Illinois Theatre Association
In This Edition...
Illinois High School 
Theatre  Festival 

ITA's Statewide Community
Theatre Festival: 
USITT Midwest Announces Tech Workshops c oming up this fall.   For a description of all programs, click here .

January 25-26, 2018
Eureka College Theatre

Resurrection College Prep is looking for a Music Director for their Spring Musical,  Hunchback of Notre Dame

Eastern Illinois University Department of Theatre Arts seeks qualified applicants for an Instructor of Musical Theatre Performance.

Loyola Academy, a private Jesuit college preparatory school in Wilmette, IL, is seeking an experienced TD/Carpenter for it's spring musical  Oliver

Minooka Community High School has an opening for a Technical Director to be in charge of set construction for two productions--Fall Play and Spring Musical. 

Click Here for ALL
Job Details, or to Submit a Job Posting.


Aurora University 
Scholarships  Auditions can be scheduled online.

Millikin University 
announces its Theatre & Dance Campus Audition Dates & Pre-screen Submission Deadlines for 2019 Admission. 

Western Illinois University's Department of Theatre and Dance
announces Musical Theatre BFA Auditions for the incoming class of 2019.

Click here for ALL Audition Details, or to Submit an Announcement.

Guilford High School
10/25/18 - 10/27/18
Thurs. - Sat.  at 7 pm

The Winning Musical
Vermillion Players, Inc.
10/26/18 - 10/28/18
Fri. & Sat. at 6:15 pm 
Sun. 12:45 pm

Jasper in Deadland
Fair Lady Productions - Center Stage Players
10/26/18 - 10/28/18
Fri. & Sat at 7pm; 
Sun. at 3 pm

A March Tale
Western Illinois University 
10/24/18 - 10/28/18
Wed. - Sat. at 7:30 pm
Sun. at 2 pm

Visit the   ITA Performance Calendar for all performance details, and to submit YOUR performance. 

Illinois Theatre Association

The ITA is a network of dedicated theatre artists and educators  advocating quality theatre throughout Illinois.  Please join us!

123 Mill Pond Dr.
Glendale Heights, IL  60139
312-265-5922 (office)


The Illinois Theatre 
Association is partially 
supported by a grant from 
the Illinois Arts Council, 
a state agency.  
eFOLLOWSPOT    top    October, 2018

This year's three-day Festival will take place at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on January 10-12, 2019. Over 4,000 students, teachers, university representatives, exhibitors, and volunteers come together to put on over 25 different high school productions and over 150 workshops.

For more information  

ITA's 3rd Bi-Annual Statewide 
 Community Theatre Festival 

It'll Play in Peoria -- Illinois AACTFest 
March 29-31, 2019 
Registration Now Open for Mainstage Presenters
Now Accepting Proposals for Workshops... 
Want to Lead a Workshop?  Click here! 


On August 25th, 2018, the ITA's Annual Red Carpet Gala took place at Drury Lane Theatre, in Oakbrook. Among the highlights of the evening were entertainment provided by Andrew Blendermann and a featured performance of Drury Lane's "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." The highlight of the evening, however, was awarding outstanding achievements in theatre. Congratulations to:


College/University Theatre
Tracy Nunnally, NIU

  Community Theatre  
Peoria Players Theatre

  Creative Drama  
Skyline Studios, Inc.

