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‘October Country’ theme of Bradbury storytelling fest

Storyteller Megan Wells will perform 7th annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival Oct. 26 10:30 a.m. and
7:30 p.m. Genesee Theatre.

Storyteller Megan Wells will perform at the 7th annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival, Oct. 26 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., at Genesee Theatre.

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Updated: November 19, 2012 1:10PM

WAUKEGAN — On a brisk and eerie autumn evening — Ray Bradbury’s favorite time of year — storytellers will perform celebrated Bradbury stories to pay homage to the colorful, penetrating and spooky characters and stories of Ray Bradbury at the seventh annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival.

This year’s edition will be held Oct. 26 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the historic Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St.

This year’s theme, “October Country,” celebrates the time of year Bradbury loved best and the countryside he grew up in.

“Bradbury became a household name largely because of the oral tradition of storytelling,” said Richard Lee, executive director of the Waukegan Public Library. “He first captivated his fans when his stories aired on old-time radio shows.” Lee said the library created the festival not only as a tribute to Bradbury’s genius, but also to showcase storytelling as an art form.

Professional storytellers will take the stage as characters from Bradbury’s well-known stories such as 1951’s “The Screaming Woman,” “Lime Vanilla Ice” from “Dandelion Wine” and many more. Hosted by the Waukegan Public Library, the award-winning festival presents two performances every year on festival day, a scary evening show for listeners age 12 and older, and a 10:30 a.m. matinee for school kids.

Megan Wells serves as the artistic director of the festival and appears each year in the persona of various nefarious characters, from Dracula to Mr. Dark. She holds an MFA in theater arts and numerous theater awards including the Joseph Jefferson Award for directing.

The festival emcee, Jim May is co-founder of the Illinois Storytelling Festival. He earned the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network in 2000 and continues to perform on stages worldwide. He’s the author of several books, including a collection of original stories named “Best Book” by the Public Library Association.

Hollywood actor and Bradbury fan, Bill Oberst Jr., will make a special guest appearance and present an excerpt of his favorite Bradbury short story, “Pillar of Fire.”

“It’s a hymn to Halloween,” Oberst said. “I have loved it and known it by heart for 30 years. To speak Mr. Bradbury’s words in his hometown in the shadow of a late October moon will be a highlight of my career and of my life.”

Winning entries to the 29th annual Ray Bradbury Creative Contest will be on display at the Genesee Theatre on the day of the festival. Entries include short stories, poems and fine art created to express how Bradbury has been an inspiration to the life or work of each entrant.

New this year, attendees will be invited to take a haunted tour of the Genesee Theatre before the performance. Attendees are welcome to dress in costume as their favorite Bradbury character.

Tickets are $17 for the evening show and $5 for the matinee, on sale at the Genesee box office or Library patrons can present any library card and receive $1 off at the box office.

For more information or to order festival tickets, call or visit the library at or (847) 623-2041

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