Illinois Theatre Association
In This Edition...
ITA Announcements
ITA Events and ITA Member Events
Job Postings & Audition Announcements
Featured Performance
About the ITA
ITA Links
ITA 41st Annual Convention
Why a Community Theatre Festival?
ISBE Announces Revamp for Arts and Social Studies Learning Standards
Back to School Edition
Why Not Take a Group to See a Show?
The Audience That Listens
An Icon...Robin Williams
ITA Member Spotlight - Molly Hernandez


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ITA's 41st Annual Convention -
Step Up & Stand Out - A Symposium Exploring Excellence with the ITA

Registration closes on Wednesday, 9/10. 


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Fire on the Prairie 

ITA's Statewide Community Theatre Festival

Early Bird Registration Ends TOMORROW (9/6).

Six Sizzling Main Stage Presentations

A Smoking Opening Ceremony

Energizing Workshops

Engaging Round Table Discussions

After Glow Celebrations

A Blazing Brunch and Awards Ceremony



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2015 Illinois High School Theatre Festival: Ignite the Passion Within


1) The Play Selection deadline for schools wishing to be considered for showcase or full-length productions has been extended to 9/15.

There is still time to "Ignite the Passion Within!" - there is passionate, creative theatre taking place all over the state and we want you to share yours. So if you have a full-length production, a showcase production, or a full-length that you feel could be cut down to a showcase production, don't hesitate - submit your show and become part of the 2015 Theatre Festival experience.


2) Registration for schools and exhibitors is now available on-line.

3) Nominate your school administrator for the IHSTF's Administrator Support Award. This award is designed to honor an administrator (Principal, Assistant Principal, Superintendent, or Department Chair) who has demonstrated: long-standing and consistent support to his/her school's theatre program, and outstanding support that goes above and beyond the normal support given by an administrator.


If you have an administrator who has shown that extra support for your program, here's your chance to provide him/her some much-deserved recognition! (Please Note: All efforts must be made to avoid nominating an administrator for one's own personal gain.)

Click here to submit your nomination online.

The deadline for all nominations is September 10, 2014.


Visit for details.


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Board of Directors:


The ITA has made one change to its slate of nominees for Board of Directors positions (2014-2016 term): Dr. Andy Morgan will replace Eden Mosoff on the slate in the Theatre for Young Audiences Division.


For more information about Board membership, please fill visit the Board page of the Board page of the ITA website.



September 13, 2014

Step Up and Stand Out: A Symposium Exploring Excellence with the ITA

Goodman Theatre, Chicago

Registration available this week!
October 24-26, 2014

Illinois Community Theatre Festival 

Fire on the Prairie

Stay Tuned for Info 


January 8-10, 2015

Illinois High School Theatre Festival

Ignite the Passion Within

U of I Urbana-Champaign


ITA Member Events


September 27, 2014
(Note the new date!: This has been rescheduled from August 23)

September 20 - Training on ETC's Element Console, Belvidere

October 11 - Telling Your Story - How to Communicate Yourself and Your Portfolio, Elmhurst

December 6 - Microphone Troubleshooting 101 and LED Lighting in Theatre, Lincolnshire


March 7 - Theatrical Stage Rigging, Frankfort 


Submit an Event!  



Libertyville High School seeks a TD for Fall musical of Spamalot.

Click here to visit the ITA's Job Board for details.




Vero Voice School of Performing Arts (St. Charles) announces auditions for young actors ages 7-18 for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


Click here to visit the ITa's Audition Board for details.



Harper College

The Last Night of Ballyhoo

September 5-September 7, 2014

Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 2pm

Region 2

eta Creative Arts Foundation
Two Twenty-Seven 

September 12-October 19, 2014
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 2pm
Region 3
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:

Associate Corporate Sponsor:


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

ITA 41st Annual Convention:
Step Up and Stand Out - A Symposium Exploring Excellence with the ITA 

By Dinah Barthelmess

ITA Board of Directors, President-Elect 



Join Us and Celebrate Excellence!

This Fall we are asking you, the Membership of ITA, to reconnect what excellence means to you in your work as a theater professional. Where do your passions take you, how high and how far? Though the ITA seems to have more events to offer our members each year, this fall's convention is the one occasion intended to assemble our collective members from across the state to remind ourselves why it is we do what we do.


We hope your attendance at the convention on September 13th will inspire you to explore, define, and deepen excellence in your professional life through a shared experience with the like-minded, passionate professionals that make our organization a vital part of the theatrical landscape of Illinois. 


