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[JUNE 19, 2002]  "Comfort," by Carolee Dean. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002, 230 pages.

The story is set in Comfort, Texas, and begins with Kenny Roy Willson applying for a hardship driver’s license. He is only 14, but his mother has doctored his birth certificate to make him 15 so he can drive his father to his AA meetings.


His father, Roy Dan Willson, is soon to be released from the penitentiary for robbing a liquor store owner at gunpoint. He is also an alcoholic and had 23 DWIs even before he robbed the liquor store. His wife, Maggie, has big plans for Roy becoming a famous country and western singer. She is obsessed with her dream, and everything she does is to reach that end. Roy is the reluctant, featured nightly entertainment at the café.

Kenny is a good kid, in spite of being verbally and physically abused by his mother, and he works hard at the 24-hour family café and taking care of his little brother, Roy Jr. He is a good football player and played in the band until his mother made him quit to work in the café. Now the only thing he has left is writing for the school newspaper and his poetry.


Kenny’s dream is to leave Comfort and go to Dallas and live with his grandfather. As the bookkeeper at the café, he has been paying himself for working, since his mother won’t pay him, and that money is his "Dallas fund." His only chance of making enough money to leave soon is by placing first and winning $500 and a scholarship in the poetry interpretation and news-writing segments of the University Interscholastic League competition.


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And, as if his life isn’t complicated enough, he is in love with a girl he can’t have. Her name is Cindy Blackwell, and she goes with the captain of the football team, who happens to be twice as big and mean as Kenny. Cindy is a senior, and she shares Kenny’s love of writing as well as the dream of getting out of Comfort. She and Kenny are friends and have the opportunity to be alone on several occasions, and she tells him, which makes it even harder on Kenny.

Kenny’s home life is chaotic, and he vacillates between loving and hating his parents. Instead of talking to each other, they use Kenny as a go-between, smothering him with their problems.

In spite of it all, it looks like Kenny’s dreams may come true when he places in the final UIL competition with Cindy, even though he is just an alternate.

His mother tries to put an end to his dreams when she announces to him that he will quit school when he is 16 and work full time in the café. Kenny doesn’t think his life can get any worse, but a couple of events happen that will change his and Cindy’s lives forever, in a very climactic ending.

This story deals with some very difficult themes like armed robbery, physical and sexual abuse, an unwanted pregnancy, and breaking destructive family cycles. The author does a good job of weaving poetry into the story. It also contains some rough language. The author has a note at the end of the book explaining a little more about the UIL competition and how it changed her life. This book is recommended for ages 13 to 18.

For more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-5732.

[Linda Harmon, Lincoln Public Library District]

LCT box office opens

[JUNE 5, 2002]  The Lincoln Community Theatre box office opened for the summer season on Monday, June 3. Season ticket holders may begin making reservations for any of the three summer productions by calling 735-2614 or visiting the box office from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The box office is located in the lobby of the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Lincoln College.

General admission tickets for performances are offered one week before the opening of each show, at $9 for adults and $6 for students through eighth grade. The first production of the season, "Hello, Dolly!" opens on Friday, June 14.

Season tickets for the summer, which include the June musical production of "Hello, Dolly!" the July comedy "Dearly Departed" and the August musical production of "The King and I" are still available. Send check or money order ($20 for adult; $12 for children through eighth grade) to LCT, Box 374, Lincoln 62656.

For more information on season membership, call (217) 732-4763 or (217) 732-2640 or visit the LCT website,

[LCT news release]


Cast selected for LCT’s ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Lincoln Community Theatre has chosen cast members for the local June 14-22 production of "Hello, Dolly!"

Cast as the ever-meddling Dolly Levi is Jill Nessler of Sherman, who has previously appeared on the Lincoln stage as Miss Hannigan in LCT’s summer 2000 production of "Annie" and as Lucy in last summer’s opening show, "You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown."

The role of millionaire Horace Vandergelder will be played by Roger Boss of Lincoln. Boss has appeared in numerous LCT productions, most recently as part of the barbershop quartet featured throughout the 1999 production of "The Music Man."

Other players featured in this June production are Marilyn Willmert of Lincoln as Mrs. Malloy, Deb VanDeVoort of Springfield as Minnie Fae, Andy VanDeVoort of Springfield as Cornelius, Kyle Pepperell of New Holland as Barnaby, Josh Twente of Lincoln as Ambrose, Alison Maske of Mount Pulaski as Ermengarde, Brian Welter of Lincoln as the policeman/judge, and Nancy Schaub of Lincoln as Mrs. Rose.

Chorus members include Tina Mayer and Brian Willmert of Lincoln, Ann Opferman of Petersburg, and Abby and Heidi VanDeVoort of Springfield.


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The play is directed by Dan Bailey of Lincoln, who will also design and oversee construction of the set. Jan Mikelson of Hartsburg will serve as accompanist; Jeff Kindred of Atlanta will direct vocals; and Miranda Stone of Lincoln will serve as light and sound director.

All performances are at Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Lincoln College and are at 8 p.m. with the exception of the Sunday, June 16, performance, which is a 2 p.m. matinee.

For information regarding tickets, contact LCT, Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656. The LCT box office opens on June 3. For information regarding season tickets, call 732-2640 or go to the LCT website,

[Judy Rader, LCT publicity chairman]

Movie classics

Logan County Arts Association upcoming films

All upcoming monthly features in the Logan County Arts Association series of classic films will start at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Cinemas, 215 S. Kickapoo.

Thursday, July 11

"Top Hat" (1935)

Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers

Showman Jerry Travers is working for producer Horace Hardwick in London. Jerry demonstrates his new dance steps late one night in Horace’s hotel, much to the annoyance of sleeping Dale Tremont below. She goes upstairs to complain, and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Complications arise when Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace.

Thursday, Aug. 8

John Ford’s "Fort Apache" (1948)

John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen

In John Ford’s somber exploration of "Custer’s last stand" and the mythologizing of American heroes, he slowly reveals the character of Owen Thursday, who sees his new posting to the desolate Fort Apache as a chance to claim the military honor which he believes is rightfully his. Arrogant, obsessed with military form and ultimately self-destructive, Thursday attempts to destroy the Indian warrior Cochise after luring him across the border from Mexico.

Thursday, Sept. 12

"Breakfast at Tiffany’s" (1961)

Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Buddy Ebsen, Patricia Neal

Based on Truman Capote’s novel, this is the story of a young jet-setting woman in New York City who meets a young man when he moves into her apartment building.


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Thursday, Oct. 10

Horror/sci-fi double feature

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931)

Frederic March, Miriam Hopkins

Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men: a good and an evil side. He faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that changes him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde.

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951)

Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe

An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) lands their spacecraft on cold-war Earth just after the end of World War II. He tells the people of Earth that we must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

Tickets will be available at Serendipity Stitches, 129 S. Kickapoo; the Lincoln Public Library Annex; at the door; or by calling (217) 732-4298. Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2.50 for children 13 and under. These features are one show only, with limited seating.

[Logan County Arts Association ]

Lincoln Community Theatre information

Lincoln Community Theatre’s website is at Pictures from past productions are included.  The LCT mailing address is Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656.  E-mail:

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