Robert Bouwman and Todd Schaner founded Corn Productions in 1992. Their goal was to provide artistic freedom for themselves and reasonably priced provocative entertainment for their audience. Luckily, the owners of Danny’s Tavern in Bucktown offered the pair an opportunity. Bouwman and Schaner were given the small upstairs room at Danny’s rent-free on Monday nights. The only stipulation was that they returned the space to a bar and that they respected and maintained the space. Their mutually beneficial relationship brought an experience to theater “virgins” as well as focused Bouwman and Schaner’s artistic direction, which at that point was a hodgepodge of one-act plays, music monologues, and comedy sketches, including the now “nonfamous” Tiff and Mom.
No longer dependent on the campy drag appeal of Tiff and Mom, they explored other audience reactive topics including Christianity with their hit trilogy, “The Passion Follies”, which included, “The Madonna in Spite of Herself”, “Jesus – The Wonder Years”, and “the Last Dinner Party of Christ”. These shows garnered enough acclaim and revenue to allow Corn to fund what in reality they had always wanted, a home of their own.
In August of 1999, Corn found that home at 4210 N. Lincoln – Cornservatory.Their first year was a struggle as they built the theater and produced over 9 shows, including beginning their kid’s theater program. In the fall of 2000 Corn opened a little comedic dance musical called, “Floss!” that became an instant hit with critics and audiences alike. The popularity of “Floss!” which continued to run on Saturday evenings for almost 7 years, enabled the company to pursue many different areas including a solely dramatic work, “God’s Mistake”, based on the Kip Kinkel high school shooting, more children’s programming including the “Aunt Nancy” series based on West African folk tales, and new original musicals including “The Bad Seed – the Musical”, starring Tiff and Mom, which became Jeff Recommended and an After Dark Award three time recipient. As you can see, as Corn grows we continue to explore but of course Tiff and Mom occasionally rear their ugly and we do mean UGLY, heads. Corn’s stalks are now as strong as ever and; we are looking to the future for more bountiful harvests.