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James Jewell, an Indiana native who taught speech at Illinois Valley Community College for a quarter century, began his Stage 212 career performing the role of Emcee in the 1972 Summer Musical, Cabaret. It was a relationship that would last a lifetime.


Jim acted in a total of 15 Stage 212 productions and directed 11 others. He also edited the 212 newsletter for 17 years and served on the Management Board. In 1991 he was awarded the Joan Grabowski Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Theater in Illinois.


A prolific writer, Jim authored the standard reference book “Broadway and the Tony Awards: The First Three Decades” and the play, “Milo Lookingale”, which had its premier performance at Stage 212.


Jim died at age 49 in 1994. He left Stage 212 a significant bequest, which became the seed money for the acquisition of the new theatre at 700 First Street, LaSalle. The building’s performance space is dedicated in his honor as “The Jim Jewell Auditiorium.”



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