August 26, 2013 • 09:40:40 a.m.

TownSquare Players hosts arts festival to reboot struggling theater company

By JAMI KUNZER – jkunzer@shawnews.com

The Elevate Project (Photo project)

Sunday in the Square on Stage

WHEN: noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 25

WHERE: Woodstock Square

INFO: Donation of $10 suggested. www.tspinc.org or 815-560-2293

With live theater performances during the day and bands at night, the first Sunday in the Square on Stage is really two festivals in one, organizers say.

Serving as a fundraiser for TownSquare Players, the festival is a kick-start for the theater group’s season, TownSquare Players President Betsy Stemple said. 

The group puts on two shows a year, nestled in between musicals performed by the Woodstock Musical Theatre Company, at the Woodstock Opera House.

“We promote all the arts, not just theater,” Stemple said. “I really want to reach out to the community. I want TownSquare Players to step up to the next level, to be a company others can look to for support.”

With that in mind, the event features art in all its forms.

The festival is scheduled noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 25 on the Woodstock Square. A donation of $10 is suggested. Two 50/50 raffles will be held.

Family friendly entertainment, including performances by Voices in Harmony, Felix and Fingers, children’s and adult theater groups, professional face painting, magicians, a storyteller, food vendors and music, is scheduled noon to 5 p.m.

Five area bands will take the stage 5 to 11 p.m.

Among them are the Elevate Project, the Fabulous Q-Balls, Friction, Phidget and Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Momma. The music ranges from rock to blues to pop.

With as many as 15 members, complete with a brass section, Elevate Project performs covers, some ’70s music and originals. 

The Fabulous Q-Balls perform pop, classic rock and R&B from the 1960s to today, while Friction is a Chicago-based cover band specializing in “deep tracks” and crowd favorites.

A finalist in the Chicago Blues Guitar Singer Challenge, Jimmy Nick joins his band Don’t Tell Mama for high-energy blues and rock. And Phidget is known for its high-energy classic rock from the 1980s until now.

Along with performing, band members and basically everyone involved in the festival have stepped up to organize the event, helping with sound, set up, lighting and anything needed for their own acts and others, Stemple said. 

Among those performing throughout the day are the Christian Arts Student Theatre of Marengo, Marengo Children’s Theatre, Theater Undreground, Theatre on the Green, TownSquare Players, Woodstock Musical Theatre Company and more.

The festival also features storyteller Zena McFadden; magicians Steve Danko and Kevin Sarnwick; solo artists Ian Hall, Sandie Kindschy, Timothy Merkel and Suzy Schwartz; and folk/bluegrass/blues group Big Fish.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and folding chairs. Area restaurants are expected to stay open later and/or offer special take-out packages. 


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