a new teacher is hired. Penny who, shall we say, is minus some buttons, is a con artist. The victim of an autocratic school environment as a child, Penny appears to have dedicated her life to breathing some fresh air into the schoolroom, much to the consternation of principal Clarence Olander who looks out his office window one morning to see Penny's pupils throwing their desks out the window! Is Penny a complete lunatic or is she the only one at Graceland Elementary School with any sense whatsoever. Audiences of all ages are sure to delight in the antic comedy in this wonderful play.

 

The Riverfront Playhouse

Est. 1978

The Riverfront Playhouse has doubled it's size since its inception, and we're constantly looking for ways to make it even bigger. Through the un-flagging loyalty of our personnel and patrons, we've made it to well over 200 mainstage shows, countless children's theatre presentations, and

The Riverfront Playhouse is a 501c3 not-for-profit store front theater founded in 1978 and established under the direction of David Morris as a creative outlet for actors of all walks of life and all levels of experience to learn and hone their craft. With the very first show, UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE, which featured the talents of Gary Puckett, Christiane Morris, Dick Hawks, and Barbara Alexander, the playhouse was off and running.
 

While performing in the backroom of Max's All-American Bar, which sat on the corner of The Water Street Mall and Galena Boulevard, the actors were all crammed into a coffin-like backstage area, and were forced to do their costume changes out on the Mall behind bedspreads held up by their fellow actors and technical personnel.
 

we have remained a venue for diverse and exciting entertainment in the Western Suburbs, as well as a sort of blue-collar clubhouse for the artistic types of the Chicagoland area. Our longevity is a tribute, not only to the folks that handle the day to day grind of business, but to the audiences that have kept our doors open since 1978. A debt of gratitude is owed to all.

 

News & Updates

A message from the Riverfront Board of Directors:

In response to concerns regarding COVID-19, and for the safety of our patrons and community members, we have decided to postpone future productions until further notice. Safety is our number one priority and we believe this is the best course of action at this time. We thank our patrons for their continued support and hope that every member of our community will remain in good health and good spirits over the next few weeks. Please look out on our website and social media for future updates.

 

Thank you.

 

"Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances."

Victor Hugo

Theater Lights

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Mailing Address:

Riverfront Playhouse
P.O. Box 1703
Aurora, Illinois 60507

(630) 897-9496

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