Brook Tales

The MacMurray girl wrote a letter to the Jacksonville paper: “The flood was not all bad. For the first time this year at Mac the pancake syrup in the dining hall was not watered down because we had no water. The ketchup came out as slow as the real Heinz. When the pop ran out we had to drink milk and our mothers were grateful.”

This and dozens of other stories of the Jacksonville Town Brook will be featured as Ken Bradbury’s Lincoln Land Traveling Theatre brings “Brook Tales” to life for two performances, Saturday May 17th at 7 p.m. at the Grace Methodist Church, and on the following day, Sunday May 18th at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary of Centenary Methodist. Donations will be accepted at the door.

“It’s fascinating script,” said Bradbury. “About 40 people have contributed their stories about living near the creek and they range from the hilarious to the tragic.” Tales of the monster that used to roam the creek near MacMurray, the “Tomato King” who was the master at skinning chickens, the “turtlers” who’d keep their tasty reptiles in the basement of a nearby tavern, and a retired school teacher whose Buick was swept away in the flood are all fodder for this two-act readers’ theatre presentation by the Lincoln Land actors.

“It always shocks the students of today to learn of the wild times that used to be had in this town,” said Bradbury. “The actors kept stopping rehearsal to ask, ‘Did this really happen?’”

The Town Brook Initiative of the Jacksonville Park Foundation sponsors the play and the proceeds donated will be used to develop recreational space along the city’s waterways, support a new Jacksonville Children’s Garden, and other efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles for kids and the community.

The members of “Brook Tales” cast are Maddy Albers, Jordan Brenize, Alana and Ally Bufill, Emily Burns, Elly Crawford, Brittany Davis, Katondra Haley, Andrew Holtschlag, Sydney Meyer, Kenzi Miller, Mackenzie and Cydney Musch, Kendi Sayre, Alex Stanberry, and Elisabeth Werries.

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About the author

Ken Bradbury is an adjunct instructor of theatre at LLLC after retiring from Triopia. He entertains on the Spirit of Peoria riverboat and is the author of over 300 published plays. Website:

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