An unforgettable, exciting, and thought provoking evening of mystery,
music, fun, history, and transformation, starring international award winning magician,
Mitch Williams, and theatre artist extraordinaire, Edith Barnard.

May 31, 2009
6:00 PM
The Apollo Theatre
311 S. Main St., Peoria, IL

TICKETS: Adults - $13.00 | Children (12 & under) - $9.00
(Registered One State Conference Attendees receive $5 off ticket price!! For Info)

Apollo Theatre - Peoria

An Amazing Show in an Amazing Theatre...

The beautifully restored elegance of Peoria's historic Apollo Theatre plays host to a show that's been created as a special "kickoff" event for this year's One State: Together in the Arts! conference, (a biennial statewide conference for arts leaders, educators, and practitioners, which is coming to Peoria for the very first time.) Open to the local public as well, this unique and exciting show, featuring two of the area's most talented performers, is also a fundraising event for Look It's My Book, a program to promote literacy by getting books into the homes of school kids in the Peoria area.


Our Show...

Mitch Williams and the ART of Magic

is an unusual collaboration of two uniquely talented performers: international award winning magician, Mitch Williams, and theatre artist extraordinaire, Edith Barnard, appearing together for the very first time. Closely following the "See Change" theme of this year's One State conference, the show combines magic, art, music, history, acting, and a lot of fun, to bring home the magic of transformation. Edith Barnard portrays Harriet Beecher Stowe

The show's two acts consist of Mitch's dynamic and unforgettable one-man stage performance, the ART of Magic, and Edith's acclaimed portrayal of Uncle Tom's Cabin author, Harriet Beecher Stowe: the Woman Who Changed History. Together, these two gifted performers present an uplifting, mind-bending, musical, educational journey through time and imagination that you're likely to remember for years to come.

The ART of Magic

The ART of Magic

In an unconventional shift of focus in magic from the traditional "how is it done?" to "why?", Mitch challenges his audiences to suspend their disbelief and takes them on a whirlwind journey of enchantment, adventure, and wonder into the world of the mysterious. By blending magic, mime, juggling, movement, fun audience involvement, and theatrical costuming and special effects with his dynamic stage persona, he creates a lasting impression and skillfully illustrates the link between magic, art, and transformation.

Harriet Beecher Stowe:
the Woman Who Changed History

Harriet Beecher Stowe was a woman ahead of her times. She is best known as the author of the Uncle Tom's Cabin, which is credited with popularizing the abolitionist cause against slavery and is said to have contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. Legend has it that when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 he said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!" Edith's captivating musical, theatrical, "one-woman" portrayal of Harriet brings history to life before your very eyes in a way that will fascinate, amuse, and inspire. Accompanying Edith will be Wes Sedral, classical and folk guitarist extraordinaire, providing authentic Civil War era tunes.


The Artists:

Mitch Williams

Mitch Williams...

is a multi-talented, world-class contemporary magical performing artist with credits in six countries on three continents. He has won several national and international performing awards, is considered an expert at sleight of hand, and is also an accomplished artist, athlete, and authority on creativity, peak performance, and human potential. Mitch has also conducted in depth seminars for magic enthusiasts throughout the country on "how to approach magic as an actual art form", all to rave reviews. He brings this wide variety of talents, skills, and expertise to his work, making his programs among the most original and innovative in his field.

Mitch's performing credits include: Harvey's Casino, Lake Tahoe; "It's Magic" show at the Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles; Beverly Hills Country Club, Beverly Hills, CA; Wizardz Nightclub in Universal City, CA; and he is one of the favorite performers at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA; the world's most famous magic nightclub. He has been featured on the same bill with such notable celebrities as Doug Henning, Penn & Teller, Lance Burton, Elaine Booslier, Rosie O'Donnell, Marty Allen, Jeff Dunham, and Dennis Miller. And he has also performed in Japan, Spain, Holland, Canada, and Mexico, and has appeared on television programs on Fuji-TV and NHK-TV in Japan and on the series, Aixo es Massa, on TV3 in Spain.

Edith Barnard

Edith Barnard...

holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in "Theatre/Ethnomusicology" from the State University of New York in Binghamton. She has toured "Harriet" for over 25 years in New England, served as a cultural ambassador to Greece for the U. S. Government, won an award at the WHITE HOUSE for her original musical "Courtly Appeal" about the U. S. Constitution, and operated her own musical history theater in Bath, Maine for 15 years. For twenty years Edith lived near the house in Brunswick, Maine where Harriet Beecher Stowe lived when she wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Edith has "Played Harriet" at such prestigious venues as: Old North Church in Boston; Sander's Theater, Harvard University; Constitution Hall, Boston; Smithsonian Institute, Washington D. C.; Maine State Museum; Mark Twain Museum, Hartford Connecticut; Liberty Bell Museum, Philadelphia; and Longfellow House, Portland, Maine. For twenty-five years, Edith was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute to tour with her performances portraying Harriet Beecher Stowe. For more information on Edith and her work, visit her website.


The Apollo Theatre...

Apollo Theatre Peoria

first opened in 1914 on the site of the Crescent Theater, which burned down a couple years earlier, not very long after it opened. The Apollo, like Peoria's Madison Theatre, was designed by noted Joliet architect Frederic J. Klein, who is best known for the spectacular Coronado Theatre in Rockford, Illinois.

The Apollo, inside the larger Lawyers Building, could accomodate over 800 in its auditorium, and was decorated in Art Nouveau style, including plaster cornucopias on its sidewalls. The Apollo orginally had a pipe organ and canaries were kept in its lobby!

Closed in 1958, the Apollo was briefly used for office space, and in 1960, a portion of the rear of the building was torn down when an adjacent parking lot was enlarged.

In 1988, by then practically in ruins, the Apollo was purchased and lovingly rescued and restored to its original appearance by local attorney Tom Leiter, after which local impresario Bob Brandes helped run the Apollo Fine Arts & Entertainment Centre, a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1991.

Since 2001, it has housed the Apollo International Film Group, which screens foreign, classic and independent movies in an early 20th century setting, and it offers a variety live performances, including our production of Magic, Music, Art, and Harriet!