Raue Aims High with Return to Live Theater

At long last, live theater is returning and bringing a wave of magic to Raue Center for the Performing Arts.

The venue’s latest show, “Always … Patsy Cline,” which runs through April 16, is the first live theatrical performance at Raue since COVID-19. With a cast of two and a small accompanying band, this play rallies audiences and actors back to the stage with a toe-tapping story about a country music icon. The play is based on the true story of Patsy Cline’s friendship with a Houston fan, and it weaves in some of the country star’s biggest hits.

“Sarah Beth Tanner and Michelle Tibble have such a delightful way about them,” says Richard Kuranda, Raue Center’s executive director. “It’ll be a nice springtime show to welcome people back and celebrate music so we can forget about COVID.”

The talented actors of Williams Street Repertory, Raue’s in-house theatrical troupe, are still planning their return, but in the meantime they’re sharing their passion with the next generation of actors. Built on Raue’s long-running Sage Studio programming, the new Raue Center School for the Arts features workshops, classes and private lessons for children age 5 to 18. Classes typically involve acting, theater tech, and sessions on voice, piano and guitar.

This summer, Raue Center presents Camp RCSA, a series of weeklong classes aimed at local youths. Camps run June 6-July 29 and include a special session where children stage a full production of “Seussical Jr.”

All camps and classes are held at the school’s new setting inside St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, where Raue Center hosted an outdoor concert series last spring. Donors have stepped up to refurbish the space and fund scholarships so that no child is left out.
“If there was a silver lining coming out of this horrible COVID, it really is rewarding to see that the community has responded in such a caring way,” says Kuranda. ❚

To purchase event tickets or to sign up for Camp RCSA, visit raucenter.org or call the box office. Raue Center for the Arts is located at 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, (815) 356-9212.