Steel Beam Theatre to host 'The Elephant in the Room' to benefit Batavia's All Dressed Up

  • On Nov. 5-14, "The Elephant in the Room," will be presented at Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles to benefit the Batavia based All Dressed Up.

    On Nov. 5-14, "The Elephant in the Room," will be presented at Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles to benefit the Batavia based All Dressed Up. Courtesy of Craig Gustafson

Updated 10/25/2021 7:17 PM

One of the local businesses hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic is All Dressed Up, the costume shop in Batavia, Illinois. Owned and operated by Julane Sullivan for the past 31 years, All Dressed Up is a vital member of the national theater community as well as a local provider of costumes for individuals for Halloween, costume parties, events, etc.

"While there has been relief for shuttered theaters," says Sullivan, "there has been none for theater providers."


In order to help alleviate some of the financial stress in time-honored "Let's Put on a Show" fashion, "The Elephant in the Room," will be presented at Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles, running Nov. 5-14.

Come see live theater and help out a primary resource for the theater community.

Performances of "The Elephant in the Room" will be 8 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 5-14, at Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St. in St. Charles. Tickets are $16.50, and are available on Or just go to and search "Elephant in the Room." All audience members must be vaccinated and masked.

An evening of short plays by Craig Gustafson, "The Elephant in the Room" features 15 of the finest actors in the western Chicago area in an evening of plays ranging from slapstick comedy to harrowing drama.

"Including intermission," says Gustafson, who is directing, "the show will run about an hour forty-five. It's a chance to see some really terrific actors working together onstage, live. I've done several Zoom shows during the pandemic, but there is nothing to compare with having it all in the room with you."

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• In "The Mad Queen of Ballykeg," a 17th-century "mad" Irish queen is about to be assassinated by her greedy English-bred children. Lethal hilarity ensues. The cast features Maureen Morley, Matt Hellyer and Lauren Schulke.

• "Nazareth Baby Shower" is set on Monday evening, April 3, 6 B.C. Mary's friends Candace, Delilah and Salome throw her a baby shower, while trying to avoid delicate questions about the father. The cast features Jennifer Ciombor, Julie Bayer, Jennifer Reeves Wilson and Heidi Swarthout.

• "The Elephant in the Room" is set in England, 1910. The wealthy Bancroft family has a young suffragette, Tweeny Pankhurst, over for tea. There is an elephant in the room. Well, in the next room, anyway. The cast includes Galen Malick, Sylmarie Soto, Patti Shore Kaden and Lauren Schulke. "The Elephant in the Room" contains adult content, humor and violent situations; it is not recommended for children.

• "No Irish Need Apply" is set in Boston, 1854. At a time of tremendous anti-Irish prejudice, a pompous judge interviews three candidates for household help. They are German, French and Italian. They're not Irish. Really, they're not, saints preserve us! The cast features Heidi Swarthout, Julie Bayer, Jennifer Reeves Wilson, Maureen Morley and Ken Kaden.


• "Built in a Day" is set in Rome, June 9, 68 A.D. in a broad, slapstick look at how to run the Coliseum in ancient Rome while dealing with bickering fiancees, a shrewish wife and a stand-up comedian spider. The cast includes Sylmarie Soto, Galen Malick, Margie Gustafson, Matt Hellyer and Patti Shore Kaden.

• "Pre-Code" is set in modern-day DuPage County. Two former high school teachers (played by Julane Sullivan and Maureen Morley) discuss their post-retirement hobbies. One collects pre-code movie memorabilia. The other has taken on a less conventional -- and far less legal -- activity.

• "Snowdrop" is set during a future totalitarian regime, or perhaps a recent one. A tortured political prisoner deals with her jailer in a harrowing tale of the need for kindness. It features Jami Johnson and Jack T. Smith.

• "William Shakespeare's 'The Tragedie of Charley'" is perhaps an 11th-century Scottish heath; or a modern day community theater. At final dress rehearsal, a director who has cast himself as Macbeth is battling his wife (cast as Banquo, not Lady Macbeth) and the actresses playing the Witches, who refuse to say "Macbeth," even within context of the play. The cast features Julie Bayer, Jennifer Reeves Wilson, Jennifer Ciombor, Heidi Swarthout and Ken Kaden.

A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Gustafson has had several short plays published in anthologies -- "Lending a Hand" in "Best Ten Minute Plays of 2019," and "A Cheap Maid in Chasteside" in "The Best Ten Minute Plays 2020." On Nov. 15, the play "Save Me, Myron Glick!" will be published in "The Best New Ten-Minute Plays, 2021."

The cast is enthusiastic about performing in the show. Julie Bayer says, "I predict that audiences will say, 'I Laughed! I Cried! It was better than CATS! I'm going to see it again and again!'"


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