By RENEE TOMELL - comp:000049183ad5:000000023d:5016 new
A makeover transforms The French Room at Drury Lane, whose special events include a mother-daughter high tea Saturday, May 11. (Photo provided by Brett Beiner)


WHERE: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace

WHEN: Wednesdays to Sundays to June 2

COST & INFO: Tickets to "Oliver!" start at $35, with dining packages available; 630-530-0111,

High tea and show: 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11

Raising the curtain is usually commonplace at Drury Lane, when it comes to theatrical productions like the current run of "Oliver!," but last week it meant the unveiling of a whole new look and feel to the lobby, ballrooms and the more intimate settings for special occasions.

Kyle DeSantis, president of Drury Lane, announced the completion of the first phase of renovations, noting the second will be done by mid-2014, which will encompass the restaurant and theater bar. A new, more extensive menu already has been put in place for theater patrons and people booking corporate gatherings, weddings and other events.

Designer Shannon Leoni created a nuanced, neutral color palette for each space. It marks a big change from the expansive lobby's original dominant red to the new tones of chocolate brown, cream, coral and pale blue set off by four, 12-foot Swarovski crystal chandeliers and coral marble accents.

The redone cocktail lounge has a fresh menu, including a seasonal cocktail list and light fare such as bruschetta, Asian beef rolls, snow crab and shrimp cocktail, and grilled chicken panini.

Charming visual escapes are provided by the reinvisioned French and English rooms. Silver-leaf Chinoiserie wallpaper, Louis XVI-inspired dining chairs, a cream-colored coffered ceiling, new wall sconces and four new crystal chandeliers are highlights of The French Room renovation.

The English Room has a warmly clubby atmosphere, with lacquered brown walls and plush banquettes. On the walls hangs a creative mix of Old World-style paintings in ornate frames paired with fine art photographic portraits of Hollywood icons. The visuals pop in this room.

Assistant Manager Jordyn DiOrio says the space has a "jazz club vibe," and points out the smiling countenance of Drury Lane founder Tony DeSantis, whose caricature hangs over the fireplace.

Mother's Day events

Drury Lane is celebrating its new look and Mother's Day weekend with special events that include a mother-daughter high tea Saturday afternoon in The French Room, preceding a performance of "Oliver!," and a Mother's Day brunch Sunday.

Talent behind 'Oliver!'

Starring in the show are a variety of heavy-hitters in the Chicago entertainment market, including numerous suburban talents. In key roles are Wheaton native John Gawlik as Bill Sikes, and John Reeger of Riverside as Fagin. The production team also features Don Forston of Stickney, George Keating and Jake Helm, both of Berwyn, Glory Kissel of Brookfield, Catherine Lord, Kyle Halford, Johnny Rabe and Michael Winner, all of Naperville, Brennan Dougherty of Glen Ellyn, Shane Frantz of Bolingbrook, Cale Manning of North Riverside, and J.D. Rodriguez of Batavia.

The director is multiple Jeff Award winner Rachel Rockwell of Berwyn, and musical director is Roberta Duchak of Burr Ridge, who served as vocal coach to Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman for the film "Les Miserables."


A makeover transforms The French Room at Drury Lane, whose special events include a mother-daughter high tea Saturday, May 11. (Photo provided by Brett Beiner)