Lake Land student to direct first show for CAT


Angelica Cataldo

Angelica Cataldo | The Daily Eastern News CAT board member and actor, Duke Bagger plays the radio narrator in Charleston Alley Theatre’s production of “The Blue Bird.” The show will be performed as if it were a live radio broadcast and is in conjunction with Christmas in the heart of Chalreston.

Angelica Cataldo, Entertainment Reporter

Out of the spotlight and into the director’s chair, Lake Land College student Alyssa Hilbert tries her hand at directing her first Charleston Alley Theatre show, “The Blue Bird.”

She has been involved with theater since she was 8 years old and is still involved during her time at Lake Land. Now, at 19, she is directing her very first play by herself.

“I’ve never directed a show by myself before, but everybody’s been on board with me,” Hilbert said. “It’s a very good way to get my start.”

Hilbert previously performed in CAT’s productions of “The Rocky Horror Show” as Columbia and “Much Ado About Nothing” as Beatrice.

She is working closely with original CAT board members Linda and Duke Bagger. Duke, who will be playing the narrator for the show, said that the board had approached Hilbert about directing the company’s next show after her work in “The Rocky Horror Show.”

“Alyssa showed dedication to the company, and talent,” Duke said. “For her first time directing, she has done a very good job. She’s an asset to (the company).”

She has also student directed a show while at Mattoon High School.

“(Theater) is going to be my life,” Hilbert said. “I definitely would love to direct again.”

Hilbert said she hopes to one day own her own theater, and she is also writing a radio drama herself.

She is a business administration and theater double major who will be transferring to Eastern after graduating from Lake Land in the spring.

“It’s stressful, but rewarding,” she said. “I’m very fortunate and it’s kind of humbling. I’m so young, but everyone has taken such faith in me and wants me to see me succeed.”

Hilbert is directing an annual Christmas show that has become a tradition for more than 10 years for CAT.

Every year, CAT performs a Christmas themed show in conjunction with Christmas in the Heart of Charleston, and this year they take to the stage with a stage radio show.

Bagger said this year the company board wanted a show that would be family friendly and include children.

In the past, the content and target ages for the audience varied from adult humor to classic Christmas stories.

CAT is on its 26th season and sixth and final show for 2016, and will be closing the season as part of Charleston’s Christmas festivities by marching 4:45 p.m. in Saturday’s parade and performing their show over the course of the weekend.

“The Blue Bird” is a Christmas fairy tale originally written in 1908 about two children who learn about the meaning of happiness.

The show will be performed as if it takes place in a 1940s live radio broadcast. CAT transformed their stage into a radio broadcast set complete with an on-air light-up sign, Christmas decorations, vintage handmade microphones and the actors wear period clothing.

The performances will be 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the theater.

Adult admission is $8, and children under 12 years of age can get in free of charge.

Tickets are available by calling the theater box office at 217-345-2287 or can be purchased at the door one hour before curtain at Charleston Alley Theatre, located at 718 Monroe Ave.

Free or reduced prices for tickets are available for those financially unable to pay.

Angelica Cataldo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].