‘Cinnamon Bear’ auditions slated for Nov. 4-5

October 10th, 2017

Director Ben Dooley announces auditions for Wheaton Drama’s onstage re-creation of the old-time radio holiday classic The Cinnamon Bear.

Auditions will be Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4–5, from 2–5 p.m. and will consist of cold readings from the script. Callbacks (by invitation) will be Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7–9 p.m.

For further information, please email wdibear2017@gmail.com.

Performances run Dec. 14–17. Rehearsals will be Dec. 10–13.

All auditions, rehearsals and performances will be held at 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton, IL.

Headshots and resumes are optional.

This production will be performed in the style of old-time radio. Actors will be reading the scripts during the show; all the acting will be done vocally, with clear and distinct characterizations to paint a mental picture for the audience.

Originally aired on the radio in 1937, this endearing adventure follows twins Jimmy and Judy as they travel through Maybeland in search of the missing Silver Star to put atop their Christmas tree. They meet witches, princesses, pirates, dragons, crocodiles and other colorful characters and, finally, Santa Claus himself.


JUDY (age 10–12): Clever, caring, sweet; worried about her missing Silver Star, but courageous and strong, not weak or helpless.
JIMMY (age 10–12): Smart and a natural leader; cares for his sister and bravely faces challenges.
(NOTE: The two children can be older, but must sound like ages 10-12. Also, because they will be on stage throughout the entire show, they must be able to maintain focus and energy for two hours.)
CINNAMON BEAR: Irish dialect, young and sweet sounding. Higher tenor range. A bit tempermental and no-nonsense attitude, but also warm and endearing.
CRAZY QUILT DRAGON: Pompous, full of himself. Everything is overly dramatic. He is insufferable but has a good heart.
ANNOUNCER: Marvelous storyteller, conveying positive energy and a smile in his voice. Able to engage and invite the listener.
MOTHER: A musicality to her voice. She’s practical and sensible, but also caring and loving, with that 1930s “Mom” presence.
PRESTO THE MAGICIAN: Talks quickly, in run-on sentences. Boastful of his magic prowess.
PENELOPE PENGUIN: Haughty and proper; tremendously offended at the interruption of her flying.
CAPTAIN TAFFY: Gruff, mean sounding. Scary at first, but then friendly and good.
ROLY POLY POLICEMAN: Irish brogue. A typical cop on the beat in the old neighborhood, nice and helpful to the kids.
PROFESSOR WHIZ: Educated and snobby. Particular about language. Upper-class British. (Imagine he’s wearing a monocle.)
WINTERGREEN WITCH: Evil, wicked, mean, bad, nasty—and she probably has only one tooth. She most certainly has a world-class witchy cackle.
GRAND WUNKEY: Formal, speaks rapidly. Type-A personality—all about business and efficiency. Keeps things intricately organized down to the detail.
QUEEN MELISSA: Sweet, fair, wonderful, kind, magical and loved by everyone.
SNAPPER SNICK: Full of himself. A performer always looking for an audience. A grandiloquent way of speaking.
NICKY FROODLE: Santa’s primary elf. Very friendly. (Teen to early 20s.)
SANTA CLAUS: Older. Jolly. Twinkle in the eye, smile in the voice, hearty laugh.
JACK FROST: Mr. Fix-it. Organized, calm, in control.
RABBIT: Wisecracking and sly. Has no problem talking tough with Presto.
HALIBUT: What do you think a halibut would sound like?
PENGUIN: Lateral lisp.
OTHER PIRATES: Stereotypical buccaneers. Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggghhhh!

WDI announces ‘Sense & Sensibility’ cast

October 2nd, 2017

The production team of Production Manager Elyse Willis and Director Randall W. Knott is pleased to announce the cast of “Sense and Sensibility,” opening Nov. 17. We had many, many outstanding candidates audition, making decisions very difficult, and we thank each and every one of you for your time honoring us with your audition.

We further wish to thank “hired readers” Annie Walker-Bright, Ken Kaden, and Rob Reinalda for doing such excellent work with all our candidates. Thanks also to Kate McIlvain, Steve Schroeder, and Mike Boyna for serving as audition hosts in our lobby, and being ambassadors for Wheaton Drama.

