Theater Beat looks at SPA SPECTRUM program

This month Theater Beat is titled, “Everyone Included at the SPECTRUM Program.”

Youth with special needs, IEP’S and disabilities entertain audiences while developing relationships and new skills in the School of Performing Arts (SPA) Spectrum Program and they do it with confidence and skill under the expertise of Spectrum Director Heather Hutchison and Director Lynda Christopher.

With a host of student counselors, and support from the community, the Spectrum program teaches traditional, classic theatre arts curriculum and modifies the structure, process and skills to fit the needs of each student. But it so much more…

I have been lucky enough to see a few of the programs and to actually help back stage at one performance. It is an absolutely enriching experience and by far the most I have ever received back from my volunteerism.

The SPECTRUM program offers classes for all age groups-Creative Beginner classes for ages 3-8, Musical Theatre, acting, dance and film workshops for ages 9-99.

The students perform a full musical theatre production in the Spring, and for the first time, this August, there will be a Summer Cabaret, “Summer With The Stars,” with professional actors from the Chicagoland theater community who will perform and work alongside the actors and counselors. And my friend Stuart will be performing with some of the students as well!

The counselors are a huge component to the success of the program. They volunteer their time every week to help guide, teach, help but most of all to be peer mentors and friends with the students. The relationship between the counselors on stage and the Spectrum actors is apparent in the performance and beyond. During the performances, the counselors hold the actor’s hands as they say lines, they feed them lines encouragingly, they sing and dance along with them to give them the support they need to perform with confidence.

The counselors come from local high schools and colleges to volunteer their time. They attend class with the students and are teamed up with a student to help them if they need it-but come showtime–it’s all on the SPECTRUM student to shine, everyone else takes a backseat and let’s them do what they have learned to do!!.

“The Spectrum Program and staff are wonderful. The teachers and volunteers are the program. It is the most welcoming place that my daughter has ever found. Amy will be a junior in high school in the fall and is involved in every Special Olympic sport that her high school offers, “ says parent Deb Bardo.

“She is also involved in Best Buddies through school and attends the dances and some of the athletic events. Amy takes swim lessons, joined a dance troupe last year, and sometimes attends the Young Life activities. She is an extremely busy young lady. Yet her favorite activity is theater with Ms. Heather and Ms. Lynda.”

Bardo has found that her daughter has gained confidence to speak in public and to articulate when speaking. She also states that she has made so many new friends and has expanded her social circle. “Spectrum is all about acceptance and inclusion for everyone..says . “The Spectrum program offered at the School of Performing Arts in Naperville is a program that welcomes everyone and allows them to challenge themselves.”

Hutchison’s interest in the program originally stemmed from her need to find a “niche” for my own son who has Autism. As an actor, musician and director, theater taught her patience, a greater sense of confidence, the importance of team work and most of all how to have fun.

“Why wouldn’t that work for those who think differently, or perhaps process ideas and social cues a bit slower?” says Hutchison. “I have sat in many school meetings where I was being told that my child couldn’t participate in ‘regular’ school activities due to his ability to attend or concentrate well enough – or that there simply wasn’t the staff to oversee such a request….Once I overheard another parent say that she wanted a picture of her daughter in a tutu up on a stage like every other girl in her class, I knew that I could use my theatre and musical background to help provide such a place!”

SPA is a wonderful place for all children and young people to explore the world of dance, music and theatre. Senior dance and ensemble students have been guest choreographers and teachers frequently visit and help. The Spectrum class dances have been incorporated into the school’s annual Artists Performing Showcase and next year, they will participate in the dance recital. Programming has included acting and dance classes, stage combat, improvisation, and modified versions of “CATS”,”THE WIZ,” and “GREASE.”

In October, Film Workshops will be offered, meeting twice a month- one class focusing on a certain aspect of filmmaking such as editing, animation, acting for the camera, directing and camera work/and the other class they will watch Independent films, shorts and documentaries . This will help develop one’s “critical eye”, provide an outlet for reviewing & critiquing such work and putting into use what you have learned in the workshops. These workshops will be taught by local filmmakers and graduate students from Chicago.

Future plans are in the making include offering many more classes in theatre arts, a wheelchair ballet troupe and a traveling musical theatre troupe and helping to develop this type of program in the high schools.-

The summer program is ready to gear up and there will be year-round programs and another spring show in 2012. They have the flexibility to work with youth with many challenges and will work to accommodate all.

For more information, visit  www.schoolofperformingarts.com.

And now on with the shows!

July 2012

Little Mermaid

Noon Saturdays in July Presented by Center Stage Players, located at 1665 Quincy Avenue, #131; Npaerville, IL 60540. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and students and $6 for children 10 and under. To make ticket reservations, please call: 630-355-9212 or email at kidzkabaret@sbcglobal.net.

