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FOREST CITY | BrickStreet Theatre is turning 45, and to celebrate the occasion it will host an open house Gala Reception on Sunday, July 22.

The reception will being at 5 p.m. after the opening performance of the BrickStreet summer musical, “The Pirates of Penzance.”

This anniversary event, to be held at the BrickStreet on Clark location at at 122 N. Clark in Forest City, will feature hors d’ oeuvres, mini-desserts, beverages, and a brief program at 6 p.m. commemorating the organization’s colorful history.

The public will also be able to view photos and memorabilia from BrickStreet’s archives.

BrickStreet Theatre’s name is a homage to the bricks that were used to form Forest City’s primary streets after the city’s founding. The organization staged its first production, "Pure as the Driven Snow," in 1973.

BrickStreet has experienced three hiatuses in its history. One that began in 1986 was broken with a brief revival in 1999 when BrickStreet staged “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” as its summer musical, followed by “A Christmas Carol” that December.

Stage productions then gave way to a series of movies produced in cooperation with Our Town Pictures. Three were filmed between 2005 and 2008: "The Journey Tree," "Out to Pasture," and "Out to Vegas."

Community members kept the organization’s books open and dreams of a revival alive; however, no stage or movie productions occurred for six years.

The revival finally happened in the summer of 2015 when Lynnea Fredrickson approached Jim Brockhohn, president of BrickStreet Theatre, with the idea of putting on "Carousel."

“We have a very active board that works hard to help BrickStreet stay on track,” Brockhohn said in a news release. “We try to provide the best entertainment possible for our community.”

Brockhohn also shared his gratitude for the community’s supportive response, noting that dedicated audiences have helped sustain the most recent revival.

Julie Keely, BrickStreet Theatre’s artistic director, foresees many surprising things in BrickStreet’s future.

She said she's excited BrickStreet will be able to use the stage at the Hanson Family Fine Arts Center once it's completed this fall. 

Also, "we’re extremely pleased at the way our educational outreach -- BrickStreet Kids -- is growing," she said. 

Performances of BrickStreet's latest production, "The Pirates of Penzance," will be Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on July 22 and July 29, and 7 p.m. performances on July 23, 26, 27, and 28.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the Forest City Chamber of Commerce, online at brickstreettheatre.org, or at the door, pending availability.

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