Walt Willey discusses 'These Shining Lives'

December 2, 2010 4:29:05 AM PST
Willeyworld Community Productions will present the Rivendell Theatre Production of These Shining Lives on December 3, 4, and 5 at the Ottawa High School Auditorium in Ottawa, Illinois-where the original story took place.

These Shining Lives tells the story of Ottawa's "Radium Girls," young women employed at the Radium Dial and Luminous Processes factories in Ottawa beginning in the 1920s and 30s. They were assured by their employers that the radium-based paint that they used to paint the faces of watches and clocks was safe, but the true consequences of the radiation exposure proved tragic.

Rivendell Theatre presented the premiere of These Shining Lives, written by Melanie Marnich, in Chicago in 2009. And now, for the first time, These Shining Lives will be presented in Ottawa, where the original events took place. The factories have been torn down and decontaminated, and a Radium Girls memorial statue is planned for the site. Proceeds from the local production of These Shining Lives will go toward construction of the memorial.

The Rivendell production in Ottawa will be directed by Rachel Walshe and include the Chicago cast. There will also be two performances for Ottawa High School students during the day on December 3 and 4, which will be supplemented by local history lessons in association with Rivendell and OHS.

Willeyworld Community Productions, founded by Kim "Howard" Johnson and Walt Willey to revive community theatre in the Ottawa area, selected These Shining Lives as the first production to import due to its local historical significance.

Performances will be Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 5, at 2:30 pm. Ottawa High School is located at 203 East Main Street, Ottawa. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, or $5 with a student I.D. Advance tickets are sold exclusively through the Ottawa Visitors Center, 815-434-2737, or experienceottawa.com

The production is being sponsored by the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Visitors Center, IVCC Ottawa Center, and Willeyworld Community Productions.


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