Illinois Theatre Association
Table of Contents
ITA Announcements
ITA Events and Other Events of Interest
Job Postings & Audition Announcements
Featured Performance
About the ITA
ITA Links
Special Education Theatre Class: A Win-Win
Fire on the Prairie
Summer Theatre Opportunities
A Musing from Madrid on the ITA Professional Auditions
Domain 3: Tech Workshops


Audition applications for high school actors, musicians, and technicians for the 2015 IHSTF All-State production ofPippin is now available on the IHSTF websiteApplications are due by May 23rdPlease share this link with your students.

Interested in serving on the ITA Board of Directors for the 2014-2016 term? Visit the Board Page of the ITA website for information, and to fill out a Board Interest Form.


Nominations for 2014 Awards of Excellence Now Accepted. Each year the ITA recognizes both individuals and organizations for their significant contributions of promoting quality theatre throughout the state of Illinois. Nominate yourself, a colleague, or a deserving organization for a 2014 Award of Excellence. New This Year: The ITA Board has recently approved a new policy allowing self-nominations. What are you waiting for? Let us know how great you are!!! Click here for details. 

Please plan to JOIN US for a keynote address by Henry Godinez, luncheon and awards ceremony in a prime location in the heart of Chicago's Theater District on Saturday, September 13, 2014. Be sure to follow us on here and on Facebook for updated information, as more details will soon be revealed! Thanks for being an important part of ITA.

The 2017 Illinois High School Theatre Festival is now accepting submissions for Executive Director! The deadline for all applications is May 16th. Click here for details.



September 13, 2014 

ITA's Annual Meeting and Awards Gala


Stay Tuned for Info

October 24-26, 2014

Illinois Community Theatre Festival 

Fire on the Prairie

Stay Tuned for Info 


Submit an Event!  



Auburn Creative and Performing Arts School seeking Theater and Dance teacher


Downers Grove North High School needs Scenic Designer/Builder and Light/Sound Technicians


Click here for details on all of the above.




Timber Lake Playhouse auditions for Joseph, and Young Frankenstein on May 3.  

Click here for audition details. 



Barrington High School


May 1-3
Barrington, IL

Greenman Theatre Troupe
May 2-18
Elmhurst, IL

Click here for all show details.

Want your performance to be featured here? 
Be sure to list your performance on the ITA Performance Calendar! 

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)
312-265-6101 (fax)
Please Visit ITA's Corporate Sponsors:


The Illinois Theatre 
Association is partially 
supported by a grant from 
the Illinois Arts Council, 
a state agency.  
eFOLLOWSPOT  top   April, 2014 

Special Education Theatre Class: A Win-Win

By Jonathan Meier, ITA Secondary Division Representative


Working with the Special Education population at my school has been
important to the growth and success of our Theatre department at Mundelein High School.  It is the quintessential win-win; it's the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.  I would like to say that I had a well thought out plan, a grand design for working with our Special Education department to enhance our theatre program, but the truth is, I sort of stumbled onto the opportunity.  Years ago, early in my tenure at MHS, counselors would come to me from time to time to see if I would mind if they put one of our SLP (Supported Learning Program) students in my Introduction to Theatre or Technical Theatre classes.  These are students who for most of the day are in a self-contained special education class.  They were looking for opportunities for some of these students to get experience in a regular education classroom, primarily for socialization purposes.  I was glad to oblige.  Over time, we learned some lessons about how to best integrate these students into the theatre classroom.  Modifications were made; the biggest one was changing to a pass/fail grading system.  The successes started to mount and the administration started to take notice.  I knew that several of my theatre teacher colleagues regularly taught theatre classes specifically for this population of students.  I went to my administration and proposed that we offer a designated class each year.  The affirmative answer could not have come faster.  The decision was made that it would be co-taught with the Special Education department.  I do not have any Special Ed certifications.


