Applications for Artistic Committee Chair Due 6/14/19

April 19th, 2019

WDI President Stan Austin is accepting applications from members for the position of 2019/2020 Artistic Committee Chair. This individual will work with the chairs of the Play Reading and Musical Play Reading Committees, WDI Board representative(s), and at-large members to propose a slate of shows for the 2020-21 season.   Download the application form: WDI Artistic Chair Application 19-20

Deadline to submit the application has been changed to Sunday, June 14, 2019. The term of this position runs from Sept. 1, 2019 through Aug. 31, 2020.   More details can be found in the WDI bylaws, which can be found on our website. Other specific questions can be sent to wdipres2017@gmail.com.

Wheaton Drama’s British Whodunit Puts the Accent on Funny

March 7th, 2019

Take a high energy comedic spoof of Agatha Christie-type whodunits, set it in a proper English manor with multiple doors and windows for quick comings-and-goings, a script chuck full of malapropisms and puns, a cast full of talented, but decidedly Midwest actors, and a genuine British director, and you’ve got a recipe for a hilarious production – and production process – for Murdered to Death at Wheaton Drama.

Murdered to Death is directed by Annie Walker-Bright, a British born-and-raised veteran of the Wheaton Drama theater.

Annie Walker-Bright

“I grew up in England the youngest of four siblings with an Irish mother and father with beautiful lilting Irish brogues.  I lived just outside of London for most of my life as a young girl into my early twenties in England.  I am told I still have, some 50 years later of living in the United States, quite a strong accent, although my relatives when I return home would aggressively disagree.  Because of my early years in England, I have an ear for a real English accent whether it be plum-in-the-mouth, cockney, Irish, Scottish or dialect from some nether region of the UK.  As a result, I have heard on stage some ‘English accents’ that have left me quivering in horror because I hear them to be strained and nowhere near authentic and sometimes unintelligible.”

But success, Walker-Bright has learned, is about ensuring the audience is too busy laughing to spend any time worrying about the authenticity of an accent.

“Obviously, most American audiences do not have the same ear as I do, understandably so.  Consequently, when I direct English plays, I tend to focus more on an overall presentation.  My role as the director of this English murder comedy mystery is to infuse and glean as much humor as I can from a funny, well-crafted script.  I am more about the end result, and simply making people laugh – a lot – is my primary directorial vision.  If you present a well-formed stage set in 1930’s style, furniture, furnishings, costumes, makeup and all the other accoutrements of that time period and location, the audience is subconsciously taken to that place without having to listen and master vastly different accents.” 

Cast (L to R), Shannon Bachelder, Mindy Kaplan and Director, Annie Walker-Bright,
focus on the physical comedy of this whodunit set in a classic English manor

Not to say the language of Murdered to Death isn’t important. In fact, it plays a leading role in some of the humor, with double meanings and malapropisms based on the British English. These nuances, Walker-Bright points out, are critical to get right.

“The lead investigator in our mystery is Inspector Pratt, a bumbling, arrogant and clueless detective. Pratt, of course, in the Oxford English Dictionary means, “an incompetent, stupid person,” or, “a person’s buttocks.” Either way, that sums up our Pratt, and he’s just hilarious.

But success for Walker-Bright, is ensuring a little mystery and a lot of laughter are the focus of the evening.

“If the audience comes out of the experience complaining about the lack of English accents, then I have not done my job to suspend reality and put them into an English manor home with an array of colorful characters going about their job to make you laugh.”  

Murdered to Death, by Peter Gordon, will be presented by Wheaton Drama, March 22 – April 14, Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm. Wheaton Drama is located at 111 N Hale St. Wheaton, IL 60187. For tickets, call 630-260-1820 or visit www.wheatondrama.org.

Casting Announced: SWEENEY TODD

March 7th, 2019

Director Randall Knott is excited to announce the cast for Wheaton Drama’s upcoming production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Knott and his production team are excited for the adventure ahead and would like to thank all those who auditioned for the production.

Cast List

Sweeney ToddDavid Pfenninger
PirelliBlake Malley
AnthonyEric J. Downs
BeadleNathan Dittmore
Beggar WomanMeg McGarry
JohannaMary Rose Nicholas
JudgeStan Austin
Mrs. LovettSara Malloy
TobiasHenry Allan
EnsembleJean Austin
EnsembleMorgan Dietkus
EnsembleAndy Emmerich
EnsembleBonnie Hagemann
EnsembleTracy Kay
EnsembleDavid Korzatkowski
EnsembleKevin Loeper
EnsembleMonsieur Mason
EnsembleMike Plazcek
EnsembleWill Rozak
EnsembleJessica Sheffield
EnsembleKrystyn Wells
EnsembleMatt Whalen
EnsembleClaire Yearman

Production Staff & Crew

DirectorRandall Knott
Assistant DirectorJulie Dotin
Production & Stage ManagerElyse Willis
Musical DirectorBryan McCaffrey
Assistant Musical DirectorAaron Zimmerman
Assistant Stage ManagerVikkie Willis
Assistant Stage ManagerMelanie Johnson
Assistant Stage ManagerBruce Ebner
Set DesignerMichael Boyna
Costume DesignerAbeline Glenzinski
Hair and Make Up DesignerJim Martin
Light DesignerJim Van De Velde
Sound DesignerDave Amato
Fight Coreographer / Stage CombatBruce Worthel
ChoregrapherKaty Smith

Sweeney Todd will be on stage May 24 through June 16, 2019. Performances will be Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm. All performances are held at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111, located at 111 N. Hale Street in downtown Wheaton. Tickets are available NOW by phone at 630-260-1820 or online at www.wheatondrama.org.