Harvey

8PM July 13, 14, 20, 21

3PM July 15, 22

Presented by Summer Place Theater under the direction of Billy Surges and Produced by Steve Zeidler and Ted Waltmire bring to life Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy with its gentle humor introduces us to Elwood P. Dowd and his imaginary pal, Harvey – a six foot rabbit. Is Elwood crazy or eccentric? The production will be directed by Billy Surges. The show is presented at the Auditorium at Naperville Central High School.

Grease

7:30PM July 13, 14

12:30PM July 14

2:30PM July  15

Presented by the School of Performing Arts in North central College’s Madden Theater. Meiley-Swallo Hall. Directed by Ray Frewen. Tickets on sale at the School of Performing Arts Business office or at the box office one hour prior to each show. INFO: 630-7 17-6622

Vocq

730PM July 18

Vocal Jazz Students perform with the Pete Ellman Big Band at Mullen’s Pub in Lisle.

Rabbit Hole

7PM July 20, 21

5PM July 22

Presented by Center Stage Players at Center Stage Theater, 1665 Quincy Avenue, Naperville, IL INFO: 630-355-9212.

Professional Headshot Day

July 22

Professional photographerBrian McConkey by appointment for students Ages 5 and up. Makeup and Hair Touch with professional makeup artist; web proofing and 1 8 x 10 (chosen by photographer). For Info: (630) 717-6622

Bathroom Humor

7PM July 27, 28

5PM July 29

Presented by Center Stage Players at Center Stage Theater, 1665 Quincy Avenue, Naperville, IL INFO: 630-355-9212.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

8PM July 27, 28

3PM July 29

Presented by the Summer Place Theater. Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s early collaboration takes the famous Bible story and adds infectious tunes, clever lyrics, and a little bit of Elvis to put some rock ‘n roll into your summer. The show performs July 27, 28, 20, August 3, 4, 5. Tom Reiser will direct and Cynthia Lauren-Grant will produce. The show is presented at the Auditorium at Naperville Central High School.

August 2012

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

8PM August 3, 4

3PM August 5

Presented by the Summer Place Theater. Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s early collaboration takes the famous Bible story and adds infectious tunes, clever lyrics, and a little bit of Elvis to put some rock ‘n roll into your summer. The show performs July 27, 28, 20, August 3, 4, 5. Tom Reiser will direct “Joseph.” The show is presented at the Auditorium at Naperville Central High School.

Wind in the Willows

1PM Every Saturday and Sunday in August.

Presented by Theatre Hikes at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL 60532, Tickets: $13-$19

Summer With the Stars Cabaret

2PM August 11 (FREE)

Presented by the Spectrum Program of the School of Performing Arts. Fifth Avenue Station, Naperville, School of Performing Arts – Studio D.

101 Dalmatians – Kidz

7PM August 7, 8, 9

1PM August 11

Presented by Kidz Kabaret at Center Stage Theater, 1665 Quincy Avenue, Naperville, IL INFO: (630) 355-9212

Thoroughly Modern Millie

7PM August 23, 24

12 August 25, 26

3 August 25, 26

6 August 25, 26

Presented by Kidz Kabaret at Center Stage Theater, 1665 Quincy Avenue, Naperville, IL INFO: ( 630) 355-9212

Spelling Bee

5PM August 11

8PM August 11

1PM August 12, 18, 19

4PM August 12, 18, 19,

7PM August 12, 16, 17

Presented by Kidz Kabaret at Center Stage Theater, 1665 Quincy Avenue, Naperville, IL INFO: (630) 355-9212

UPCOMING AUDITIONS!

BRIGHTSIDE THEATRE of Naperville, IL is currently seeking submissions of Headshots and Resumes for consideration for their 2012-2013 Season which includes COMPANY, GOD OF CARNAGE & RENT. Performances in Naperville (rehearsals in Downers Grove) – both accessible to the Metra. For dates and information checkout our website at www.brightsidetheatre.com. (Non-Equity) There is pay. Please indicate in the memo line of your email which show(s) are of interest to you. Submit to info@brightsidetheatre.com.

Rapunzel the Musical with Magical Starlight Auditions. Auditions July 21 & 22 see: http://www.magicalstarlighttheatre.org/audition1.php for more info

The School of Performing Arts (SPA): Ongoing registration for Triple Threat Musical Theatre Camp, Broadway Mini Camp, Improvisation Drill, Acting for the Camer, Show Choir Drill and more!

Dance, Voice, and Instrumental programs and classes are registering now. Continuous Enrollment. INFO: (630) 717-6622 Fall registration starts for returning students begins July 16; New student registration begins Augsut 6th. www.schoolofperformingarts.com for more information on fall and summer classes.

Kidz Kabaret registration ongoing: INFO: (630) 355-9212

 

 

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About Lynn Hodak

Lynn Hodak on the Theater Beat

Lynn Hodak spends the majority of her free time at theater events in the community and is an avid supporter of the arts in Naperville and beyond. A resident of Naperville Unit School District 203 who lives in Lisle, Lynn runs her own staffing business. She majored in journalism at Indiana University—oh, so many years ago…For posting consideration on Theater Beat, send information about the arts to Lynn Hodak via lynnvhodak@gmail.com.

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