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Suspending Operations – Letter from the President

March 13th, 2020

March, 16, 2020

Dear Members & Friends of Wheaton Drama,

The health and wellbeing of our Wheaton Drama members and patrons is of paramount importance to us. Therefore, with an abundance of caution and respect for the necessity of social distancing, the Wheaton Drama Board of Governors has decided that Wheaton Drama will suspend all activities including classes, meetings, and performances until further notice.

As the pandemic crisis evolves, the Board of Governors has many decisions to make about how to proceed in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  We will share those decisions with you as quickly as possible.  Until then, we ask for your patience and understanding.

We are temporarily suspending the sale of tickets for our shows.  If you have purchased tickets for Hauptmann and/or Peter and the Starcatcher, we ask you to hold on to them for now.  When we determine when performances will be able to resume, rest assured that we will honor all previously purchased tickets.  Please refrain from calling the ticket line at this time.  Our ticket team members will contact you when we know when we will be able to resume performances.  If exchanges need to be made, we will take care of those for you at that time.

We are suspending all education programs until further notice.  If you are currently enrolled in a sign language class or have a child enrolled in the after school classes, our Education Governor will keep you informed about the status of classes.  Again, your enrollment fees will be honored when classes are able to resume.

We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of local, state, and national authorities.  We will reassess our plans on an ongoing basis and try to keep you well informed.  Please check our website, Facebook page, and your email for the latest updates.

Rest assured that your friends at Wheaton Drama will always proceed with your health and safety as our top priority. Hopefully, we will find a way to safely complete our 19-20 season and get back to bringing you the quality performances that you have come to expect as soon as possible. Your continued support as we wait for that time is most greatly appreciated. 

With best wishes for a happy and healthy future for us all,

Julie Kanturek, President

Wheaton Drama, Inc.

Auditions set for “Peter and the Starcatcher” at Wheaton Drama

February 23rd, 2020

Auditions for Wheaton Drama’s upcoming production of Peter and the Starcatcher, directed by Sean Ogren & Suzanne Ogren, are set for Sunday, March 29th and Monday, March 30th from 7:00pm to 10:00pm, with callbacks Tuesday, March 31st @ 7:00pm at:

Wheaton Drama, Inc.
111 N. Hale St.
Wheaton, IL 60187

Please note that this show is non-equity and there is no pay.
Performances for Peter and the Starcatcher will take place from Friday, May 22nd thru Sunday June 14th:
● Thursday, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
● Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
Actors are required to be there for all performances.

Rehearsals will begin on Sunday, April 5th and are held four nights a week, Sunday thru Wednesday evenings. Due to the collaborative nature of the play, all cast members will be required at most, if not all, rehearsals.
Auditions will consist of a 90-minute block from either 7:00-8:30 or 8:30-10:00. A short song will be taught, as well as a dance and basic fight choreography. Sides will be sent out prior to auditions. Callbacks will consist of further scenes from the play. To sign up for auditions, please send an e-mail request titled “Peter and the Starcatcher Audition” to ewmusic37@gmail.com and list your preference for date and time. Limited space may mean that we cannot honor your preference but we will do our best.

The following roles are available for color-blind casting.

Some roles are available for gender-blind casting as noted.

The imaginative theme of the play allows for wide age ranges for actors, however, please note that you must be at least 16 to audition.
Also, due to the physical nature of the play, all actors must be in good physical condition.

THE ORPHANS
PETER
(male – 16-35) An astute boy. Nameless, homeless, and friendless, but a survivor. More than anything, he wants a home and family. If he could grow up, he’d fall for Molly in a big way.
PRENTISS (male – 16-35) Ambitions, hyperarticulate, logical; yearns to be a leader, even as he knows in his heart that he never shall be one. A bit of a blowhard with just the teeny-tiniest touch of cowardice.
TED (male – 16-35) Obsessed with food. A natural actor, an easy wit, perhaps a future poet.


