Our 2018/19 season: A bounty for theatergoers

December 6th, 2017

Wheaton Drama proudly announces its 2018/19 season, bookended with starkly different musicals and featuring two comedies and a provocative drama.

Here’s what’s in store for our audience:

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a family-friendly musical based on the Roald Dahl book, tells of a boy named Charlie who, along with four other children, get to tour the inner workings of an extraordinary candy manufacturing plant—guided by the mysterious genius Willy Wonka himself. Will the array of sweets and treats prove too great a temptation for the young visitors? (Sept. 14 to Oct. 7, 2018)

Silent Laughter, Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore’s homage to silent comedy films, teems with slapstick and sight gags and features lovable lovers, greedy villains and an array of stock characters. Audiences familiar with the works of Charlie Chaplin, Mack Sennett, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd will howl with laughter, and those just discovering the genre will see just how much fun they’ve been missing. (Nov. 16 to Dec. 9, 2018)

Our annual holiday show is still TBA. (Dec. 13 to Dec. 16, 2018)

W;t, the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Margaret Edson, focuses on a brilliant professor whose perspectives on life evolve after she is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Despite the poignancy of the storyline, the play brims with gentle humor and offers uplifting insights into the human condition and the importance of recognizing and appreciating those around us. (Jan. 18 to Feb 10, 2019)

Murdered to Death affectionately spoofs murder mysteries in the vein of Agatha Christie. Intrigue abounds as homicide and side-splitting humor intertwine as guests gather at an English manor house. Certainly there would be multiple suspects, but multiple detectives trying to crack the case? Don your deerstalker, grab your magnifying glass and guess along with them as to whodunit. (March 22 to April 14, 2019)

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, is master composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s take on the classic Victorian tale of vengeance, justice and injustice, and pie fillings. Rife with dark humor, unforgettable characters, desperate love, unbridled lust, and a gripping score, the show will have audiences alternately gasping and cheering from start to finish. (May 17 to June 9, 2019) Update: Rights for this show have been secured.

Check out our children’s workshops for 2018

November 30th, 2017

STUDENTS “ACTING IT UP” AT WHEATON DRAMA

Classes for Grades 1-8;

Winter: Jan. 9 – Feb. 13 (Makeup date: Feb 20) REGISTER NOW
Early Spring: March 6 – April 10 (Makeup date: April 17)
Late Spring: May 1 – June 5 (Makeup date: June 12)

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

These six-week workshops are 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.

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.

‘A Piece of My Heart’ auditions extended: Jan. 7-8

November 28th, 2017

Director Mike Boyna has added a second night of auditions for Wheaton Drama’s production of A Piece of My Heart, a drama about the role of women in the Vietnam War.

Auditions will run from 7–10 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 7-8, 2018. Callbacks are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 9. Read-through will be Thursday, Jan. 11.

The director seeks exceptional actors: five women of diverse ethnicity, and one man who will play dozens of roles. Please see character breakdowns below. (Auditions for MaryJo have been held, and that role has been cast.) The director is especially looking for African-American and Amer-Asian actresses, for the roles of Steele and LeeAnn, respectively.

All auditions, rehearsals (unless otherwise specified) and performances will take place at Playhouse 111, located at 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton, IL.

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. In addition to telling their own stories, all actors also appear as characters in the other women’s stories.

Audition details: Auditions will begin at 7 p.m.; 15-minute auditions slots are by appointment only. The women will deliver selected monologues; the man will perform scene readings, both of which will be provided once audition appointments are set. Monologues and scenes do not have to be memorized, but it would be helpful to both the actors and the director.

Note: Don’t get hung up on the stage ages shown; Martha, Sissy, Whitney and LeeAnn are all about the same age; Steele has to play a bit older, and MaryJo a bit younger.

To schedule an audition appointment for Jan. 7,
please contact director Mike Boyna at Wdiheart2017@gmail.com. Copies of the script are available upon request.