Event highlights include exciting keynote and session presenters, a luncheon and ITA's Annual Awards of Excellence Ceremony at Petterino's, as well as an option tour of the Goodman Theatre's space and discounted tickets to their evening production of World of Extreme Happiness


Annaliisa Ahlman

And don't miss out on our VIDEO CHALLENGE. Join our video challenge to start sharing our collective ideas about excellence in theater. And hey, you'll be entered in our raffle by just sending in a video! All videos can be seen on ITA's Facebook page.


Be sure to check the ITA website's Convention Page for all the information you need about the event. 


Step Up to be your best and Stand Out in our field as you Explore Excellence with the ITA on September 13, 2014. 

Ready to register? Great! Click here.


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Why a Community Theatre Festival?

By Richard Gannon

ITA Community Theatre Division Representative




Publicity and Excitement

Theatres that go to festivals typically get enthusiastic support from their communities. Promote to your community that you are representing them in a state/regional level event. They will love it!


It can be a terrific fundraising and profile-raising opportunity. Fire up the imagination and interest of your group - get everyone thinking in new directions.


Great Ideas and Contacts

See some of the best theatre around. Get great ideas for next season.


Meet terrific people who are doing excellent theatre. Inspire yourself and your group to get everyone reaching for the next level.


The great work that so many theatres are doing deserves the exposure and honors that Festivals provide.


Bring Home the Bacon and Reap Rewards

It brings prestige, publicity, excitement. The media loves to cover a winner!


Awards from festivals can help with grants and donations. Theatres that take honors at festivals get support from their communities and audiences.


Festivals Are Unique, Exciting Experiences

The great shows, workshops, terrific people and fun parties make festivals a habit forming experience. There are a hundred good reasons why 40+ years of festivals have spread to 43 states, with thousands of productions.


Be a part of history. Join the theatres and many theatre folks who are making their own unique traditions.


Fire on the Prairie! The Illinois Theatre Association's Statewide Community Theatre Festival, will be held on October 24-26, 2014 at Springfield's Hoogland Center for the Arts.


Don't let "I WAS THERE!" become "WHY WASN'T I THERE?"  Register today!


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Illinois State Board of Education Announces Revamp Underway for Arts and Social Studies - 


Learning standard review a partnership between state and local partners; continues critical look at benchmarks for college and career readiness. 


SPRINGFIELD - State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch announced today that he has requested a review of the state's arts and social studies education standards to build on the State Board of Education's work to update the Illinois Learning Standards and better prepare students for success after graduation.


This latest review follows the Board's approval to implement new learning standards for math, English language arts, physical education and science.

Click here for more. 


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Back to School Edition

By Cyndi Bringer

ITA Theatre for Young Audiences Division Representative


Trying to catch up to my life: that is exactly how this middle school drama teacher is feeling right now. Don't you just love how everyone thinks teachers "have the whole summer off"?  I was actually looking forward to the school year to start again so I might have time to breathe! This summer included working two separate drama camps (one at my school and one at a community theatre), which means selecting and producing two productions, as well as the lesson plans for the weeks of classes. Then, like you all, having to work on PD (professional development) to keep up with the changes in the educational trends and to be able to get pay increases. I took a class on PBL (Project Based Learning) and one on the Flipped Classroom. You have to agree that most of what we do in a theatre arts classroom is project based: Project Based Learning is a teaching method where students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. The same definition can be applied to several drama activities. Don't you agree? 


Flip teaching or a flipped classroom is a form of blended learning in which students learn new content online by watching video lectures, usually at home, and what used to be homework is now done in class with teachers offering more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing. I had to make several videos for this graduate class.  They included "How to Highlight your Script," "The Areas of the Stage," "Blocking Symbols," and "How to make Bruises and Contusions using Makeup." I've posted them up on my web page and will have my classes and casts go to these for the initial instruction, freeing up more time in my class for the active stuff. 


You know that theatre teachers and directors always find clever ways to finagle any problem or situation, right? My next week lesson plans? It's a project based real life project for the 8th graders. They are going to be making 90 second videos for each of the drama vocabulary words for the sixth graders! Once they are posted up on the web page, the sixth graders will then be assigned to watch one video each night and write their vocab in their journal at home. This will also allow different learners to go back over the vocabulary as needed. 


