SULLIVAN, Ill. (WCIA) — In 1929, talking pictures started here and, within a few years, actors started taking the stage to perform. It’s a theater in the heart of Our Town.
Dozens of people have gotten their acting careers started here. They come from all over the country for the experience.
The Little Theatre on the Square is preparing for Beauty and the Beast. They’ve spent countless hours running lines and going through acts and the curtains are up.
“It put Sullivan on the map and it changed how this little town reacts to things from then on forward.”
What started as a silent movie theater has transformed into a performance stage. First, it was the Grand Theater. Now, it’s the Little Theatre on the Square.
“He rented the theater from him and produced nine musicals in nine weeks.”
It’s because Guy S. Little, Jr., started the legacy and opened the door to stardom for dozens of actors and actresses.
“Everything I learned, prior to going to New York, I learned in this theater.”
Anna McNeely decided at a young age the theater would become her second home.
“I learned every aspect of the theater here and it was my education because I really didn’t go to school for this.”
She went to Broadway to star in one of many shows. Beauty and the Beast stuck with her the most.
“I never got tired of hearing that music every night. It’s just a gorgeous score.”
From Sullivan to New York, McNeely hoped, one day, she’d get to return home.
“For me, it’s my theatrical home. I came here with no experience whatsoever. I think they could sort of say I was green.”
The day came where she would come back and now, she’s the director and on the other side of the set.
“People love to come and see professional theater in this intimate setting because it’s so fabulous. The quality is the same as what you would see in St. Louis, Chicago. The price is right. You don’t pay for parking and you get to see a fabulous show.”
It’s attracting people from all over the country, especially those wanting to take the stage in Our Town. There are several shows available this summer.