Arts and Culture | WGLT

Arts and Culture

Obscure Shakespeare Play Finds Its Voice

Jul 6, 2017
Illinois Shakespeare Festival

When Shakespeare first wrote Cymbeline in 1623, it was well received. But by the 18th century, the play had fallen out of favor.

Audiences found it difficult to pin down and classify, plus it was darkly comedic and just had a whole lot going on from curtain up to curtain down. But there's a new adaptation afoot at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival that puts the problems of the play in their place and sets the action under the big top.  

A Magical, Musical Midsummer

Jun 29, 2017
Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival presents a music-filled version of A Midsummer Night's Dream this season that turns out to be a bit of a family affair.

The Past Is Present In New Exhibition

Jun 27, 2017
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Artist Cynthia Kukla has not put her feet up since retiring from teaching in the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts.  Instead, she's put on her traveling shoes and found inspiration on a far shore.

Wonder Woman Wows

Jun 22, 2017
JD Hancock / Flickr via Creative Commons

It's about time!  That's the feeling of many Wonder Woman fans as the DC legend finally gets her own blockbuster movie.

A Magical 40th Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Jun 15, 2017
Peter Guither / Illinois Shakespeare Festival

At the first-ever Illinois Shakespeare Festival -- back when it wasn't even called that yet -- the plays were staged on the tennis courts at Ewing Manor in Bloomington.  Forty years later and the acclaimed festival has its own spiffy theater at Ewing and a great reputation as a local cultural gem.

Ralf-Finn Hestoft / Associated Press

She was the first African American ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, and first black woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was only the second person to serve as Illinois Poet Laureate, succeeding Carl Sandburg. She was also the state's longest-serving laureate, an unpaid position she held for more than 30 years.

Illinois is pausing this month to celebrate the life and work of this woman of firsts,  who would have turned 100 on June 7.

Malls: Love Gone Cold

Jun 13, 2017
WGLT

What was once a ubiquitous part of American consumer culture now seems to be sliding towards extinction.  A recent study suggests 15% of traditional shopping malls will disappear in the next decade.  When we lose the malls, do we  lose something more than just a collection of shops?

Jason Judd / University Galleries

The walls of the University Galleries in Uptown Normal are filled with joyous, colorful works of art.  That's not at all unusual, except that this art was created right in the space where its being exhibited in a celebration of creativity, inclusion and collaboration.

Dennis Beck / Broadway Tour

A story line taken from Tolstoy's War and Peace. A musical remake of the nineties film Ground Hog Day. The trials of an anxiety-ridden adolescent and the true story of a Newfoundland town faced with hosting stranded air travelers on 9/11. 

Those are the themes of this year's line up of Tony nominees for best musical. The four nominated musicals are Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,Ground Hog Day, Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away.

Got Ten? See A Play!

Jun 2, 2017
MaxiPixel / Google Images via CC

In just ten minutes, Heartland Theater can give you a play from start to finish.

When A Penguin Met A Peach

May 31, 2017
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The Penguin Project of McLean County is staging the musical James and the Giant Peach, Jr. this weekend in U-High's Stroud Auditorium.

Psyching Out Star Wars

May 26, 2017
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Forty years ago this week, the lines began to form around the block for Star Wars—a film that went on to explode not just box office records, but make a profound impact on culture.

Upcycling And Crocheting Helps Homeless

May 25, 2017
Public Domain / Google Images

Instead of letting old plastic shopping bags clog our landfill or flutter around on the whims of the wind, one local group is upcycling them to help folks in need.

Gala Helps Students Dream Big

May 16, 2017
Friends of the Arts

At a time when student debt continues to escalate, the annual Gala at the Galleries event takes some of the sting out of paying for a fine arts education at Illinois State University.

Wonder Woman: Heroic Complexity

May 11, 2017
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

One of the most enduring characters in comic book history is Wonder Woman, and a new book lets us take a look behind the cuffs and tiara to gain a deeper understanding of the popular superhero,

New Route Theater

The second year of a New Route Theatre festival keeps the goal of the first year: attract an audience that reflects the diversity of the community. 

The Voice of Pride: 2nd Annual Festival of New Plays features four staged readings through May 7. New Route Theatre Artistic Director Don Shandrow said during Sound Ideas there was a call for submissions, and readers for the theatre narrowed down the final list.

Community Players Climbs "The 39 Steps"

May 4, 2017
Community Players

A classic thriller jumps from the screen to the stage in the latest production from Community Players.  Based on the film by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps takes a comedic twist in the footlights, but it still has Hitchcock's fingerprints all over it. 

Opera For Kids Fires Up Fans

May 3, 2017
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

In a dusty old bookshop, three tech obsessed young people face a perilous task to save all the books in the world from a dark force known as The Blank.

Local Indie Filmmaker Wants To Scare You

Apr 28, 2017
Zakk Fairley / Vigilant Studios

This weekend,  Normal Theater hosts the debut of the latest short film from Vigilant Studios -- Black Book.

Illinois Wesleyan University

There were few books in Cornelius Eady's household when he was growing up in Rochester, New York.

"We barely had a radio," he recalled on GLT's Sound Ideas.

Charles Osgood Photography

Renee Rosen's new historical novel "Windy City Blues" uses Chicago and its storied blues history as a backdrop to a story about perseverance and coming of age.

"I sort of see it as the story of three people who come to Chicago seeking a better life," said Rosen via Skype from her Chicago home.

Task Force Takes On Sexy Music Videos

Apr 17, 2017
California Cow / Flickr via Creative Commons

An Illinois State University professor's research has earned her an invitation to join a task force that is taking on the music industry.

Uncovering McLean County's Farming Roots

Apr 13, 2017
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History explores local agriculture history in their newest exhibition.

Ringling Is Closing, But Circus Goes On

Apr 6, 2017
Gamma Phi Circus

Illinois State University is home to two unique and widely admired circus traditions -- Gamma Phi Circus, the 88-year strong circus arts program for students, and the Circus and Allied Arts Collection, part of the Special Collections at Milner Library. Both are keenly feeling the impending loss of The Greatest Show On Earth.

Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

The man credited with helping to create rock 'n' roll will be remembered during a public memorial on Sunday, April 9, in St. Louis. Chuck Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90.

Robots Seize Control Of Normal Theater

Apr 4, 2017
Luis Perez / Flickr via Creative Commons

The complex relationships between humans and their robot counterparts are at the heart of a film festival at the Normal Theater this week.

wikimedia.commons

She disguised herself as a male hoping to study at a university. Her personal collection of books is said to have numbered 4,000. She once said women "can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper. "

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was a 17th century Mexican nun who wrote poetry and plays and championed a woman's right to study, learn and think for herself.

Diversity Advocate Reveals Hidden Cultural Messages

Mar 28, 2017
CWSC Panthers / Flickr via Creative Commons

Humor is a potent professor when it comes to diversity.  That's according to an advocate and speaker, who says the hit animated TV comedies South Park and Family Guy have a lot to teach us about our culture.

'Subdivision' Has Open Door Policy For Artists

Mar 23, 2017
Laura Kennedy / WGLT

There's been a transformation at the University Galleries in Uptown Normal with a new installation that is slowing evolving through a series of artist collaborations.

Community Players

Perhaps the most familiar opening notes of any American show come from composer Leonard Bernstein’s classic score for the musical, West Side Story.

With lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show premiered on Broadway in  1957  and followed the rivalry between ethnic New York teens and young immigrant Puerto Ricans.

The show's opening lines, "Hey brown boy, this is our street ... swim back to where you came from," demonstrate perhaps just how little we’ve progressed as a nation since then.

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