GLEN ELLYN, IL – Author, composer and country music star Kenny Rogers presents his original musical “The Toy Shoppe,” starring TV legend Alan Thicke (“Growing Pains”), to the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Friday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. This marvelous family-friendly adventure blends old-fashioned values with the excitement of an original Broadway-style musical. With gorgeous ballads, singing and dancing toys and a beautiful message of hope and miracles, this holiday musical delights young and old alike.Thicke stars as Hank Longley, owner of Longley’s Toy Shoppe, a place of magic and mystery. Famous for its vast collection of toys, Longley’s shop soon becomes the target of Mr. Baxter, an overzealous entrepreneur who aims to make Longley’s whimsical workshop part of his corporate chain of burger restaurants. As Baxter schemes, it is up to a cast of magical characters to save the day.Says Rogers, “I met Alan Thicke maybe 30 years ago and we became really good friends. Someone brought his name up and I said ‘absolutely, he would be great in this.’ So we played it for him and he liked it so much he agreed to do it that day because it’s really what he’s all about. You know this show was specifically designed for the family and family entertainment. It’s so hard to find that these days.”
Says Thicke, “It’s a thrill for me to be part of this wonderful production, surrounded by this amazing cast. They say an actor shouldn’t work with animals or kids, but everyone in this cast makes everyone else look good. And this incredible sense of ensemble and comradery amplifies the heart and holiday spirit in this show.”
“The Toy Shoppe” debuted in 1998 off-Broadway as an one-act theatrical production of “Christmas from the Heart Featuring the ‘Toy Shoppe’” presented by Hallmark Entertainment at the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City. The show enjoyed a six-week holiday run. Since then, the lavish production has been expanded and has had seven national tours. “The Toy Shoppe” book was published in the fall of 2000 with a companion CD. The original music from the production, featuring 11 new songs co-written by Rogers, can be enjoyed on Dreamcatcher Records, a division of the artist’s Dreamcatcher Entertainment, Inc.
The cast for the Dec. 4 engagement of “The Toy Shoppe” includes Alan Thicke (Hank), Olivia Kay (Katie), Kelsey Lamb (Allison/Jill in the Box), Bailey Laws (Giselle/Toy Doll), Britt Prentice (Patterson/Bruno), Madison Foreman (Foxy/Ballerina), Timothy Oman (Baxter), Chicagoland’s Todd Rhoades (Sarge/Banker) and Liz Loar (Monkey/Banker), Luas Maverick (Luke), Jadyn Collie (Andrea), Dennison Collie (Kurt), Daltyn Collie (Rosemary) and Dave Darmour (Delivery Guy and producer). College of DuPage Chamber Singers, directed by Lee R. Kesselman, are also featured in this production.
“The Toy Shoppe” based on an original story written by Kenny Rogers and Kelly Junkermann, features music and lyrics by Kenny Rogers. The creative team also includes Junkermann (director), Steve Glassmeyer (music composition), Warren Hartman (music direction), Elena Serykh (choreography), Hope Johnstone (associate producer), David Schultz (lighting director), Frank Farrell (sound design), Austin Baldwin (sound tech), Jason Lewis (set design), Gina Le Lewis (merchandise).
Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, Rogers has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide during his illustrious five-plus decades in show business. He was the first country artist to consistently sell-out arenas and quickly became a pop superstar. His 28 Billboard Adult Contemporary Top 10’s is fourth-best all-time among men, trailing only Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Elvis Presley. Rogers has recorded 12 No. 1 albums and 24 No. 1 hits – “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me,” “Coward Of The County,” “Through The Years” and “Islands in the Stream” (with Dolly Parton) among them. Junkermann has worked with Kenny Rogers for more than 25 years as a writer, producer and director of award-winning television movies, specials, and live events.
Alan Thicke is a multi-faceted seven-time Emmy nominee well for his seven-year stint as patriarch Jason Seaver on ABC’s “Growing Pains” (1985-1992). He began as a writer for TV series and specials including Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson, Fernwood Tonite, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray, Mac Davis, and Sammy Davis Jr. and his current labor of love is the sitcom/reality hybrid “Unusually Thicke” (HGTV Canada) which finds the humor in Thicke’s family’s real-life exploits. Thicke has composed more than 40 TV themes, including “Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” which he sang, and his theater credits include Billy Flynn in “Chicago” (Broadway) and “Promises, Promises” and “Mame” (Hollywood Bowl). As an author, he penned “How To Raise Kids Who Won’t Hate You,” the sequel to his amusing “How Men Have Babies: The Pregnant Father’s Survival Guide.” As an avocation he works diligently for diabetes research and the educational website, procon.org.
“Kenny Rogers Presents The Toy Shoppe” starring Alan Thicke at the McAninch Arts Center (425 Fawell Blvd.) Friday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. Running time is 2 hours (including a 15 minute intermission). Tickets are $55-$75. For tickets or more information, call 630.942.4000, or visit AtTheMAC.org.
About the MAC
The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage is located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 186-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.
The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visit AtTheMAC.org, facebook.com/AtTheMAC or twitter.com/AtTheMAC.
Programs at the MAC are partially supported through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.