Illinois’ Bicentennial Takes Center Stage at Summer Place Theatre

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Summer place theatre is looking to bring Chicago Cubs fans indoors this season for a celebration of Illinois’ Bicentennial, with a play that’s set right in our home state.

“Surprisingly there’s not a lot that occur in Illinois, so we looked for things that occurred in Illinois. The obvious being right here in a suburb of Chicago that having a thing about the Chicago Cubs would be wonderful and that’s where ‘Bleacher Bums’ came from,” explained Don Gingold, the president of Summer Place Theatre, and producer and announcer for “Bleacher Bums.”

Written by Chicago-native Joe Mantegna, “Bleacher Bums” takes place in the grandstand of a local landmark.

“It’s kind of a slice of life. What it is life like in the bleachers at Wrigley Field on a summer day? And the answer is, it’s beautiful! So it’s just that gentle environment. And yeah there’s some conflict going on, there’s some betting going on too. And we’d rather have the Cubs win but if the Cubs lose, hey we’re still at Wrigley Field,” said Director Craig Fisher.

The performance of the comedic play along with all the group’s shows this season are officially recognized as an Illinois State Bicentennial Commission project, after being selected out of a couple hundred applicants.

“Patty Gustin who is a councilwoman for Naperville, she sponsored us by writing a very nice letter of support,” added Gingold. “We sent all that paperwork in, we waited a while and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission came back saying ‘you’re approved, you’re now an official Illinois Bicentennial Project.’”

Now that project will bring a cubs game to life with an ensemble cast ranging from nine years old to 72, in the auditorium of Naperville Central High School.

Show times for “Bleacher Bums” are June 8-10 and June 15-17.

After “Bleacher Bums”, Summer Place Theatre will put on the shows “Sugar” and “Footloose”, both with Chicago ties, in honor of Illinois’ Bicentennial this summer.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.