Whew. Without further ado, we are pleased to announce the following cast:

Elinor Dashwood = Elizabeth Thompson;
Marianne Dashwood = Mary McCormack;
Mrs. Jennings = Annie Walker-Bright;
Colonel Brandon = Aaron Hoge;
Edward Ferrars = Alex Small;
Mrs. Henry Dashwood = Meg McGarry;
Willoughby = Eric Traphagen;
Lucy Steele = Lynda Wellhausen;
Mr. John Dashwood = Jake Seelye;
Mrs. John (Fanny) Dashwood = Sarah Atkinson;
Sir John Middleton (and others) = Stan Austin;
Lady Middleton (and others) = Jean Austin;
Robert Ferrars (and others) = Jake Murphy;

‘Piece of My Heart’: Early audition (guitarist/singer)

September 22nd, 2017

Director Mike Boyna will hold early auditions for Wheaton Drama’s production of A Piece of My Heart on Nov. 8-11, 2017. Location and time(s) TBD. These early auditions are for the part of Mary Jo only.

A Piece of My Heart is a powerful true drama about three nurses, a Red Cross volunteer, a USO entertainer, and an Army intelligence officer who bare their souls and share their experiences before, during and after their service in Vietnam. Mary Jo (stage age: 20s-40s) is the USO entertainer, who plays guitar and sings sections of a group of songs featured in the production.

Because the music must be memorized for performance, casting Mary Jo early will allow additional time for the actor to learn the music and vocals before rehearsals begin in January. Those auditioning for Mary Jo should demonstrate their guitar and vocal abilities by preparing one verse and chorus from two different early ’70s songs of any genre.

Actors will also be provided one of Mary Jo’s monologues to present; memorization is not mandatory, but it would be helpful to both the actor and the director.

Regular auditions: Sun., Jan. 7, 2018; callbacks: Tuesday, Jan. 9. Mary Jo will be asked to attend callbacks to read her part with other actors. Readthrough will be Thursday, Jan. 11.

Rehearsals: 3-4x per week, except for weeks of Feb. 11 and Feb. 18 (no rehearsals; actors time to get off script and do background reading). Tech Week (mandatory attendance): Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, March 18, 19 & 21 (off day Tuesday, March 20)
Preview performance Thursday March 22.
Performances: March 23 – April 15. Thursday-Saturday performances at 8 p.m.; Sunday performances at 3 p.m. (No show on Easter Sunday, April 1.)

If you would like to make a November appointment to audition for Mary Jo, please contact Director Mike Boyna at: Wdiheart2017@gmail.com. There is some flexibility in these early audition dates; please advise if you would like to audition but cannot make Nov 8-11. Copies of the script are available upon request.

NOTE: A separate audition announcement will be sent out for the January auditions.

New dates for late-fall classes for kids

September 22nd, 2017


Classes for Grades 1-8;

Our late-fall session runs Oct. 24 through Dec 12.

(No classes Oct. 31 and Nov. 21; makeup date, if needed, will be Dec. 19)

NOTE: These dates differ from what appears on our printed brochures.

This six-week workshop is designed to strengthen acting “muscles.” Through acting games and exercises, students will work each week on a different aspect of acting technique including: movement, voice, characterization and pantomime. Teamwork, focus and listening are added benefits that youngsters can derive from this workshop.

To apply the skills they’ve learned, students will also rehearse a short 15-minute skit to be performed at the end of the final class.

New sessions will be posted throughout the year as registration opens (roughly a month before the class starts).

All sessions will be on Tuesday afternoons at these times:

Grades 1–4: 4 p.m. to 4:55 p.m.
Grades 5–8: 5 p.m. to 5:55 p.m.

Tuition: $100 per session per child

Note: Classes are subject to change based on enrollment. Registration for each class will be open one month before the class begins. If there are not enough students enrolled in any given session, the class may be canceled. Notification of a canceled class will be sent out one week prior to the start of class; all money will be refunded.

Staff: Cindy Bolds is excited to join us again this year as our after-school instructor. Cindy is a longtime WDI member who taught most of the after-school classes last year. She is a certified teacher’s aide.

All instructors undergo an extensive background check.

For more information, please contact Elyse Willis at wdieducation@wheatondrama.org, or call 630.260.1820 and leave a message about registration.

VIDEO: ‘Fiddler’ wows audiences at Playhouse 111

September 18th, 2017

Coming off a triumphant opening weekend, “Fiddler on the Roof” is selling out its Sunday matinees and filling up houses for its evening performances. (HINT: Get your tickets now.)

Don’t miss this compelling classic musical about societal change and generational differences set in 190s rural Russia — but supremely relevant in 2017 America.

(Video by Ben Dooley)

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