Articles filed under Sotonoff/Gire

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  • Warrenville comedian makes a career in TV commercials Apr 15, 2014 5:30 AM
    Comedian Jon Huck of Warrenville built a career being funny on stage and on camera. His wild-haired yet average guy style has landed him roles in movies and dozens of TV commercials. One of his most popular videos, the "Guitar Baby" ad for Rocksmith, has close to 5 million views on YouTube. “Commercials aren't about skill. They're about a look," he said.

  • ‘Austin Powers’ role gold for Buffalo Grove native Apr 8, 2014 5:30 AM
    Buffalo Grove native Aaron Himelstein said his attraction to acting boils down to this single word: empathy. “When you don’t empathize with other people, that leads to apathy,” he said. “So this keeps your heart open.” Now starring in Steppenwolf's "Russian Transport," Himelstein also played a young Austin Powers.

  • Hoffman Estates cameraman focuses on Hollywood Apr 1, 2014 5:30 AM
    David Seekins’ job as a Hollywood cameraman comes with rewards — including hobnobbing with celebrities. But the job also requires long hours and intense attention to detail. “You have a margin of inches. If you’re just a couple inches off, it can ruin the whole shot,” said Seekins, 39, a Hoffman Estates native.

  • Chicago-set 'Divergent' sprang to life in author's Barrington bedroom Mar 18, 2014 11:52 AM
    Veronica Roth is a Barrington High School graduate with three best-sellers on her resume, plus an upcoming Hollywood film based on one of them. And she's only 25. During winter break from Northwestern, Roth would sleep until 1 p.m., then sit on her bed in Barrington and write a novel titled “Divergent,” the biggest young adult book to hit the printing press since Suzanne Collins' “Hunger Games.”

  • ‘Divergent’ author Roth cites her suburban mentors Mar 18, 2014 6:10 AM
    Best-selling dystopian science fiction writers don’t just fall off trees. They need mentors. Just ask Barrington High School grad Veronica Roth, author of “Divergent,” now a Hollywood motion picture opening this weekend.

  • Gurnee native hits high note as international opera star Mar 11, 2014 5:07 AM
    Gurnee native Amanda Majeski was rejected when when auditioned for a musical program at Carmel High Schoolin Mundelein. But now, the Northwestern University grad stars in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Mozart's “La Clemenza di Tito” through March 23. ”It's all so bizarre,” she said. “I grew up watching the Bulls play, watching the Bears and stuff. My parents loved athletics.”

  • Elk Grove model, dancer making acting her priority Mar 4, 2014 5:33 AM
    Tiffany Panhilason could brag to Hollywood casting directors about how she’s toured the world as a dancer, performed with stars like Justin Timberlake and Pharrell, and modeled for national ad campaigns. Instead, when she goes to auditions, she emphasizes her acting talent. “I don’t look at it as, ‘I’m a dancer and I hope they take me seriously.’ I go in thinking, ‘I’m an actress.’” said the Elk Grove High School alumna.

  • Glenbard West grad ‘20 Feet’ from Oscar documentary stardom Feb 25, 2014 5:37 AM
    Glen Ellyn native Caren Capotosto said, “I seriously think the filming of the first reality show ‘Yearbook’ at Glenbard West High School when I was a freshman may have subconsciously stuck with me.” Sunday, Capotosto will find out if her movie, “20 Feet From Stardom,” will win the Academy Award for Best Documentary. She served as the associate producer on the project, about backup singers.

  • Four-decade actress started out at Elk Grove High Feb 18, 2014 5:34 AM
    Stephanie Faracy’s showbiz career began at Elk Grove High School when drama director Scott Lebin cast her in the lead role of Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker.” “That was the first time I understood you could enter another world by being someone else,” Faracy said. That high school experience would launch an acting career that’s spanned more than four decades, with roles on “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island,” and “Castle” and “Modern Family.”

  • Suburban childhood experiences are comedy gold Feb 11, 2014 5:24 AM
    Every time the Benet Academy football team scored, Cameron Esposito got out in front of the crowd — dressed in the school’s redwing mascot costume — and flapped her wings once for every point. “I was dating the football team captain, so I had a vested interest ... and being a giant red bird was the closest I ever was going to get to being a cheerleader,” she said. Her suburban childhood laid the groundwork for a stand-up comedy career.

