The Williams Street Repertory, or WSRep, is a bright jewel in Raue Center's crown. This non-profit professional theatre company, which began in 2010 as a Page-to-Stage Reading series, grew out of a desire to create a home for artists.
"The first readings at WSRep were by playwrights J.T. Rogers and Bash Doran, and they raised over $3,000 in seed money," explained Michele Vazquez, Marketing Manager for Raue Center. "Over the next year, attendance at staged readings increased to over 1,200 patrons. WSRep was officially created in 2011, and in 2016 we joined Actors Equity Association, the union for professional stage managers and performers." WSRep is the only professional theatre company in McHenry County, and operates under a Chicago Area Theaters Tier 2 contract that offers Equity Membership Candidate points to the talent.
Joining Equity has allowed WSRep to attract actors, stage managers, and directors from all over the country. "Disney's Freaky Friday welcomed actors from Chicago, a designer from Arizona, and a Directing team from New York, as well as local designers and actors," explained Miriam Naponelli, Marketing Director for Raue Center. "Joining AEA has given us the opportunity to expand, not only in the talent we hire, but in our audience development as well."
WSRep's larger mission is to act as a community gathering place where all are welcome and there's something for everyone. "We produce new work, regional premieres, American stage classics, contemporary comedies, and large-scale musicals," added Vazquez. WSRep welcomes all ages, ethnicities, genders, and actors with disabilities to audition for its productions.
"WSRep has received four MacArthur Grant awards and multiple Richard Driehaus Awards, along with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group," said Vazquez. "We've been awarded Best Live Theatre by Northwest Herald's Best of the Fox, and much of our on- and off-stage talent and several stage productions have received nominations and awards from BroadwayWorld Chicago."
Disney's Freaky Friday runs select weekends through September 1st. For more information about WSRep or Raue Center, please contact:
Raue Center for the Arts
26 N. Williams St.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014