  Professional Theatre  
Tamara Sibley, TMS Casting

Secondary School Theatre  
Kathleen Svoboda

  Theatre for Young Audiences  
Jeremy Schaefer

Aimee-Lynn Newlan


Chicago Shakespeare Theatre - Education Department

Karen M. Hall

By Richard Arnold, Jr.,
ITA College/University Theatre  Representative

On October 12 th I attended the opening of the renovated Stevens Building at Northern Illinois University.  As an alum, I went to support the successful end of a long and difficult process - bringing back the building that houses the school of theatre and dance.  This process began back in the 1980's, when faculty, including Dr. Richard Arnold (yes, my father) were pleading for better facilities for the newly established MFA and BFA programs.  Over the next several years, many faculty, students, alumni and friends of the theatre program spoke out, advocating for renovation.  Eventually the voices were heard and plans were made. In September of 2014, ground was broken for a major renovation of the Stevens Building.   The two year schedule of work ended up taking four, thanks to 'financial wrangling' in Springfield.  The worksite was abandoned for over a year.  The center of the building had no roof, and the space for the new black box theatre was a torn up piece of land next to the existing building.  As I visited it during that time, I thought the Stevens Building looked like roadkill on the side of the highway.  
Fast forward to October 12 th, 2018, the Stevens Building has come back to life.  The working part of the facility is wonderful. The new black box theatre is well equipped.  The scene shop is 4 times larger with capabilities well  beyond its predecessor.  The costume shop is tremendous, with space for all their needs.  The lighting shop is easily twice the size of what it once was.  Classrooms, dressing rooms and graduate student office/lounge spaces are head and shoulders above what was there.  
As I toured the new building, I was proud of what NIU had accomplished.  I also was a little sad.  A little bit of my youth (both as a kid and as a student) had disappeared. Familiar halls, rooms, and p aths  were gone.  I think we all go through this when we
 visit our undergrad or graduate schools. Faculty retire and familiar faces are no longer there to greet us in the halls.  New faculty bring new ideas and change to the program.  While we might get upset by these changes, "Well back in my day we used to do better stuff....", for any program to stay current, it has to go through 'renovations'.  The industry does not stand still and neither should the training.  
So, with mixed emotions, I suggest you go back and visit the places you learned about theatre.  Think of the changes they have gone through. Support them in any way you can. If not because the new facility is cool, then for the memories.

By Elisabeth Westphal,
ITA Creative Dramatics Representative
Ask not what the ITA can do with for you.... Ask what you can do for the ITA........and I am only partially kidding. I have heard theatre teachers say, "What does the ITA do for me? " We want to let you know that members are 
engaged in initiations that will make your working life as a theatre teacher better.
The Illinois Theater Association is currently involved in developing an Administrator's Academy to teach principals how to evaluate fine arts teachers. Five fine arts associations representatives are involved in this process. The purpose of the academy is to help administrators understand that fine arts classes do not always look like the core classes, and yet can easily meet the criteria of the evaluation tool that the administrators are required to use. The proposal for the administrator's academy has been submitted to the ISBE and will likely be approved in the next 60 days. The curriculum for this six-hour academy is being developed. We are in need of teachers who would be willing to have one of their classes videotaped.  It does not have to be your best, most successful group or your very best lesson plan. We are looking for classes that are diverse. We would like to see a variety of age groups filmed. The challenge for the ITA is that there is no funding from the state to pay for the videotaping. We would need schools that have a media arts department to help with the filming. We are seeking 3-5 teachers who would be willing to volunteer for this valuable work. You could help transform how principals think about their theatre teachers and theatre students. If you are interested, please contact the PK-8 representative, Elisabeth Westphal at
The ITA supports theatre educators in many other ways. We have members who are on the Content Committee for the new theatre licensure test. The new test is being developed by Pearson in conjunction with the Illinois State Board of Education. The purpose of this new high stakes test is to update the content to re flect the new standards and vocabulary, eliminate bias in the test, and make sure that new theatre teachers will be ready to successfully teach in Illinois. It is likely that more new  heatre teachers than ever before will be required to take the content test, as they expand this requirement to middle school teachers (grades 5-8).  ITA members are working to make sure that the test is current, accurate, and fair. If you are interested in helping with this work, contact Elisabeth Westphal at the email address above,
The ITA has been active in the creation of the new Illinois Theatre Learning Standards. The ITA has provided and will continue to provide training in how to use the new standards. The training covers the essential questions and enduring understandings, the standards framework, applying the standards to lessons and units, and assessing your students work based on the standards. If you are tired of going to professional development that has nothing to do with theatre, you can suggest this training to your district.   Contact Aimee-Lynn Newlan at the ITA for information (aimeelynn@illinoistheatreorg).

