Elgin Summer Theatre History

 Elgin Summer Theatre

Elgin Summer Theatre began life as the Summer Youth Musical in 1973 with a production of L’il Abner and for many years the program presented up to three productions each summer on The Hemmens’ stage.

After its 1995 production of Anything Goes, the program was cancelled as management goals shifted and much needed facility improvements required use of the summer months for construction.  Following another management change in 2005, discussions of bringing back summer theatre began in earnest amongst Hemmens’ staff, many of whom began their careers with EST, and in 2008 those talks became reality with HAiR, EST’s first production in 13 years. 

Since its resurrection, EST is once again building a reputation for the quality of its productions as well as the positive experience it offers its participants.  In fact, in each of the four productions presented since 2008, there have been young actors performing with a parent who was involved in EST before the 12-year hiatus.

1973              L’il Abner

1974              The Pajama Game

1975              Oliver

1976              The Music Man

1977              Mame

1978              South Pacific

1979              Oklahoma

1980              My Fair Lady
                      The Mikado
                      A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1981              West Side Story
                      The Pirates of Penzance
                      The Tempest

1982              Camelot

1983              Hello Dolly
                      H.M.S. Pinafore

1984              Annie Get Your Gun
                      The Gondoliers

1985              Sweet Charity
                      Show Boat

1986               Fiddler on the Roof
                       Most Happy Fella

1987               Grease, Kiss Me Kate
1988               Brigadoon

1989               West Side Story, Tin Types
1990               A Chorus Line

1991               Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

1992               L’il Abner

1993               Gypsy

1994               Jesus Christ Superstar

1995               Anything Goes
2008               HAiR

2009               Grease

2010               Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

2011               ANNIE

2013               Jesus Christ Superstar

2014               RENT

2015               Next to Normal

2016               A Chorus Line

2017               The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

2018               SISTER ACT