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Peoria Players and The Peoria Area Performing Arts Studio team up for a Holiday Special.

As Peoria Players celebrated its 100th Birthday last year, you probably recognize the name of the beloved Peoria landmark. However,  you may not be aware there is a youth organization called the Peoria Area Performing Arts Studio. PAPAS is an organization that provides continual educational and music training for over 200 students throughout the year. Most of the students at PAPAS eventually perform on Peoria Players and Corn Stock Stages. Dedra Kaiser, Director of PAPAS, and Bryan Blanks, Assistant Director of PAPAS, are by no means new to the Peoria Players stage. Together Bryan and Dedra both directed the sold-out and held over production of School of Rock for Peoria Players Theatre. Bryan and Dedra have also performed, directed and choreographed numerous productions at Peoria Players throughout recent years and consider PPT like a second home.

Bryan Blanks mentioned, “Peoria Players is where I got my start as a performer and director in the Peoria area. I started performing at Peoria Players through their Summer Youth Theatre program and shortly after that, I directed a youth production of The Wiz as one of  the theatre’s youngest directors.”  Bryan then met Dedra, who shared a strong passion for youth educational theatre and show choir.  “I love that at PAPAS Dedra and I get to provide in-depth educational theatre training; we provide classes in show choir, acting, and improvisation all year long.” Dedra, mentioned. “it’s so nice to then witness and support these students as they step onto the stage for numerous productions in Peoria.”  Blanks continued, “Youth Theatre educational training is so important to the future of community theatre, but it’s even more crucial now more than ever,  to make our stages and audiences as beautifully diverse as our Peoria community is. I think through collaboration, this is the key to making this happen.”

Bryan and Dedra previously directed two holiday productions for Peoria Players in 2015 and 2016. This year’s show is special for both Bryan and Dedra. Some of Peoria’s strongest adult singers, many of whom have become like family over the years,  will join PAPAS to bring this production to life. Some of these performers include Peoria Players’ favorites Roger Roemer, LaTaisha Howell, Carol Rapp, Bree Carroll, Rusty Brost, Adam Raso and Anita Foster. These talented adults along with many others will sing and dance to a selection of both traditional and contemporary holiday tunes. The students at the Peoria Area Performing Arts Studio have been working on popular Christmas dances and music to bring you an exciting evening of entertainment. This production is unique — it’s not a kids show, but a lot of kids will join in celebrating the holiday season with some of Peoria’s finest talent. PAPAS is thrilled to have its students in the company of such great performance role models at Peoria Players Theatre.

Performances include December 20 and 21 at 7:30 pm and December 22 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for those 20 and younger. For reservations, call 309-688-4473 or visit

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