Creators keeping quiet on ‘Book of Hinsdale’ gags
(From left) John Schanda, Susan O'Byrne and Norm Chimenti rehearse for the Community House Players' show, "The Book of Hinsdale." | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
The Book of Hinsdale’
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, March 8-16; complimentary hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, beer and wine starting at 6:30 p.m.
The Community House, 415 W. Eighth St., Hinsdale
(630) 323-7500, Ext. 255; www.thecommunityhouse.org
Updated: February 28, 2013 10:30AM
The songs and skits in “Community Revue: The Book of Hinsdale” are a well-kept secret.
The only thing that the people putting the show together will reveal is that it is filled with music, laughs and talented performers, and that it pokes fun at the people and places of Hinsdale.
Dave M. Heilmann has directed and co-written the now semi-annual revue, which benefits The Community House in Hinsdale, since it began 15 years ago. It’s a huge time commitment for Heilmann, who has a couple of other things on his plate — he is a busy attorney and the president of Oak Lawn.
Heilmann jokingly explained that he is committed to the benefit show because, “It’s a wonderful chance to insult as many residents as I can. In a politically-correct world, it’s a great chance to drop all the barriers and laugh at ourselves.”
The show consists of 20 musical numbers. “It’s got terrific music and dance,” Heilmann said. “You will see people in Hinsdale as you have never seen them before. The humor is terrific and we’re really excited about it.”
Norm Chimenti, another attorney, has also been involved with the Community Revue since the beginning. The former Hinsdale resident lives in Westmont.
“My wife B. J. and I have participated in the writing of all the shows and have been in all nine shows,” Chimenti said. For the past five shows, Chimenti has been the coordinating writer but he relinquished that role this year.
Chimenti is loyal to the Community Revue because, “It’s great fun. It’s a labor of love. But equally important, it raises money for the Community House.”
Lest you think “The Book of Hinsdale” relates to another major show of a similar name, Chimenti cautioned, “The title of our shows never reveals the content of the show. It’s satirical humor where we pick on the foibles and traits of people who live in Hinsdale. We try not to be offensive. We laugh at ourselves and we hope that the audience sees the humor and is able to laugh at itself.”
This is the fourth Community Revue for Hinsdale resident Teri Goudie, an international media consultant. “We start about a year before production,” Goudie said. “About eight of us form the core writing group. We brainstorm on scenes.” After that, groups of two writers each work on a vignette.
“We come back together a few times to compare notes and pick the songs,” Goudie said. “We try to pick Broadway songs. We then rewrite the lyrics to fit the comedy.”
Adaptations are constantly being made to the script to keep it up-to-date.
“As we get closer to opening night, if there’s something that happens locally or nationally in the news, we’ll be adding jokes even at the very last minute. Oftentimes, those still-in-the-headlines jokes are the ones that really get the crowd going,” Goudie said.
So why aren’t the powers that be talking about the content of this year’s show? There’s method to their madness. “We sell tickets,” director Heilmann explained. “And then, if they don’t like the show, we keep their money anyhow.”
For a look at a special teaser trailer for the show created by broadcast media members, see thecommunityhouse.org.