CHARLESTON — Performers with Theatre in the Park braved hot temperatures to bring Gilbert & Sullivan’s comedic opera “Patience” to the Daum Amphitheatre.
“It’s been quite difficult rehearsing in this heat, so props to the rest of the cast,” said choreographer Matthew Gerard Burns, who also plays the poet Bunthorne in the production. “They've been working their butts off.”
The three-night run of performances started Thursday.
"We thought, 'Why not? Let's try it, see how it goes.' And it's been booming," said Tasha Bates, who turned a portion of her family's storage and construction business into an Airbnb rental.
The group sought to bring “Patience,” first performed in 1881, into the 21st Century. They made costume changes and delivered lines in ways that might seem more up to date, but left all of the songs unchanged.
“Gilbert & Sullivan is a very difficult material to work on,” said Burns. “I like the challenge of it; it’s quite hilarious.”
It's also been a big change from last summer, when the performance of the musical "Quilters" at the venue was under COVID restrictions and social distancing.
The cast was limited to seven and included Abby Smith, who plays a maiden in "Patience."
“It's just been so much more relaxed,” she said about this year.
The cast includes Max Deremiah, a student at Eastern Illinois University.
“Some of my favorite parts about the show are definitely the big group numbers,” said Deremiah, who plays Saphir. “Because, then all of us are on stage at the same time. We have beautiful harmonies. We have beautiful dance moments.”
Theatre in the Park includes performers, stage crew, and directors of several different ages and backgrounds.
“We're really happy to include people from different parts of the community,” said musical director Elizabeth Halbe. “Everybody just comes together to create something that's really quite unique and incredible.”
Several of the cast members are also students who either go to the local high schools or are homeschooled.
“The cast has been wonderful, I made a lot of friendships,” said 16-year-old Eliana Stewart, who plays one of the maidens in the production. “And this is one of the only opportunities I have to do theater because I'm homeschooled, so that's really nice.”
Theatre in the Park has also put on other performances, including “The Pirates of Penzance” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
48 Olympic athletes with Illinois ties
Aisha Praught-Leer, Jamaica: 1,500-meter run
Alyssa Naeher, United States, soccer
Andrea Filler, Italy, soccer
Casey Krueger, United States, soccer
Darryl Sullivan, United States: High jump
David Kendziera, United States: 400-meter hurdles
David Robertson, United States, baseball
DeAnna Price, United States: Hammer
Eddy Alvarez, United States, baseball
Edwin Jackson, United States, baseball
Eliza Stone, United States: Saber
Evita Griskenas, United States, rhythmic gymnastics
Felicia Stancil, United States: BMX racing
Gwen Berry, United States: Hammer
Jewell Loyd, United States, women’s basketball team
Jordan Wilimovsky, United States: 10-kilometer
Jordyn Poulter, United States, volleyball
Josh Zeid, Israel, baseball
Julie Ertz, United States, soccer
Kelsey Card, United States: Discus
Kelsey Robinson, United States, volleyball
Kent Farrington, United States: Show jumping
Kevin McDowell, United States
Laura Zeng, United States, rhythmic gymnastics
Lauren Doyle, United States, rugby
Maggie Shea, United States, sailing
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, United States, volleyball
Mitch Glasser, Israel, baseball
Nefeli Papadakis, United States, judo
North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics team, United States: Rhythmic gymnastics team competition
Pedrya Seymour, Bahamas: 100-meter hurdles
Rajeev Ram, United States: Men’s doubles
Raven Saunders, United States: Shot put
Ryan Murphy, United States: 100- and 200-meter backstroke
Sandi Morris, United States: Pole vault
Thomas Detry, Belgium, golf
Thomas Jaeschke, United States, volleyball
Thomas Pieters, Belgium, golf
Tierna Davidson, United States, soccer
Tim Federowicz, United States, baseball
Tim Nedow, Canada: Shot put
Tomáš Satoranský, Czech Republic, men’s basketball team
Tori Franklin, United States: Triple jump
Tyson Bull, Australia: Horizontal bar
Zach LaVine, United States, men’s basketball team
Zach Ziemek, United States: Decathlon
Olivia Smoliga, United States: 400-meter freestyle relay