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
                      Iolanthe
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
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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
2019               Seussical