So as this school year starts, I hope that you will be able to catch up with your life! Oh, wait. I'm talking to drama teachers here.  What am I thinking? I'm sure you've already started the year running full speed: setting up your room, selecting your plays, writing your grants, designing your productions, and instilling the love of theatre into your students! Just remember to breathe every so often!


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Why Not Take a Group to See a Show?

By Jonathan Meier

ITA Secondary Division Representative


The new school year has begun, and I usually pose this question to my new theatre classes: "Do you know that you live in one of the finest theatre cities in the world?" 


Inevitably one of them replies back to me, "Mundelein?"  


"No," I say, shaking my head. "Chicago." Many of you already take advantage of the wonderful programs that are available here, but I want to use my column this month to pass along some of my personal experiences and observations in hopes that more of you will start to leverage this great resource to enhance the theatre education of your students and community.


It is certainly a personal preference, but when I coordinate a trip into the city for a group to see a show, I always do it as an extra-curricular activity. Taking kids out of instructional time during the day is always a challenge, and different schools have differing policies. When I take a group to a show, I make it a community activity.  I invite current students, alumni, current theatre parents, alumni theatre parents, as well as the staff at my school. I always marvel as the buses are loading, at the collection of humanity that we attract to our events - teachers, administrators, security staff, students, parents and family members. They all have two things in common, a connection to Mundelein High School and a love of theatre. It always makes for a wonderful experience, and helps grow support for our theatre program.  


We generally sponsor two or three trips a year to see shows.  Over the years I have taken groups to see Broadway tours, and the folks at Broadway in Chicago are always great to work with, but as a rule, I prefer to take my groups to see Chicago produced theatre. This is a great theatre town, and I feel strongly that we as educators should encourage our students to support the home-grown art. The list of outstanding Chicago theatres is much too long to list.  


Everyone has their preferences, and most theatres are happy to accommodate groups.  The theatres that I most often frequent with my groups are Lookingglass and Chicago Shakespeare. By way of full disclosure, my wife sits on the Board of Directors of Lookingglass. They always provide a wonderful variety of literature that is compelling, and my students love to go back to see how they have transformed their space for each new show. I have also hired some of their teaching artists to conduct ensemble-building workshops for my students. Chicago Shakespeare also provides a wonderful variety of classical literature, and their treatment of educators is second to none. They provide fantastic workshops for teachers, all free of charge. And anyone who has ever worked with the staff at CST will tell you that they have a well-deserved reputation as being the nicest people in the business. I do not mean to slight any other theatre in Chicago; these just happen to be a couple of my favorites.


Make-Up Character Analysis

By Allan Kimball

ITA University/College Theatre Division Representative


Welcome back to the Fall Semester. I hope you all have settled in, and I'll bet many of you are thinking about holding auditions for your first production of the season. 


Once you have the cast in place and your technical crews are in full swing, one of the things that will fall to your make-up committee is, "What do these characters look like?"  


As directors, we do a great job guiding our young actors through the process of creating a detailed character analysis that they can use as they develop their characters. But no matter how well thought out the analysis is, it can fall short if the actor doesn't end up looking like the character they hoped to create.  Here is where the make-up crew needs to step up. I challenge my crew (or the actors if they are to do their own makeup), to do a Make-up Character Analysis and a color worksheet for each character. To see what it is what I ask them to look at and consider click here


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An Icon
By Ioana Ligdas
ITA Creative Drama Division Representative

Funny. Clever. Genius. These are words to describe the unstoppable Robin Williams. The loss of Mr. Williams hit me hard. He was a childhood icon for me. The quality of his acting was top notch. I have used his acting as an example of comedy for years in my classroom. Of course, the hysterical and creative voice of the Genie stands out as one of the best animated voiceovers of all time. His video clips can serve as examples for character, monologue, or voice work. Do me a favor and use Mr. Williams as an example for your students this year to let his legacy live on. From what I have read, he was an icon who was a comedic genius and a genuine person.

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ITA Member Spotlight: Molly Hernandez

Submitted by Judy Klingner

ITA Second Vice President


What is your name?

Molly Hernandez


What is your background in theatre?

I grew up watching my older brother perform. At age nine I auditioned for To Kill a Mockingbird and was cast as Scout alongside my brother, Connor, who played Dill.  Since then I have fallen in love with the art and continued to get involved in as many ways as I could! I worked professionally with Geddes Agency for a few years as a child in the city with my brother and sister, and then continued with community and school productions when life got busier. I am currently working with Gray Talent Group in Chicago.


