The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College Ensembles Offer Free Spring Concerts

Parkland College's spring concert season opens in March

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Parkland College's spring concert season opens with March performances by several ensembles.

"New American Classics": A Joint Concert by the Parkland Chamber Singers and the Wind Ensemble 
Sunday, March 1, 3 p.m.
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre

The Parkland Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Franklin Gallo, will perform “Sing a Mighty Song” by Daniel Gawthrop, “Nearer My God to Thee” by BYU Vocal Point, and others.
Jonathan Beckett will direct the Parkland Wind Ensemble in performing an evocative arrangement of “Amazing Grace”, classic band composition by Malcolm Arnold; “Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo” and the exciting “Rhythm Danse” by great American composer Richard Saucedo, among others.

"Festive Celebration": A Joint Concert by the Concert Band and Orchestra Ensembles
Sunday, March 8, 3 p.m.
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its inception, the Parkland Concert Band will perform a selection of songs directed by current Concert Band director Larry Stoner; past directors Gregory Grove (2002-2005) and Ernie Hoffman (1970-1996); and past guest conductor Barry Houser. Songs performed will include “Chorale and Shaker Dance” by John Zdecklik, directed by Larry Stoner; “Montmarte March” by Haydn Wood, directed by Gregory Grove; “Armed Forces Salute” by Bob Lowden, directed by Ernie Hoffman; and “Illinois March” by Edwin Franko Goldman, directed by Barry Houser, among others.

Parkland's Orchestra, directed by Rodney Mueller, will perform “Celebration” by Richard Meyer; “Fervent is my Longing” by Johann Sebastian Bach, orchestrated by Lucian Calliet; “The Planets” by Gustav Holst: ‘Jupiter’ arranged by Vernon Leidig, and ‘Mars’ arranged by Clark McAlister; and “The Sea Hawk” by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, arranged by Jerry Brubaker.

For more information on Parkland College music performances, visit

New Parkland Theatre Show Season Announced

Comedies, drama, part of new lineup

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Parkland College Theatre recently announced its 2020-2021 performance calendar, which includes an award-winning comedy, drama, and classic productions.

10 out of 12
Anne Washburn's 10 out of 12 is a frighteningly accurate and deeply funny record of the hardest day any theatre artist can endure: the all-day technical rehearsal, also known as the "10 out of 12." Distilled from years of production notes, the play focuses on a hopelessly behind-schedule production during one of its last rehearsals before opening to the public. The tech crew is distracted, the actors are fighting (when they aren't missing their cues), and the director and stage manager are just trying to get through the night without anyone dying or killing anyone. 10 out of 12 shows in hilarious and horrifying detail how theatre can inspire, frustrate, and madden its makers. 
Directed by BJ Gailey.
Performances are Oct 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18. Audience, cast, and crew talkback on Oct. 8.
A Christmas Story
With Christmas weeks away, 9-year-old Ralphie Parker navigates school, family, and bullies while desperately trying to secure THE gift, a Red Ryder Carbine Action BB gun. Never mind that everyone from his mother to his teacher to the department store Santa is convinced he’ll shoot his eye out. Written by Philip Grecian, this slice-of-life depiction of Midwestern childhood in the early 1940s brings to the stage the classic 1983 film, based on humorist Jean Shepard’s book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash
Directed by Chelsea Collier.
Performances are Dec 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, and 13. Audience, cast, and crew talkback on Dec 3.
Arsenic and Old Lace
Arsenic and Old Lace, written by Joseph Kesselring, is a madcap dark comedy revolving around theatre critic Mortimer Brewster and his slightly crazy family. Mortimer’s aunts, the charming Brewster sisters, are the town darlings with a little secret and a killer recipe for elderberry wine. Mortimer panics when he discovers how his aunts are "helping" the lonely gentlemen they take in as boarders. Add to the mix a fiancé, a criminal on the run, an alcoholic plastic surgeon, and a brother who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt, and you have a recipe for hilarity.
Directed by Michael O’Brien.
Performances are Feb 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21. Audience, cast, and crew talkback on Feb 11.
Sweeney Todd
Sweeney Todd is the tale of a Victorian-era barber seeking revenge for his unjust exile at the hands of Judge Turpin. Upon his return to London, Todd meets Mrs. Lovett, a clever woman who owns the meat pie shop below his barber salon. Together, Todd and Lovett scheme to exact revenge on Judge Turpin, and discover a creative way to boost Mrs. Lovett’s business. Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical thriller is the winner of ten Tony awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book. Join us for this razor-sharp dark comedy thriller!
Directed by Jeff Dare.
Performances are April 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, and 24. Audience, cast, and crew talkback on April 8.
Actors' Studio Series
10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
Written by: Don Zolidis
How do you survive a zombie apocalypse? With a handy-dandy instructional guide, of course! Featuring 10 methods to ensure you come out the other side alive, 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse is a laugh-out-loud, outrageous comedy that is guaranteed to leave everyone feeling more than prepared for the impending zombie takeover.
Directed by Katie Lejeune
Performances are Nov 5, 6, and 7.
Proof (30th Annual Student Production)
Written by: David Auburn
Catherine has given up her studies to care for her mentally-disabled father, once a mathematical genius, but when he dies, he leaves nothing more than scribbles in notebook after notebook. Plagued with fear for her own mental stability, Catherine must cope with her feelings for Hal (a former student of her father) as well as confront her estranged sister, all the while proving she is indeed a genius herself. But how much of Catherine’s mind is really her’s, and how much is her father’s illness? What kind of proof must she provide not only to Hal and her sister, but to herself?
Directed by Madison Chaney.
Performances March 11, 12, and 13.