THE BRITISH SUBJECTS

LORD LEONARD ASTER (male – 25-60) The very model of a Victorian gentleman, loyal subject to the Queen, devoted father, faithful friend. Also – a Starcatcher; thus dedicated to protecting the Earth and all who dwell thereon from the awesome power of starstuff.
MOLLY ASTER (female – 16-35) A true leader at a time when girls are mostly followers. Will risk everything for the sake of Doing Right. Curious, intelligent, beginning to feel things she doesn’t yet understand – romantic longings that revert to childish tantrums under pressure – because, after all, she’s a thirteen-year-old kid. She’ll be a great woman one day.
MRS. BUMBRAKE / TEACHER (male – 20-60) BUMBRAKE is Molly’s nanny. British to the bone. Still has enough of her girlish charm to turn a sailor’s head and leaven his dreams. Stiff in the lip, loose in the hip, fun on a ship. / Teacher is formerly a salmon, now an ancient, knowledgeable mermaid.
CAPTAIN ROBERT FALCON SCOTT (male/female – 20-60) Captain of Britain’s fastest frigate, the Wasp.


THE SEAFARERS
THE BLACK STACHE
(male – 20-55) Long after everyone else got out of the pirate business, The Black Stache continues to terrorize the seven seas in search of a hero worthy of his villainy. Famous for his face foliage, he started shaving at age ten, had a bushy handlebar by eleven, and the blood of twenty crews on his hands by twelve. Heartless and hirsute, suspiciously well read, partial to the poetical and theatrical, and given to a ferocity from which no good shall every spring.
ALF (male – 20-60) An old see dog. Something about him appeals to the feminine sensibility – might be his bow legs, his saucy gait, or his kind heart.
BILL SLANK / HAWKING CLAM (male/female – 20-65) BILL SLANK is the Neverland’s vicious captain, without the skill or quality to lead anyone but himself, and always into disaster. A greedy bastard who’d sell his own mother for a ship to command and send boys to their doom for the favor of those who would use starstuff for personal gain, global domination, or worse. An orphan, too. / HAWKING CLAM Son of Fighting Prawn and Sweet ’n’ Sour Shrimp. One day, he will ascend the Clam throne as head of the Royal Clam Clan.
GREMPKIN / MACK / SANCHEZ (male/female – 20-65) GREMPKIN is the mean and malodorous schoolmaster of St. Norbert’s Orphanage for Lost Boys. / MACK is a very bad sailor who wants to be anywhere but under the thumb of Bill Slank. / SANCHEZ is a hard-working Spanish pirate with an identity crisis.
SMEE (male/female – 20-65) First mate to Black Stache. Single-mindedly dedicated to his captain’s every whim. His motto: “Tis good to be busy.”

“Hauptmann” Cast Announced

January 23rd, 2020

Wheaton Drama is pleased to announce the cast for it upcoming production of Hauptmann by John Logan.

Hauptmann Cast

Bruno Richard Hauptmann: Garrett Ard
Multiple roles, principally David Wilentz: Christopher Williams
Multiple roles, principally Dr. John Condon: Lars Timpa
Multiple roles, principally Charles Lindbergh: B. Todd Oakley
Multiple roles, principally Anne Lindbergh: Morgan Dietkus
Multiple roles, principally Anna Hauptmann: Amanda Fisher
Multiple roles, principally Judge Thomas Trenchard: Victor Polites
 
The Hauptmann Creative Team includes:
Director:  Ken Kaden
Assistant Director:  Linda Spadlowski
Director’s Assistant:  Dee Hicks
Stage Manager:  Bruce Ebner
Fight Director: Andrew Trygstad
Choreographer: Sara Malloy 
German Dialect Coach:  Mackenzie Grattan
Video Director: Andrew Kanturek
Production Manager:  Randall W. Knott

Hauptmann was written by John Logan (playwright of the Tony Award winning Red, and screenplay writer of Gladiator, The Aviator, Skyfall, and others), and is a gripping drama about the 1932 kidnapping and death of Charles Lindbergh, Jr. and the man tried, convicted and executed for that crime, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, whose “Trial of the Century,” according to H. L. Mencken, was “the biggest story since the Resurrection.” Hauptmann tells the story from Hauptmann’s own perspective just prior to being sent to his fate in the New Jersey electric chair in 1936.  He enlists the assistance of six guards in recounting his tale who play multiple roles in the process.

Hauptmann will be performed March 20 – April 5, 2020, at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111. Show times are Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30p, Sundays at 3:00p. Tickets and more information can be found at www.wheatondrama.org.

Krystyn Wells debuts as new director at Wheaton Drama

January 22nd, 2020

5 Questions with Krystyn Wells

Krystyn Wells, Director, Little Women – the Broadway Musical at Wheaton Drama

Krystyn Wells has a growing resume with Wheaton Drama, with performances including Christmas Carol and Sweeney Todd, even assistant director credits in WDI’s 2018 production of Willy Wonka. Now, her directorial debut is taking place now through February 9th at Wheaton Drama, in a delightful, heartwarming production of Little Women – the Broadway Musical.

