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Yorkville theater  announces new name, new lineup

Updated: September 13, 2012 6:21AM

YORKVILLE — The live theater in downtown Yorkville, now officially renamed Rivers Edge Theater, Friday announced a slate of local and national performers to kick off its new direction.

Formerly called The Follies Theater, owner Rick Tollefsen has changed the theater’s fare from its Vegas-style revues and melodrama comedies to music and improv comedy.

Musicians Jon Conover, Leslie Beukelman and Miles Nielsen will kick off the opening night of Rivers Edge on Aug. 17.

The 65-seat theater is on Route 47, next door to Cobblestone Bakery and Bistro.

Conover, who has recorded several albums of his folk-style music, has taken over booking for Rivers Edge. Not only does he have his own fan base, but he has many friends — including Beukelman and Nielsen — in the music industry.

“I went to school with so many talented people, and when you perform music full time for a living, you meet and become friends with and a lot of great performers,” he said.

Beukelman is become a regular vocalist in the Chicago music scene, and recently had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Nielsen is the son of Cheap Trick’s founding member and guitar player, Rick Nielsen. He scored the music for the Academy Award-winning documentary film, “Undefeated” and he and his band are touring with The BoDeans, this summer.

On Aug. 18, the new series, Masters of Improv, will put on two shows featuring two Improv groups from Second City in Chicago, and from the local Indian Valley Theatre Group. Adam Wolf and Rhythm Method and The IVT Improv Group’s early show will start at 7 p.m., with the late show at 9:30 p.m.

On Sept. 8, Rivers Edge Theatre will bring in the nationally recognized folk signer, Jonathan Edwards. His best-selling hits include songs like “Sunshine” and “Shanty,” which have been American standards since the 1970s.

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