In the heart of downtown Crystal Lake sits a historic theater that has struck a delicate balance: big enough to attract A-list performers yet cozy enough to provide an intimate experience.
“Our space is unique in that it’s not only intimate, but it’s also a show-stopper,” says Richard Kuranda, executive director of Raue Center for the Arts.
After two years of abbreviated schedules, Raue Center returns this fall with a lineup of incredible talent, from the likes of David Sedaris and Jane Lynch to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
Lynch, an Illinois native and star of the Emmy-winning show “Glee,” has performed at Raue several times.
“She’s got a strong connection to this area,” Kuranda says. “Some of her former roommates are in our theater company, Williams Street Repertory. Every year we try to mix it up between the Grammy, Academy or Tony award winners, a couple of great literary types, and then a lot of regional artists as well.”
For the fall season, you can find tickets to comedy shows, concerts, presentations and musicals. “For people who want to have fun with the whole family, we also have GreenRoom Improv. They do a clean improv show that’s hysterical,” says Kuranda.
In addition to hosting performances, Raue Center also offers opportunities for kids and adults to take the stage. “The school we started last year has taken off,” says Kuranda. “We’re attracting more and more children every year for classes, and this fall, we’ll offer adult musical theater classes.”
Kuranda says a few things set Raue apart. “It’s relaxed, convenient, budget-friendly and intimate. And most importantly, it’s in a beautiful setting of a small Main Street town with great eateries and wonderful roadways to get in and out.”
Accessibility is a priority at Raue. United States veterans can see a show for free by registering with the box office, and scholarships are available for performing arts classes.
“McHenry County people really care about each other,” Kuranda says. “We wouldn’t be here without them.”
For the latest info and tickets, head to rauecenter.org.
Raue Center for the Arts is located at 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, (815) 356-9212.