In 1903, Hammond’s first mayor, Marcus M. Towle, opened the Towle Opera House to provide the city with a venue for theatrical productions. Times changed, and with them the theater: the opera house became a cinema, and eventually a string of fashion shops moved into the space. The building seemed destined for a future of holographic retail, but in 2003—a century since the stage first opened—it was reborn as the Towle Theater. Since then, its intimate brick-lined confines have hosted such crowd-pleasing productions as The Musical of Musicals, the Musical and A New Brain.
The instructors of Origins Dance Academy have traveled far and wide to learn and practice their craft, from choreographing in Los Angeles to dancing in prestigious European and Canadian ballet companies to appearing in area musicals. That wide range of experience allows them to teach youngsters in a wide variety of classes, including tap, ballet, and hip-hop. Origins also occasionally presents its students in performances and sends them to competitions judged by technique, difficulty, and how well the dancers perform sequences from Swan Lake while partnered with real swans.
Bravo hits the road with reality-television powerhouses, delivering an interactive Real Housewives gathering at the Horseshoe Casino’s spacious venue. Four Real Housewives from four cities—Sonja from New York City, Gretchen from Orange County, Kathy from New Jersey, and Phaedra from Atlanta—discuss their most talked about on-screen moments, answer audience questions, and share cast secrets, such as pressing gossip and gym-locker combinations. Orchestra seats place reality-television junkies in the middle of the venue and the VIP-ticket seats guests in the first 10 rows. In addition to up-close viewing, the VIP ticket includes an exclusive reception hosted by The Real Housewives with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a separate red-carpet entrance to the venue, and a limited-edition tour laminate with matching lanyard. Attendees must be over 21 or a master of fake mustaches to participate in the Red Carpet package.
At FieldCrest School of Performing Arts, students ascend through three levels of stardom—I'm a Star (for toddlers through preteens), Fashion Plate (for toddlers through preteens), and Camera Ready (for teens)—through bundles of acting, modeling, and dance classes that build a solid foundation of arts education. Acting classes build upon pantomime and improv before moving into performance and technique, and modeling sessions teach students how to prowl and pose like a pro on the catwalk. Ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop lessons give pupils the grace and moves they need to perform classical and contemporary routines.
Since its founding in 1977, FieldCrest has cultivated a motivational environment that encourages self-expression and poise. Besides the arts classes, it also offers etiquette courses that can convert even the most slovenly kids and adults into Miss Manners devotees.
The Holiday Star Theater, originally Holiday Theatre, opened in 1950. Classic Cinemas took over the theater in 1980 and renamed it the Park Forest Theatre. In 1990, Classic Cinemas restored the theater to much of its original 1950s appearance, and divided the auditorium into two screens, with capacities of 374 and 276 seats