Orland Park Children’s Theater presented “It’s Not Not a Musical” on Oct. 7 through Oct .9 at the Orland Park Cultural Arts Center, 14760 S. Park Lane, Orland Park. (Supplied photos)

Orland Park Children’s Theater presented “It’s Not Not a Musical” on Oct. 7 through Oct .9 at the Orland Park Cultural Arts Center, 14760 S. Park Lane, Orland Park. (Supplied photos)

Orland Park children show off theatrical skills

Spread the love
1 5

Orland Park Children’s Theater presented “It’s Not Not a Musical” at the Orland Park Cultural Arts Center, 14760 S. Park Lane, Orland Park.

By Kelly White

Children in the Orland Park community came together earlier this month to showcase their theatrical talents.

Orland Park Children’s Theater presented “It’s Not Not a Musical” from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9 at the Orland Park Cultural Arts Center, 14760 S. Park Lane, Orland Park.

“I wrote this children’s play to promote what it’s like to participate and be involved in an ensemble and in a musical,” Director, Tina Cucci Fischer, of Palos Park, said. “And, that’s really the content of the show itself. I wanted to share music and choreography with the children in and around this area again.”

Cucci Fischer brought on long-time actor, writer, director and producer, Bryan Riess, to co-direct the performance with her. Since 2020, they have directed two children’s straight plays, “Pinocchio” and “Snow White.” Most recently, was their sold-out fall musical, “It’s Not Not a Musical” written by Cucci Fischer.

Riess, who graduated from Elmhurst University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communications and English, and a minor in Theater, said he was happy to work once again alongside Cucci Fischer.

“It proved to be a heartfelt success for all involved in its production,” Riess said.

“To be quite honest, the kids were so hesitant at first,” Cucci Fischer said. “They all seemed to crave stage time and acting, but most of the kids were very reserved about singing and dancing in front of people this time around. I don’t know if we blame the pandemic for that or what. But, we continued to get excited each time a new kid came out to audition. We wanted to welcome new faces to the stage, and grow and strengthen the gifts and spirits of the children who have been with us before! I truly believe it happened with this musical, and it was really a dream come true.”

Cucci Fischer graduated from Saint Xavier University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and a minor in Criminal Justice. Her life in theater began over the summer, prior to the pandemic, when former Orland Park Children’s Theater Director, Dee Hamilton, created the theater program in Orland Park.

“Orland already had their all-ages, community Theatre Troupe which had developed over the decades, but Dee hoped to expand by creating a place where children exclusively could participate in something other than acting classes,” Cucci Fischer said.

It was over the 2019 summer, with the help of her then assistant director, Cucci Fischer, that Hamilton directed, choreographed and costumed 102 children in an Orland Park Children’s musical version of Cinderella.

“We cast every single child who turned out for auditions,” Orland Park Theater Producer, Jean Petrow, said. “We did not expect that terrific turnout on our first try; we ended up having two casts. It was a huge endeavor, but a great experience.”

Hamilton who gave the children’s theater program in Orland Park its start, sadly moved away during the pandemic, yet encouraged Cucci Fischer to stay and take on the role of director.

And, children were surely happy she did, including the Jeleniewski sisters of Orland Park.

“I really like theatre because it gives me a happy feeling,” Mia Jeleniewski, 9, said. “The people there are really nice and I made some good friends along the way. Acting is really fun and I really like performing.”

“I originally auditioned for this show because my little sister Mia encouraged it, and I could see that she was extremely nervous to audition on her own, and didn’t like the prospect of being in a show with complete strangers,” Maddy Jeleniewski, 17, said. “It didn’t cross my mind when I auditioned that this would likely be my final show with the children’s theater program, but I am so glad that I had my sister to give me that push. I knew that I would be given opportunities to shine and grow, as well as opportunities to uplift the younger actors in the cast.”

