History & Mission
Prairie Fire Theatre was founded in 1998 by local artist Robert Mangialardi. Robert holds a Bachelor’s degree in music education and a Master’s degree in vocal performance from the School of Music at Illinois State University.
As both an educator and performer, Robert invited other educators and performers to form a board that would provide guidance and direction to Prairie Fire Theatre (PFT). PFT initial focus was solely on bringing high quality, professional music theater and light opera to adult audiences. For the first five years we produced such shows as “Baby”, “The Mikado”, “I’ll Be Seeing You”, “Amahl and the Night Visitors”, “La Boheme” and “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”, among others.
Beginning in 2003 we expanded our mission to include elementary school aged children, taking our children’s opera to local elementary schools. Since 2003, the opera has grown from performing in front of 10 schools and 1,000 children to performing at 43 schools and other venues in front of about 8,000 children.
Prairie Fire’s mission has expanded to serving middle and high school aged students with a summer music camp and establishing the Lloyd Farlee Student Award. Each year, this provides a $500 award to a local talented high school student who plans to study music in college. Learn more about Lloyd Farlee Student Award.
Since 1998, we have commissioned and premiered six original children’s operas, commissioned and premiered five other original musical theater and light opera works. Through grants, the children’s opera is performed free of charge at most schools and for only a nominal fee at a few venues.
Prairie Fire Theatre
Phone: (309) 824-3047
P.O. Box 964
Normal, IL 61761