A History of CTW

Who would ever think about sticking a theatre in the middle of the fields of Iroquois County? Well, fortunately for us, that's just what Wilma Dryden, Dick Baier, and Dick Reutter decided to do. In the spring of 1982, the CTW building was purchased at auction by Dick Reutter for use as a permanent home for the Cissna Acting and Singing Troupe, which up to that time had been presenting their shows "on the road." With the aid of borrowed funds and many local volunteers, the building was quickly transformed into a theatre complete with a homemade stage lighting system and tables made from telephone cable drums and large drainage tiles. The name "Country Theatre Workshop" was selected and a not-for-profit charter was obtained from the State of Illinois. The first show, "I Remember Mama," was staged on July 2, 1982 under the direction of Wilma Dryden, who served as Resident Director for the first several years that CTW was in existence. CTW continues to run as a summer theatre company. The shows range from popular musicals to hilarious comedies to slightly more serious dramas to outlandish melodramas. In addition, a children's theatre program was added to the theatre bill in 1991 and that program continues to be very successful. Many other changes have occurred since 1982 including a insulated roof to deaden the sound of pouring rain and a more advanced lighting and sound system. Due to increasing audiences and decreasing storage space, an addition was added to the original building in 1991. This started a remodeling process that reconstructed the auditorium, restrooms, and kitchen. New dressing rooms and a prop storage area were also constructed in the new addition. In 1996, a new building was constructed behind the theatre to serve as a rehearsal hall and storage space. The Fall of 2007 began another major building project to be completed by the 2008 Summer Season.  This time, a new pole building was constructed over what was the original theatre building.  This new building, being about 20 feet wider than the original, does several things for CTW.  First, it provides space for hallways beside the auditorium where ramps were built to all be the uppermost level of the newly remodeled seating tiers...allowing the majority of our auditorium seating to now be handicap-accessible.  Second, it provides a larger lobby area as well as more storage above the hallways for costumes and props.  Third, it offers improved insulation to the heat of summer and cold of winter and with two actual roofs covering the auditorium, rain is not near the sound disruption that it had occasionally been in the past.  The Country Theatre Workshop has been a very successful venture thanks to many dedicated volunteers. We thank all of you who have been involved in that success.

Previous Seasons

1982

I Remember Mama

I Do! I Do!

Meet Me at the Fair

Harvey

 

1983

Rainbows in the Sky

On Borrowed Time

The Fantasticks

Life With Father

 

1984

The Odd Couple

Ain’t We Got Fun

Perfectly Frank

Oh! Susanna

The Curious Savage

 

1985

Snoopy

You Can’t Take It With You

Brigadoon

Twelve Angry Peers

 

1986

The Miracle Worker

Arsenic & Old Lace

Once Upon a Mattress

Blithe Spirit

 

1987

Bus Stop

Dial M for Murder

Cole

Never Too Late

 

1988

The Mouse that Roared

Plain & Fancy

On Golden Pond

The City Slicker and our Nell

 

1989

God’s Favorite

Godspell

Greater Tuna

Fanny, the Farmer’s Daughter

 

1990

Allocating Annie

South Pacific

Charley’s Aunt

The Saloonkeeper’s Daughter

Cinderella

 

1991

Everybody Loves Opal

Fiddler on the Roof

There Goes the Bride

Nell of the Ozarks

Snow White

 

1992

Let’s Murder Marsha

Guys and Dolls

June Groom

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Alice in Wonderland

 

1993

Pump Boys and Dinettes

Love, Sex, and the I.R.S.

Meet Me in St. Louis

Out of Order

Jack and the Beanstalk

 

1994

Nunsense

Right Bed, Wrong Husband

Hello, Dolly

Don’t Drink the Water

The Tortoise and the Hare

 

1995

Alone Together

Barefoot in the Park

The Sound of Music

Lend Me a Tenor

Pinocchio

 

1996

The Girls in 509

Oliver

Pillow Talk

Nunsense II

 

1997

Forever Plaid

Come Blow Your Horn

Sugar

Steel Magnolias

Tied to the Tracks

 

1998

Funny Money

Play On

Oklahoma

Under the Yum-Yum Tree

Tom Sawyer

 

1999

Sylvia

Dames at Sea

Saving Grace

The Taffetas

Peter Pan

 

2000

Cookin' with Gus

State Fair

Smoke on the Mountain

Lie, Cheat, and Genuflect

Krazy Kamp - the Musical

 

2001

You're A Grand Old Flag

Pump Boys and Dinettes

Love, Sex and the I.R.S.

The Sound of Music

On Golden Pond

Sanders Family Christmas

 

2002

Resurrection Sunday

Never Too Late

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Run for Your Wife

Kilroy Was Here

Always…Patsy Cline

 

2003

Forever Plaid

Perfect Wedding

The Music Man

The Cemetery Club

Always…Patsy Cline

 

2004

Meshuggah-Nuns

You Can't Take It With You

Annie

Radio T.B.S.

Annie Encore

 

2005

Natalie Needs a Nightie

Annie Warbucks

Oh, Mama! No, Papa!

Turn Your Radio On

Alice in Wonderland

 

2006

Bull in a China Shop

Cinderella

There Goes the Bride

Nunsense

Dear Edwina Jr.

Saunder's Gospel Sing

2007

Something's Afoot

Bedside Manners

Monky Business

I Take This Man

Enchanted Sleeping Beauty

 

2008

Peter Pan

Cheaper by the Dozen

Over the River and Through the Woods

Plaid Tidings

G.I. Jukebox

 

2009

Some Enchanted Evening

Once Upon a Mattress

Kitchen Witches

Lend Me a Tenor

Big Bad Musical

Always…Patsy Cline

 

2010

A Nice Family Gathering

Meet Me in St. Louis

Everybody Loves Opal

Taffeta Memories

Aladdin

The Beulah Reed Show

 

2011

Steel Magnolias

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Leading Ladies

Smoke on the Mountain

Give Me That Old Time Religion

 

2012

Whose Wives are They Anyway?

Oklahoma!

Cash on Delivery

A Taffeta Christmas

A Gospel Gathering

 

2013

Come Blow Your Horn

Fiddler on the Roof

Stealing Home

G.I. Holiday Jukebox

A Gospel Gathering

 

2014

Boeing Boeing

Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr.

Bye Bye Birdie

Beer for Breakfast

 

2015

Church Basement Ladies

Opal is a Diamond

Annie Jr.

Suitehearts

The Beulah Reed Show 2

2016

Always, Patsy Cline

The Fox on the Fairway

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

2017

Pump Boys and Dinettes

Moon Over Buffalo

The Wizard of Oz

2018

A Second Helping: Church Basement Ladies 2

Spreading It Around

Mary Poppins

2019

Charlotte's Web

The Addams Family

Route 66

The Hallelujah Girls