Thursday, February 25, 2010

TheatreWorks USA Presents Junie B. Jones

TheatreWorks USA presents Junie B. Jones, the musical theatre production of the wonderful book series written by Barbara Park. 
Young and old alike will be able to experience the return of this Junie B. Jones production to Sangamon Auditorium, UIS on Friday, February 26, 2010 at 7 p.m.
The story follows first-grader Junie B. Jones and her top-secret journal through the experiences of elementary age education and home life. Four separate adventures are chronicled in her diary, based upon 4 special Junie B. Jones stories written by Park.
Junie deals with all the troubles of the first-grade girl, complete with taddle-tales, bullies and friends. Through all of this Junie tells a great story full of exuberance and childlike intelligence, as she keeps her “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal.”

To buy tickets, click below or call the ticket office at 217.206.6160

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Free acting workshop with members of The Acting Company

University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium and UIS Theatre are proud to co-sponsor a workshop with members of The Acting Company on Thursday, March 4 at 7 p.m. in the UIS Studio Theatre. Members of the community ages 14 and up who are interested in learning more about the craft of acting are invited to attend. There is no admission charge.

In this participatory workshop, titled “Acting Clues in Shakespeare,” participants will learn how an actor dissects the text in order to discover the clues Shakespeare left for us in his writing which lead us to characterization, meaning and universal themes.

On Friday, March 5, at 8 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium will present Romeo & Juliet, a collaborative production of The Acting Company and The Guthrie Theatre. In Shakespeare’s iconic romantic tragedy, innocent young lovers fall victim to family hatred and cruel destiny... swords clash, everlasting love is promised and a treacherous sleeping potion is swallowed in the greatest love story of all time. While still using Shakespeare's text, this unique production will be set not during Shakespeare's Elizabethan time, but during the Titanic era of 1912-1914.

Through the Auditorium’s unique “audition pricing,” which encourages the public to “try out” world-class events, tickets start at just $20 for adults and $11 for youth high school age and younger. Please note that audition pricing is not available the day of the show, but must be purchased in advance.

Founded in 1972 by John Houseman and current Producing Director Margot Harley with members of the first graduating class of Juilliard’s Drama Division, The Acting Company has performed 133 productions for over 2 million people in 48 states and nine foreign countries. The Company has given a generation of actors the opportunity to master their craft. Alumni members include Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, David Schramm, Jesse L. Martin, Keith David, Lorraine Toussaint, David Ogden Stiers, Mary Lou Rosato, Lisa Banes, Derek Smith, Frances Conroy, Dennis Boutsikaris, Jeffrey Wright and Rainn Wilson.

For tickets to Romeo & Juliet or for more information about the free acting workshop, please call the Sangamon Auditorium Ticket Office at 217.206.6160 or 800.207.6960.

Friday, February 19, 2010

John Hammond Jr. to Open for Blind Boys of Alabama

From coffeehouses to concert halls, festivals and beyond, John Hammond has spent forty years entertaining blues, folk and rock audiences around the world, performing intense solo-acoustic blues. A Grammy Award winner and four time nominee, Hammond is also a multiple Blues Music Award winner who has shared the stage and/or recorded with many of the masters, including Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, as well as many others. He has recorded over thirty albums and his passionate commitment to traditional blues made him the natural choice to host the BRAVO TV special and Sony Home Video, The Search for Robert Johnson. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blind Boys of Alabama follow God’s calling

The Blind Boys of Alabama “hit the road” in 1944 and have taken their harmonizing, soul-stirring gospel music worldwide ever since.

God is leading them every step of the way, and the next stop is Springfield, says founding member and vocalist Jimmy Carter.

“I want to let the people of Springfield know that The Blind Boys of Alabama, we are on our way. ... We’re gonna all get together, and we’re going to have a great, great time,” Carter says.


article by Tamara Browning

The State Journal-Register

Read the full article

Monday, February 15, 2010

Junie B. Jones is back!

She’s back! Outspoken, precocious, lovable Junie B. Jones stars in a colorful, funny, fast-paced musical about new friends, new glasses, sugar cookies, the annual kickball tournament, and other various first-grade angst-ridden situations. Follow her adventures as she writes down the story of her life in her “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal.” This popular musical is based on four volumes in Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones series of books, illustrated by Denise Brunkus and published by Random House: Junie B, First Grader (at Last!); Junie B, Boss of Lunch; Junie B, One-Man Band; and Top-Secret Personal Beeswax: A Journal by Junie B (and Me!).

Family Series event!
Friday, February 26 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Garrison Keillor brings Lake Wobegon to UIS

Last September, two weeks before he was to have opened Sangamon Auditorium’s 2009-10 season, radio host and writer Garrison Keillor was admitted to the Mayo Clinic with what a hospital spokesman called a “mini stroke.”

He was released from the hospital later that week, but doctors’ orders kept him from flying to his show here. So it was postponed until Monday, when Keillor is to perform solo at Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield.

Nevertheless, Keillor was back on his feet later that month for the season premiere of “A Prairie Home Companion,” his long-running public radio variety show.

That’s probably no surprise to his fans, who know him as a prolific entertainer — host of two radio programs, writer of books and a syndicated newspaper column and a performer of solo shows around the country.


Article by Brian Mackey
The State Journal-Register

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Band of the Irish Guards often performs for queen of England

Central Illinois concertgoers can get a taste of England when the Band of the Irish Guards performs Thursday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Sangamon Auditorium.

The ensemble is one of five British military bands that provide music for the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.

In a telephone interview, director of music Maj. Philip Shannon described it as “a real feast of pomp and pageantry.”