The age range required to audition for “It’s Not Not a Musical” was between 7-17. Children spanning all of those ages auditioned and all were offered roles. 46 children participated in all, plus a dance captain, Savanna Manning; a junior director, Maddi Elzinga; and junior stage manager, Abby Farrar.

Cucci Fischer and Riess will co-direct one more children’s production at the Orland Park Cultural Arts Center this upcoming winter called “Fixing Christmas.”

Local News

Teehan's Tavern will hold an Irish Wake on Saturday in preparation for the end of an era on Sunday. (Supplied photo)

Final days for Teehan’s Tavern — for now

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Teehan’s Tavern in Tinley Park will be closing at the end of the day on Sunday, March 3. The 171-year-old building that has been home to the iconic tavern for more than 100 years will be razed in March to make way for the village’s Harmony Square development. The plan…

Flock Safety camera on pole

Hickory Hills considers buying license-plate readers

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Nuha Abdesallam Hickory Hills city officials are considering acquiring license plate reading cameras after a presentation by police at last week’s city council meeting. Flock Safety cameras are already in use by over 150 agencies in Illinois, helping to restrict crime by providing data about where and when vehicles have been tagged…

reporter ridgefest logo

Chicago Ridge may bring RidgeFest back at a later date

Spread the love

Spread the loveVillage eyes Labor Day or Oktoberfest dates By Dermot Connolly Discussions are underway in Chicago Ridge about the future of RidgeFest, the annual village festival dating back to 1989, which was canceled last year due to security concerns. About 20 people, mainly representing local non-profit organizations, attended a workshop led by village trustees…

Orland Park Mayor Keither Pekau (left) and Police Chief Eric Rossi (right) take part in the police awards ceremony on Feb. 19. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park honors police performances

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The Orland Park Police Department honored several officers and a civilian at the Orland Park board meeting on Feb. 19 as a part of its biannual awards ceremony. Investigator John Folliard was named Officer of the Year for 2023. John Zurek was named the department’s Civilian of the Year. Nathan…

As Curriculum Director for English Ronell Whitaker (standing) talks with a candidate, his colleagues conduct interviews at the SD218 Educator Career Fair on February 24. (Supplied photos)

SD218 hosts career fair for educators

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Community High School District 218 is keeping its faculty informed on available positions in the educational world. District 218 and its partner districts hosted an Educator Career Fair on February 24 at the Administrative Center, 10701 S. Kilpatrick Avenue in Oak Lawn. “This was a great opportunity for educators to…

St. Patrick's Day Parade queen Bea Keenan is crowned by deputy city clerk Liz Cordova Wednesday night. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

‘So cool’ says newly crowned queen of Countryside’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch Bea Keenan said it’s “so cool, such an honor” having been selected queen of Countryside’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade at the Countryside City Council meeting Wednesday night. The parade, with a record 68 entries, steps off at 1 p.m. Saturday. Bea will ride on a float with her royal court…

Funeral2

Obituaries February 29, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the loveROSAURA GALLARDO Rosaura Gallardo, age 88, of Chicago, South Lawndale community, passed away unexpectedly February 8. She was the beloved wife for 63 years to the late Francisco Gallardo; loving daughter of the late Jose Elias Negron and the late Rosa Irizarry Negron; cherished mother of Guadalupe Gallardo, Gloria (Luis) Martinez, Francisco Jr.…

Steve Palmer, chairman of the Brew Moon Festival; Susanna Decker of Community Support Services; and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr pose with the oversized check donated from the festival. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Brew Moon raises $33,000 for two charitable organizations

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch Two local charitable organizations will benefit from the 12th annual Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival held in October at the MAX in McCook. The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation, based in Indian Head Park, and Community Support Services, based in Brookfield, each received $16,500. Checks were presented to representatives…

