The Rantoul Theatre Group is not the first incarnation of community theatre in Rantoul. A predecessor existed back in the 1980s, but was disbanded due to lack of performance space and volunteer efforts.
In 1994, after the Air Force Base closed, an attempt was made to resurrect community theatre, calling itself, the Genesis Players. Formed by the late Al Aden, longtime Rantoul resident and businessman, it was comprised of actors from Champaign-Urbana, Rantoul and Paxton, who came together to build a stage and set in the hanger of the Octave-Chanute Aerospace Museum. Ray Boudreaux, then Aviation and Economic Development Director for the city, and his wife Sherri, and active volunteer with the museum, were instrumental in organizing the event. That group, in turn, gathered a cast, crew, and arranged for a caterer to prepare dinner, for the production of "Barefoot in the Park", a famous Broadway play, made into a movie, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. The show was a sucess, but with out a suitable location for continuous performances, the Genesis players faded.
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