By Jamie Cummings, October 2013 
Forward by Britnee Rusciti Kenyon, 
ITA Secondary School Theatre Division Representative 
In the wake of a lot of culturally defining moments for the American people, I take pause and ask myself how theatre can be used as a vehicle to create change. With the rapid-fire popularity of #WhyIDidntReport, people all over the world are finally
sharing the rationale behind keeping their sexual assaults quiet. So how does theatre propel forward and provide a platform for truth? 
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is continuing a movement that began at Duke in 2009: The Me Too Monologues. T hinking on it, it seems very "ahead of its time" that Duke created a series of monologues with a name that would, eight or nine years later, take the world by storm. Chapel Hill's production of The Me Too Monologues will provide a medium for students to find solace in shared experiences and hopefully create change. Read the article for more information about what sounds like an incredible production opportunity for young actors. 
To read the full article in The Daily Tar Heel, click here.
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An Interview with Colleen Rosenthal
By Stacy Deemar, ITA Member

"I love wearing wigs because
they're instantly transformational."
Holly Hunter

Does the wig make the character or does the character make the wig?  The actor's resemblance to the time period or the actual person is exquisite due to the wig maker who seamlessly fuses art and science to create coiffured, flowing, and luxuriant hair as well as disheveled, matted and/or frizzy hair too.  The color, texture, and style of the hair impeccably embodies the character.  How does the wig maker design such a masterpiece?
The unsung hero behind the scenes of theatre, opera, dance, television and film is the wig maker.  The job includes designing, ventilating, coloring and styling a wig that is fit on the actor for each show, cleaning and storing the wig daily, and making repairs.  
Freelance wig maker, Colleen Rosenthal, shared her insight into the art of wigs and the experience of practicing her craft on Broadway, television, film, and at opera houses.
How did you get started in wigs?
I started doing make-up working for Elizabeth Arden Salon and then I worked for Yves Saint Laurent along with freelancing and some commercial work.  From there, I worked at the Chicago Lyric Opera for one season doing make-up and eventually found myself in Dallas working in the hair and make-up department of the Dallas Opera expressing desire to learn how to make wigs.  The department heads introduced me to Tom Watson, a wig master.
With not much experience in wigs, I traveled with Tom from Opera Philadelphia to the Minneapolis Opera, Sante Fe Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera because Tom needed an extra set of hands and I wanted to learn wig making. I worked with him for a year. 
At the Metropolitan Opera, I learned how to measure heads and begin the stages of ventilating which is putting hair in wigs. My mentor was Irene Vasquez, an amazing wig maker.  I also was able to style wigs and run shows.
How did you get jobs in the industry?
I started talking to Broadway stage door managers and I left my resume with them.  I landed a job on  Beauty and the Beast as a make-up artist and I did that for a month or so.  They moved me to wigs because one of the hair crew did not show.  I learned the job on the job.  I was a swing on this show which is like a substitute worker. I was responsible for a specific number of actors' wigs and running a track.  
Are there any licensing or union requirements to becoming a wig master?
I was working Taft-Hartley on  Beauty and the Beast.  Once I maximized my days, I was told I had to join the union. Local 798 is the union for make-up artists and hair stylists who work on film, television, and theater in New York. In order to join the union, I had to have a cosmetology degree.  At that time, I had a degree in aesthetics and not for hair.  So I went to cosmetology school during the day and worked on  Beauty and the Beast at night. 
Did you work on any other Broadway shows?
I worked on Broadway at night for three years. I was a swing for  The Lion King, 42nd Street, Phantom of the Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Chicago, Hairspray, The Boys from Oz, The Wedding Singer, Amour, and other shows including  Rockettes and  Christmas Carol.
Did you have a day job?
When I was not working a matinee show, I worked during the early morning at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City styling hair, repairing wigs, doing wax repair, coloring, and hair insertions.  It was at Madame Tussauds where I learned how to style hair by looking at photographs of celebrities that were approved by the museum.