Ticket Information
As of January 2020, all Parkland Theatre tickets must be purchased either in advance online or from the ticket booth at the time of the performance; ticket reservations will no longer be accepted. All sales are final, no refunds or exchanges allowed. All Parkland Theatre ticket purchases are nonrefundable. Visit for more information.

Become a Friend of Parkland Theatre
Patron donations help Parkland Theatre continue to provide high-quality productions. For more information, visit

"A Christmas Carol" as Radio Drama Comes to Parkland Theatre

Vintage commercials, live sound effects, music part of one-of-a-kind performance

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Audiences will be transported back to the Golden Age of Radio during a one-of-a-kind performance of Charles Dickens’ classic "A Christmas Carol" on Parkland Theatre's Second Stage Dec. 13–15.
A perennial family favorite and holiday tradition, "A Christmas Carol" comes to life as a 1940s live radio broadcast, complete with vintage commercials, the magic of live sound effects, and live music. A handful of actors bring dozens of characters to the stage, as the familiar story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s thrilling journey teaches him the true meaning of Christmas. This charming and unforgettable take on a radio drama will leave no one saying "Bah Humbug!"
Michael O'Brien directs a cast that includes Marcus Aviles, Madelyn Childress, Haylie Denzer, Collin Downen, Parker Evans, Thomas Fitch, Maya Hammond, Maggie O’Brien, and Kaytelin Richey and features Sean Kelly as Scrooge.  
The Parkland Theatre will hold a talkback immediately following the Dec. 13 show. O'Brien and members of the cast and crew will be on hand to discuss the show and answer audience questions.  
Performances take place in the Parkland Theatre Second Stage Dec. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 14 and 15 at 3 p.m. All tickets for this special fundraising event are $25 and can be pre-purchased by calling 217/351-2528. Proceeds from the show will help fund future Actors’ Studio Series performances.
To request accessibility-related accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services at 217/353-2338 or email accessibilityservices@parkland.eduPlease submit all requests two weeks in advance of your participation or visit. 

Theatre Auditions: "How I Learned to Drive," "Chicago"

Dec. 7; sign up for an audition time at

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Parkland Theatre will hold auditions for its spring productions Saturday, Dec. 7 at the theatre.
Auditions for the drama "How I Learned to Drive" by Paula Vogel will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Auditionees should register for an audition slot at
"How I Learned to Drive" director J’Lyn Hope is casting four women and three men ages 16 and over, of any ethnicity. Auditionees will be asked to prepare a provided monologue. Callbacks, if needed, will be Sunday, Dec. 8, time TBD.
Auditions for the musical "Chicago," based on the book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse (music by John Kander) will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. and will only be extended if currently open time slots are filled. Auditionees must register for both an individual audition slot and a group dance audition slot at
"Chicago" director Abby Gailey is casting approximately 20 actors, high school-age and above, of any gender and ethnicity. Actors will be required to prepare a one-minute cut of a song that they feel showcases their range. Along with an individual audition, a group dance audition will be required. Callbacks, if needed, will be Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4:30 p.m.
Performances of "How I Learned to Drive" will run in Parkland Theatre's Second Stage Feb. 6–16. Performances of "Chicago" will be held in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre April 9–26.  
Please sign up for an audition time at All members of the community as well as Parkland and U of I students are invited to audition; Parkland Theatre encourages diversity. Those with additional questions should email productions assistant Heather Layman at

Free December Concerts by Parkland College Ensembles

Enjoy selections by Guitar Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Orchestra, more

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Get into a festive spirit with the following late-fall and holiday-seasonal concerts by Parkland College music ensembles in early December. These events are free and open to the public. For more information on Parkland College music performances, please visit 
Fall Guitar Ensemble Concert
Thursday, December 5, 7 p.m.
Parkland's Second Stage Theatre
The Parkland Guitar Ensemble, directed by Dr. Young Kim, will perform "My Heart Ever Faithful" by Johann Sebastian Bach; "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" arranged by Max Zhang; "O Come All Ye Faithful" arranged by Justus Nzioki Johnstone; "Cavantina" by Stanley Myers; and "English Dance" by Ferdinando Carulli, among others.
 Noel Concert at Parkland Theatre
NOEL: A Joint Concert by the Parkland Chamber Singers and Orchestra
Saturday, December 7, 3 p.m. 
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre 
The Parkland Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Franklin Gallo, will perform "This Christmastide (Jessye's Carol)" by Donald Fraser; "And the Glory of the Lord" from "The Messiah" by G. F. Handel; "To Sit and Dream" by Rosephanye Powell, and "Kwela Kwela," Zulu and Sotho Songs arranged by the University of Pretoria Youth Chorus.
Parkland's Orchestra, directed by Dr. Rodney Mueller, will perform "Zampa Overture" by L.J. Ferdinand Hérold; "Greensleeves" a traditional arrangement by Alfred Reed; "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson; "Winter Wonderland" by Felix Bernard and Dick Smith; and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.
Festive Yuletide Gala Concert at Parkland TheatreFestive Yuletide Gala: A Joint Concert by the Parkland Concert Band and Wind Ensemble
Sunday, December 8, 3 p.m. 
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre  
Lawrence Stoner directs the Parkland Concert Band, which will perform "Gloria" by Randol Alan Bass; "The Boutique Fantasque (The Fantastic Toy Shop)" by Gioachino Rossini; "The Bells of Christmas" arranged by Bob Krogstad; "Fantasia on Greensleeves" by Ralph Vaughn Williams; "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson; and "Christmas March" by Edwin F. Goldman.
The Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jonathan Beckett, will perform "The Holly and the Good King" by David Mairs; "Secret Agent Santa" by Jeff Simmons; and "Scenes from 'The Nutcracker'" by Michael Story, among others.