Stage & Theatre
Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly opens June 15 at The Old Creamery Theatre! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Shelley Klimes   
Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:10
Amana –Join The Old Creamery Theatre for Young Audiences and follow the adventures of Worm, Spider and Fly from their first day of school through the last as they learn to dream big in this show filled with music and fun for all! Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly opens June 15 on the Main Stage in Amana and runs through June 29.

The cast consists of Lou Petrucci, Beau Wilson, Hannah Spina, Jackie McCall, Lisa Crosby Wipperling and Eddie Skaggs. Directed by Sean McCall, Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly was written by Joan Cushing.

Shows are at 1 p.m. on Saturdays, June 15, 22 and 29. Special weekday matinees are at 10 a.m. on Tuesday June 18, Thursday June 20, Wednesday June 26 and Thursday June 27. Tickets are $8.50 per person. Some weekday matinees are sold out so please call ahead to reserve your seats today. Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly is sponsored by Scheels with Kiss Country 96.5 as the media sponsor.

The Old Creamery Theatre Company is a not-for-profit professional theatre founded in 1971 in Garrison, Iowa. The company is celebrating 42 years of bringing live, professional theatre to the people of Iowa and the Midwest.

Why Do Knitting and Crochet Continue to Hook So Many Fans? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 07:36
Yarn Crafter Shares 4 Unexpected Benefits

The idea of “DIY” is definitely in vogue, bringing an upswing in popularity of knitting and crocheting, and there’s no sign interest will wane anytime soon, says lifelong craftswoman Betty Hechtman.

“Pinterest and Etsy are two of the hottest websites online today, and they’re brimming with hand-knitted items, from socks and scarves to purses and pretty much anything that can be made from yarn,” says Hechtman, author of “Yarn to Go,” (, the first in a new cozy mystery series scheduled for publication in July by Berkley Prime Crime Books.

“The hand-knitted caps and sweaters that might have embarrassed us as kids are now a hip expression of artistry,” she says. “Young adults appreciate originality and craftsmanship, and they’re an innovative bunch. They’re doing amazing things with yarn!”

Surprisingly, she notes, crocheting is even more popular than knitting. It’s No. 3 on the top 10 U.S. crafts list compiled by the Craft and Hobby Association, with 17.4 million devotees. Knitting comes in at No. 9 with 13 million needle fans.

“What’s interesting is people say they’re drawn to yarn crafts because of the creativity,” Hechtman says, citing a Craft Yarn Council survey of more than 5,000 knitters. “But once they get into it, they say they realize it also helps with stress.”

That’s just one of the unexpected benefits of time spent knitting and crocheting. Hechtman cites four more:

• Knitting (and crochet) actually produce beneficial physical changes! Spend enough time with your needles or a hook and yarn, and you can strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and change your brain chemistry to reduce stress hormones and increase the natural “happy” neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. These findings were reported last year at an “academic study day” in England on the therapeutic benefits of knitting.

• It won’t leave you feeling groggy in the morning. Having trouble sleeping? Instead of reaching for a pill, pick up a yarn project an hour or so before bedtime. The calming repetition of knitting or crocheting slows restless, racing thoughts and helps us transition from busy day to quiet, restful night.

• Keep your hands out of trouble. Are you trying to quit smoking and don’t know what to do with yourself? How about biting your nails? Have you become obsessed with checking your social media? Crocheting or knitting keeps hands busy – and out of trouble – while you’re traveling, waiting at the doctor’s office or sitting at your kid’s soccer game. And, unlike smoking, nail-biting and wasting time on Facebook, the result of knitting and crocheting is a positive one.

• Make new friends. An internet survey of 3,500 knitters found 90 percent made new friends through the craft. One of the beautiful aspects of yarn work is that you can do it alone or in a group. In fact, the opportunities to socialize seem to be driving the strong interest from young adults, who meet at bars, Starbucks and office lunchrooms for a good stitch session, according to the yarn council. People who are alone much of the time are more prone to depression and other mental health issues, getting together for a knit with friends is good for you!

