Show biz booms for busy entrepreneurs
Linda Kimball (left), and Judy Samuelson
Updated: February 27, 2013 11:50AM
Linda Kimball and Judy Samuelson think that active adults age 50 and older need more entertainment options.
That’s why the two north suburban women have started Great Age Productions.
Wheeling resident Kimball and Highland Park resident Samuelson have already contracted with several North Shore facilities to offer their programming. These include Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre, Glenview’s Oil Lamp Theater and Wilmette Park District’s Mallinckrodt Center.
A number of the programs are being presented by musical theater historian Charles Troy. Kimball reported that Troy “has put together over 50 presentations that are back-stories of musicals.”
Best-selling author, national speaker and teacher Barry Bradford will do several presentations, including, “America’s Most Famous First Ladies,” April 3 at Mallinckrodt Center.
Celebrated cabaret entertainer Bob Moreen will present, “I Won’t Dance: The Songs of Fred Astaire” on April 17 at Oil Lamp.
A number of other programs have been scheduled.
“We at Great Age Productions look for a balance of educational programs, as well as entertaining programs,” Kimball said. “That has been our mission from the very beginning.”
The two entrepreneurs first connected when Kimball was executive director of OASIS-Chicago, an organization offering classes for older adults. “I was looking for outside venues to use for my programming,” Kimball said. “Judy was involved very strongly at that time with the Wilmette Theatre. She and I began conversations about my taking OASIS programming there.”
“She and I developed a bond from that day forward,” Samuelson said.
Then Wilmette Theatre became a not-for-profit organization and their new board decided to temporarily halt the older adult programming that Samuelson, previously a partner-owner of the theater, had been scheduling. Around the same time, Kimball lost her position when OASIS closed its programming at Northbrook Court.
With Samuelson’s many entertainment contacts (she was a professional dancer and Equity actress) and the fact that Kimball has maintained a relationship with many of the over 200 professional presenters she worked with through OASIS, it seemed natural that the women should join forces.
“We thought, why not take advantage of a variety of venues in a variety of different communities in the North Shore?” Samuelson said. “We can serve a greater number of people.”
Kimball added, “It would give our active seniors an opportunity to experience different kinds of theaters or community centers. We thought it would be a unique approach to presenting programs.”
Kimball indicated that the two theaters that have already signed on with Great Age Productions were delighted to have programs slated during the day when they are usually dark. Financially, it benefits both the venues and the production company.
Great Age Productions is also cross-marketing programming with Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire and Light Opera Works. In one instance, Charles Troy will do two presentations on “The Creation of South Pacific” on March 13, at Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theatre, to promote the musical’s April 3 opening at the Marriott.
Samuelson enthusiastically declared that creating this company “has been so much fun. We kind of made lemonade out of what felt like lemons for a while.”
Kimball reported that Great Age Productions’ future goals include collaborating with more venues, serving former OASIS members and addressing “the needs, the desires and the entertainment and educational appetites of Baby Boomers.”
“As we move along, we’ll be developing more presenters with more programs,” Samuelson added. “The sky is the limit for us.”
For more information on Great Age Productions, call (847) 849-9070 or email email@example.com.