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OUR Story

We're in this together! From start to finish we have collaborated on this rebuild, and cannot wait to share our project with the community! 

About Mary Simon:

Mary Simon hales from Geneseo and attended Illinois State University as a theater major until auditioning for Chaunce Conklin and his dinner theater operation in Bloomington in 1969. She has been involved with the various Conklin theatres ever since, taking over the operation and ownership of the Barn II Dinner Theatre in 1995.  Over the years, Mary mentions her roles in "Smoke on the Mountain," "Cemetery Club," "Rumors," "The Foreigner," "Perfect Wedding," and "Funny Money" as personal favorites. Mary has produced and directed over 200 productions. She feels blessed to have made her living doing live theater in Central Illinois for over 40 years and looks forward to the opportunity to entertain audiences for years to come in the new venue.  Mary is thrilled to continue the Barn legacy in central IL through the rebuild of the Barn III.   

About Abby Reel:

Abby Reel grew up in Congerville, Illinois on an Angus cattle farm and started attending productions at Conklin's Dinner Theatre when she was 5 years old.  Abby recalls the first time her dad, Les Reel, introduced her to Mary and Chaunce. "Mary," he said "I'd like you to meet the next Mary Simon!" His words were prophetic as Abby took her first job at the Barn II in high school as a busser, then waiter, then actress...and now the rebuild, management and vision of The Barn III.  Abby started her college career as a Theatre Major at Illinois Wesleyan University, but after graduation pursued a Master's Degree in Counseling.  For the past 15 years she has worked as a professor, counselor, advisor, marketing professional and all around tech geek in the field of Higher Education. She looks forward to bringing her many transferable skills to the Barn III venue. In addition to working in Higher Education, Abby has run a successful wedding business on the side for 10 years and looks forward to stretching her entrepreneurial wings in this new adventure. Abby lives with her husband, Jason Reel Haas, her two children, Leslie Marie, Amos and her mother, Carolyn Reel in Congerville. 

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