Mario DePasquale

Ex-McCook police chief sentenced to 27 months in extortion plot

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Mario DePasquale, the former police chief of McCook, was sentenced last week to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiring with the village’s former mayor to extort two businessmen out of tens of thousands of dollars. DePasquale, 50, was sentenced February 21 to…

stealing Mail

Palos Heights police bust mail theft ring

Spread the love

Spread the love3 arrested for allegedly stealing mail in Palos Heights, Palos Park By Jeff Vorva The good news is that lost mail involving residents of Palos Park and Palos Heights has been found. The bad news is that it may be a while before they get that mail back. Three people were arrested for…

Neighbors

Native tribe seeks return of ancestral land in Dekalb County

Native tribe seeks return of ancestral land in Dekalb County

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois currently has no federally recognized tribal land within its borders, but that could change in the coming months. A bill pending in the General Assembly this year would give back roughly 1,500 acres of park land in DeKalb County to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.…

His conviction was overturned after 35 years wrongfully served. State law caps his compensation at 14 years.

His conviction was overturned after 35 years wrongfully served. State law caps his compensation at 14 years.

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com In December, 57-year-old Brian Beals spent Christmas with his sister Pattilyn for the first time 35 years. Beals was exonerated and freed from Robinson Correctional Center in southeastern Illinois on Dec. 13 after a Cook County circuit court judge vacated his conviction and dismissed charges against him. “In…

Cook County judge orders Trump removed from GOP ballot but holds decision pending appeal

Cook County judge orders Trump removed from GOP ballot but holds decision pending appeal

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A Cook County judge on Wednesday ordered former President Donald Trump’s name to be removed from the March 19 Republican primary ballot but stayed her order until Friday to give time for an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. In a lengthy decision, Judge Tracie Porter…

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

Pritzker to mull tightening fiscal landscape in budget address this week

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker will give his sixth state budget address this week, laying out his plan for a fiscal year that government forecasters in November predicted is on pace for a near-$900 million deficit unless corrective action is taken.  Those same fiscal forecasters in the Governor’s Office of…

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

Ahead of Pritzker’s budget address, pressures that mounted last year intensify

BY JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Republicans in the Illinois Senate indicated Tuesday that their sticking point for budget negotiations this year will be the same as it was last year – state spending on programs for noncitizens and recent arrivals from the country’s southern border.  In what’s been a rarity over the past…

‘This place is horrific’: 10-week-old complaint details ‘filthy’ conditions at Centralia funeral home

‘This place is horrific’: 10-week-old complaint details ‘filthy’ conditions at Centralia funeral home

By BETH HUNDSDORFER  Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com The pictures that are said to depict the condition of the embalming room of the Moran Queen-Boggs Funeral Home in Centralia are shocking. Eight photographs and one video taken late last year purported to show the conditions of the funeral home depict piles of dirty sheets, a dead…

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker touts manufacturing training funding, announces cultural districts

Capitol Briefs: Pritzker touts manufacturing training funding, announces cultural districts

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS news@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker was in Normal Tuesday to call attention to recent state funding for manufacturing training academies – including at Heartland Community College.  The governor and college officials celebrated the new 45,000-square-foot facility that opened in January. It includes remodeled space to support programs such as robotics, HVAC, welding…

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com State and community leaders on Monday celebrated the planned opening of a new freestanding birth center on Chicago’s South Side while emphasizing proposed maternal health spending increases in Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget. The nonprofit Chicago South Side Birth Center will mark the city’s second active midwife-led birth center,…

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com State and community leaders on Monday celebrated the planned opening of a new freestanding birth center on Chicago’s South Side while emphasizing proposed maternal health spending increases in Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget. The nonprofit Chicago South Side Birth Center will mark the city’s second active midwife-led birth center,…

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

New birth center to open on Chicago’s South Side as Pritzker touts proposed maternal health spending

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois draju@capitolnewsillinois.com State and community leaders on Monday celebrated the planned opening of a new freestanding birth center on Chicago’s South Side while emphasizing proposed maternal health spending increases in Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget. The nonprofit Chicago South Side Birth Center will mark the city’s second active midwife-led birth center,…