  • 'Aladdin' role on Broadway opens whole new world for Elgin native Feb 4, 2014 5:30 AM
    Six months after graduating from the Theatre Conservatory of the Chicago College at Roosevelt University, Elgin native Courtney Reed stood on 42nd Street about to go into her first rehearsal as a cast member in the Broadway musical “Mamma Mia.” Now, she will star as Jasmine in the Broadway launch of the musical “Aladdin” Feb. 26. “I still can't believe this!” she said of her good fortune.

  • How Barrington native landed regular ‘NCIS’ role Jan 29, 2014 3:06 PM
    People might openly mock the 2003 American Idol-inspired movie “From Justin to Kelly,” but actor Brian Dietzen, a Barrington native, thinks of the film fondly. That’s because it was his big-screen acting debut, and a steppingstone that ultimately led Dietzen to his current job, as Jimmy Palmer on the hit CBS drama "NCIS."

  • Schaumburg High grad glides into commercial success Jan 21, 2014 5:02 AM
    “Weird” and “cool” more or less sum up Schaumburg native Michael Carlson's brief acting career so far. He's clocked 12 television commercials and several more on the Internet, and he's already making a sustainable living at something he loves doing. And it all began five days after moving to California where a couple of his friends from Illinois State University had already paved the way.

  • Hoffman Estates native now a Hollywood VP Jan 16, 2014 2:07 PM
    Bill Wohlken didn’t spend much his time at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Hoffman Estates dreaming of becoming a Hollywood post-production supervisor as he actually did. He began as a production assistant on “Hollywood Squares.” Double Stuf Oreos for Rosanne Barr, a bra for Salt-N-Pepa, Jack Daniels for Bill Mahr. "It was outrageous! Super fun!”

  • No more risky business for suburban star of 'Stand Your Ground' Jan 7, 2014 5:30 AM
    Park Ridge native Francine Locke stars in a fact-based movie, “Stand Your Ground,” opening Jan. 17. It's a far cry from her debut as the “Shower Girl” in the 1983 Chicago-set “Risky Business,” a film she omitted from her resume and never told anyone about for years. “I was naive,” she said. “They told me that only my face would be seen. When I finally saw the movie, I couldn't believe it.”

  • Naperville native now hair stylist to the stars Dec 17, 2013 10:59 AM
    TV and movie hair stylist Sallie Ciganovich, a Naperville native, has had many famous people in her chair over the years, including Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, Dennis Quaid and Garcelle Beauvais. hat makes her privy to lots of celebrity gossip. "I hear everything,” she jokes, refusing to dish dirt on anyone because "I'd like to keep working." Her discretion, along with her artistic hair design, focus and speed, have led her to a successful Hollywood career. She's worked on sets of "X-Factor," "So You Think You Can Dance," "Glee," "22 Jump Street" and many others.

  • From wild child at Hersey to Hollywood actor Dec 11, 2013 7:44 PM
    After being the recipient of a few too many “paddles” at his private Jesuit high school in Wisconsin, Keith Szarabajka's parents enrolled him at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, where he fell in with a wild, fast crowd. But he never cut drama class. Szarabajka became the school's star actor. Pursuing acting as a career not only led to a straightened out life, but led him to Hollywood.

  • Comical Carol Stream kid hits Broadway, and now TV Land Dec 3, 2013 5:30 AM
    When Carol Stream freshman Eric Petersen won a role in the Glenbard North High School play “The Hobbit,” he thought, “Wow! Maybe this is something I would really like to do for the rest of my life.” Since then, Petersen has acted in the Broadway productions of “Shrek” plus “Peter & the Starcatcher.” This week, he debuts as Kirstie Alley's son Arlo in TV Land's original sitcom, “Kirstie.”

  • Once an opera soloist, Hawthorn Woods singer happy in chorus at the Met Nov 27, 2013 3:59 PM
    Opera soprano Kate Mangiameli was willing to trade the soloist spotlight for a more stable life. The 35-year-old Hawthorn Woods native and Lake Zurich High School alumna sings with The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, holding one of the coveted full-time chorus positions. “I get to sing every day at the greatest opera house in the country, and arguably, the world. And the greatest joy is that, every night, I get to sleep in my own bed,” she said.

  • ‘Breaking Bad’ star called Naperville ‘Nowheresville’ Nov 12, 2013 5:24 AM
    Bob Odenkirk said that when he was a teen, Naperville "felt like a dead end, like Nowheresville. I couldn’t wait to move into a city and be around people who were doing exciting things.” He went on to find plenty of excitment as a co-star of the hit TV series “Breaking Bad.” We contacted Odenkirk to talk about his childhood, his upcoming "Breaking Bad" spinoff, and his role in "Nebraska," a film out Nov. 22.

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