Community Service Award Goes To…Me!

This week I was very honored to receive the Community Service Award from the Illinois Park and Recreation Association, Illinois Association of Park Districts, and Huntley Park District for outstanding contributions and unselfish devotion.

Specifically, I was given the award in recognition for bringing the performing arts to the Huntley Park District and laying the groundwork for continued success via It’s Showtime Theatre of Huntley and It’s Showtime Youth Theatre.

My vision is that in a hundred years from now, It’s Showtime Theatre and the Huntley Park District will still be working in partnership to bring quality entertainment to the community. At that point, the successes of the theater group will far overshadow my contributions at the beginning of the story. As the founder, I will simply be a footnote in history.

What’s important is that the dream lives on. I know firsthand the therapeutic effects of the arts. Whether you are an audience member, an actor, a director, a writer, a crew member, or any of the other ways to be active in the arts, there is joy to be had.

I was the little kid with a bad home life who was able to escape that struggle through the theater. My story is not uncommon. The magic of theater has touched countess lives in countless ways.

I was presented the award by Recreation and Aquatics Supervisor, Stephanie Scott, at the Huntley Park District’s August Board of Directors meeting. Also present were Deb Swinford and Chris Griffin from the It’s Showtime Theatre Advisory Committee, and Huntley Park District Recreation Director Scott Crowe.

I am genuinely honored and humbled by this award. In return, I pledge my continued dedication to bringing the joy of the performing arts to the community.

The ongoing success of this program is possible because of the commitment and expertise of those proudly serving on the It’s Showtime Theatre Advisory Committee with me. Currently on the committee with Deb, Chris, and I are: Gina Belt-Daniels, Roger Zawacki, Megan Cobb, and Karen Early. Additional thanks to longtime committee members who have recently moved on: Christopher Plotts and Trudie Dreyer. The amazing support from Stephanie and Scott at the park district is truly inspirational.

Like many theater companies, It’s Showtime Theatre of Huntley was hit hard by COVID. Our children’s theater production of School House Rock Live Jr. was shut down by the pandemic midway through rehearsals. Similarly, our scheduled productions of I Hate Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing also were indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19.

In spite of the devastating impact of the pandemic, I choose to focus on the positives. Most recently It’s Showtime Youth Theatre celebrated a successful performing arts summer camp with a staged production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz under the expert direction of professional educator Karen Early.

In fact, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was so popular that we have added a theater class at the Huntley Park District for the Fall in which the participants will act, sing, and dance in a live production of Peter Pan. The class runs from October 12 to November 18 and is open to both residents and non-residents.

Karen Early will again direct for It’s Showtime Youth Theatre, and I have pledged to help her as well. I have a long history with Peter Pan. Once upon a time, I wrote an original adaptation titled Neverland, I directed a production of the traditional script of Peter Pan, and I even portrayed the character of Peter Pan in a photo shoot. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited that we are bringing this version of Peter Pan to life in Chicago’s northwestern suburbs. To sign up, contact the Huntley Park District at (847) 669-3180.

Receiving the Community Service Award from the Illinois Park and Recreation Association Illinois Association of Park Districts, and Huntley Park District really is humbling. I am truly honored.

I pledge that the best is yet to come. I will continue to work tirelessly to bring the arts to the community with It’s Showtime Theatre of Huntley and It’s Showtime Youth Theatre. For me, it is a labor of love. I am feeling so blessed.

Peace. Love. Trust.

If you appreciate the nature of my words here, I ask that you take just a moment to share this article with your social media of choice.

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