Lights, camera, action! The scene is set, Rochelle's arts graduates are home. They include Oscar nominated actress Joan Allen, who long before the Hollywood stage fondly remembers gritting her teeth on smaller, stateline stages.
"I loved doing contest plays where we would do a one-act play and it was like speech contest; you'd go everywhere, to a different school; Dixon, Oregon, all these different places," Allen said.
Joining Allen in Saturday’s special dress rehearsal included the likes of Chicago comedian Tim Clue. The alumni celebrated the school's new arts facilities and celebrated being in such distinguished company.
"It's just nice to see people from eight years old to retired teachers, so it’s kind of a neat community on the stage, sharing the stage," 2002 Rochelle graduate Cara Sabin said.
While they all went off in different directions, some to LA, New York and Toronto, the alumni all agree their instructors inspired them to take their dreams anywhere.
"I think we've had a group that fostered the attitude that you can do it and you can make this work," novelist Molly O'Keefe said.
"I think teachers made a big difference in terms of exposing the kids to different things, and now having this facility is kind of icing on the cake," Allen said.
As the arts facility debuts, alumni past and present are excited about what future talent is still on the Hub City horizon.
"It's exciting to see what can come from such a small old theatre, to see what can come from this," Sabin said.