Tale as Old as Time

Audition Tips

By Sharon Richardson
As I was preparing to write a blog about audition tips – I went back and read my blog from a year ago and realized – that information really doesn’t change!  So we are “recycling” a blog from last year with a couple different thoughts thrown in!  We are looking for a realistic village with men, women, boys & girls of all ages!  This is a show where the ensemble stays REALLY busy as villagers and enchanted characters – there are so many opportunities to shine!  So consider coming out to audition and spend the summer with us at beautiful Perry Farm!  I can’t think of a better place to be!

Auditions are just around the corner and hopefully lots of you are gearing up for the big day! Auditions can be scary, especially if you really WANT a particular part.

But the thing you should know is all of us sitting at the casting table are on your side and we are rooting for you! When you walk into the room – whether we’re friends, casual acquaintances or perfect strangers – we want you to blow us away! We have done no pre-casting in our heads and we can assure you that the auditions will be completely open and fair. The person who is best for that particular part on that particular day – gets the part! Simple, right? We want the best show, that’s all, and, like cooking, an excellent show or meal is only as good as its individual ingredients.
Sounds easy enough, right? We know, it’s not. But, here are some tips that might help you have a great, relaxed and memorable audition.

• Choose the role(s) you are going for carefully. Are you right for the part? Is your vocal range compatible?
• Be confident!
• We want to know that you have really thought about the show and your character before you come in to the audition. We’re specifically looking for people who understand the themes of the show and are willing to work with them (and us) for the greatest possible dramatic effect
 “You never get a second chance to create a first impression” – be in the moment as you walk into the room. You only have a short time to show us what you’ve got, and we want to see it all!
• Be prepared and look like you are.
• Show as much emotion and motivation as you can. If the song or speaking part merits facial expressions and character movements, put your all into it! Not only will it tell us what you can do onstage, but it will definitely help you stand out from others auditioning.
• Learn the words to the song and/or speaking sections, if you can. You are much more able to emote and act the part if you are not reading from a sheet of paper. And keep your head up, we want to see your face!
• Speak and sing clearly. We need to hear the words. DICTION is the order of the day.
• Be fully prepared for your audition by vocally warming up beforehand; it doesn’t have to be fancy – run through your song(s) a few times (better yet, perform it for someone else and sing it in the shower) Just get those chords warmed up so you’ll be ready and confident for your audition.
• Take care of your body that day too. Don’t eat too much right before you sing, and keep hydrated (warm tea is great for loosening vocal chords and supporting your immune system).
• Feel free to dress for the part or bring a simple prop with you if you feel this will help.
• Never apologize.
• And finally, good luck and HAVE FUN!

It’s the last point that we really want you to focus on.
We KNOW you are good and we’d love to work with all of you – it’s just a matter of matching the right person to the role. So don’t be nervous. Have fun, relax and show us your stuff!

Come and be a part of everyone’s favorite fairy tale – a “tale as old as time”!  Don’t forget the dance workshop on March 8th – a great opportunity to learn the audition dance in person from our fantastic choreographer Kendra Souligne – for those of you that are unable to make it – the video will be online on our website beginning March 4th!

Be there on March 11th! And don’t forget to sign up online  – today!!

Tale as Old as Time

Dancing in Pageantry

By: Kendra Souligne

I am honored to choreograph this year’s AOTC production of Beauty & the Beast. In keeping with tradition, when it comes to choreography, we have the utmost respect for authenticity.

The story of Belle living in 19th century France invokes the necessity for research of that time period and what style of dance you might have seen in those days. If you were to walk into Le Pub, the regular hangout for Gaston and his protégé Le Fou, located at the edge of the village near the bridge and one of the town’s fountains, you would probably see the patrons dancing their version of a Quadrille, the Waltz, or maybe the Two-Step


For this time period, the social dance scene had already evolved through the Regency and Romantic eras. First, the most popular new dance of the Regency Era of 1815, was the Quadrille, created from older French Contredanse and Cotillion figures. The Quadrille was performed with a wide variety of rapid, skimming steps, such as the chassé, jeté assemblé and entrechats. (If you’ve taken ballet, those terms might sound quite familiar!) These dances were done in formations of squares and lines. This respectable dance form was quickly varied by adding an unusual innovation of performing a dance as an individual couple. Inspired through peasant origins, the flowering of the Romantic Era begat the evolution of the Waltz.

