“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.

New Director Brings Lifetime Love of Film and Comedy to Wheaton Drama

November 20th, 2019

Doug Long is a new director at Wheaton Drama, but far from new to directing. With theatre credits including work at Steppenwolf and Bailiwick, and teaching credits at DePaul, College of DuPage, and St. Francis University, directing Moonlight and Magnolias is hardly a stretch. In fact, you might say he’s been preparing for this his whole life.

Director, Doug Long (R of couch), and his crew on the set of Moonlight and Magnolias

We sat down for “5 Questions” with Mr. Long to give you an insight into this remarkable new talent joining Wheaton Drama.

1. Every actor, director, tech person in theatre has a story on how they became involved – what was your journey?

I’ve been doing theatre since I was a kid, acting in school and community theatre plays. I convinced my 5th grade teacher to let me direct a story of the Pony Express from our textbook that was written in dramatic form. We got to use the stage in the gym, lights and all, and my mom helped me make props. For a few Fourths of July, my brothers and I wrote little musicals which we staged for an audience of our parents. I was active in drama throughout high school and later double majored in theatre and journalism at Ball State University. College is where I decided to focus on directing and where I directed my first full-length play, Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer. After graduation, I was a newspaper reporter for a year, but gave it up to go to grad school at Indiana University, where I earned an MA in theatre history & research and an MFA in Directing (my thesis show was Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke). I worked full-time in the IU theatre department, where I taught acting and oral interpretation, and also directed and acted at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. My family and I moved to Chicago in 1996 so I could work professionally as a director. My first gigs here were assistant directing at Steppenwolf (Slaughterhouse-Five) and directing an original one-act (Buzz) at the Bailiwick Directors Festival.

2. Moonlight and Magnolias is a comedy about a film (Gone with the Wind). You’ve got an encyclopedic knowledge of film and comedy, how did that come to be?

This started when I was quite young. My parents had some movie books, particularly the first edition (1957) of Richard Griffith & Arthur Mayer’s The Movies, which my brother and I devoured. We watched as many old movies as we could on TV and from the library on a library projector my dad would operate. I reviewed movies for my college newspaper and for a few years, I was the film writer for The (Bloomington, IN) Herald-Times. Over the decades, film has been my chief research area. I’ve created classes at DePaul University that focus on the world of film, like the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Chicago in film, movie musicals, and the films of 1939. I love most genres, but I have a special fondness for American comedies from film’s early Golden Era (1930s-40s), including Dinner at Eight, produced by David O. Selznick, screwball comedies such as Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night, Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve, and of course the Marx Brothers, particularly their masterpiece Duck Soup. Comedies of that era drew on the physical mastery from the silent comics like Chaplin, Keaton, etc., and the snappy dialogue of vaudeville and radio.

3. In addition to being a director, you’re an educator. How does teaching fuel you?

I love inspiring people to investigate their creativity and share themselves through it. I’ve taught acting at many places – Indiana University, Victory Gardens Theatre, the College of DuPage, and the University of St. Francis. For students on the professional track, it’s a matter of honing and merging technical and imaginative skills and telling the truth on stage. For those not looking to act professionally, it could be the time in their life when they have permission to explore parts of themselves they don’t usually share with the world. Studying theatre develops a person’s confidence, imagination, and teamwork.

4. You’re a busy professional. With so much to juggle, what drew you to Moonlight and Magnolias?

For years, I’ve been on the lookout for a Chicago-area theatre who needed a director for Moonlight and Magnolias, so I was glad to see Wheaton Drama’s notice. I’ve taught and studied Gone with the Wind for several years and have found it to be a cultural touchstone which continues to be re-evaluated, most recently in light of the white supremacy marches and racially-motivated violence. Playwright Ron Hutchinson uses comedy to wrestle with some of these contemporary issues, such as the portrayal of the slave Prissy and the resistance of the studio heads, who were mostly Jewish, to address the growing power of the Nazi party. Despite these serious themes, Moonlight and Magnolias is a comedy. If you explain to someone that it’s about how difficult it was to create the screenplay for Gone with the Wind, that sounds anything but funny. But in his 1954 memoir A Child of the Century, Ben Hecht humorously tells how bizarre it was, with the dominating Selznick and macho director Victor Fleming acting out all the parts for Hecht, who, unbelievably, had never read Margaret Mitchell’s famous book! This was the starting point for Ron Hutchinson’s script. At times the play is full farce, and by Act 2, it’s almost like a comedic Lord of the Flies, if you can imagine that.

5. People seem to consume more content than ever, and yet theatres struggle to compete. Why should people make live theatre make a priority in their hectic lives?

As we’ve become more connected to our phones and computers, our lives have become less dependent on live human interaction. Live theatre is an antidote for that. When a character on stage hears crushing news, the audience hears it at the same time, in the same space, and feels the character’s aching. When something funny happens, an audience laughs together, forming community that is unique to live performance. In Moonlight and Magnolias, our audience will witness a hysterical breakdown in decorum as three men push themselves to the limit to achieve the screenplay for what producer David O. Selznick envisions as the greatest movie of all time.

Moonlight and Magnolias runs Thursdays – Sundays until December 6th at Wheaton Drama. No show, Thanksgiving Day. Visit www.wheatondrama.com/moonlight-and-magnolias for more information.

“Little Women – The Broadway Musical” Cast Announced

November 7th, 2019

The production team of Little Women – The Broadway Musical is proud to announce the cast and crew of this heartwarming musical coming Wheaton Drama January 17 – February 9, 2020. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1869 novel, Little Women is a musical storytelling of the adventures the four March sisters and their beloved Marmee while their father is away serving in the Civil War. Beautiful music and the well-loved story of traditional Meg, wild, aspiring writer Jo, timid Beth, and romantic Amy, will bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart this winter.