Have you designed wigs for television?
Though I never designed the wigs, I worked on Saturday Night Live from 2003 - 2007 with Bob Kelly Wig Creations building specialty wigs. 
What has been your favorite job as a wig master?
I have liked all the jobs.  I learned from every job but Saturday Night Live was my favorite because it was always evolving. Because there is a new show every week, I could work with a wig from beginning to end.  I liked the fast pace, the fact that the show was live, and the improvisation.
How do you design a wig?
1.   Begin by taking the following actor's measurements: 
corner of the eye to top connecting point of the ear for both ears, the height of each ear from the top connecting point to the bottom of the lobe, circumference from hairlines behind the ears, forehead hairline to the nape of the neck hairline, top of the connecting point of ear to ear, crossing the hairline, top of connecting point of ear to ear directly overtop of the head, the hairline adjacent to the corner of the eyebrows around the back of the head and the length of the hairline on the nap of the neck.
2.   Pad out the mannequin head/block with clear tape to recreate the shape and measurements of the actor's head with padding (paper, tape, cotton, etc.)
3.   Trace the hairline of the actor onto the block based on the measurements.
4.   Create the lace foundation on the mannequin head which is the sculpture of the actor's head.
5.   Ventilate the hair in the direction you want it to lay.  This is similar to a latch-hook.
6.   The hair is colored before ventilating the hair.
7.   Wet the hair to cut and/or to perm.
8.   Style the hair. 
What does it mean to ventilate a wig? 
The wig is made by hand and each hair is individually knotted with a small hook.  Take about 12 inches of human hair and keep it in the same order. Place the hair through the loop of hair with a ventilating needle and weave it through the nylon lace. Tie a knot with the ventilating needle.
How long does it take to make a wig?
It can take 40 hours to make a single tie full wig for both men and women. 
What tools do you use to style a wig?
The same as a hair salon - scissors, combs, brushes, hair dryer, curling iron, and styling products.
Are all wigs made from the same materials?
No.  For main characters, we usually use human hair.  Synthetic wigs are used a lot for chorus and background. Yak hair was used for the animal characters' wigs in  The Lion King and  Cats because the hair is coarse.
How do you maintain a wig?
After the show when the wig is removed from the actor, there is spirit gum on the lace which needs to be removed gently with acetone.  Put the wig back on the canvas head which is the exact measurements of the actor's head. Dampen and pin the hug snug ribbon or twill tape over the edge of the lace to put it back in shape so it lays flat.
How do you anchor a wig on an actor's head?
First, pin curl the actor's real hair with bobby pins.  This is called the wig prep. ig prep.  Place a wig cap, which is like a nylon sock, over the wig prep.  Anchor the wig cap with French pins into the wig prep.  The microphone goes over the wig cap and is anchored into the wig prep.  Next, place the wig over the wig cap and fasten it with French pins.  Use spirit gum to adhere the lace around the perimeter of the face.

How do you store a wig to archive it?
Store each wig in an individual labeled box or bag with the character's name.

What is the life expectancy of a wig?
If properly maintained, a wig can last forever.  
Share one secret about wigs.
To clean a synthetic wig, drape it through a vat of water and a little bit of Downy.  It will return to its shape tangle free.
How do you get compensated?
Jobs pay per hour.  Stage and television pay differently.
How can you get hired?
The union website posts jobs and you can send an email with an attached resume to production companies and theatres.  You can also seek employment via referrals and word of mouth.
Where is the best place to contact you?
Send me a text at 917-400-7354.
Interested in wig making?  Click here to link to DePaul University Continuing and Professional Education. They offer a Wigs and Hair Chicago course. 
By Peggy Breaux Hupp,  
ITA Theatre for Young Audiences Representative
Wed, Mar 10th, 1909 8:01 pm, The Wildey Theatre, located at 250-254 North Main Street in Downtown Edwardsville, was constructed in 1909 by a group of local investors, led by the Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF)  and opened on April 12, 1909 with a live performance of "Girl at the Helm." A reviewer for the Edwardsville Intelligencer complimented the performance but identified the Wildey Theatre as the real star. 