AVAILABLE ROLES:
Martha (22–42): Navy Nurse. Born in central Georgia. Strong, self-composed, aura of self-discipline, military bearing. Strong face, American, almost pioneer in feeling.
Sissy (20–40): Army Nurse. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania. Sweet, feminine, outgoing. Sense of fun. Also, a sense of harmony and warmth to her personality.
Whitney (21–41): Red Cross volunteer. Born in New England. Tall, slender, withdrawn, contained. Very aristocratic in bearing and quality. A Vassar graduate.
LeeAnn (20–40). Army Nurse. Born in New York. Great role for an Asian or Amerasian actress; she describes herself as half Italian and half Chinese. Attractive. Strong, tough, determined in nature. An urban, hip quality to her personality.
Steele (35–55). Intelligence Officer. Born in Jackson, Mississippi. Great role for an African-American actress. Extremely strong, military bearing. Very intelligent, outgoing, great sense of humor. A pragmatist.
All the American Men (18–60). ONE versatile actor plays a total of 28 parts: various military ranks; Gold Star father; talent agent; family member; TV announcer and much more. Physical and vocal flexibility are a plus.
NOTE: The actor playing Mary Jo (cast via November auditions) will attend callbacks to read with other actors.

SCHEDULING:
Rehearsals: 3-4x per week, except for weeks of Feb. 11 and Feb. 18 (no rehearsals; actors will have time to get off script and do background reading). All actors will not need to be at all rehearsals—until 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.)

Cast announced for ‘The Cinnamon Bear’

November 6th, 2017

Director Ben Dooley has announced the cast of Wheaton Drama’s 2017 holiday show, The Cinnamon Bear.

The whimsical fairy tale, running Dec. 14-17 at Playhouse 111 in downtown Wheaton, is an onstage re-creation of the perennial WGN radio serial, which marks its 80th anniversary this year.

In addition to our usual Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances, a Saturday matinee has been added on Dec. 16 for this family favorite.

Our cast:
Announcer = Patrick Gallagher
Captain Taffy = Rich Bucchi
Crazy Quilt Dragon = Rob Reinalda
Grand Wunkey = Jim Martin
Jimmy = Luke Grout
Judy = Riley Tomes
Mother = Krystyn Wells
Nicky Froodle = Ali Martin
Paddy O’Cinnamon = Ben Dooley
Presto = Craig Gustafson
Professor Whiz/Jack Frost = Dave Amato
Queen Melissa = Leah Rae Witt
Roly Poly Policeman = Tom Ochocinski
Santa Claus = Stan Austin
Snapper Snick = Sean Thomas
Wintergreen Witch = Patti Shore Kaden

‘Sex in the Title’ auditions Nov. 20-21

October 24th, 2017

Director Jay Fontanetta announces auditions for Wheaton Drama’s production of Sex in the Title, a contemporary farce by local playwright George Zahora.
Auditions will be Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 20 and 21, from 7–10 p.m.
No appointments are necessary. Auditioners must prepare a one-minute contemporary comedic monologue and will perform cold readings from the script.
Callbacks (if necessary) will be Wednesday, Nov. 22, from 7–10 p.m.
Performances run Jan. 19 to Feb. 11, 2018. Rehearsals begin Nov. 26.
All auditions, rehearsals and performances will be held at 111 N. Hale St., Wheaton, IL.
Headshots and résumés are optional. Auditioners must fill out the audition form, Sex in the Title Audition Form_RR. Please direct questions to sxtitle@gmail.com.

CHARACTERS:

STEPHEN RAUGHBAUTHAM (30s): The serious half of a successful comedy writing team.
GEOFFREY MILLHAWKINSBY (30s): The not-so-serious half of the comedy writing team.
ELAINE HANNETT: Their manager, businesslike but not humorless; hints of a boozy past.
JACK MACTANGLEPOON: The addled Scottish caretaker/landlord.
SUSAN OSTRICH (20s/30s): Geoffrey’s fiancée. Tenuous grip on sanity.
CLAIRE KIRKWOOD (30s): Stephen’s ex-wife. Indecisive; Daddy issues. Too clever by half.
DESMOND WAGSTAFFE: A lecherous attorney.
JENSEN: An assassin suffering from scope creep.
*M. BENOIT: The seedy French photographer whose studio is across the hall.
SABINE GRIFFIN (20s): A nude model, mistaken for a maid.
GERALD ASGARD (20s): A maid, of sorts, mistaken for a nude model.
*POLICEMAN: A run-of-the-mill, somewhat dim cop.
*MR. GODDOE: A potential patron with a longstanding gripe with Samuel Beckett.
Note: The roles of Benoit, Goddoe and the Policeman may be played by a single actor.

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