About Betty Hechtman

Betty Hechtman is the author of “Yarn to Go,” the first book in the Berkley Prime Crime Yarn Retreat mystery series, as well as the author of the best-selling Berkley Prime Crime Crochet  mystery series. The eighth book, “For Better or Worsted,” comes out in November.  She has also written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and screenplays as well as a children’s culinary mystery. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree and has been active in handicrafts since she was a small child. Hechtman divides her time between Los Angeles and Chicago.

Questionable architecture Exhibition opens saturday PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Natalie Dunlop   
Friday, 31 May 2013 13:04

Davenport, Iowa (May 30, 2013) – Questionable Architecture: Terry Rathje in Collaboration with Steve Banks and Monica Correia is the latest exhibition to open at the Figge Art Museum. The exhibition will be on view in the Figge’s fourth floor gallery starting this Saturday June 1 and will be on view through August 25.

This multi-structure sculptural installation is the inspiration of Quad Cities artist and assistant professor of graphic design at Western Illinois University, Terry Rathje, who conceived of this “Village in the Figge” with the collaboration of designer Monica Correia and artist Steve Banks.  The installation explores the interaction of function and form in multiple structures designed digitally or scratch built by hand. Inspired by stupas, pagodas, ziggurats and roadside shrines, these structures are a mix of sculpture and architecture whose fanciful and imaginative designs have a visual impact completely unrelated to their use.

The show will include movable structures made of repurposed materials as well as a unique structure designed by computer and assembled onsite that visitors will be invited to enter. “After several years of building separate structures such as these which reference vernacular architecture, it was natural to imagine what many of them together might look like as a portable village, one that might pick up and move to a new location if conditions warranted,” said Rathje.

The opening reception for this exhibition will be held at the museum beginning at 5:30 pm on Friday and is free with membership or paid admission.

About the Artists

Terry Rathje received his MFA in 3D Design from the University of Iowa, and has created site-specific sculptures in many venues throughout the region, in addition to exhibiting his constructions and assemblage pieces. Monica Correia is Associate Professor of Design at the University of Iowa. A native of Brazil, she has extensive experience as a designer in Brazil and in the U.S. Quad Cities artist Steve Banks, a graduate of Florida State University, creates multi-media works that combine sculptural and painted elements.


About the Figge Art Museum

The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays 12-5 p.m. Thursdays the museum is open until 9 p.m. Admission to the museum and tour is $7. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members and free to all on Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit


Broadway Stars in Timber Lake’s ‘A CHORUS LINE’ PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Tina Stretton   
Friday, 31 May 2013 12:54

Mount Carroll, IL-- Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP) opens its 52nd Season in rural Mount Carroll with the record-breaking classic musical, A Chorus Line on Thursday, June 6. Executive Director James Beaudry has brought in three Broadway performers from New York for this production and several of the best singer-actor-dancers from the past several summers to stage and star in the show for the first time ever at TLP.

Will Taylor, who played Bobby in the recent Broadway revival of A Chorus Line directs and recreates Michael Bennett’s brilliant staging for the musical that tells the stories of performers with big dreams as they fight for a spot ‘on the line.’ The musical was an instant sold-out hit in 1975 becoming the longest running Broadway musical in history. Liza Minnelli famously couldn’t get a ticket, so she sat in an aisle.

A Chorus Line still sells out almost 40 years later, because it celebrates the unlimited possibilities in all of us--teaching that even the lowliest members of any group have the right to stand up for their integrity and dreams. Marvin Hamlisch’s score includes “What I Did For Love,” “I Can Do That” and the classic “One (Singular Sensation).”

Pilar Millhollen, seen as Bebe in the first national tour of A Chorus Line and on Broadway in Chicago, stars as Cassie. In the role of Connie Wong, Geena Quintos comes directly to TLP from the most recent national tour. Quintos, who performed on Broadway in Miss Saigon, also serves as Assistant Director.

