Hoogland Center for the Arts

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

In recent years, there has been a push at the statehouse to revive and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. It'd be a symbolic gesture, since the measure failed in the 1970s, and never did get enough support from states to pass federally. It was meant to include in the Constitution that women shall be afforded the same rights as men and not discriminated against due to gender.

Land of Lincoln Chorus

Things went so well with a December performance that the Land of Lincoln Chorus will return with "An Evening With Irving Berlin" this Friday night.  The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. 

Along with the music, Bob Grant will portray Berlin on stage.

"(Berlin) is quite a fascinating character," Grant said. "Even George Gershwin said that he was the greatest American composer."

Courtesy of The Hoogland Center for the Arts

Putting on older theater productions can be a dilemma for those who want to preserve the art in its original form. Some production groups may decide to reinvent pieces that could be seen as problematic in modern times. An operetta currently being performed in Springfield by local actors has sparked controversy for what many consider to be racist qualities.

The popular comedic play, Greater Tuna, takes two actors and thrusts them into the world of a fictional Texan town. The actors play a host of characters, who come together and create a world ripe with low-brow and politically incorrect humor. The play opens in Springfield at the Hoogland Center for the Arts Friday night. WUIS was recently joined by the cast members Rich McCoy and Darin Harms to talk about it: 

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A Chicago-based jazz trio has earned an award for an album recorded live during a performance at a Springfield theater.  

The trio of Paul Wertico, David Cain and Larry Gray recorded their album ``Sound Portraits'' last summer at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. It won top honors for a live performance at the annual Independent Music Awards given out on Tuesday.  

Wertico is a seven-time Grammy Award winner who teaches jazz studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He says the performance was 100 percent improvised and came ``spontaneously from the heart.''  


Roots rocker Nikki Hill is  a newcomer who has gained attention for her soulful and powerful voice. Her band, who she calls 'The Pirate Crew' includes her husband, Matt Hill - a guitar player and soulful musician in his own right. She headlines on Saturday night. Opening is Marco DiMaggio who has been heralded as one of the world's best Rock 'n' Roll guitarists.


This Friday through Sunday at the Hoogland, The Holly and the Ivy takes the stage.  WUIS' Sean Crawford spoke with Aasne Vigesaa, who plays Margaret Gregory and also serves as co-director.

The Holly and the Ivy is a captivating Christmas tale with a difference. Browne’s play, set in 1940s Norfolk, England, begins on Christmas Eve and slowly unfolds over 24 hours, during which time secrets are revealed, skeletons are wrenched out of closets, and lives are changed forever.

WUIS Honors NPR Correspondent Kelly McEvers October 31 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Tickets are available at 217-523-2787. This is a profile The State Journal-Register ran last year.

Thanks to donations from the community, the Hoogland Center for the Arts in 2012 dodged foreclosure and landed on firmer financial ground.  

That means the staff can now plan longer term.  Executive Director Gus Gordon says he's now selling full season ticket packages for the very first time.

Donna Lounsberry/Hoogland Center for the Arts

The Hoogland Center for the Arts starts its fall lineup of performances with the popular musical Gypsy.

The Hoogland's executive director, Gus Gordon, is also directing this production.

Gordon and leading lady Devin Dinora joined us on Illinois Edition to talk about the show they're calling the most ambitious of 2013:

dynamic patterns theatre

Central Illinois audiences with the recent drought still fresh in their minds may be able to sympathize with the characters of "The Rainmaker". 

The story of a midwest farm family and a man promising to quench their land's thirst comes to Jacksonville and Springfield this weekend. 

Director Rich McCoy and actors Michelle Dearing and Evan Rumler joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to talk about the show:

CLICK HERE for Jacksonville tickets

Dynamic Patterns Theatre

Famed poet Emily Dickinson dedicated herself to documenting the joys and sorrows of life in the 1800s.

This month actor Sherri Mitchell brings Dickinson's life and work to the stage in Springfield and Jacksonville.

Mitchell joined Peter Gray on Illinois Edition to talk about her one-woman production, The Belle of Amherst, and what it's like to transport audiences back to the 19th century:

For information about Jacksonville performances May 30-June 2, CLICK HERE