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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Auditions for the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Tuesday, May 10
Starts at 6:00 PM

McLean County Museum of History
200 N. Main St, Bloomington IL 61701

Auditions for the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Announcing auditions for the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk! Auditions will be held on Tuesday, May 10 from 6:00pm until 9:00pm at First Christian Church, 401 W. Jefferson Street, Bloomington. Performances for the Walk will be September 24 – October 2 at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. You must be available for weekday performance from 8:30-3 and weekends 10 – 4. You will be asked to read from sides provided at the audition. Performers at the Walk receive an honorarium for their time and talent.

Questions or concerns about audition time? Email Susan Thetard (Artistic Director of Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes) at satheta@gmail.com.

The characters portrayed this year are:

Paul F. Beich (1864-1937) was a German immigrant who worked in the candy-making business, first as a salesman and later launching his own company in St. Louis. After purchasing a company in Bloomington, Beich convinced Milton Hershey to move his caramel-making division there from Chicago. Just as Hershey’s is known for its chocolate, Beich’s is known for its Whiz Bars, Katydids, and Laffy Taffy. A visitor to Evergreen Cemetery, where two of his children are buried, Beich is buried at Park Hill Cemetery. (Visiting Voice)

James Preston Butler (1838-1918) was a tinsmith, butcher, grocer, policeman, tax collector, alderman, constable, deputy sheriff, and hotel owner, perhaps best known for his work as a detective in high-profile murder cases. He tracked down Patsey Devine, who was later hung for the crime of murder in Clinton, Illinois, and helped convict the murderer of Zura Burns in Lincoln, Illinois. A small but powerful man, Butler could defend himself against attackers—both physically and verbally—and did.

Alexander G. Erickson (1863-1950), of Swedish heritage, worked in coal mines on Bloomington’s west side as a child and grew up to be an alderman, mayor, and commissioner of public health and safety for the City. A Republican precinct committeeman for forty years, he was on the Bloomington Board of Education for twelve. As the public health commissioner, he guided the city through such difficult events as a 1916 polio outbreak, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, and a garbage strike.

Helen Clark McCurdy (1866-1962) was the first woman to run for elected office in Bloomington municipal government, one of ten candidates to make it onto the ballot for commissioner in 1915. She campaigned heavily to literally clean up the city, as garbage collection had been a huge issue! The daughter of a merchant, McCurdy worked as a store clerk, but later married a prominent businessman, rising in social class. Intensely civic-minded, she worked with the Women’s Club, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

Ella Lee Stokes (1912-1996) was born in Mississippi and moved to Tennessee with her mother when she was four. First educated in one-room schoolhouses in the South, she attended several local grade schools and half a semester at Bloomington High School. A Black woman employed largely in the service industry, she aspired to achieve more. She worked for Williams-Oil-O-Matic, cleaning parts for ships and airplanes during World War II; and as a housekeeper in Bloomington’s “Red Light District.

Sarah (1814-1879) and David Davis (1815-1886) were married in October of 1838 and lived at Clover Lawn, then a farm at the edge of town, now an elegant mansion and grounds celebrating its 150th anniversary. As David often worked away from home as a lawyer, judge, and statesman, the couple spent much of their marriage apart, maintaining their loving relationship through letters, while Sarah managed the affairs of their estate and construction of their home in Bloomington. (Weekends Only)

Cemetery Walk