The Odd Fellows was a national organization instrumental in developing parks, public meeting houses and civic projects throughout the United States. In 1908, the Edwardsville Lodge formed a corporation, the Edwardsville Investment Company, in order to accomplish their goal of building a new lodge and opera house. 

The Wildey Theatre was named after Thomas Wildey, an Englishman who helped found the IOOF. The three-story masonry building, which cost approximately $30,000 to construct, was designed by architect G.H. Kennerly of St. Louis. 

Included in the original building layout was a formal meeting room on the third floor and a small theatre on the second floor. The auditorium was lavishly decorated with a 1,150-seat theatre with balconies, boxes and a stage area equipped for major productions. 

An electrolier (chandelier) was installed and placed in the center of the theatre two days before the grand opening. The theatre was equal to theaters in large cities with 500 seats in the main section, 300 in the balcony, 300 in the gallery and 50 in the boxes. 

A. Emerson Jones, the company manager of the first production, Girl at the Helm, was extremely satisfied when he stepped out onto the stage and ordered the entire contents of their baggage car brought up. Every piece of scenery was used. More than 50 people appeared on stage in Girl at the Helm, a musical comedy, and as many as six spot lights were operated at a time during the show. The April 13, 1909 edition of the Edwardsville Intelligencer printed, "The Wildey is the largest roomiest and most convenient theater in this part of Illinois." On opening night, Mr. Kennerly, the architect, beamed with pride as he sat in a private theatre box with a party of his friends.  

The Wildey Theatre hosted live productions including vaudeville shows consisting of songs, dances, comic skits, acrobatic performances, magic and juggling. The Wildey also held amateur nights and doubled as a community center for style shows, band concerts, lectures, cooking schools, school plays, dance recitals, commencement exercises and other events. Big names played there including Al Jolson, W.C. Fields, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Ginger Rogers. 

T o keep up with the times, the Wildey auditorium was adapted to show silent films. The Wildey Theatre originally had an orchestra pit complete with a Gratian organ to accompany the films. Some films were produced with complete musical scores on phonograph records. 

Silent films of the early era (1891-1927) didn't always do a good job of synchronizing recorded sound and action. In the 1920's, big trucks would come down Main Street in Edwardsville, vibrating the theatre and causing the record needle to jump and throw off the timing of the sound. 

In 1927, the Wildey graduated to showing talkies. Al Jolson's The  Jazz Singer  was the first feature film with audio.   
Publix Great States Theatre, Inc. took over operations of the Wildey in 1930. In 1937, the auditorium was extensively transformed to a movie house. The Victorian-style original décor, which was considered to be passé, was then remodeled in an art deco style including a new marquee and front façade. In the 40's and 50's, the Wildey showed double features Sunday through Thursday; older films on Wednesday; and westerns, action and science-fiction films Thursday through Saturday. The Wildey also attracted customers with dish or glassware giveaways on designated nights.  
The last film shown when the Wildey was under full-time management was The Big Chill, which was shown on March 8, 1984. More than 400 people showed up for closing night. T.V. news reporters interviewed some of the theatre patrons, who portrayed the Wildey's closing as the end of an era in Edwardsville. 

The last film shown by the Madison County Arts Council was Camille with Greta Garbo. The last movie shown at the Wildey under part-time management was Pee Wee's Big Adventure.     

Recognizing the importance of the facility to Edwardsville and concern that the building was fast falling into a state of disrepair prompted the city to take action and secure state funding to purchase the Wildey Theatre in 1999. The city then proceeded with the process of obtaining public input on possible reuses of the building. What ensued was a vision, reutilization and renovation plan that includes extensive refurbishing to the auditorium and first floor for live performances and other public entertainment.

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