 The roles will be portrayed by:

Jo: Carolyn Waldee

Professor Bhaer: Kevin Loeper

Marmee/Hag: Meg McGarry

Meg/Clarissa: Morgan Dietkus

Beth/Rodrigo 2: Elisabeth Reuter

Amy/Troll: Mackenzie Grattan

Laurie/Rodrigo: Zack Eckhardt

Mr. Lawrence: Stan Austin

Aunt March: Amy Brockman

Mr. John Brooke/Braxton: Mark Hutchison

Mrs. Kirk: Charmaine Jones

Knight: Michael Albrow

Ensemble/Laurie Understudy: Erol Ibrahimović

Ensemble/Amy Understudy: Abigail Hamilton 

Ensemble/Meg Understudy: Kayla Lollar

Ensemble/Beth Understudy: Allie Plansky


Production staff includes:

Production Manager: Elyse Willis

Director: Krystyn Wells

Assistant Director: Leah Rae Witt

Music Director: Joni Kotche

Choreographer: Katy Smith 

Stage Manger, Set Designer: Bruce Ebner

Assistant Stage Manager: Melanie Johnson

Set Dec, Hair, Make Up, and Scenic Artist: Jim Martin

Light Designer: Jim Van De Velde

Sound Designer: Tom French

Props Designer: Jody Gosain

Costume Designer: Cindy Lonhart

Little Women – The Broadway Musical runs January 17 through February 9, 2020 at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale Street in Wheaton, IL. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30p, and Sunday at 3:00p. Two performances of the show will be performed with American Sign Language interpreters, dates TDB. Tickets can be order online, or by leaving a message with the Wheaton Drama volunteer box office at 630-260-1820.

Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI)

Auditions for “Little Women, The Broadway Musical”

October 6th, 2019

Wheaton Drama, Inc. will hold auditions for Little Women, The Broadway Musical on Sunday, November 3rd and Monday, November 4th at 7pm. Callbacks (if needed): Tuesday, November 5th, 7pm. All auditions will be held at 112 N Wolf Road Northlake, IL 60164. NOTE – This is NOT Wheaton Drama. Auditions are being held off site for this production. The show runs January 17th – February 9th, 2020.

Little Women, The Broadway Musical is a heartwarming look at the lives of the four March sisters as they grow up and find their own voices against the backdrop of the Civil War. Full of hope and adventure, memorable songs, humor and heartbreak, the show (and beloved book) is based loosely on Louisa May Alcott’s life.

Audition slots are available by appointment only. Director Krystyn Wells would like to see a 30 second – 1 minute story or “elevator” pitch about a favorite thing (book, play, TV show, recipe, vacation). Please also prepare 16-32 measures of musical theatre style in appropriate key; please provide copy as an accompanist will be provided.  Please no a cappella or recordings. You may be asked for additional singing for range placement.

To request an audition time or to ask questions: please write to the show’s email: LittleWomenMusicalWDI2020@gmail.com and indicate preference for Sunday or Monday, as well as preference for earlier or later in the evening. We will do our best to accommodate your requests. Audition forms can be downloaded by clicking the link below:

Download audition forms here. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W5Y5oSB7_FrSMb-is8jqxT9lsYThOigwNGg2UFX7yAg/edit?usp=sharing

Available roles:
Jo March – Our protagonist who stands up for everything she believes in. Passionate, adventurous and brave. (Vocal Range E3-A5 (Belt/Mix), Age Range 18-23)

Professor Bhaer – A German Professor who exemplifies proper manners. He is a boarder in Mrs. Kirk’s boarding house. (Vocal Range G2-F#4 (Baritone), Age Range 25-45)

Amy March – The youngest March sister, impulsive, energetic, and striving for a more sophisticated life. (Vocal Range Cb4-Gb5 (Soprano/Mix), Age Range 14-18)

Meg March – The world-weary, yet hopeful, oldest sister who yearns for a great life. (Vocal Range A#3-Gb5 (Soprano), Age Range 20-25)

Beth March – The second youngest sister who tragically dies of Scarlet Fever. Peace-maker, giving and optimistic. (Vocal Range A3-G5 (Soprano), Age Range 16-21) 

Marmee March – The girls’ mother. She is the strong backbone of the family, courageous in spite of difficulties. (Vocal Range Eb3-Eb5 (Mezzo Soprano), Age Range 45-55) 

Mr. Laurence – Laurie’s grandfather who lives next door. Slightly crotchety. (Vocal Range D3-E4 (Baritone), Age Range 55-70) 

Laurie Laurence – The bright-eyed-boy-next-door with considerable charm. (Vocal Range Bb2-Bb4 (Tenor), Age Range 18-23) 

Aunt March – A formidable, over-bearing matron and great-aunt to the March sisters. (Vocal Range E3-F5 (Soprano), Age Range 35-60) 

Mr. John Brooke – Laurie’s tutor and a rather stiff man; shows very little emotion until he falls in love with Meg. (Vocal Range C#3 – F#4 (Bari-Tenor), Age Range 25-35) 

Mrs. Kirk – The woman who runs the New York boarding house where Jo lives. Slight Irish accent. (Vocal Range D4-G4 (Soprano), Age Range 45-60) 

Weekly Volcano Press Characters –  (Troll, Clarissa, Rodrigo II, Knight, Rodrigo, Hag, Braxton) – May be cast as separate roles within the ensemble or double cast with Amy, Meg, Beth, Mr. Laurence, Laurie, Aunt March and John Brooke (Various Vocal Ranges, Age Range 14+) 

Ensemble – Dancers at the ball, ice skaters, beachcombers, hags, trolls and monks. (Various vocal ranges, Age Range 14+) 

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