The Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF) will host a 40th season celebration dinner on from 6-9 p.m. August 18, 2017, at the DoubleTree Hotel Ballroom, located at 10 Brickyard Drive, Bloomington, Illinois. The evening will feature exhibits, special guests, retrospectives, and surprise performances.

To be unveiled will be “40 Seasons/40 Actors,” a media display recognizing some of the actors who have “tread the boards” of the Festival’s stage including:

  • Well-known Chicago-based actors: Ian Barford, Tim Kane, Philip Johnson, Roderick Peeples, Craig Spidle, and Frank Nall
  • 2009 Obie award winner Francois Battiste
  • Boardwalk Empire’s Nisi Sturgis
  • Noted Milwaukee-based actress Deborah Staples
  • Performer/playwrights the Q Brothers

Two Bloomington-Normal-based professional actors will be featured, Tom Quinn and David Kortemeier. Quinn and Kortemeier are both affiliated with Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Theatre and have appeared in 14 and 13 seasons respectively.

Actor Gary Cole, who made his professional debut in the first season, 1978, will address the audience via video that was recorded during his visit to campus earlier this year when he was inducted into the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame and served as the 2017 spring commencement speaker. Cole’s successful career has included extensive credits on stage, film and television.

Tickets for the benefit dinner are $100 per person, a major portion of which is a tax-deductible contribution to the Festival. The event will also include live jazz music. A cash bar will be available.

The event is presented by the ISF Society Board of Directors and the Special Events Committee members Emmanuel Calmes and Tony Coletta (Co-Chairs), Anita Carney, Cheryl Hussain, Clyde Reynolds, and Elaine Shung. Sue Silvey is board president. Special arrangements with DoubleTree thanks to Dave Fedor, board vice president.

Tickets are now available at Seating is limited and participants are encouraged to order early. The deadline for purchasing tickets is noon on August 14, 2017. For additional information regarding the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, visit

Tickets are still available for  A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline at Ewing Theatre. The third production, I Heart Juliet, at Westhoff Theatre is sold out. The festival runs from June 30 through Aug. 12. Tickets are available at Illinois State University’s Center for Performing Arts box office Monday through Friday from noon-4 p.m. or by calling (309) 438-2535 during box office hours. Tickets can also be purchased online. Single ticket prices range from $12-$49.

For more information about the Festival and its 40th season, visit