We sat down with the new director to see what she’s learned and what she’s excited to share with this production.

1) Little Women is 100+ year old, and yet there’s an Broadway musical, and just this year, an Oscar nominated film. What is it about this story that makes it so engaging 100 years later?
“The bond of sisterhood is relatable to so many. But what I love about this particular adaptation is that Jo’s journey as a writer and feminist is structured around her evolving ideas of what it means for her to have a family and a place that she calls home that feels right for her, despite society’s expectations. That resonates strongly for me personally, and is (sadly) still a struggle for women today.”


2) What drew you to want to direct Little Women?
“This musical production is such a joyful and fun adaptation of the book. And even when there’s sadness and heartache, the hope and excitement in the music is a reminder to keep going, keep pursuing the dream. That’s a real 2020 mood, I think. It’s got such a killer message to deliver. When audiences leave the theater I want them to take home a spirit of hope that despite some of your worst fears and hardest struggles, there is a place for you in this world. Sometimes your family shows up in the most unexpected places. Sometimes you have to leave home in order to find it. “


3) This is your first job direction a show at WDI, and to make it more complicated, it’s a musical. What have you learned about yourself, about the theater and about the craft along the way?
“That it takes a team. I have my strengths, but I also know that a show is only made stronger by having people with expertise on the team. Leadership happens when a director can delegate. This show would not be the beautiful, cozy musical it is without the folks who taught the music, choreographed the dances, and showed actors the safest way to wield a prop sword, for example. I could then focus my efforts not only on the tiny moments, but step back and see the whole picture. I learned a lot about WDI’s traditions and expectations, and where I, as a director, could use them and discard them in order to create a compelling piece of theatre. Also, as an introvert, I learned a lot about how to keep my focus while managing a cast of 17 actors!”

4) Why is this story important now?
“Social media, the current political landscape, climate change, income disparity, the threat of war – these are all things that clamor for our attention, and for many of us, it’s literally inescapable. It’s difficult not to feel hopeless or ground down by the constant barrage of news and disappointments. This musical is a sweet reminder to keep working and hoping.”


5) With so many different forms of entertainment available in the palm of your hand, on a huge screen in the comfort of your home, or a state-of-the-art movie theater, why is live theater important? Why is Wheaton Drama important?
“A hug emoji in a text message can never quite compare to a real hug, you know? I mean, if you’re not a huggy type person, then my analogy sucks, but: live theater is where we can share, in real-time, an experience that is crafted especially for us in that moment. No two performances of a show are the same, and the audience can have so much to do with that. As humans, we seek connection – we not only crave art that reflects our hopes and dreams, but we are better people when we share experiences. You know how sometimes when we yearn for someone far away we look up at the moon and stars and take comfort that they can see (nearly) the same sky? In the theatre we’re all storytellers, sharing the moon.
At Wheaton Drama, we have the opportunity to put on quality theatre in a community structure. Wisdom is passed down, new folks are welcomed, and audiences know they’ll see something good when they come through our doors. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that in a directorial role. It’s been fun and inspiring.”

Little Women – the Broadway Musical performs Thursdays – Sundays, now through February 9th, at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111. More information and online ticketing can be found at www.wheatondrama.org.

Applications for 2020-2021 Directors

January 9th, 2020

Wheaton Drama is now accepting applications from members who are interested in directing for the 2020-2021 Season.

If you are interested in directing one of these shows, please submit an application to Artistic Committee Chair Debbie Trueblood at: debbietrueblood@hotmail.com  by FEBRUARY 15, 2020. A separate application must be filed for each show you are submitting to direct.

The Artistic Committee will interview all prospective Directors at times TBD in February/March 2020, and will contact prospective directors to schedule an appointment.

If selected to direct, part of your commitment to Wheaton Drama will be participation in a post-show survey/interview  with a Board liaison. Additional information and job descriptions will be forwarded once your appointment is set.

Announcement of the season’s shows and directors will be published in the April 2020 TYRO.

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS 2/15/2020

2019-2020 Season Shows

  • Don’t Drink the Water, September 11 – October 4, 2020
  • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, November 13 – December 6, 2020
  • Shakespeare in Hollywood,-January 15 – February 7, 2021
  • Silent Sky, March 19 – April 11, 2021
  • Sister Act, May 21 – June 13, 2021

Please note there is no pay or stipend for this position.

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