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Steel Beam in St. Charles unveils fundraising concert, new season

Folksinger Mark Dvorak will appear in a benefit concert for Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles.
Folksinger Mark Dvorak will appear in a benefit concert for Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles.

ST. CHARLES – Steel Beam Theatre will present “I Hate to See the Summer Go,” a benefit concert featuring award-winning folk artist, songwriter and performer Mark Dvorak, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31.

The performance is drawn from Dvorak’s 30-year career performing, teaching and writing songs, a news release stated. He is completing his 18th recorded release.

“At this stage of the game, I feel like I’m doing my best work,” Dvorak stated in the release. “The Steel Beam is a very special performance space and I’m thrilled to be coming back again to sing.”

“I Hate to See the Summer Go” is Dvorak’s musical reflection on the changing season, love, struggle and the ripening of the year. The title is taken from the Dvorak song on his acclaimed 2011 Waterbug CD, “Time Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me.”

He has performed in 38 states and in parts of Europe and Canada. He has won awards for journalism and children’s music and received the 2013 FARM Lantern Bearer Award from Folk Alliance International.

“Mark has been a great supporter of the Steel  Beam Theatre over the years,” Artistic Director Marge Uhlarik-Boller stated in the release. “He’s a wonderful, engaging performer and we’re thrilled to have him back again for our annual benefit.”

‘Women of Steel’ season

The award-winning professional theater will present female-centric productions in a season titled “Women of Steel.”

“So many shows are written for men, and every year it seems the number of male actors who audition for our season grows smaller, while the number of talented female actors gets larger,” Uhlarik-Boller said. “It feels right at this time to focus on women who are strong, capable, vulnerable and all-around marvelous human beings.”

SBT’s 19th season opens Sept. 6 to 22 with “Broadway Gender Benders,” a musical revue conceived, directed and orchestrated by Douglas Orlyk. The review of Broadway hits has a switch: The ladies sing “men’s” songs and vice versa.

A notable cast of performers has been assembled including Marc Beth of St. Charles, Karen Bronson of Oak Park, Tony Calzaretta of Schaumburg, Terry Christiansen of St. Charles, Pam Hart of West Chicago, James Mueller of Chicago, Christine Pfenninger of Lombard and Barb Rieger of Elmhurst. 

“The Odd Couple” (female version), directed by JoAnn Smith, runs Oct. 11 to Nov 3. Neil Simon’s revision of his classic hit looks at divorced opposites sharing the same space and gets a fresh spin with female leads.

“The Ballad of CC Scrooge: #christmasmakeover” plays Nov. 29 to Dec. 29. Adapted by John David Westby and directed by Uhlarik-Boller, it’s a fun new female version of the famous Christmas story.

The new year starts with “Love, Loss and What I Wore” by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, directed by Doug Orlyk and running Jan. 10 to Feb. 2. The series of monologues, tracing women’s relationships and wardrobes and the times they intersect, was written by the author of “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”

The show “20th Century Blues” by Susan Miller is directed by Larry Boller and runs Feb. 21 to March 15. Four women meet once a year for a ritual photo shoot, chronicling their changing – and aging – selves as they navigate love, career, children and the complications of history.

“Quilters, A Musical Play” by Molly Newman and Barbara Damshek, with music and lyrics by Barbara Damshek, is directed by Bernie Weiler, with musical direction by Bob Krez. A musical story of a pioneer woman and her six daughters deals with the struggles and rewards of frontier life. It plays April 3 to 26.

“And a Nightingale Sang” by C.P. Taylor is directed by Annie Slivinski. It is the story of a World War II lower-class British family seen through the heartwarming and hilarious memories of a young woman. It runs May 22 to June 14.

If you go

WHAT: Benefit concert starring Mark Dvorak

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31

WHERE: Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles

COST: $20

INFO: Tickets for concert and subscriptions for new season of shows at, 630-587-8521

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