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Diverse, Emotional Theater

The Chicago premiere of “Any Other Name” opens March 17 at Raue Center. L-R: James Knight as John Clark; Michele Vazquez as Margaret Ballard; and Frank Gaughan as Andrew Maddock.

Theater company presents diverse productions like “Any Other Name” to McHenry County audiences.

Williams Street Repertory (WSR) is a nonprofit theater company now in its sixth season in residence at Raue Center For The Arts in downtown Crystal Lake with several exciting productions on the horizon. Over the past six years, WSR has built a reputation as one of Illinois’ leading producing theaters and has become a unique and valuable asset to McHenry County.

At its foundation, WSR is dedicated to its mission of producing diverse and emotionally charged stories that deepen the cultural richness of the community and region. Since opening, WSR has presented more than 25 productions featuring a wide range of appeal, from holiday favorites to international debuts and Chicago premieres.

“Any Other Name” Premieres 

WSR’s next production is the Chicago premiere of “Any Other Name.” This darky funny psychological thriller by award-winning playwright George Brant opens March 17, 2017 at Raue Center and runs select dates through April 2, 2017. In addition to performances in downtown Crystal Lake, “Any Other Name” transfers to Chicago’s Theater Wit on April 21, 2017 and runs select dates through April 30, 2017.

“Any Other Name” is a wry psychological thriller about poetry, madness and identity theft in Victorian England. Edward Ballard, a poetry critic, and his formerly well-to-do American wife, Margaret, are on the brink of poverty, surviving on Edward’s aspirations of becoming a famous poet. Lofty dreams soon give way to reality, and Edward hatches a plan to save them from ruin by enlisting the aid of celebrated poet turned madman, John Clark. Desire, envy and deception build to the play’s surprising conclusion in this Chicago premiere.

In 2016, “Any Other Name” was named the winner of Best Original Play at the New Hampshire theater Awards and the show was also named the winner of the New Play Festival at New York City’s Premiere Stages in 2009. “Any Other Name” appeared as a 2015 WSR LAB Series selection and has been workshopped at Trinity Repertory Company, WordBRIDGE Playwrights Lab and Shakespeare at Clark Park.

WSR Gains Momentum 

Over the past six years, WSR has earned a reputation for artistic excellence by working with the industry’s best to produce award-winning theater. In March 2016, WSR entered into a contract with the Actors’ Equity Association. In doing so, the company was made a member of the most distinguished body of actors and stage managers in the United States and earned the distinction of being the only professional theater company in McHenry County.

In October 2016, WSR became a member of the theater Communications Group, the national organization for the American theater. TCG has existed to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theater for over 50 years. WSR is also a proud member of the League of Chicago Theaters (TLC). TLC is an alliance of more than 200 Chicago area theaters that leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theater industry locally, nationally and internationally.

Through affiliations with some of the industry’s top organizations, WSR has continued to grow and bring a wide variety of memorable theater experiences to McHenry County. In addition to its theater productions, WSR is committed to growing the arts in the local community through programs such as Sage Studio, which offers performing arts classes.

WSR also strives to engage the local community by hosting free events like its reading series, GET LIT(erary), and LAB Series, which features staged readings of new plays. By offering these community-based programs, the company aims to create a public forum that brings audiences and theater artists together to share and discuss a wide range of exciting work.

“As Crystal Lake continues to flourish and grow, we are thrilled that so many new individuals and families are flocking to WSR,” says Founding Artistic Director Richard Kuranda. “As the only professional theater company in McHenry County, we offer exciting opportunities in a laidback environment with fantastic restaurants, ample parking and great space.”

Tickets for “Any Other Name” may be purchased at or via the box office at 815.356.9212 or 26 N. Williams St. in Crystal Lake. Tickets for Theater Wit may be purchased via the box office at 773.975.8150. Theater Wit is located at 1129 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Follow WSR on Facebook.


Raue Center
Raue Center For The Arts, North Williams Street, Crystal Lake, IL, United States

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