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updated: 10/2/2012 4:45 PM

FVR Performing Arts Academy debuts 'Chicago' Oct. 23-28

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  • The FVR Academy cast of "Chicago".

    The FVR Academy cast of "Chicago".
    Jennifer Madziarcyzk

Fox Valley Repertory

The FVR Performing Arts Academy is thrilled to debut their new advanced class, Black Box Theatre Experience, by showcasing the famed musical "Chicago" on Oct. 23-28 on the Pheasant Run Mainstage.

The riveting show Chicago gives the public an entertaining inside glimpse at 1920's Chicago-style justice. It has all the elements of a raucous good time: murder, intrigue, lying, stealing, corruption, pageantry, fame, fortune…and it only goes downhill from there. Chicago relies on the common theme of "good vs. bad," and the actors in the upcoming performances at Fox Valley Repertory are very good at being bad!

But don't be fooled! These actors also have hearts of gold. While admission to these performances is free, this group of young adult performers wants to ensure that this new Black Box Theatre program at Fox Valley Rep will continue in the future. They are asking attendees to provide a class supply item per person at the time of the show. Items such as reams of paper, twin-pocket folders with center clasps, CDs, CD sleeves, tissues, and letter/legal sized 3-tab manila file folders and manila envelopes. A full list of much-needed items can be found at

Additionally, as a non-profit organization, the FVR Academy requests a monetary donation of $5 per person to provide scholarships to local children who would not otherwise be able to participate in their performance programs.

When asked what drew her to the play Chicago, Erin Newman, cast as Mary Sunshine, responded, "Chicago is an opportunity to transition from shows geared toward kids to more mainstream and mature shows and requires a bit more maturity on the part of the actors and actresses. The show also represents a time when the underdog gets noticed."

Director and Education Manager Tracy Whiteside echoes that thought. In trying to highlight a new Black Box Theatre program geared toward older kids, Whiteside chose Chicago because it challenges those who may have already done the fairy tale and fantasy plays as young actors. "It's a bit of an edgier piece," she said.

Chicago cast members include from St. Charles: Amanda Beckman, Delany Carani, Erin Newman; Geneva: Elizabeth Kahan, Rebecca Roy; South Elgin: Ellie Feldsien; Bartlett: Katie Jackovin; Lombard: Nathan Dittemore, Stephanie Dittemore; Montgomery: Gabriel Harder; Sugar Grove: Connor Madziarczyk; Carol Stream: Ashley Mortensen; Elburn: Madison Rae; Glen Ellyn: Hanna Telander.

FVR Performing Arts Academy's Chicago will be presented at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, 5 p..m. Saturday, Oct. 27, and 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 on the Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage. There is ample seating so no tickets are needed. There is plenty of free parking as well as valet services available at Pheasant Run Resort, located at 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles.

What is the Black Box Theatre Experience Program? It's a 6-week intensive class for advanced students in a specific presentational style that minimizes the visuals to highlight the capabilities of the performers. With little to no set and minimal costumes and props, it's up to the actors to spark the audience's imagination. Every professional actor learns this style, and most professional actors in Chicago are still performing in this fashion.

The Fox Valley Repertory Performing Arts Academy features some of the Chicago area's most respected teachers, directors, actors and musicians. Classes are available for ages 4-22. For more information, visit or call (630) 364-0550.

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