TLP favorites Tyler Sawyer Smith (Chicago, Sweet Charity, Sunset Boulevard), Erica Stephan (Footloose, Working, Guys & Dolls), Henry McGinniss (Footloose, Sweet Charity, Children of Eden), Tim Wessel (Guys & Dolls, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown), Joe Capstick (Guys & Dolls, Cabaret), Adam Fane (Grease, The Wedding Singer) and Hanah Nardone (Guys & Dolls, Footloose) all return to Mount Carroll to fill out the cast. New York based actor Kaolin Bass leads the cast as Zach.

“TLP has never attempted to produce A Chorus Line because the level of talent and stamina required for this show is unmatched in any other musical,” Beaudry said. “To do the show right, these performers must be athletes. As one dancer quipped, “It’s like playing Monday Night Football 8 times a week.”

“But after his successes with TLP’s Oklahoma! and Guys & Dolls, I knew Will Taylor had the expertise to do the show right. It’s always an honor to bring Will to TLP, and working with Pilar, Kaolin and Geena has also been a joy and a privilege. Watching rehearsals makes my jaw drop, because these people are so good.”

Rounding out the company are 14 other performers new to TLP who were selected from over 1000 auditions all over the country. Abby Frank-Taylor, of Madison, plays Lois and has the distinction of being the first third-generation TLP company member. She is the granddaughter of Sheldon Frank, who served as Board President for two decades and was a founding board member in 1961. Abby’s mother Leslie also spent several seasons with the company.

A Chorus Line runs June 6-16 for 12 performances only. TLP is located at 8215 Black Oak Rd. in rural Mount Carroll, IL. Tickets are $15-23 and are available at the box office, by calling 815-244-2035 or visiting This Pulitzer Prize winning musical is not recommended for children, as it is based on actual interviews with real people and contains some adult language, humor and content. Later this summer, TLP will present Seussical and The Music Man which are perfect for all ages.


Brucemore’s Fifth Annual Tahitian Party Raise a Coconut to Grant Wood PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Tara Richards   
Friday, 31 May 2013 12:52

Revel poolside amid flickering tiki torches and listen to the beat of steel drums with a cool beverage in hand during the fifth annual Tahitian Party on June 28 from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. Throw on a hula skirt or Hawaiian shirt and relish the atmosphere of Tahiti in Cedar Rapids thanks to Howard Hall’s famous Tahitian Room located in the basement of the Brucemore Mansion.  Enjoy roast suckling pig, noshes, and Polynesian drinks. Join the list of contributors and raise a coconut to support the conservation of the Grant Wood Sleeping Porch. You will not want to miss this popular event.

In 1925, Irene and George Douglas commissioned Grant Wood to design and install a plaster mural on Brucemore’s second floor sleeping porch.  Wood, who earned world-wide fame five years later with the iconic American Gothic portrait, was still relatively unknown.  The former high school art teacher accepted commissions for portraits, graphics, and decorative arts from his home and studio behind Turner Mortuary.   Wood’s stylized presentation of flora and fauna on four walls of the sleeping porch utilizes common plaster and paint in unconventional ways.   A rare example of Wood’s work in decorative arts, the porch is evidence of local patrons who helped launch his career and a unique reminder of Iowa’s most famous artist. This summer, Brucemore will undertake the much needed conservation of the mural to ensure future generations the opportunity to enjoy this important part of the community’s heritage.

Tickets are $60 per person.  Space is limited; purchase tickets by June 19 by visiting or calling (319) 362-7375. Sponsorship levels are also available beginning at $125 and offering additional benefits. The Anderson Group at Morgan Stanley is the presenting sponsor. Tahitian Star Title Sponsors include Kathleen and Tom Aller; Echo Batson and Mike Ahart; Bradley and Riley PC; Brenda Duello and Kirk Haefner; Dr. Fred and Janet Manatt Pilcher; Paulson Electric; and Shuttleworth and Ingersoll PLC. Mercy Medical Center is the Printing Sponsor.

Experience Brucemore, an unparalleled blend of tradition and culture, located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a nineteenth-century mansion filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families.  Concerts, theater, programs, and tours enliven the site and celebrate the heritage of a community.  For more information, call (319) 362-7375 or visit


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