Page 14 - Volume 2, Issue 4

The biggest changes she has
seen are from the technical side
of productions, such as sound
systems for microphones and
new, multi-function lighting
systems. “Another is that we rent
costumes a lot more than we used
to. It’s just a lot harder today to
get volunteers to do these things
because most people work now.
But we do still have a good core
group of volunteers, and we need
every one we can get,” Costa
She said Corn Stock has always
taken pride in the fact it never
needed grants or tax support to
operate. The closest to that is the
Peoria Park District, which owns
the land where the theatre —
including the Winter Playhouse
is located and helps with
landscaping and such. “The Park
District has always been very
supportive,” Costa said.
Costa said she and Leonard
started at Corn Stock in 1959, the
year after they were married, and
involved their daughters from the
time there were born. “It really
was a family affair and that was
the kind of atmosphere Corn
Stock had. When we were both
involved in a production, we just
knew the girls were safe because
there was always somebody there
to watch them,” said Costa, who
was a dancer and choreographer
for some shows but mostly did
backstage duties. Her husband
did many shows on stage and as
a director.
But their wedding anniver-
sary was in August, when Corn
Stock’s season was still going.
We spent many, many anniver-
saries at the tent. But that was
okay because it was where we
wanted to be,” she said.
Similar sentiments were
expressed by Cheri Beever, who
met her husband Eldon Beever
while doing community theatre.
They were married in August
again during the Corn Stock
In fact, the wedding date kept
Cheri Beever from auditioning
for what she called her all-time
favorite musical, “The King & I,”
and she has been unable to get
a role in it since then. And like
the Costas, she and Eldon spent
many wedding anniversaries at
the tent. They were either doing
shows or directing or something
technical — whatever was need-
ed. That’s why they both also are
Iben Award winners.
Regarding the decision to mar-
ry in August, she said, “I don’t
know what we were thinking. We
obviously weren’t thinking.” Her
infectious laugh followed and she
added, “I don’t regret one minute
of it. Not one.”
Like the Costas and others,
the Beevers raised their three
children, all boys, at Corn Stock
and watched as they performed
in their own shows. “It has been a
hoot. We’ve loved it,” she said.
But keeping younger people in-
terested is a challenge Corn Stock
Theatre is facing in its future,
said Cindy Hoey, who has been
the theatre manager for all but
one summer since 2000.
Corn Stock Theatre volunteers help erect one of the earliest tents the organization used at Upper Bradley Park.