The Dixon: Children’s theater programming is a gem

Rorey the Lion, The Dixon Children’s Theater mascot, made an appearance at the opening night of “Seussical Jr.” and was seen in the Dutch Days parade in Fulton. The lion was chosen as the mascot because the man who built The Dixon: Historic Theatre, Leonard G. Rorer, has a last name that easily guided the decision.

Hello everyone from the Sauk Valley and beyond!

We at The Dixon: Historic Theatre truly hope that you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. On a personal note, I took my parents to the White Pines Lodge located at the White Pines Forest State Park for brunch. When you’re not seeing shows at The Dixon, you should see one of their shows. It was a great experience.

One of the gems of The Dixon is our children’s theater programming. For our younger actors we have the Dixon Kids, ages 5-10. For our older actors, ages 11-18, we have the Dixon Young Actors. Both programs are run by Jan Fattizzi, whose multiple decades of experience is an invaluable resource to our local talent.

When I was first scouting the theater, I came to see “Hello, Dolly,” performed by the Dixon Young Actors. That show proved that not only was the staff here competent but also very talented. If you have a young actor who would like to join a program that you can feel confident about, that will be fun, exciting and professional, we can assure you that Jan’s program is one of the best in the area.

I’ve been witness to some children’s programs that are haphazardly thrown together as a cash grab. We have the facility, the experience and the honest caring for our community kids here at The Dixon. Also, if you have a child who is more interested in the behind-the-scenes work, lights and sound and stage management for example, we would love to have them sign up as well. We would love to train the next generation of theater crew, who are invaluable to the industry. If you would like to register your child in one of our programs, you can find our information on our website. We are also planning to implement classes for acting, both stage and screen, auditioning, directing, stand-up comedy and writing for stage and screen. We will be offering these for youths and adults alike in the near future.

Our most recent show was “Seussical Jr.” put on by our Dixon Kids program! If you were lucky enough to see it, you would have seen how excited and prepared the kids were, the beautiful set design by Scott Shipp, and costume and prop designs by Jan and the amazing parent volunteers.

With over 35 children in the show, the crowds were amazed by how prepared the youngsters were with their lines, songs and dances. Even the entrances and exits were on point. On opening night, our gorgeous red fire curtain rose to thunderous applause as the children and set were revealed. You could see the happiness on the actors’ faces and feel it in the air as they sang their first note and danced their first move.

Once again, the volunteers from the community and the parents are outstanding. We appreciate them to the moon and back. On behalf of the entire staff and the board, we want to thank our volunteers for helping The Dixon not just survive but thrive.

The kids got a standing ovation, and the applause was deafening. To everyone who came out to see the show, we truly appreciate you supporting our next generation of talent. We’d also like to thank the patrons who stopped by our concession stand. We offer popcorn, multiple flavors of soda pop, multiple types of candy, and a large selection of beer, wine and seltzers.

We have now introduced our Crafted Cocktails to the concession stand. These specialty drinks change for every show and are themed to what is on stage! For our Fleetwood Mac tribute, we had drinks called the Gypsy and the Landslide. For “Seussical Jr.” shows, we had The Lorax and our most popular drink, The Foona-Lagoona Baboona, which is an actual Dr. Seuss character who is the Remarkable Foon, who eats sizzling hot pebbles that fall off the moon. To find out what our next Crafted Cocktail is, you’ll have to come to the show!

Have you seen our mascot for The Dixon Children’s Theater? Rorey the Lion made an appearance at the opening night of “Seussical Jr.” and was seen in the Dutch Days parade in Fulton. The lion was chosen as the mascot because the man who built The Dixon: Historic Theatre, Leonard G. Rorer, has a last name that easily guided the decision. Lore has it that while the builders were constructing the theater, they added small lion heads that wrap around the front of the theater as a prank. The next time you come to the theater, look just above the windows and you’ll see them. Rorey the Lion will be making appearances at our children’s shows as well as parades, farmers markets and many other special events so please, come say hi and take a picture!

Coming up this Saturday night, May 18, we are offering Dinner and a Movie. We start off at Basil Tree Ristorante at 5:30 p.m. for a fabulous, traditional family style meal in the Capone Room. Then we head to the theater to watch “The Godfather” on the biggest screen in Dixon. The movie starts at 7:30 p.m. It’s a perfect night out! Please make your reservation online.

Then, starting Memorial Day weekend, we have “Saving Private Ryan,” one of Spielberg’s finest, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 24.

Opening May 31 is “Taming of the Shrew 80s Style” starring our Dixon Young Actors! With a live 1980s band on stage, Jan Fattizzi’s vision of crossing Shakespeare and the 80s comes to life on The Dixon stage. Running through June 2!

Thank you for reading all the way through and we’ll see you at The Dixon!

  • Darren Mangler is The Dixon: Historic Theatre’s artistic producer.
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