Waltzing jumped ahead in acceptability when its inherent sensuousness was tempered with a playful energy, first by the Galop and then by the Polka. The Polka’s good-natured quality of wholesome joy finally made closed-couple turning acceptable, introducing thousands of dancers to the pleasure of spinning in the arms of another. The Polka mania led to a flourishing of other couple dances, including the Schottische, Valse à Deux Temps, Redowa, Five-Step Waltz, and Varsouvienne. By the 1850s, the ballroom had reached its zenith.

So, as you can now imagine, the common folk of Belle’s “little town”, would take on their own version of the societal dances of their time and make them their own. As you enter the tavern, you may see Claudette dancing with a male partner and another couple in a basic Quadrille, while her friend Paulette, who relishes in the close embrace of her male partner, shows off their hot new Waltz. But to their surprise, Laurette and her partner have already started utilizing the up and coming moves of the Two Step, but with a stout in hand! Meanwhile, at the Beast’s castle, Belle and her Beast twirl in time performing an age old classic, but I won’t to spoil the surprise.

Whether you will join us at auditions in March, accompany us as cast or staff, or support the show as an honored audience member at the show in July, we will together go back in time with a tale as old as time enjoying the actual dances of that time.

Tale as Old as Time

Strike up the band!

By Ryan Schultz

Every year my first blog seems to come earlier and earlier. But, even though it’s hard to believe,
auditions are right around the corner. This year, for the first time, we are putting on a Disney
family classic, one that is a timeless story that has been enjoyed by millions over the years. And
we have the added bonus of being able to tell the story in the wake of the new movie that is
sure to engage the imagination of a new generation of children


The challenge in dealing with music that is so well-known is to take a fresh look and play to the
strengths of our cast (which makes auditions exciting and scary!). I am excited to work with
Alyssa Norden this year to bring this musical vision to the stage. And, in the tradition of Acting
Out, we are looking forward to a tremendous orchestra to bring the score to life on those warm
summer evenings. Working with iconic music is a thrill and I look forward to working with many
of our orchestra “regulars.” Acting Out has become a family for many of them as well and they
always look forward to coming back summer after summer


As we gear up for auditions, we encourage all of you to try out, get involved, and help us put on
a memorable production. For many of us, we can’t imagine a better way to spend our summer!
It takes so many individuals to make our production truly unforgettable and we could use your
help. Pick up a horn, a paintbrush, or a script and let’s get to work! See you all in a few weeks.


Tale as Old as Time

Once Upon a Time…

By Paula Denault

… there was a group of people that dreamt of bringing stories to life in the great outdoors.  They struggled, they toiled, they scrimped, they saved, they laughed and they cried. They met giants that had to be slayed and ogres that had to be defeated.  Eventually their dreams were realized, and Acting Out Theatre Co. was born.  They began creating beautiful stories in magical settings for all to hear.  As people heard of their heroic courage, they came in droves to support their cause and to hear their stories! They waited in anticipation for the next story to come.  And, alas, another story is about to unfold.

Anticipation is building!  The day of auditions for Beauty and the Beast will soon be upon us.  From the day this show was announced there has been a palpable energy in the air: from the staff, to the possible cast members, to the future audience.   It’s so exciting!

This observation got me to wondering about Fairy Tales.  Let me first make clear that I am not talking about many of the older versions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which were created for adult audiences.  I’m talking about the most common Fairy Tales of our day that end with a “happily ever after.”   What is it about a Fairy Tale that is so endearing?  Aren’t we supposed to stop believing in Fairy Tales after a certain age?  Aren’t we supposed to stop teaching our children, especially our girls, that there is no knight in shining armor that will carry them away to a happily ever after life?  We want to be prepared for the hard knocks in life, after all.  We want to prepare kids to stand on their own two feet and not wish for some magic solution to their problem.   So why do we all love a fairy tale?

First of all, I think we love fairy tales because they speak to the familiar.  It’s kind of like coming home after a long, hard day at work and watching reruns of “Friends.”    It’s a story we already know, and even if we aren’t familiar with that particular fairy tale, we inherently have an understanding of the story.  We can exhale and feel at home.

We love fairy tales because it is a place where good triumphs over evil.   Even when the odds seem overwhelming, the unexpected can happen.   Ordinary people will rise to fight, and the evil one will be defeated. Who, in this life, has not had to slay a few dragons?   Our children will learn that though life may have its challenges, they can overcome.  It sends young and old a message of much-needed hope.

