“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.


2019-2020 Season Shows

  • Don’t Drink the Water, September 11 – October 4, 2020
  • TBD November 13 – December 6, 2020 *Note – Sister Act could possibly move to this time slot if we cannot secure the rights for Cinderella.
  • 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.

“Hauptmann” Auditions Announced

December 16th, 2019

Wheaton Drama is pleased to announce auditions for Hauptmann by John Logan (playwright of the Tony Award winning Red, and screenplay writer of Gladiator, The Aviator, Skyfall, and others). Hauptmann 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. Show times are Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30p, Sundays at 3:00p.

Auditions will be held on Sunday, January 19 & Monday, January 20 from 7:00p to 9:30p at the theatre, 111 N. Hale Street, Wheaton [with time extended, if necessary.] Callbacks will be conducted on Wednesday, January 22.  Auditions are by appointment at 10-minute intervals, but walk-ins will be heard, if time permits.  

To reserve an audition time, email HauptmannWDI@gmail.com with your preferred date and time. We will do our best to accommodate your request, but the slots will be filled first come, first served. Audition forms can be found here. Please bring the completed form with you to your audition.

First auditions will consist of any monologue of the auditionee’s choosing, from 1:30 to two minutes in length which shows that person’s abilities to best advantage.  Callbacks will consist of readings from the script which will be available for viewing upon making an appointment for the first round of auditions.  Every effort to adjust to conflicts will be made.  Not everyone will be called back.  If auditioning for the role of Richard or Anna Hauptmann, a second monologue [or the same one repeated] will be necessary employing a German accent. Additionally, the Hauptmanns and one of the guards speak some of their lines in German. German Accent Workshops will be conducted by Mackenzie Grattan on Sunday, January 5 from 4:00p to 6:00p and on Saturday morning, January 11 from 10:00a to noon at the theatre. To sign up for the workshop in advance, click here. Walk-ins will also be allowed, but advanced notice is preferred. Attendance at the Workshops is not required. Either or both are available to those who would like assistance with performing a German accent.

All roles are available and are as follows:

Bruno Richard Hauptmann – Age 36 at the time of his execution.  A carpenter and stockbroker living in the Bronx until his arrest, he was an illegal immigrant from Germany with some criminal charges in his background.  While he had some of the ransom money in his possession, leading to his arrest, he always claimed to have been given the money to hold by another man.  He proclaimed his innocence until his death, even though his sentence would have been commuted to life in prison had he confessed.  Has some lines in German and speaks throughout the play with a German accent.  Heavy line and rehearsal commitment.  

The Guards – 4 males and 2 females – They all play multiple roles throughout, and they rarely leave the stage.  Some of the roles portrayed by the guards include but are not limited to: 

  • Anna Hauptmann, Richard’s wife who proclaimed his innocence to the world and campaigned to overturn his conviction until her death in her nineties; 
  • Charles and Anne Lindbergh, America’s golden couple, the famous aviator hero and his reserved, poetic wife; 
  • David Wilentz, the lead prosecutor striving to obtain the death penalty; 
  • Dr. John Condon who acted as the intermediary between the Lindberghs and the kidnapper(s); 
  • Judge Thomas Trenchard, the police, reporters, and trial witnesses.  

Actors may or may not match the particulars of the the people they are portraying in Hauptmann’s narrative.

The Hauptmann creative team includes – Production Manager and Set Designer: Randall Knott;  Director: Ken Kaden; Assistant Director/Assistant Stage Manager: Linda Spadlowski;  Director’s Assistant:  Dee Hicks;  Director of German Language and Dialect: Mackenzie Grattan;  Fight Director: Andrew Trygstad;  Stage Manager:  Bruce Ebner;  Costumes: Ben Vargas;  Lighting:  Jim Van De Velde;  Choreographer:  Sarah Malloy.

Wheaton Drama to Offer Sign Language Classes

December 13th, 2019

Learn to communicate in Sign Language. The manual alphabet and number system will be taught within a basic everyday vocabulary approach. Come and immerse yourself in the beautiful language and culture of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111.

Who: All Adults age 18 and up

When: Saturdays, January 25 – February 29, 2020 from 10a-11a

Cost: $60 member / $80 non member (class fees will be used to help offset the costs for having two performances of each show for the 2019/2020 season at Wheaton Drama signed by American Sign Language interpreters)

Note: The class will not run with less than 6 participants. If we do not reach the minimum number of participants by January 23, all those we are registered will be notified and refunded their fee. 

Instructors: Patti Shore Kaden and Gretchen Gannon

Patti Shore Kaden

Sign Language Interpreter and teacher for over 30 years. Patti spends most of her time working in  educational interpreting, supervising interpreter services for DuPage County. Her other interpreting passion can be seen on stage in the theatre and entertainment venues.

Gretchen G Gannon,  B.S., CCLS, instructor, actress

Deaf since birth, Gretchen completed college with a B.S. degree in Growth and Development of Children. As a Certified Child Life Specialist, she has worked over 25 years in a hospital for both deaf/HH and hearing children.   Currently, she cares for a beautiful deaf young adult with Down Syndrome. Gretchen is also a part time ASL instructor at Moraine Valley Community College.  Gretchen has since returned to theatre with hopes to also educate and incorporate deaf culture in the theatrical world.

Subscribe to RSS feed