Artistic producer: Let’s pack The Dixon!

Darren Mangler

Hello, everyone, in the Sauk Valley and beyond!

Speaking of that, I was in Mount Carroll last weekend for its unbelievable farmer’s market, Moo Fest at The Copper Cow and a wonderful breakfast served by the Methodist Church.

A few people approached me and said that they have been reading my columns in the paper. We would love everyone who reads and hears about the revival of The Dixon: Historic Theatre to consider us as one of your destinations for world-class entertainment! 2025 is shaping up as a year of excitement!

All of us at The Dixon: Historic Theatre would like to give a huge thank you to the Dixon City Council. Your generous vote filled our hearts with gratitude! We are determined to make the most of your investment and optimism in a successful future for the theater. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for the rest of this year and 2025! You all get free concessions! Again, we are forever grateful for your support. Thank you Mayor Glen Hughes, Mr. Chris Bishop, Mr. Dennis Considine, Mrs. Mary Oros and Mr. Mike Venier.

We are opening a world premiere musical this weekend: “Taming of the Shrew: 80s Style.” The musical will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

This new kind of rock opera is the brainchild of our Children Theater’s director, Jan Fattizzi! She has produced such hits as “Annie Jr., “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.,” “Hello, Dolly,” “Seussical Jr.” and now “Taming of the Shrew.”

Our children’s theater is special in this area because if you register for our program, you are in the show! We believe, at The Dixon, that if you have theater in your heart, you should have access to a stage! We are so proud of every young actor in this show working so hard. Whether it’s their first show or 100th, they are giving their best!

The show is choreographed by the hugely talented Tori Highly. The show also boasts a live band on stage rocking some of your favorite 1980s hits! We don’t want to give any spoilers, but you just might hear some Guns N’ Roses, Talking Heads, Madonna and many others. Once again, resident Technical Director Scott Shipp and his volunteers have created a visually fun set! Along with our state-of-the-art sound system and unique light grid, the whole production shines! Please come support your local youths!

Learn more about our wonderful children’s theater director, Jan Fattizzi.

Here is a quick Q & A:

1. How long have you been in Dixon?: We’ve been living in Dixon a little over 3 years but brought shows to the Dixon Theatre’s 2016-2017 season.

2. How did you come across the job?: Tim Boles and the board had a Zoom call with us and eventually offered us the jobs.

3. What’s your favorite part of the job?: I love the Children’s Theatre and how much it has grown.

4. What other jobs did you have before this?: Assistant to Jeanie Linders, author of “Menopause the Musical”; children’s theater in Orlando and Mt. Dora, Florida; actress; and musical director in Central Florida. I also currently work as the music teacher at St. Mary’s Elementary and Junior High School.

5. What’s your favorite show so far?: My favorite touring band was “Who’s Bad,” a tribute to Michael Jackson, excellent musicians. Also loved “Abba Mania.”

6. What kind of volunteers do you need/like?: I’d love to have a part-time volunteer in the box office, either with me on our touring show nights or in the box office while I have children’s theater classes Tuesday and Wednesday.

7. What kind of shows would you like to bring to the theater?: I’d love to see “Rock of Ages,” Michael James Scott’s Disney Epcot show, touring theatrical shows.

8. Where would you like the theater to be at in 3 years?: Self-sufficient and still growing.

9. What’s something special about the theater that no one would know?: I love the playing card stuck to the theater ceiling from a magician 20 years ago.

10. Anything you’d like the Sauk Valley people to know about you?: We have eight puppies we need to find homes for! Seriously though, I love the Sauk Valley/Rock River area. Some beautiful country!

Registration is currently open for our fall children’s shows: “Beauty and the Beast” for 11-18 years old and “Willy Wonka Jr.” for 5-10 year olds. We encourage all experience levels to sign up. As the kids would say, these shows are going to be bangers!

Have you heard? We have a newsletter! With construction in our future, surprise shows are going to be added for the rest of the year. There is no better place to be informed about added shows, inside information, deals on tickets when you order through the newsletter, and all the scoops for 2025! If you would like to receive our newsletter, please email us through our website to add your email to our list. That way you’ll never miss a blockbuster announcement at

We have a request! Our historic 100-plus-year-old theater is going under some amazing upgrades, which means we’ll have to schedule times where our doors are closed. July is one of those times. Here’s what we’re asking: Come see our next Concert Series show, “Face Value: A Phil Collins and Genesis Tribute Band,” along with special guests Drew Cagle and the Reputation on June 15!

Let’s pack The Dixon that Saturday night! We’re going to give you a tremendous show with your ticket purchase. Some rock ‘n’ roll to start your evening and ending with some of your favorite soft rock hits! I remember slow dancing to a lot of Phil Collins’ songs at prom. We’ll also have full concessions and alcohol available. A full house will help us hurdle July. Let’s fill every seat and support this diamond in the country!

Let’s pack The Dixon!

Thanks for reading all the way through.

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