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Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra to perform at Avon Theater on Saturday

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[May 02, 2014]  DECATUR -- The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra will present "City Lights," Charles Chaplin's silent film masterpiece, with live orchestral accompaniment at the historic Avon Theater, 426 N. Water St. in Decatur, on Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Chaplin not only stars in "City Lights" as his iconic "Little Tramp" character; he also wrote, directed and produced the film, and composed the music that the MDSO will play. "City Lights" marked the first time Chaplin composed the film score to one of his productions, and it was written in six weeks with Arthur Johnston.

"City Lights" is Chaplin's most perfect film, yet the making of it was in the most critical period of his career.

By the time he began work in May 1928, the first all-talking pictures had begun to arrive on the screen. The talkie revolution affected everyone in pictures, but for Chaplin the problems were particularly acute. He had arrived in Hollywood at the end of 1913, when the film industry was still in its infancy. In January 1914 (exactly 100 years ago) he created the character of the Little Tramp, which, within little more than a year, was to achieve worldwide fame. By the end of the 1920s, Charlie the Tramp was the most universally recognized and universally loved fictional representation of a human being the world had ever seen.

"City Lights" is a romantic comedy that follows the misadventures of Chaplin's Tramp as he falls in love with a blind girl and develops a turbulent friendship with an alcoholic millionaire.

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The film was immediately successful upon release on Jan. 30, 1931, with positive reviews and box office receipts of $5 million. Critics consider it one of the highest accomplishments of Chaplin's career and one of the greatest films ever made. In 1992, the Library of Congress selected "City Lights" for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

The screening will be preceded by remarks from Skip Huston, Avon Theater owner, on "The Archeology of Cinema: The Lost Art of Silent Film."

Tickets are $13-$16.50 and are available at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center box office through Friday, by phone at 217-424-6318 or online at Tickets will be also available at the Avon Theater on Saturday evening. Kirkland box office hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and box office orders.

Concerts of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur.

[Text from file received from Millikin University]

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