Fairy tales teach us lessons:  lessons of truth, courage, hard work, justice, sacrifice, honor, and unconditional love.  We learn lessons that transcend boundaries.  We are reminded that though we are different, we are the same.  That “family” is not just by birth-right.  We learn that looks are deceiving, and we need to discover what’s beneath.  Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  Love covers a multitude of flaws.    Love can transform the unlovable.


Fairy Tales are meant to be told and retold.  They have a message for young and old.  Acting Out is privileged to gather a few of the many talented people in our area, and retell a tale as old as time:  Beauty and the Beast.     Please, come share in our Fairy Tale!


Tale as Old as Time

Top 5 reasons you should audition for AOTC’s production of Beauty and the Beast

By Michael Keigher

There are so many reasons one should audition for an Acting Out Theatre Company show. Some people have found lifelong friends from being in a production. Others have found solace in taking to the stage and becoming a whole new character. The list can go on and on for why you should audition for an AOTC show, but listed below are the top five reasons you might want to be involved!

1. Everything looks amazing

The above pictures, as beautiful as they are, can’t quite compare to seeing an AOTC show in action. From the sets to the costumes and makeup, actors will always look incredible on an AOTC freshly built stage. Each part, from Belle to the Beast to Dancing Plate #4, all characters will receive great thought and attention to detail. Then add Kendra’s choreography to the mix and be prepared to visually amaze your audience. In summary, be prepared for an awesome profile pictures for Facebook.

2. Everything sounds amazing

CATS Promo at Strawberry Fest

Les Mis Teaser Video

Take a listen to the above videos and judge for yourself. Acting Out Theatre Company has not been shy to take on a musically challenging show. From Cats to Les Miserables, Acting Out has taken on difficult musicals. Our music directors, Ryan Shultz and Alyssa Norden, will take your voice to the next level and enhance your performance for audiences near and far.

3. AOTC is a family

One of the magical things about an Acting Out Theatre Company Show is the sense of belonging and community one feels from being involved. The atmosphere is always welcoming and accepting. When you are involved with AOTC, you become an immediate  member to our ever growing family. The memories you make on the stage will be precious, but the memories you create backstage will last a lifetime.

4. You would enjoy the fresh air

One of the most unique parts of AOTC would be the places in which the shows take place. Outdoor theatre is in a league of its own. There is nothing like performing in an environment that breathes fresh air to a show. Beauty and the Beast will be performed at Perry Farm in Bourbonnais, which is the perfect location to bring this fairy-tale to life.

5. You would help bring a “Tale as Old as Time” to life!

Speaking of bringing shows to life, we need your help to get it done. The team of directors have been working incredibly hard to put this show in motion, but we need driven and hard working actors to create a true masterpiece! Beauty and the Beast is a classic and AOTC is proud to present it to the community.
Please join us for auditions on March 11th 2017!


The Importance of Family

By Alyssa Norden

In the words of one of my close friends, “Life is a journey.” Now more than ever do I realize the truth to this statement. As a child I always dreamed of leaving this small town and experiencing the world. My life journey brought me to Brazil, Hong Kong, and South Korea. I even had the opportunity to live in New York City and Los Angeles. All of my adolescent life I dreamed of a life of adventure away from home. Each city turned out to be even more beautiful than I would have ever dreamed. If someone would have told me that I would return to my roots I would have had a good laugh. I loved my new life of adventure and possibilities.

It was not until recently that I had a realization. The longer that a tree grows the further the roots secure it into the ground. Where did I want my roots to stabilize me? In New York City? Los Angeles? What would my life look like? What is the most important thing in my life? Before this moment I thought that I knew. A city life excited me with the possibilities it brought.

My sister recently adopted the most beautiful baby boy that I have ever seen. Watching her little family sprout and the love that surrounded them from our family put my entire life into perspective. Before this moment I did not realize the sacrifice that a life in New York City would be. The importance of family is extraordinary and indescribable. Missing family celebrations, surgeries, and a baby’s first steps were not worth it. My dream was changing before my eyes.

So it is with great pleasure that I have moved back to my hometown. The past few months have proved to me that I have made the right decision. The importance of family was too substantial.

This brings me to Acting Out Theater Company. It is like a big family. I want to urge you to be a part of this family through Beauty and the Beast. It will be a life changing, eye opening experience. Come and be a part of our family! More info HERE!

Audition Listings

Beauty and the Beast Auditions

We will be casting principal roles and an ensemble including 5 children.
Ensemble members will be both townspeople and enchanted objects. We need all ages.

