About Us » Crystal Lake, IL Theater

Mission Statement

Raue Center For The Arts is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of all through the arts.


About UsOur building opened in 1929 as El Tovar, a title simply picked up by one of the theatre’s founders on a trip out west. It became a welcome addition to northern Illinois. As a movie and vaudeville theatre, it showcased the thrilling new “talkies” and the troupers who wheeled into town on tour with their exotic, entertaining gear and costumes.

While the name did not translate into any specific Spanish phrases, it did translate into the site of first kisses, marriage proposals, farewell dates before shipping out, and class trips. People came to simply escape daily frustrations. The theater embraced the golden age of movie musicals, film noir, love stories, comedies, cartoon festivals and adventure serials. During the 1960s, area theatre groups used the theatre for musicals and plays between film showings. El Tovar eventually became The Lake, and then turned into the downtown Showplace, with fewer viewers than in years past.

Architecturally, the building was on its last legs, but the memories of those who had loved the theatre were still present. New life, a renaissance of sorts, was just waiting to flourish. It was at this point that Lucile Raue, who had lived and worked most of her life in a four-square block area in downtown Crystal Lake, left a generous monetary gift to go towards renovations in downtown Crystal Lake. After extensive review by an advisory group, enough money to completely restore this historic gem was given to the building.

Now named for its shy benefactor, the Raue Center’s rebuilding began. Ground was broken in November 1999 and local craftsmanship took the building through the two year reconstruction process. In August of 2001, this dame of a building was painted, polished and suited in newly upholstered rich russet seats.

Lucile’s father dreamed of restoring the Raue Center to leave a special and lasting legacy for her family name and many future families. Today, Raue Center enthusiastically brings you the opportunity to witness contemporary, vibrant performing arts on a state-of-the-art stage. Throughout the years, Raue Center has welcomed Tony, Academy and Grammy award winners as well as independent voices to its stage. These performances provide people with the unique opportunity to connect with an audience in a truly intimate and exhilarating space. If you’re interested in a historic tour, contact us today at kwilford@raucenter.org.

Behind the Curtain

Our audience sees impressive shows and events that occur on stage, but so much goes on behind the scenes to make those shows possible. Here’s a list of the individuals who work so hard behind the curtain.

The Advisory Council assists the Board of Directors in obtaining outside options on important matters concerning the operations of the theatre. Members of the Council come from a wide array of businesses and political backgrounds as well as former Raue Center Board members.

  • Pamela Althoff, Illinois State Senator
  • Susen Berg
  • Bob Blazier
  • Cort Carlson
  • Helen Comiskey
  • Tim Curran
  • Paula Dorion-Gray
  • Richard L. Emery
  • Jane Franz
  • Steve Houston
  • Peter Kunz
  • Erv LeCoque
  • Jack Minsley
  • Dave Rogers
  • Aaron T. Shepley, Mayor of Crystal Lake
  • Matthew Turk
  • Kris Underwood
  • Verla Wehde


Executive Committee:
Tim Paul, Board President
Regina Belt-Daniels, Vice President
Todd Schroll, Treasurer
John Jacobsen, Secretary
Chuck Stevens, Chairman Emeritus

Michael Costigan
Kathy Hinz
Brad Johnson
Mike H Johnson
Richard Kuranda
Allison McCain
Jack Minsley
Rich Naponelli
Susan Olavarria
Sandra Pierce
William Schmiel
Laura Spears
Steven Szalaj


Executive Director: Richard Kuranda
Producing Director: Michael Vandercook
General Manager: Kate Wilford
Production Stage Manager: Caitlin I. Quinn
Webmaster/Cafe Manager: Phillip C. Denofrio
Corporate Relations Associate: Amanda Dunal
Economic Development Manager: James Knight
Marketing Manager: Miriam Naponelli
Marketing Manager: Michele Vazquez Knight
Lighting Supervisor/Resident Lighting Designer: Carolyn Voss
Sound Supervisor/Technical Coordinator: Lindsay Wolf

Part-time Staff:
Sage Studio Instructor & Manager: Amanda Flahive
Guest Services: Luann Flavin
Group Sales Coordinator: Jeanne Slater
Staff Accountant: Justin Wellington
Public Relations Intern: Janie Ragsdale
Branding and Market Research Intern: Matt Fraser

Raue Center Fellows 2016/2017:
Matt Claypool

Box Office Staff: Jeanne Slater, Amanda Dunal, Rachel Woodall, Rhiannon Palmer

Poet in Residence: P.C. Denofrio

Programs at Raue Center

Williams Street Repertory – A Non-Profit Theatre Company Located in Crystal Lake. Raue Center and WSRep are companies that depend on each other. Both 501c3 entities ensure that they work in tandem to create quality in both presenting and producing work for the stage.

Lucy’s Cafe – A Comedy Club Right Here at Raue Center.

RaueNOW – Raue Center’s Annual Membership Program.

Artful Women – Artists’ Series Celebrating Women in the Arts.

Sage Studio – Theatre Classes & Workshops for Ages 7-18.

Mission Imagination – Raue Center’s Educational Outreach Program.

Rental Information

Raue Center For The Arts has many rental opportunities for pre or post performance parties, corporate events, girls nights and much more.

Theatre Information:

Balcony: 150 Seats
Floor: 600
There is a fully stocked bar located on the second floor, as well as a small gallery stage and bar located in the front lobby.

If you are interested in renting the either space, please click here to see our rates.

Contact us today for more information at kwilford@raucenter.org.