“If anybody has any ties with the old country, as we would call it” — Shannon said they’ve bumped into many people who do — “just to have that kind of connection with the music that their relatives and ancestors grew up with, we find that that’s very special.”


Article by Brian Mackey
The State Journal-Register

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shen Yun Performing Arts show coming to Springfield – Sangamon Auditorium, UIS TONIGHT!

Inspired by the spirit of an ancient culture, Shen Yun Performing Arts brings to life classical Chinese dance and music in a gloriously colorful and exhilarating show. With an elite company of dancers, singers, and musicians, the New York-based Shen Yun comes to Sangamon Auditorium, UIS, Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 p.m.

The company’s masterful choreography and graceful routines range from grand classical processions to ethnic and folk dances, with gorgeously costumed dancers moving in stunning synchronized patterns. Its themes are drawn from the pages of history as well as our world today.

State-of-the-art backdrops conjure celestial palaces and pastoral vistas, while groundbreaking music combines the best of Chinese and Western composition. Taking inspiration from ancient heroic legends and modern courageous tales, the breathtaking beauty of Shen Yun Performing Arts is not to be missed. Performed with a live orchestra!

Presented by: Mid-USA Falun Dafa Association, Sound of Hope Radio, NFP.

Tickets for this event start are $80, 59, 49, and 39 (prices do not include a $2 facility fee per ticket) and go on sale Friday, November 20, 10 a.m. To order tickets visit or call the Sangamon Auditorium Ticket Office at (217) 206-6160 or toll free at 800-207-6960. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the Ticket Office, which is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Experience the pomp and pageantry of Great Britain

The Band of the Irish Guards and the Royal Regiment of Scotland have teamed up for a U.S. tour, which will be stopping at Sangamon Auditorium on Thursday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m. The concert is titled “Hands Across the Sea,” named after a John Philip Sousa march they will be performing. (Hear the song being performed by the U.S. Coast Guard Band here on YouTube.) The groups will perform traditional marches as well as arrangements of Celtic folk songs and dance tunes from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

The 49 member Band of the Irish Guards is one of the official groups that plays at Buckingham Palace and at state ceremonies – you’ll recognize their distinctive red coats and tall black furry hats. The group was formed in 1900 by Queen Victoria to commemorate the bravery of Irish Regiments. The band’s responsibility was to inspire an esprit de corps among the troops, and it traveled extensively during both World Wars to give morale-boosting performances for those in active service. In addition to their musical activities, members are trained to give support to Army medical services and have assisted in the first Gulf War and Kosovo.

The group from the Royal Regiment of Scotland includes bagpipes, drums, and dancers. The Royal Regiment of Scotland actually includes 7 Battalions, each of which has its own Pipes and Drums. The group coming here is “The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion.” The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was formed in 1881 as the union of two distinguished Scottish regiments. These two regiments participated in numerous major campaigns, including the Battle of Waterloo during the Napoleonic Wars, the Battle of New Orleans, and the Battle of Balaklava during the Crimean War, which earned them the moniker “The Thin Red Line.”

Garrison Keillor: A Born Writer

Garrison Keillor, known most for A Prairie Home Companion, is also an accomplished writer.

As a young man, Garrison Keillor pursued writing because his parents disallowed music and dance. He was raised in a strict, conservative Christian environment. But, he said, his childhood was happy, even though he later left the Plymouth Brethren, to which his family belonged.

In a UK Guardian interview, Keillor said, I did grow up among fundamentalist people whose theology was very stark and absolute. But to their own children and relatives they were nothing but kind and generous and being among Christian people meant that cruelty was profoundly repressed. When outsiders look at this upbringing they look at the long list of prohibitions. But none of that bothers you as a child. You never went to movies or dances and so it seemed a perfectly reasonable way to grow up."

  Instead of the vagaries of modern entertainment that the Keillor family forbade, young Gary Edward Keillor took up writing as a hobby, and has written prolifically since.

  Keillor did begin a career in radio, during his college career as an English major at the University of Minnesota in the sixties. However, he began writing for the New Yorker, first as a freelance, and then full-time in the late 1960s and continued for years.

  It was only after writing a story about the Grand Ole Opry for The New Yorker, that Keillor imagined the present format for his own radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, in the mid 70s.

  Along with writing for the show, Keillor has published over 100 works, from Novels to newspaper articles. He is a syndicated columnist as well, appearing in newspapers across the country. And his Lake Wobegon tales have grasped quite a following.

  Even though Keillor’s works may not be as strictly Christian as his parents before him, Keillor has graced the world with great literary works, having a literary following some compare to Mark Twain’s.

  "I've wanted to be a writer since I was a boy, though it seemed an unlikely outcome since I showed no real talent. But I persevered and eventually found my own row to hoe. Ignorance of other writers' work keeps me from discouragement and I am less well-read than the average bus driver." – Garrison Keillor


Monday, February 1, 2010

Ralph's World kudos!

Kim Little, Founder and President of our Family Series sponsor, recently received this great note from a family that won Ralph's World tickets through the Springfield Moms website:

Hi Kim, I meant to write you last week, but I'm sure you know how life happens! I just wanted to thank you for the tickets to Ralph's World last weekend! My 2 year old son had a BLAST! It was his first concert (of many more to come, I'm sure) and he loved it. We bought a cd at the show and have both been singing all the songs since then! I didn't even know what Ralph's World was until I won the tickets, but I sure am glad that I know who they are now! If it wasn't for you and Springfield Moms my son and I wouldn't have had that rewarding and amazing experience together! Thanks again for the tickets and for all you do to keep the website going! Have a great day!

St. John's Hospital also captured this great video of the Ralph's World event at the hospital, sponsored by Sangamon Auditorium.