Archive for the ‘Show Updates’ Category

Costuming Wheaton Drama’s Sweeney Todd in the Hands of a Talented Area Student

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

By Elena Dansdill

A show with 23 different actors, a wide variety of costume changes with full 19th century style outfits, and starting mostly from scratch is enough to make any experienced costume designer overwhelmed. But Wheaton Drama’s new costume designer for Sweeney Todd – Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Abeline Glenzinki is doing it all, at only age 17. Since March, Abeline has been planning, sketching, researching the period, and watching other adaptations of the show for inspiration on how to create the world of Sweeney Todd through costumes.

Abeline Glenzinki works on designs for
Wheaton Drama’s upcoming production of Sweeney Todd – Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Starting from scratch, Abeline says she’s, “terrified but excited” to head the costumes for this show. While still only in high school, she’s certainly qualified. She began sewing in only third grade and quickly got involved with costumes and theatre throughout middle school and high school. You might have seen some of her pieces at Wheaton Drama in Elephant Man or Willy Wonka, but this is the first time she’s been the sole head of costumes.

It’s quite an accomplishment, and the first time someone so young has led such a daunting production at Wheaton Drama. “This is a huge show, from all aspects – the music, the set, the props, and the costumes,” say Wheaton Drama President, Stan Austin. “That someone as young as Abeline has so much vision, drive, responsibility and talent is really incredible. What she’s been able to create really has to be seen to be believed.”

 “My favorite character I’ve been designing at the moment is Mrs. Lovett,” Abeline says, “I’m planning to make or sew most of her pieces.”

Design sketches for Mrs. Lovett’s costume – one of more than 23 creations
Abeline Glenzinki is designing for Sweeney Todd

Taking a glance through her rough sketches, the characters have already started to come to life. For Mrs. Lovett’s second act costume, Abeline says she’s “channeling a more Victorian look with a super fun red skirt and jacket combo.” Even the small snippets of descriptions and color themes on her sketches show her talent and eye for blending traditional Sweeney Todd costumes and her own style. But you can only do so much on paper; the fun doesn’t really begin until the actors and dress rehearsals come into play.

Besides having to think about the actors comfortability onstage, Abeline says she’s learned a lot more about fully designing a whole show: “You have to consider what the lights and set are going to look like so colors don’t clash. You have to decide what is considered a prop and what’s hair and makeup. You have to develop an organization system or else you’re just left with piles of clothes.” The final product is still far from finished, but with only a couple weeks left until opening night, Sweeney Todd is sure to excite all audiences with its thrilling blend of costumes, lights, music, sets, and theatre magic.

Sweeney Todd will be on stage at Wheaton Drama from May 24 through June 16, 2019. Performances are Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 3pm. Tickets available NOW at www.wheatondrama.org or by phone at 630-260-1820.

Sweeney Todd is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Drama Comes to Wheaton Drama Stage

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018


Wheaton Drama’s upcoming production, WIT by Margaret Edson, is currently in rehearsals, with cast & crew working delicately to bring this poignant drama to life.
WIT tells the story of Vivian Bearing, PhD, a literary professor who is grappling with a recent diagnosis of terminal ovarian cancer. As she reflects on her life between moments of decline & crisis, she uses her own grit, determination, & knowledge of John Donne’s sonnets to make meaning of the course of her life.
Director Lisa Dawn is crafting WIT to find the profound humanity that exists when we, as people, experience the most vulnerable, difficult moments of our lives. This humanity is reflected in the fear, humor, & calm resolve we all might experience in the face of adversity.

What does it take to stage a medical crisis?
The cast & crew of WIT are working with a medical consultant & fight choreographer in order to recreate realistic scenes of chaos that are sure to have audiences on the edge of their seats.
(Right: Cast & Crew of WIT rehearse bedside with medical consultant Katelyn McKeon)
WIT will be on stage at Wheaton Drama from January 18 through February 10, 2019. Performances are Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 3pm.
Tickets available NOW at www.wheatondrama.org or by phone at 630-260-1820.
WIT is presented through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

COMPANY Closing June 17

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Wheaton Drama finishes off their 2017/18 Season with COMPANY; Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Book by George Furth. Audiences have given rave reviews since the show’s opening on May 25, highlighting the musicality, acting, & heart given by each performer of the ensemble cast of  14 actors

But a show would be nothing without the vision of its director. COMPANY director Pam Turlow shared some of her thoughts about her vision, the material & her hope for audiences in a recent interview.

Speaking of her vision for the show, Turlow shared, “In [this] production, each encounter [the main character] Bobby has teaches him one more thing about relationships. We’ll see Bobby grow from a man afraid of really connecting to a man who is truly ready to be vulnerable, to give and receive love.”

Turlow chose to set the production in 1970, “at the tail end of the 60s – a decade that reshaped the world and gave us a paradigm shift about relationships.” She has collaborated with her design team & dramaturg to immerse the audience in the year 1970 through art, clothing, hair, & movement. Dramaturg Rebecca Munoz also provided background information on the era, available to audiences before & after the show in the lobby.

Turlow’s hope for audiences enjoying COMPANY is one of vulnerability & self-understanding. “If you are willing to be vulnerable, to open yourself up to things new and different and (maybe) scary,” she encourages, “you might just find that brilliant light inside.”

For more info & tickets, visit the COMPANY show page: www.wheatondrama.org/company.


Meet the directors for our 2018-19 season

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

The Wheaton Drama Board of Governors, on advice from the Artistic Committee, has approved the following slate of directors for next season:

Maria Bakalis will direct Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, running Sept.14 – Oct.7, 2018.

Craig Gustafson will direct Silent Laughter, an homage to silent film comedies, running Nov.16 – Dec.9, 2018.

Lisa Dawn will direct the poignant drama Wit, running Jan. 18 – Feb. 10, 2019.

Annie Walker-Bright will direct Murdered to Death, a murder-mystery spoof running March 22 – April 14, 2019.

Randall W. Knott will direct Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, running May 24 – June 16, 2019.

Our ‘thank you’ to military personnel and veterans

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Our military personnel give so much of themselves. Wheaton Drama wants to give something back.

As part of our community outreach program, our theater troupe, founded in 1931, proudly offers free tickets for “A Piece of My Heart” to military veterans, current military members and local high school classes studying the Vietnam War era.

“A Piece of My Heart” is a true story of six women—three nurses, a Red Cross volunteer, a USO entertainer and an Army intelligence officer—who share their stories about the experience and aftermath of women’s service in Vietnam. Joining the six women is one man who plays 28 male roles.

A limited number of free tickets for each performance will be available (first-come, first-served) until one week before each performance date (listed below).

Please note:

These tickets cannot be reserved online. Please direct all inquiries to the Wheaton Drama box office, at (630) 260-1820. Please leave a message specifying the date you would like tickets, the total number of tickets desired, and the number of military or students in your group.
The free ticket offer applies only to military personnel and veterans. Guests joining them must buy a ticket. For educational groups, any teacher escorting a group of 10 or more students will also receive a free ticket.

“A Piece of My Heart” runs March 23 through April 15, 2018. (There is no performance on Easter Sunday, April 1.) Performance times are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. The theater is located at 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton, Illinois.

Playhouse 111 is wheelchair accessible. Audio-enhancement devices are available at no charge. For further details, please visit http://www.wheatondrama.org.

Wheaton Drama Inc. is a volunteer-based 501(c)3 charitable organization.

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