The next step was to design the class.  The first thing I did was to call up several of my colleagues and gather as much information as I could.  I took the three SLP teachers with me for a day of observation to Niles North and Niles West High School, where the Tim Ortmann and Andy Sinclair had been doing this type of work for several years.  Ultimately we decided that we would offer this class during our fourth term (we are on a block schedule) because that is when we produce our spring musical.  We built the curriculum around The Music Man that first year.  We did some basic theatre terminology to start.  We also used many modified theatre games.  We did some reading about the era in which the play takes place.  We then watched a movie version of the show, and then read the play together.  The opening train scene was a particular favorite.  By this time, the set for the show was getting close to completion.  After some discussion and a vote from the class, it was decided that we would learn "Wells Fargo Wagon" together.  Several members of the cast were able to come into the class, and working in small groups, taught the SLP students the song and a modified version of the choreography.  Hardly a day went by where I did not get emotional watching my theatre kids working with these wonderful special needs students.  The class culminated in the SLP students performing "Wells Fargo Wagon" on the actual set for a small invited audience during the school day.  And of course, the kids all came to see the show (preceded by a pizza dinner).  The next year we used The Drowsy Chaperone, and this year it is The Secret Garden.  Each class has been different, based on what the show has to offer.


Teaching this class has become one of the highlights of my school year.  My co-teachers and instructional assistants have all been fantastic, jumping in to each activity with the students (no matter how strange they think it might be).  Giving the SLP student population this kind of experience is clearly the right thing to do.  Being willing to work with the Special Education department has also turned out to be the smart thing to do for us.  I feel that we have earned consideration in other areas because of the work we have done with this student population.  A win-win.


If you are not already doing so, I would strongly encourage you to consider working with the special needs population in your school.  Each situation will be different, of course.  You will need to figure out how to best bring your skills and experiences to your school's situation.  I guarantee that you will make a positive difference in the lives of these special needs students.


Fire on the Prairie

By Richard Gannon, ITA Community Theatre Division Representative


A Community Theatre Festival returns to Illinois after a short hiatus when ITA's Fire on the Prairie takes center stage at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield, Illinois next October.  Entry forms for those companies seeking to present a production at Festival are now available. Click here for your theatre's chance to be featured on our main stage! Registration for individuals who plan on attending and participating in ITA's celebration of Community Theatre will be available in the coming months.


The Festival has had something of a checkered past in Illinois over the years, a fact that is somewhat difficult to comprehend.  After all, the first, national Festival of American Community Theatre (FACT) was held on the stage of ITA member Theatre of Western Springs in 1971. Adjudicators for that Festival were Henry Fonda; William Glover (New York drama critic), and Michael Langham (Artistic Director of the Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN).  Certainly, this marked a propitious start for the community theatre festival movement in Illinois and the United States.  Unfortunately, a number of unexpected speed bumps made convening Illinois' biennial festival extremely difficult, even impossible, these past few years.  ITA's commitment to resurrect an Illinois Community Theatre Festival bodes well for the success of Fire on the Prairie, as well as future events.


The value of the Festival lies in the fact that it provides an opportunity for all those involved in community theatre throughout Illinois to come together in order to participate in meaningful workshops, attend a number of adjudicated performances by some of Illinois' best community theaters, and take advantage of the many networking opportunities. Ultimately, it is an opportunity to celebrate all of the good that community theatre creates for our members and volunteers, our patrons, and the residents of our communities.


Those who participate in Festival as cast and crew members of one of the adjudicated productions have even more to look forward to as a result of the Festival experience.  I believe a note recently sent in by Marsha Holland of Brass Rail Players in Belleville speaks clearly to the benefits of Festival:


In the far, far distant past, I attended the (Illinois Community Theatre) Play Festival with a group of young thespians and adults from The Little Theater Players of the Centralia Cultural Society.  As a group, we traveled (in 1986) to Danville, Illinois to present our production of the musical "Snoopy!!!"  We were a big hit, as we were an enthusiastic and musical bunch.  This was energizing for everyone involved; so positive because of our interactions with other theater groups.  The adjudication process was informative and gentle; we left the open critique feeling happy about our strengths and informed enough to correct our weaknesses. All in all, it was memorable and invigorating.  As a side note, members of our "Snoopy!!!" troupe reinforced their dreams of a life in the theater during that experience. The theater festival was one of their early exposures to theater in the larger world.  Where is the cast now? Our Lucy (Heather Holland-Daly) is an artist, but spent several years touring nationally, doing show boats, summer stock, and regional theater. Sally Brown (Sarah James) performed professionally in summer stock and local professional theater. Charlie Brown (Daron Bruce) now teaches musical theater/drama at the Nashville, Tennessee high school for performing arts and works professionally on Nashville area stages. Snoopy (Keith Shaw) worked the regional and dinner theater circuit as an actor and costumer, and for the past decade or so has made his living as a Broadway "dresser" for Harvey Fierstein in "Hairspray," Tim Curry in"Spamalot," the casts of "Newsies," and "Rocky."  Woodstock (Chad Beguelin) is a lyricist and author, writing the book and new lyrics for the original Broadway productions of "The Wedding Singer," Elf, and just last week experienced opening night for DISNEY's "Aladdin" with his new book/lyricist partnership with composer Alan Menken.


