Renovated in 2006, the nearly century-old Wilmette Theatre entertains theatergoers with a rotating slate of current and classic offerings, including Hollywood blockbusters and niche art films. Cylindrical light from a whirring projector flickers across two auditoriums, where movie-going duos can snack on buttery tubs of popcorn while sipping a soda and whispering spoilers into the facility’s pristine Soundfold curtain. The Wilmette underwent a key renovation in 2006, fortifying the century-old venue’s commitment to quality art with fresh coats of paint, an overhauled concessions center, and screenings of feature-length still lifes.
LIGHT OPERA WORKS showcases first-rate musical theatre productions that draw on a variety of world traditions while employing razor-sharp artistry and skilled performers for a dazzling evening of professional theater. Composed by the creators of My Fair Lady and backed by a lush 24-piece orchestra, Brigadoon spins the yarn of a Scottish town that springs to life just once a year, and the ephemeral romance that develops between a young American and a foxy corseted lass named Fiona. Patrons can air-bagpipe along with classic showtunes, such as "Almost Like Being in Love" and "Waitin' for My Dearie," or roll up programs to offer impassioned backing vocals to the rousing ballad, "The Heather on the Hill." All performances take place in Cahn Auditorium, and today's deal is good for seats in section A, where showgoers will be close enough to tug on a conductor's kilt.
The beguiling motions of Irish step dance are just a hop, skip, and several tap-filled jumps away at the Chicago Academy of Irish Dance. Here, world-championship medalist and certified instructor Mallory Wendt introduces students to the Emerald Isle's traditional dance forms. Mallory can also guide more advanced students, too, drawing upon training she received from legends including Tim O’Hare, Mark Howard, and Glasgow's McLoughlin family.
The professional instructors at Actors Training Center at the Wilmette Theatre empower all types of dramatis personae with targeted acting training. Boasting more than 20 years of stage and screen experience, instructor Ryan Kitley leads aspiring actors on a six-week introduction to lifting the spirits of audiences more effectively than Mary Tyler Moore tossing a puppy into the air. Students dissect individual scenes for both the stage and taped on-camera scene work, working together while they forge the communication skills and confidence needed to thrive as performers. The session concludes with a film screening during class, following by a performance of onstage scenes for a live auditorium full of supportive friends, family, and ionic columns.
Seasoned stage and screen actor Antoine McKay founded McKay Arts to give fresh faces the courage to step into the limelight and provide established artists with a place to cultivate and hone their craft. Antoine, an alumnus of The Second City's theaters in Detroit and Chicago, trains and manages actors and artists and also provides them with creative outlets in the form of regular performances at the Athenaeum Theatre, Pressure Comedy Café, and other local venues. He instructs students of all ages and skill levels in classes of approximately 12 students or in private coaching sessions, which give patrons ample attention and endless attempts to guess who is knocking at hypothetical doors.
Founded in 2011, the Chicago-based American Chamber Opera features an ensemble committed to singing full-length oratorios in English. Its productions resemble concerts more than traditional opera performances: the music takes center stage as the singers belt and emote in settings that evoke the world of the story with just a few well-placed details.