The Theatre of Western Springs annual winter benefit features Patty Duke, returning to the TWS stage, along with eight actors from the TWS family in Kate Aspengren's highly acclaimed Blue Yonder. There will be four performances, each followed by an exclusive private reception (separately ticketed) with Patty Duke and cast. All events take place at the Theatre of Western Springs, 4384 Hampton Ave., Western Springs, IL.
• 8 pm Friday, Feb. 1
• 2:30 and 8 pm Saturday, Feb. 2
• 2:30 pm Sunday, Feb. 3
• Private on-stage reception after each performance: $25 in addition to ticket price
Blue Yonder features a series of fascinating monologues, and Patty Duke will perform three of them while the rest are performed by Actives of the Theatre of Western Springs: Dorothy Attermeyer of Hinsdale, Tricia Boren of Darien, Linda Cunningham of La Grange, Bonnie Hilton of Western Springs, Karen Holbert of Western Springs, Patti Roeder of Oak Park, Charron Traut of Hinsdale, and Marilyn Weiher of Downers Grove.
The eight characters of Blue Yonder are mesmerizing and eccentric women including a flight instructor, a firefighter, a stuntwoman, a woman who donates body parts, an employment counselor, a professional softball player, a surgical nurse, and more.
Patty Duke and her husband have a long history with Jack Phillips, TWS artistic director and his wife Debbie. The two couples have been close friends for many years. Artistically they have a bond as well since Phillips directed Patty Duke in a “masterful portrayal” of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie at Spokane Civic Theatre in 1999. The four-week run of that production was one of the most successful in that theatre’s history.
Besides their friendship and actor/director relationship, Patty Duke and Jack Phillips have acted together and performed Love Letters several years ago at Theatre of Western Springs.
“We are so honored to welcome Patty Duke back to our theatre,” said Phillips.
Tickets are $55. The private reception with Patty Duke following each performance is an additional $25. Reception tickets are very limited.
In addition to Blue Yonder, Patty Duke will participate in a live discussion/interview at 7:30 pm Monday, Feb. 4, 2008, at the Theatre of Western Springs, 4384 Hampton Ave.
Admission is free to those who saw Blue Yonder; $20 to others.
For all tickets and information, visit: theatrewesternsprings.com or call 708-246-3380.
Patty Duke bio
Patty Duke is a multi-award-winning actress and author, best known for her performance as “Helen Keller” in The Miracle Worker, a role that made her a Broadway star at the age of 12.
Walter Kerr of the New York Herald Tribune wrote of her, “Miss Duke is not an accomplished child actress, she is an accomplished actress who happens to be a child at the moment.”
In 1962, she recreated her role on film and earned an Academy Award as “Best Supporting Actress,” the youngest performer at the time to have done so. She has starred in eleven feature films, appeared in more than 73 made-for-TV movies, made countless radio and television appearances, including her own series, “The Patty Duke Show,” and recorded six albums.
To date she has won three Emmys and two Golden Globes, including awards for her work in My Sweet Charlie (one of the first TV movies to enjoy a theatrical release), the mini-series Captains and the Kings, and The Miracle Worker (in the adult role of Helen’s teacher, “Annie Sullivan,” opposite Melissa Gilbert.) She co-produced and starred in a TV adaptation of her best-selling autobiography, Call Me Anna, and went on to write A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness. Both books topped the New York Times best-seller lists.
In 1985, she became the second woman to serve as president of the Screen Actors Guild, the fifth largest labor union in the United States. During her tenure, SAG developed strategies to deal with the newly identified AIDS crisis. She is active in a number of political and humanitarian causes including famine relief, nuclear policy, the Equal Rights Amendment and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She organized the West Hollywood Walkathon and 10K Marathon to benefit the AIDS Project Los Angeles, and was named “Woman of the Year” for her efforts.
In 1999, she returned to the stage with a masterful portrayal of “Amanda” in Spokane Civic Theatre’s The Glass Menagerie, directed by John G. Phillips. The four-week run of that production was one of the most successful in the theatre’s history.
Miss Duke is married to Michael Pearce, whom she met while preparing for a role in the TV movie A Time to Triumph. They make their home in northern Idaho with their son, Kevin.
Bio – Kate Aspengren, playwright
In addition to Blue Yonder, Kate Aspengren has authored Flyer, Rule of Nines, American Smooth, Too Fast to Fall, Our Lady of Route 52, House of Wonders, Mother’s Day, Dear Mrs. Martin, and a stage adaptation of Madeleine L'Engel's A Wrinkle in Time.
Several of Aspengren’s plays have been published by Samuel French and are produced regularly throughout North America. Her work has also been translated for European production. Aspengren’s plays have been produced at the West End Theatre in New York, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Loft Theatre at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts, and the New American Comedy Festival.
She is a founding member of the Kingston Springs Writers Group and is on the theatre arts faculty at the University of Iowa. She received her MFA in playwriting from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop and has taught playwriting at Grinnell College, Coe College, and Cornell College.