Fire on the Prairie.  An ITA event that's not to be missed!  See you all in October!


Fire on the Prairie

Workshops....May We Spark Your Interest?  

You've probably asked yourself this question hundreds of times: What are the top 3 things my community theatre could do better? Here's your opportunity to help your community theatre. Fire on the Prairie's Workshops Committee wants to hear from you. Your answers will help define  workshops offered at Festival. Send an email listing your TOP 3 topics to Dr. joan e. kole at Suggestions due by May 29, 2014. 


Summer Theatre Opportunities

By Marty Lynch, ITA College and University Theatre Division Representative


Summer is about to start!  Have you found enough theatre to fill up your schedule yet?  Here are several opportunities to help you get lots of theatre while classes are over.  Stay tuned because more events are going to come up every day!

The Theatre of Western Springs offers a number of workshops and sessions that you can see here.  They will be posting info about auditions and a New Works festival soon, so be sure to check in on them periodically.



Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville has several events going on:


June 2-13, 2014 Cougar Theater Workshop - This is a 2-week day camp for children and teens ages 8-18. They meet 5 days a week and get classes in acting, voice and dance as well as working on a project they present to parents at the end.  This year all the kids in the camp will also be involved in the production of Peter Pan Jr. performed by the Cougar Theater Company (our children's theater group made up of college students and children).


Summer Showbiz, the summer season of musicals, will feature the following productions:


June 19-22, 2014 Peter Pan Jr. presented by the Cougar Theater Company.


June 25-29, 2014 Little Shop of Horrors presented by Summer Showbiz.


July 16-20, 2014 Wizard of Oz (the RSC version that mirrors the movie) presented by Summer Showbiz.


These productions are open to all students and all members of the community.


Visit the theater website to get more information about any of the above or to find out how to get involved backstage.  You can e-mail Peter Cocuzza at or call him (618-650-5614), and if he can't answer your questions, he will direct you to the proper person.


Eureka College has arts camps going on this June:


The Eureka College Summer Arts Festival will offer workshops and camps on singing, stringed instruments, and children's theatre.

There are 4 workshops and camps:   


Children's Theatre Camp, June 9-13

Youth Strings Camp, June 9-14

Summer Choral Camp, June 15-21

Chamber Strings at Eureka, June 19-22

For information and to register, visit or contact Eureka College's Artist-in-Residence David Commanday at


Western Illinois University and Eureka College are co-presenting:


Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop, May 19-June 6: From students starting out and professors seeking faculty development to professionals looking to pick up extra skills, this is the course for you. This workshop offers 30 hours of Group and Individual Instruction in Single Sword & Quarterstaff with additional Dueling Arts Certification in Unarmed & Small Sword.



Participants will be eligible for Society of American Fight Directors Skills Proficiency Testing.  Visit our website for more information and to sign up.  Must be at least 18 years old to participate.


Harper College is holding auditions for The Last Night of Ballyhoo, June 18 and 19.  Because Harper College produced both Parade and Driving Miss Daisy earlier this year, this summer production will complete playwright Alfred Uhry's "Atlanta Trilogy."  Director Kevin Long is excited to announce that Mr. Uhry is coming to visit the cast of The Last Night of Ballyhoo on June 26, 2014.  This is a free, but ticketed event that is open to the community. Click here to visit the show website.


Harper College is presenting The Last Night of Ballyhoo.  Auditions are June 18 and 19.  Even more exciting is that Alfred Uhry is coming to visit the cast and community on June 26.It's a free, but ticketed event.  Click here for details.


