Connie Kuntz

Producer & Writer

Last summer, I produced the Rockford Fringe Festival. It was a one-day celebration of original theatre (including my play Natural Life), music, poetry, parkour and dance performances on an outdoor stage in Walker Park. It was a success and we are in the planning stages for next year’s Fringe which will take place on July 8, 2023.

Winter Solstice Poetry Caroling trailer with Michael Bassett, Meg Elliot, Robbie Ellis, Jennifer Estlin, Joshua Fardon, Patricia Fardon, Gail Gallagher, Kerri Killeen, Carl Maronich, Micah Mabey, LaurA Force! Scruggs, Darren Stephens and Nate Woogen.

Until then, join us for our next event: Winter Solstice Poetry Caroling. Bundle up and meet us at Walker Park on Wednesday, December 21 at 3:00. We’ll hand out scripts, hold a quick rehearsal and then go poetry caroling in the neighborhood. It’s free!

One of Chugro’s Acolytes.

The community is also invited to learn a “snow dance” that will be taught by Chugro’s Acolytes before we go caroling! Winter Solstice Poetry Caroling is a Rockford Fringe event made possible by an Action Grant from the Rockford Area Arts Council

With Meg Elliot, Matthew Jordan Keeley, Kerri Killeen, Joshua Fardon, Patricia Fardon, LaurA Force! Scruggs and Darren Stephens

Music & Comedy Director

I book the music and comedy acts for Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 Chicago and sometimes perform as A Host Of Golden Daffodils.

Photo credit: Patricia Mario.

I am also a contributing playwright at Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 Chicago. Every week, actors, writers, musicians and comedians meet at The Annoyance Theatre to share new work.

Instructor

Hear me interview the three “villages” that worked together to produce the play Man and Moon by Siena Marilyn Ledger. Featuring the playwright; artistic directors Carson Grace Becker, Jean Gottlieb and Omar Fernandez; actors Peter Wilde and Clare Wols and microbiologist Heather Minges Wols.

I (sometimes) teach Radio Play & Podcast Production for Chicago Dramatists. Most recently, I hosted a special podcast It Takes Three Villages initiated by Chicago Dramatists. It features the following three artistic “villages”: Chicago Dramatists, 16th Street Theater NFP and Dragonfly Theatre Company. Listen here.

Where’s Connie?

Every Tuesday, you can find me at Tuesdays@9 Chicago where I serve as music and comedy director. We meet in the little theater at The Annoyance. This is also where I have my “pages” read. I’m currently writing a one-act drama Dora’s Bait Shop. I’ve been with Tuesdays@9 for two+ years as the MD/CD and three+ as a writer.

*November 15, 2022 – performing at Truths As We Speak Them: A Storytelling Open Mic at Bronzeville Historical Society.

*November 5, 2022 – Singing along to Forty-five Seconds by Robbie Ellis at Robbie’s album release party at The Annoyance. Robbie’s friends who work or have worked in radio are singing along to this “time sensitive” song from his new album, Metric System!

*November 1 and 7, 2022 – Guest hosted Tuesdays@9 Chicago (with Aviva Jaye and Heather Styka!)

*October 29, 2022 – Performing spoken word for Atrocious Poets at Woodstock Train Station (memorized!)

*October 25, 2022 – Performing An Acoustic Seance for Tuesdays@9 (interactive!)

Radio Reporter

As a reporter for 89.5 WNIJ, the NPR station for northern Illinois, I interviewed artists, scientists, politicians, civic leaders, survivors, environmentalists, naturalists, Paula Poundstone and a clown.

Interviewing Paula Poundstone. Photo: Michele Vasguez.
Hear my Paula Poundstone guerilla interview.

You can find more than 100 of my radio stories by clicking here. I also hosted the arts series State of the Artist. Here’s a link to my artist interviews.

Podcaster

I started podcasting in 2018 when I hosted the Rockford Writers’ Guild literary podcast Guildy Pleasures. That led to my radio job at 89.5-WNIJ where I hosted the arts series State of the Artist, reported on the environment and was a digital editor. Sometimes I teach podcasting classes at Chicago Dramatists or create special podcasts for theaters and companies. I am the host of the Rockford Fringe Podcast which you can find on Apple, Spotify and Anchor.

Hear the 8-minute podcast featuring Minneapolis artist Jim Lichtscheidl.

Public Events Producer

I am the producer of Now What Pop-Ups. The premise is simple: We “pop up” in a public space, write and share our work. Since 2015, we have hosted more than 200 pop-ups. We also host reading, painting and dancing sessions and they are free and open to the public. These pop-ups led to the Rockford Fringe.

Popping up at Wester Park in Rockford.

During the height of the pandemic, most of my events took place on Zoom, like the Quarantanniversary I conceived and directed for Tuesdays@9 Chicago. That’s when 40 members of the Tuesdays gang hosted, wrote, sang or acted as their twin. I am sorry for bragging, but my twin Robin Ross was there and she was magnificent.

My twin, Robin Ross.

But seriously folks, as much as I appreciate what Zoom provided during the pandemic, I hope I never again have to rely so exclusively on the platform.

A Chicago mock show.

Speaking of “the platform,” in the summer of 2021 when we were all in that strange “middle place” between lockdown and freedom, I wrote and produced a web series. We safely shot the series in person and through Zoom. If you watch carefully, you’ll notice we maintained social distancing and mask wearing. I wrote in a “kidnapper” character who wore a ski mask (with a mask underneath) so he could safely “kidnap” and carry the “hosts” into the Stormy Studio. This was The Stormy, Husky, Brawling Show. Five episodes aired on Facebook and YouTube. This Chicago-based mock show featured professional actors and musicians. Watch here.

Photography

When I worked for WNIJ, I wrote nearly 200 articles and took pictures along the way. I love to capture moments of happiness and intensity in art and politics, especially outside.

Illinois politicians share a laugh as they update the public about infrastructure. Sen. Steve Stadelman (podium), State Rep. Maurice West, Governor J. B. Pritzker and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara (L-R).

Thanks for stopping by my website.

Subscribe to the Rockford Fringe Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Anchor FM. Stay up to date with the Rockford Fringe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @rockfordfringe.

I hope to see you at a Rockford Fringe or Tuesdays@9 event soon! -Connie

After I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from Cornell College, I pursued theatre and film in Minneapolis from 1991-2007. That’s also when I met my husband Jesse. We got married, started our family and moved to Rockford, Illinois in 2007 where I became the editor at Rockford Writers’ Guild for nine years and hosted the literary podcast Guildy Pleasures. From 2018-2021, I was a reporter and digital editor at NPR member station WNIJ. Now I am the music & comedy director and a contributing playwright for Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 Chicago. I also sometimes teach classes about radio and podcast production for Chicago Dramatists. I am the producer of the Rockford Fringe and a couple summers ago, I wrote, directed and produced the Chicago-based talk show The Stormy, Husky, Brawling Show. During the winter and spring, I blog.


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