I’ve never been to a play at Corn Stock Theatre which was originally founded here in Peoria on July 27th, 1954 in Detweiller Park. The first prodcution was the play, Gigi, directed by Gretchen Iben. Fast forward 60 years later and MBIP Contributor, Chip Joyce is directing a production of The Graduate at Corn Stock Theatre. The Graduate is one of my all time favorite movies and I’m wondering how Chip and the cast can translate the story to a play here in Peoria. Well, there’s only one way to find out...
And that’s to head on over to The Corn Stock Theatre...
Located right here in Bradley Park.
It appears that the theatre is over here, stage right...
And there it is, The Corn Stock Theatre. It's an impressive looking building here in the middle of the park.
Let's go in since we just got our obligatory front door mirror shot.
There's the front desk where you purchase your ticket for the production.
Here's Cindy who was manning the aforementioned front desk and posed for the MBIP camera. She was very friendly and nice and also introduced the play later on.
There's a mural on the front wall of pictures from past Corn Stock productions through the years. This alone is worth the price of admission and I could've looked at it all day.
Corn Stock's rich production past can also be explored in these posters from plays from the past.
I wish they had the year when the play actually happened, but what are you going to do?
People are already starting to fill up the lobby and there's over 45 minutes till showtime. Looks like I'm not the only early bird in town.
I didn't realize it when I took the photo, but this is part of the scenery of today's play. Check out the album on the bottom shelf...
Right after I took that shot, who shows up but MBIP pal and contributor, Chip Joyce, who's the director of today's production. Check it out, Simon and Garfunkel and Joyce!
Chip volunteered to give us a little backstage tour at Corn Stock, very cool!
Here's Jimmy LaHood who we met at The No Wake Zone chili dog party at No Wake Zone a couple of months ago. Jimmy helped out with the production and it was great to see him again.
You can feel a little tension in the air back here as it's getting close to showtime and people are getting ready for the stage call.
Here's two of the actors in today's production: Laura Miller-Mansoori who's playing Elaine Robinson and Tim Jenkins who's got the lead role of Benjamin Braddock.
There's the makeup and hair stations over there, let's go check it out.
It's Trish Ballard, who's portraying Mrs. Robinson in the play. This is such a key role in the production and I'm anxious to see how Trish turns into Mrs. Robinson on stage.
Hairs to you, Mrs. Robinson! We'll see you on stage, Trish!
Okay, here we are in the theatre and the play is just about to begin. You can't take photos while the play is going on, so I have to turn my camera off now. But luckily, Chip sent me in some photos that were taken by Jenny Parkhurst.
Here's Trish on the bed in the scene where Benjamin utters the immortal words, "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me." (Photo by Jenny Parkhurst.)
And as we can see from this photo, that's exactly what she was trying to do and she succeeded. (Photo by Jenny Parkhurst.)
Lemonade and cookies were served up during intermission, sadly there's no beer here, but once again, what are you going to do?
These two pretty women were serving up the treats and I forgot to write their names down, but if I remember correctly, which I never do, it's Mary Alice and Sue. Ladies, if you're reading this, feel free to correct me in the comments.
Here's Paul Gordon who was the house mangager for the day at Corn Stock. Paul's very active here and has directed and acted in many productions through the years. He's also the editor of The Peorian and rumor has it that he writes about tractors now and again, but that's yet to be confirmed.
Intermission is over and here's Benjamin in an angry moment with Mrs. Robinson. (Photo by Jenny Parkhurst.)
Here's one of the final scenes in the play with Elaine Robinson and Benjamin Braddock in an ending that was different from the movie and for me, was a lot more satisfying. One of the impressive things about this production was that the actors took the roles and really made them their own, they didn't just parrot the characters that we're all so familiar with from the movie. Everyone in the cast made this a really unique portrayal of what is now an iconic story. I really enjoyed it and I can safely say that it was just as good, if not better than the movie version. Kudos to the entire cast and to Chip Joyce who directed the production. I really enjoyed my first Corn Stock Theatre experience and I will be back for more. If you've never been, I highly reccommend that you check out this fine and fun local theatre experience. (Photo by Jenny Parkhurst.)
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio,
Our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away,
Hey hey hey.
P.S. Don't Forget...
There's a big craft beer party at The Speakeasy Art Center In Pekin tonight. I can't go, because I have to work, but you should check it out and have a beer or ten for me! The details are below, cheers!