We rolled into the loading dock right on time to begin our day at the Bloomington Center for the Arts (Illinois). This is an incredible theatre built in 1921 but newly renovated just a few years ago with an investment of more than $15 million from the community. It is a great theatre and retains the 1921 charm of the original decor. I think they must know that most artists are “directionally challenged” so this is the first thing you see as you enter the stage door.
The crew here was ready for us when we arrived, load in went smoothly, and we were into our day of set up. It was tough being inside for the day because the weather in Illinois right now is beautiful – 86 degrees, sunny, and a mild breeze. How can you beat that in October? Regardless, we stayed the course and got the show up and ready to go just in time for dinner.
I did have the chance to run outside mid-afternoon to click a couple of pictures of the front of the building – including the marquee and one of the large posters.
During the afternoon, we also had a couple of friends from Chicago stop in and spend some time – Steve Chezeday and Carol Hendrix. It was great to see them and we even had a chance to hang out after the show at the local Steak-n-Shake.
Doors opened at 7pm and a nice crowd of people started to make their way to their seats. I love audiences like this – all ages, from kids to college students to parents to senior citizens. And they were a great audience too! We had some lively volunteers on the stage who moved the show along and made it a lot of fun.
After the show, I made my way to the lobby to meet some of the members of the audience as they left the theatre. This is one of my favorite times of the day! I also had the chance to meet a family prior to the shows. Art Petzel (also from the Chicago area) made the drive to Bloomington with his parents, siblings, and grandparents. It was nice to meet them all.
Bloomington was a great experience for all of us. Spending some time in the community working in the schools and with some of the adult day care clients set the tone for what was going to be an exceptional time. The show was the icing on the cake! Thank you Bloomington for all your support!