Home Family-Friendly Lightwire Theater lights up the stage at Raue Center.

Lightwire Theater lights up the stage at Raue Center.

Lightwire co-creators Corbin Popp and Ian Carney with Darwin the Dinosaur.

Go on a glow-in-the-dark adventure with “Dino-Light” at Raue Center For The Arts on February 23! In this original storyline by Lightwire Theater, a famous scientist with magic powers brings a friendly dinosaur to life. When the dinosaur wanders away from home, he discovers a wonderful world full of creatures that light up the darkness and help him find the true meaning of love.

Lightwire Theater has been featured as semi-finalists on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and winners of Tru TV’s “Fake Off.” The group combines theater and technology to bring stories to life in complete darkness and are internationally recognized for their signature brand of electroluminescent artistry.  

Lightwire co-creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp met in New York City while dancing in Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out” on Broadway. They discovered a mutual love of art, theater, and technology and together, with their wives Eleanor and Whitney, they began to experiment with shapes and designs, developing puppetry-based neon creatures that bring life to engaging stage productions.

McHenry County Arts spoke with Lightwire Theater Executive Director, Eleanor Carney, ahead of the award-winning company’s upcoming performance in downtown Crystal Lake.


AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — Auditions St. Louis Fox Theater — Pictured: (l-r) — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Lightwire Theater was a semi-finalist on “America’s Got Talent,” a finalist on “The Best Meilleur Artiste,” and the winner of “Fake Off!” What was the experience of appearing on these TV shows like?

The TV shows offered a great deal of exposure for us – we still run into people who say “Hey, I remember you guys from ‘America’s Got Talent.’” We feel incredibly lucky that we were able to put our art in front of millions of people. Each show was very different – each was very stressful at times, but luckily the outcome was very good for us. What is challenging for most artists is that these shows give you somewhat of a box to perform in – meaning they want you to tell a story in 90 seconds, or they want you to use certain themes, etc. We worked very hard to be true to ourselves as artists while satisfying the criteria that was presented to us.


How has appearing on TV impacted Lightwire Theater?

Before we did “America’s Got Talent” we had 2 shows – we now have 8 shows. We were very lucky that our TV experiences happened at a time when we were ready to grow. We were able to really hit the ground running. It also helped our international touring.


What are the goals for the future of the group?

We certainly feel that we are living the dream right now, but to have a sit-down show where we can completely create a Lightwire experience – that would be the ultimate!


What has been the most rewarding part of working with Lightwire Theater?

I think the biggest reward for any artist is to move people. When we hear the audience laughing, crying or cheering, it makes us think “Wow! We have just connected with all of these people through something that we created.” As an employer, it makes me feel very happy that Lightwire can offer other artists the opportunity to make art for a living.


What can the audience expect from “Dino-Light” at Raue Center?

Aside from it being a glow-in-the-dark show, you can expect lovable creatures that tell a story that everyone young and old can relate to.


“Dino-Light” is visually amazing and has been praised for its cutting edge blend of puppetry, technology, and dance by audiences all over the world! Tickets start at $20 for adults and $6 for students ages 18 and under. For more information, visit rauecenter.org.