Beatniks

Rip Johnson, from left, Bonnie Johnson, Danielle and Isaac Johnson, are pictured at Beatniks during the theater's first year of operation.

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Bonnie Johnson, co-founder of Hammond’s Beatniks on Conkey, is grateful and amazed her venue is turning 10 in 2018.

“We started Beatniks on a wing and a prayer and we thought if we can make this last five years, we’ll be doing great,” she said, “Then five years came and went and we thought ‘Wow. Can you imagine if we could make it 10 years?’ And here it is 10 years and here we are still going strong,”

The group will ring in its 10th anniversary with a birthday celebration on Jan. 13. Johnson and her husband, Rip Johnson, opened Beatniks in January 2008. Located in Hammond at 418 Conkey St., Beatniks opened as a place for Hammond Community Theatre to call home as well as a place for the Johnsons and their friends to bring their own productions to the stage.

Hammond Community Theatre continues to thrive at Beatniks and the Johnsons have staged a variety of comedies, dramas, and mysteries under the Beatniks banner as well. Biannual original skit shows such as “Beatniks Babes” have also proven a hit with area audiences.

“That show evolves every year because it’s always new,” Johnson said of the ‘Babes’ shows. “I can’t believe how much people love that show. It’s always just a lot of fun.”

The Johnsons also took over space at the neighboring 420 Conkey St. and have seen live music acts, improv groups and classes and aspiring performers and ensembles from and beyond the Region bring their creations to area audiences.

For their celebration, Beatniks players will preview the 2018 season and also bring a few beloved skits and scenes from past productions back to life on stage.

“We’re doing some things that audiences really loved,” Johnson said. “We’re bringing back some of our favorite stuff and things people really enjoyed.”

Beatniks also will be taking donations for the Region-based shelter Haven House at the anniversary party.

Area rockers Vintage Postcard Band will grace the Beatniks stage Jan. 27, and the next full-fledged production there will be Hammond Community Theatre’s “The Unexpected Guest,”  scheduled to open Feb. 9.

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