Location:  The Recreation Station (A Bourbonnais Township Park District facility)  770 E. Franklin St., Bradley

Dance Workshop – March 8th at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM – (For everyone auditioning, adults and children)
Please wear appropriate dance attire and footwear.

Vocal and Dance Auditions – Saturday March 11th

          Children & Chip – (8 to 12 years old) – 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

          Adults – 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Callbacks – Sunday March 12th – 2:00 PM
Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast Auditions” »

The Road to Bedford Falls

Moments and Memories

By Sharon Richardson

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  ~Dr. Seuss

I shared this quote with the cast of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in one of our circle times during our weekend of shows.  Given this is our third time performing this particular radio show – I had been recalling special moments and memories from the other two years and had reminded the cast to pay particular attention to all the special moments we were feeling – for in a very short time – they become beloved memories.

Memories are tricky things really.  We tend to recall more good times than bad – we tend to romanticize our memories – downplaying the bad and exaggerating the good – and when all the memories are warm and fuzzy like my past It’s a Wonderful Life memories are – then that really impacts you in a big way.  First off – I love the message of this story – it is every man’s story and all of us can benefit from thinking about what the world we know would be like if we had never existed – it is a powerful realization really.  All of us impact way more people and lives than we can ever fully grasp.  But then couple that with the tremendous group of people that make up this cast and crew – and you have a recipe for life changing moments and memories.  Beyond the talent they all possess – they are really some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  And when I look at each of them – some I have known for many, many years – some I have only known a couple of years – but regardless –  each of them have had a profound impact on me and my life and the realization of how much richer my life is from knowing them.

The holidays are full of moments and memories – and for many – the holidays are tough – missing loved ones – unmet expectations – loneliness – and the list goes on and on.  The feedback we received from many was this little radio show was the highlight of their holiday – that it helped some through a rough holiday season – that it made others realize they aren’t alone, that they can’t be a failure if they have friends, etc. – I am so happy that some moments from our show helped a few have some impactful holiday memories.

I am sharing one person’s experience at the show with their permission – Lynda Kambic – wife of Phil Kambic – President and Executive Director of Riverside Hospital – shared the moments from the show with Carl and staff at Riverside – that will stick with her.

I wanted to thank you again for treating us to the production of It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play at the Knights of Columbus by Acting Out Theatre Co.  What an amazing experience as well as wonderful food and just all around holiday fun.  It’s truly refreshing to know we have such great talent in our own back yard.  This is something people may have braved the winter roads and traveled to Chicago to see and we just had a nice 15 minute drive to Kankakee.

The cast blew me away, literally transforming into radio personalities and doing a “Live radio show” on stage, set in such a wonderful era of pin curls, suits and dresses, furniture from the 40’s as well as the large light bulbs with tinsel dressed Christmas trees.  This literally brings you back to a “color” version of the old Jimmy Stewart classic!  And leaving no stone un-turned, the “commercials” included singing jingles to our own Riverside Healthcare, Nana’s Cakery, and others.  The details were not just in the production, dinner was delicious, specialty drinks, and a delicious array of desserts.  Just when you think they covered it all, a tradition of the cast delivering mints to each table after the play–perfection!

Our own, Carl Maronich did an amazing job at Freddie Filmore, the radio host and added his small quirks of humor.  Bill Yohnka as Jake Laurents (radio star), portrayed a perfect George Bailey.  The talent was beyond anyone’s imagination as singing, and acting was over and above what some may expect in a local production.  This all leaves you feeling a sense of pride as you saw our “very own” community members share their talents and leave it all on the stage.

Phil, I’m asking you to share this with your staff and a thank you to Riverside for being sponsors of the Arts in our area.  Unfortunately you can’t see THIS production again until 2018, however, they announced they will be performing Beauty and the Beast at the Perry Farm Park in July of 2017!  I encourage you all to take a little time, throw caution to the wind and bring your family to see some very talented people in our community….and enjoy some time out.

Thank you for sharing the holiday spirit!  What fun!!! – Lynda

So to all of you that will have to wait until 2018 to share in these moments again – we have another family memory making opportunity coming right up this summer at Beauty and the Beast!  Make plans to bring all the children in your life – and all of us that are still children at heart – to Perry Farm Park July 21, 22 or 23.  It will be another tale as old as time – that will speak to each of us as we all try to navigate through life’s ups and downs.

When we share these moments and memories together as a community – all of us are richer and better off from the experience.  Which in turn leads to a stronger, more connected, caring place to live.  The arts – it changes lives.