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CLC Theatre’s fall production of ‘Street Scene’ is swan song for long-time faculty member

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Oct 27, 2017

The Theatre department’s fall production of “Street Scene,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, will be directed by Thomas B. Mitchell, who will retire in December after 30 years with the Theatre department.

The three remaining performances will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 17 and 18 in the Studio Theatre of the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts

Three actors from "Street Scene"The play by Elmer Rice, set entirely on the front stoop of a two-story apartment building and surrounding street, explores the comedy and tragedy of daily life in 1928 New York City through the experiences of working class families and new immigrants. A Broadway success and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, “Street Scene” teems with humanity and offers a bold exploration of American society. Photo: Tensions boil over into confrontation as Emmalee Berger (left), Jeff Brain and Alexander Gray rehearse a scene from the show.

“I have always wanted to direct and design ‘Street Scene’ ever since I first read it in 1972 and chose it for my first project design in a high school stagecraft class,” Mitchell said. “In 1928, it was seen as a breakthrough play, showing New York City the way it really was at the time, in all its good, bad and ugly moods. The ‘mean’ streets depicted in the play show the characters struggling with living their lives in a difficult but promising world. The antisemitism, bigotry, immigration issues, class struggles, adultery, womanizing, addictions and anger of the characters in this play are raw and real and are still being felt in today’s social climate. That reality fueled my desire to do this play now.”

Immediately following the closing night performance on Nov. 18, a dessert reception will be held in Room P103 to honor and celebrate Mitchell’s retirement. Donations to the Harnish Theatre Scholarship in his honor can be made through the CLC Foundation. Donation opportunities will be available at performances as well, said Craig Rich, theatre department co-chair. A Friends of CLC Theatre fund is being created to support student scholarships and success initiatives, such as involvement in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Thomas B. Mitchell in the Studio Theatre“For the past 30 years, Tom Mitchell (at right) has played a vital role in the growth and success of the theatre department,” said Rich. “His exceptional dedication, artistry and passion have strengthened the reputation of CLC Theatre and inspired thousands of our students. Teacher, director, designer—Tom did it all and with an attention to detail I’ve rarely seen. His contributions to this program, to the College of Lake County and to the surrounding community will be felt for many years to come.”  

The 40-member cast includes current students, newcomers and theatre alumni who returned to participate in Mitchell’s final CLC production.

“Street Scene” cast, alphabetically by hometown:

  • Antioch: Riley Beckett, Jeff Brain, Renee C. Johnson, Sarah Linyard, Bianna Yeager
  • Beach Park: Charlene Walkanoff
  • Grayslake: Angela Ayala, David Cohen, Natalie LaVoie, Bella Parra, Lauren Roback, Matt Sprenger, Maiya Swedberg  
  • Gurnee: Alessandro (Alex) Poehlman, Alma Salgado  
  • Ingleside: Charles Pauley
  • Lake Zurich: Seamus Lenihan
  • Libertyville: Emmalee Berger
  • Lindenhurst: Angel Green, Dianne Hosken, Romeo Sobrepena  
  • Long Grove: Mike Dvorak, Cristian Leiva
  • Mundelein: Maria Cervantes, Grace-Ann Gifford
  • Prairie View: Nancy Krause
  • Round Lake: Isabella Cernuska, Juan Hernandez, Chantal Moody
  • Round Lake Beach: Brooke Buchtenkirch, Malcolm Jae O’Shea
  • Third Lake: Tim Trush
  • Waukegan: Jennifer Hinojosa, Jonathon Rocha, Nicholas Weith, Robert Williams
  • Winthrop Harbor: Benjamin Compton, Dylan Thomas
  • Zion: Alexander Gray, Azariah Ziegler, Bodhi Ziegler, Irie Ziegler, Zen Ziegler

The production staff includes: Thomas B. Mitchell (director and designer) of Chicago; Jeffrey Weiss (sound designer) of Zion; Taylar Klouda (costume designer) of Lindenhurst; Justin Farias (lighting designer) of Waukegan; Nancy Krause (properties designer) of Prairie View; Oguzhan Ucak (assistant director) of Antioch; Jean Boylan (stage manager) of Gurnee; Maranda Riley (stage manager) of Island Lake; James Molidor (assistant scene designer) from Grayslake; and Emmalee Berger (assistant costume designer) of Libertyville.

The rest of the CLC Theatre season features “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Feb. 23 through March 3; “Play On! A CLC Theatre Student Showcase,” April 13-21; and the summer musical, “Cabaret,” July 20-29.

General admission tickets are $12 ($10 for CLC/Teen/Seniors 65+), including a JLC $2 facility fee. Tickets are available in person at the Box Office, by phone at (847) 543-2300 or online at www.clcillinois.edu/tickets. A buy one ticket, get one free offer applies to the Nov. 16 show (in person or phone orders only). Additional convenience fees apply to mail or online purchases. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 12-6 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to each performance at 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake. To request sign language interpreting, please contact the Box Office at least two weeks in advance.

About the CLC Theatre Department

The CLC Theatre Department offers 13 different courses and an Associate in Arts degree, with emphasis either on theatre performance (acting/directing) or technical theatre (design/stage management). For more information, contact the Communication Arts, Humanities and Fine Arts division at (847) 543-2040 or visit www.clcillinois.edu/programs/the. Or become a fan of the College of Lake County Theatre Department Facebook page.