St. Charles leaders take the stage to benefit Kane Repertory Theatre

  • Chicago actors Max Stewart and Leiren Jackson embrace for a kiss in their lead roles as Romeo and Juliet during a Kane Repertory Theatre performance last August at the pavilion along the Fox River in Pottawatomie Park.

    Chicago actors Max Stewart and Leiren Jackson embrace for a kiss in their lead roles as Romeo and Juliet during a Kane Repertory Theatre performance last August at the pavilion along the Fox River in Pottawatomie Park. Courtesy of Kane Repertory Theatre

Posted4/15/2022 6:00 AM

Given the opportunity and confidence to do it, some of us maybe wouldn't have minded visiting director David Fincher's casting office to seek a key part in his film "The Killer." The movie recently used downtown St. Charles as a backdrop for a portion of the Netflix movie.

That's also a fantasy for most of us, as it might turn out like a one-act play in which we would stumble and bumble around in such a high-stakes audition.


But to actually be in a one-act play on that topic, that's a different story. It's a rather funny one that some St. Charles business owners and influencers are ready to tell in a fundraising event for the Kane Repertory Theatre.

When "The Who's Who St. Charles Fun Time Fundraiser for Theatre" unfolds at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Mixology Salon & Spa, it hopes to give a financial boost to the Repertory's professional acting group. But it will happen through the good nature of residents who may or may not have any acting chops.

St. Charles is known for this type of thing. Its history is full of chapters on local entertainment organizations that call on residents to participate and raise money, including one called The St. Charles Playmakers in the 1970s and '80s.

Kane Repertory Theatre founders Avery Bowne, left, and Daniil Krimer. Bowne serves as managing director, while Krimer is artistic director.
Kane Repertory Theatre founders Avery Bowne, left, and Daniil Krimer. Bowne serves as managing director, while Krimer is artistic director. - Courtesy of Kane Repertory Theatre
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Those preparing to take part in the Kane Repertory Theatre fundraiser include St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek, Colonial Café board chairman Tom Anderson, developer Curt Hurst, St. Charles third ward Alderman Paul Lencioni, Mixology Salon owner Phoebe Falese, Jodi Manthei of Riverstone Wealth Partners, Pollyana brew pub CEO Ryan Weidner, Kane Repertory board member Sue McDowell and Chrissy Somers, the author of the Stay, Play Local guide for residents and visitors to find kid, family and adult fun activities in the west suburbs.

"It's a one-act performance about various people auditioning for parts in 'The Killer,' and it's going to be an unconventional event, as we wanted to create a more casual, laid-back fundraiser," said Daniil Krimer, artistic director and co-founder of Kane Repertory Theatre. Avery Bowne also is a co-founder.

Krimer is writing and directing the one-act play with the theater's development director Mary Kruse. While he expects the script to be about 20 pages long and to take between 20 and 40 hours to complete, Krimer says it will be as simple as possible for the actors.

"We will have only one rehearsal before we put it up, so the players will have script in hand during the play," Krimer said. "It's really makeshift, and the goal is to accommodate everyone in their own personal lives in terms of time, and we want them to be comfortable with it and know what they are doing, but that they don't actually have to perform."


Either way, it figures to be a fun night with plenty of comic relief in seeing how the residents would fare in a director's casting office.

Plus, anyone who has seen the professional actors from around the area and Chicago perform in a Kane Repertory Theatre event knows the funds raised would go to a good cause.

"Our goal, ultimately, is to be the professional theater of Kane County and to be like what Paramount is to musical theater," Krimer noted.

"We have local actors and people in the community involved in our board, and it is a way of bringing people together in the community, which is really important to us," he added.

It takes a page out of the old St. Charles Playmakers playbook, as that group counted on locals who had some acting chops and those who had well-known names who didn't mind participating in skits and fun events to raise money.

In that regard, Mayor Vitek won't be the first city leader to agree to participate in something a bit outside their comfort zone. At some point, they've all been pulled into some skit or event to help raise money.

"I remember doing all sorts of skits and silly things for the Playmakers as part of the Delnor Hospital Foundation," former St. Charles Mayor Fred Norris said. "I wasn't in a lot of them, but there were events at the Arcada Theatre and also at a small venue on Second Avenue."

Kane Repertory Theatre hopes to do some productions at that former vaudeville stage site at 7 S. Second Ave. It is being developed again by Nancy and Joseph Mennella into what will be called the Moonlight Theater.

Since its first show in late 2019, Kane Repertory Theatre has moved around to different stages and locations.

For now, the Mixology Spa at 116 W. Main St. will serve as the one-act fundraiser location. Theatre supporters hope 80 to 100 people will turn out for the event.

Tickets are $60 and are available on the group's website at

More on worms

This may be one of the few columns across the country in which you learned about why we see worms galore on our sidewalks and driveways after the first heavy rains and warmer weather of spring.

And here's another thought on that.

After I wrote about the worm topic a couple of weeks ago, reader Jack Kramer of Lily Lake sent a note with another theory on why worms turn up in that manner.

"Somewhere, I don't recall the source, I read that worms crawl out of the saturated ground to keep from drowning," Kramer said. "True, they like wet earth, but they really can drown if it's too wet."

The victory gardens

An upcoming children's program at the St. Charles History Museum will teach kids about the history of victory gardens in St. Charles during World War II.

But the kids will also help the museum get started with its own victory garden.

The cost for the 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30 program is $5, and participants also can take home a planted seed. Registration is available on the history museum website

A tasty po'boy

Whether you have to avoid meat today on Good Friday or not, a good place to take in some fresh fish is Chums Shrimp Shack in St. Charles.

Since last November, Chums Shrimp Shack has been in business at the former Beef Shack location at 2115 W. Main St., but I finally made it in there a week ago.

The shrimp po'boy sandwich and fries were terrific, but the entire menu was enticing.

Owners Jennifer and Tony Solare have a really good thing going at Chums Shrimp Shack. If you like shrimp and other fresh fish, this place is definitely in your wheelhouse.

More room for the Hive

It's good to see that Tom Freeman and his wife Bridget Johnson have come out on the other side of the pandemic with the decision to expand their Red Hive Market in downtown Batavia.

I make the pandemic reference because stopping in at Red Hive Market, at 6 W. Wilson St., in early 2020 might have marked one of the last in-person, mask-less interviews I made at a business before things got shut down with safety protocols.

It was fun to check out all of the wares from various artisans who have interesting decorative pieces and home accessories on display at Red Hive.

Red Hive plans to expand into the empty Shelter Insurance building just to the east of the Red Hive storefront.

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