Seeking Staff for Kids’ Summer Workshop

February 18th, 2019

Wheaton Drama is now seeking teachers for their annual Summer Workshop. Wheaton Drama workshops will help build confidence by giving the attendees first hand experience in creating a live production. Children will learn how teamwork works in building a theatrical presentation…besides having fun and making new friends.The place to be this summer is Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111.

Teachers will be responsible for working with a specific age group in building theatre skills, music skills or dance skills (depending upon the position they apply for). There will be several meetings in order to prepare for the summer as a group prior to the start of our July session. We will work as a leadership team to make sure that all staff feel comfortable and know what to expect.

Dance – Staff will be responsible for teaching each group a “class” dance to the music choose by the music teacher. They will also be teaching a camp finale dance number to the music choose by the music teacher.

Music – Staff will be responsible for teaching each group a “class” song that fits with the camp theme (to be chosen by the workshop staff). They will also teach a camp finale song that fits with the camp theme (to be chosen by the workshop staff).

Theatre – Staff will be responsible for working with their “class” on various theatre games to help build confidence. They will also find and present a short script that will fit with the camp theme (to be chosen by the workshop staff).

Our workshop moto – “It is about the process NOT the product.” We only have one week together and our goal is for the students to have fun and to learn something along the way. They should make growth from the moment they walk into the theatre on day 1 to the moment they leave on day 6. Our leadership team is there all week to help in anyway they can.

Teachers can apply for Music, Theatre or Dance for week 1 (elementary), week 2 (middle school / high school) or both weeks. They will get paid $500 per week.

All applications are due no later than midnight on March 12th.

Link to apply for a Workshop Teacher Position – https://goo.gl/forms/Q3EYznlapKjWviWi2

We will be holding staff interviews on March 16 beginning at 12:30pm. No later than March 14th, you will receive an email with a scheduled time for an interview if one is needed. (Note – an interview may not be needed if you are a returning staff member. But a completed application is required by ALL those who wish to be considered.)

Workshop Details & Dates

July 8 – 13, 2019 Performance Theatre

Grades 1-5* morning session: 8:30 am -12:00 pm

Grades 1-5* afternoon session: 1 pm -4:30 pm

Staff will be working from 8AM – 5PM Monday – Saturday. They are required to be present the whole time.

July 10 – 13, 2019 Technical Theatre

Grades 6-12*

July 10, 1 pm -4:30 pm

July 11-13, 9 am -4:30 pm

Staff will be working Wednesday from 12:30PM – 5PM and Thursday – Saturday 8:30AM – 5PM. They are required to be present the whole time.

July 15 – 20, 2019 Performance Theatre

Grades 6-12* full day session 9 am -4:30 pm

Staff will be working from 8:30 – 5PM Monday – Friday and 8:30 – 1PM on Saturday. They are required to be present the whole time.

July 17 – 20, 2019 Technical Theatre

Grades 6-12*

July 17, 1 pm -4:30 pm

July 18 -20, 9 am -4:30 pm

Staff will be working Wednesday from 12:30PM – 5PM and Thursday – Saturday 8:30AM – 5PM. They are required to be present the whole time.

Saturday Performance

Grade 1-5 morning class: July 13 -10:30 am

Grade 1-5 afternoon class: July 13 -2:00 pm

Grade 6-8, High School: July 20 -10:00 am

Kid’s Workshop Resumes April 30

February 4th, 2019

STUDENTS “ACTING IT UP” AT WHEATON DRAMA

A six week workshop designed to strengthen the acting “muscle”. Through acting games and exercises, each week students will work on a different aspect of acting technique such as movement, voice, characterization, pantomime, plus others. Teamwork, focus and listening are added benefits in this acting workshop. Students will also work on a short 15 min skit to apply the skills learned and will perform at the end of the last class. Session will be posted throughout the year as they become open for registration (roughly a month before the class starts).

WHO: Kids from Grade 1 through Grade 8

WHEN: Tuesday afternoons from 5:00 p.m. until 5:55 p.m.

Late Spring Session: April 30 – June 4 (Make Up June) Register NOW!

Registration for this session closes Sunday, April 28

WHERE: 111 N. Hale Street, Wheaton, IL 60187

TUITION: $100

REGISTRATION: www.wheatondrama.org

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 then the class may be cancelled. Notification of a cancelled class will be sent out one week prior to the start of class and all money will be refunded. Registration for classes close the Sunday before class begins.

Staff: All staff are certified teachers who go through extensive background checks each year.  

Contact Education Governor Elyse Willis for more information at wdieducation@gmail.com or call 630-260-1820 and leave a message about registration.


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