Crystal Lake Raue to host inaugural 'Home for the Holidays' variety show

Think of a Bing Crosby Christmas special, with a bit of a modern spin.

Opening Dec. 22, the Raue Center for the Art’s inaugural “Home for the Holidays” is described as a variety show inspired by those of long-ago. It will feature storytelling, holiday traditions and songs – with performances by Modern Day Romeos and LAVA Rock, two of McHenry’s most popular bands, along with members of the center’s professional in-house theater company, Williams Street Repertory.

A holiday variety show had been talked about at the Raue for awhile when Lindsay Wolf decided last Christmas to make it happen this year. The show’s producer and director, as well as the sound supervisor and production coordinator for the Raue, Wolf joined with Caitlin Quinn and composer Evan Swanson to create “Home for the Holidays.”

“What started out as a group of six or seven to sing Christmas songs evolved into this Crystal Lake Raue Center variety show,” Wolf said. “We sort of show off a bit of what McHenry County has to offer.”

The family friendly show will run through Dec. 30 with performances at 8 p.m. Dec. 22, 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 23, and 8 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30. Tickets start at $35.50 at 815-356-9212 or

Modern Day Romeos will perform for the Dec. 22 and 23 shows, while Lava Rock will take the stage for the Dec. 29 and 30 shows, mixing holiday classics with new renditions of old favorites.

Modern Day Romeos has been known for 15 years as the area’s party band, while LAVA Rock is a multi-tribute band known for recreating hits and live shows of hard rock legends Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Van Halen and AC/DC.

“We are really excited about this concept. It is our first time being a part of anything like this, and it will also be our first time playing on the Raue Center stage,” said Jim Wojdyla, lead vocalist of Modern Day Romeos. “We started [the band] in Crystal Lake, so for us it literally is ‘Home for the Holidays.’ ”

LAVA Rock has performed at the Raue before, but never as part of a variety show concept.

“We like to take up as much space as we can in our performance, and Raue Center’s enormous stage is like a playground,” said Kerry Devine, lead vocalist of LAVA Rock. “We can’t wait to be back.”

Along with the music will be skits performed by the WSRep Comedy Troupe, as well as students from the Raue Center’s Sage Studio arts education program. Among the cast are Raue Center and WSRep favorites, including Joel Bennett, Amanda Flahive, Jillie Mayer, Tina Naponelli, Billy Seger and Thomas Squires, who will share personal holiday stories.

“We’re sort of trying to create the atmosphere of sitting on the couch telling stories about the families,” Wolf said. “It’s sort of just sharing personal stories of their holidays and their past, and singing favorite Christmas songs.”

She and Quinn researched for the show by watching Bing Crosby and Perry Como Christmas specials.

The idea is to offer something for all ages, Wolf said.

“We’re trying to appeal to a bunch of different people,” she said. “The hope is we get a little bit of everything on the stage.”

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