What are your plans for after graduation?  

I am applying to both Loyola and Northwestern University with interests in theatre, musical theatre, and Spanish. I am also looking at the possibility of a gap year to work in the city and be more available for auditions and gigs.


Why were you inspired to join the ITA?

I was involved in the All-State production in 2014, proceeded to audition at the ITA Professional Auditions, and loved the idea of being involved in the association! Everyone was so organized, kind, and dedicated to having everyone's best interest in mind.


In what ways have you volunteered your services at the ITA Office?

I volunteered at the office this past winter in preparation for the ITA Professional Auditions. I helped hole-punch and label the 18,000 headshots that came in for the agents and casting representatives to put in their binders.


What insights have you gained from participating in the Illinois High School Theatre Festival?

I have only had the opportunity to participate in the festival once as a sophomore, but I loved it! I attended quite a few make-up workshops, which were fun, informative, and hands on. I fell in love with the All-State production from 2013 (Memphis) and was inspired to audition the following year. It was a blast to get to spend the weekend with theatre kids from all over the state.


Please elaborate about the All-State Production(s) you have experienced.

I have had the honor of being involved in two All-State productions.  I was Rose of Sharon in the 2014 production of The Grapes of Wrath and am currently the understudy for the Leading Player in the 2015 production of Pippin.  I was amazed at how kind and supportive everyone in both companies was/is. There was no drama, no hostility towards others, and everyone genuinely supported and cared for one another. I will never forget the Saturday performances of The Grapes of Wrath last year. It was my birthday, and we had two shows and set strike that day. I went to the dance with some members from the cast and arrived back at the hotel to find the rest of the company sitting with a birthday cake and sparkling grape juice singing happy birthday. I honestly began to cry because despite everything we had gone through that day, it was evident just how much we all cared for each other. We are all still in touch and still come see each other's shows. I am beyond ecstatic for what Pippin has to offer!


Please share details about a theatre project/production with which you are currently (or were recently) involved.

I am currently involved in the 2015 All-State production, Pippin.  We have only had one rehearsal weekend as of right now, but already I can tell it will truly be something magical. Every single person in the company is wildly talented. The cast will be visiting the highly acclaimed Actors Gymnasium in Evanston in the coming rehearsals to train for our circus and magic tricks. I can't say much more, but what I can say is that it will definitely be a show the festival attendees will never forget filled with magic and mayhem! 


Tell us about your participation in the Broadway in Chicago High School Musical Theatre Awards program.

The Broadway in Chicago High School Musical Theatre Awards program is truly an amazing one in which I have had the opportunity to compete twice. I was a finalist as a sophomore for the role of Maria in West Side Story and again as a junior for Hope in Urinetown. The opportunity to work with such talented, dedicated people if only for a day is one that I feel truly blessed to have had. I learned so much and have had a blast. To me, competitions like this aren't about winning. That is not the reason I am in this business. I love things like this because it is a chance to improve your skills and spend time with others who love it as much as you do.


Describe your experience at the recent ITA Professional Auditions.

The ITA Auditions this year were an amazing experience. I felt very prepared with what to expect and everything was communicated effectively and efficiently. I received quite a few auditions and calls from these auditions and signed with Gray Talent Group because they saw me at these auditions. 


Of what theatrical accomplishment are you most proud?

I had the blessing and opportunity to be one of twelve national finalists in Michael Feinstein's Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition. I was one of ten finalists in our region, which is comprised of five states. Two winners from each region then move on to nationals and attend a weeklong boot camp in Carmel, Indiana at the Center for the Performing Arts. The week consisted of workshops with fabulous performers such as Cheryl Bentyne, Naz Edwards, Marc Cherry, Sylvia McNair, and of course the amazing Michael Feinstein. Each day we performed our two solo songs from the Great American Songbook era and were critiqued and challenged by these amazing performers. We also learned a group number with all twelve of the finalists along with Michael, which we performed at the end of the week. On Friday, each of us performed our two songs at the Palladium in front of around 1,100 people. While nerve-wracking, it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. Despite the fact that it was a competition, each person was kind, considerate, supportive, and so fun to be around. We were able to learn from each other and every single person grew in leaps and bounds that week. It was an amazing and challenging experience that ultimately ended with twelve new wonderful friends, connections all around the country, and the large growth in both my confidence and my performing abilities. 


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