And finally, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival at Illinois State University has several camp opportunities taking place in June: Michael Vetere's Creative Drama and Acting Camp for Grades 1-12, and Quinn Wilson's Discover Film Making Camp for young adults and students in grades 7 and up. Click here for details.


A Musing from Madrid on the ITA Professional Auditions

By Madrid St. Angelo, ITA Professional Theatre Division Representative


Each year when the Illinois Theatre Association hosts its Annual Regional Theatre Auditions, something wonderful happens.  Young actors, many still in college, get excited.  They text each other on their cellphones, letting each other know that the audition dates have been announced, blow up their social media networks blasting news and updates, download applications, call their printers putting in orders for more headshots, update their resumes or create ones if they're newbies; they start hunting for the right song and/or monologue, they call their professors and acting teachers to make appointments for coaching or to ask for coaching recommendations, and they make travel plans.  Word has long been out among actors that this regional audition is simply not to be missed.


As the years have waned, and with so much casting being done online, the Association can boast about its longevity.  It's just about the last Non-Equity Regional Audition of its kind left in Illinois. The two-day audition draws a literal who's who of casting directors from all over the state, including representatives from all of the big wigs: The Goodman, Steppenwolf, and Victory Gardens.  There are even agents and casting representatives who work within the film and television industry present.  In one fell swoop, actors have the opportunity to share not only their talent and passion with some pretty influential people, but they can get their names on the radar of these important folk who get to meet these actors up close and personal.  And every year, there is an overflow of talent at the ITA's with every audition slot filled.


As an actor myself, I know firsthand the excitement of auditioning at Regionals.  It's an exciting time to meet and network with other actors. But something wonderful happens to those of us who work on the casting side.  We get excited too!  We wait with baited breath to see this parade of actors and to witness and experience the energy they bring to their auditions.  We observe the enthusiasm with which they congregate amongst themselves and the nervousness they display when in close proximity to obvious casting folk.   You can see it in their eyes,-- that twinkle that conveys hope and excitement for what could be a potential job. 


Having attended and participated in the ITA's for a good number of years now, I have expanded my network to include countless new actor acquaintances.  My relationships with others in casting has been strengthened, and I have been able to employ many new actors in projects with which I have been associated.  I have also recommended many, many actors to others.


Our business is not an easy one, and while the foundation of our business is in many ways that of "rejection," at the ITA's, everyone comes out a winner.  Auditioning brings about increased confidence and the opportunity to sharpen skills.  The actors bask in accomplishment; the casting directors initiate new working relationships.


What I like to do is reach out to the actors I find to be of note and offer to share with them my thoughts about their auditions.  Not that my word is gospel, but I've been around long enough to offer up something I know to be of value.  In the end, I make a friend, gain a student, and cast a project.  Both my personal and professional network is expanded.  I can honestly say that I am still associated with many of the actors that I met at ITA's in the past. With the passing of each ITA, I find that my love and respect for this business grows. 

Domain 3:  Tech Workshops

By Ioana Ligdas, ITA Creative Drama Division Representative


March 15th was a magical day in the realm of technology and theatre.  The ITA sponsored a professional development event for teachers and theatre practitioners wishing to explore opportunities for integrating technology into their work.  We had a great turn out at Niles West High School in Skokie.  In this article, I would like to highlight our fantastic presenters and the ideas they shared with us. 


Our first presenters of the day were highly engaging and full of energy.  What a great way to start off.  William Marsland and Jamie Lynn Perry inspired us with apps that are good use for a rehearsal process, drama classroom, or directing environment.  Some app highlights were drama games, dramatic music, paper, remind 101, and Shakespeare Swipe, just to name a few. 


Our second presenter, Chris Gray, focused on curating open source materials for classroom use.  This was an excellent workshop on how to more effectively use youtube videos during instruction and advice on how to use the flipped concept. 


Our third presenter, Nathan King, did an exceptional job of showing us hands on Google forms to assess student performances.  He shared some of his very own forms on how to assess student growth and help them chart their own progress.   


We had many prizes donated from theatres across the Chicagoland area, as well.   All in all, it was an eventful, engaging, fun day! 



                     Paper App                               Drama Games      


                                                            SwipeSpear                              Dramatic Music