HAIR Cast Announcement

Chicago Street Theatre and director Bob Cooley are pleased to announce the following cast for the tribal love-rock musical HAIR. Congratulations to all and a huge THANK YOU to everyone who auditioned. We look forward to seeing you at the show! HAIR opens October 13, 2017 and runs through October 29. 

Lillian Alyssum—Tribe

Brandon Berk—Tribe

Tracy Bermingham—Tribe

Elli Bezotte—Jeannie

Nate Hendricks—Woof

Arlene Henry—Chrissy

Jen Hernandez—Dionne

Matt Kiley—Berger

Brandon King—Hud

Craig Nordstrom—Dad, General, etc.

Michael Ohm—Claude

Caroline Rau—Earth Mother

Samantha Sangerman—Sheila 

Jennifer Stevens—Mom, etc.

Nathaniel Wasko—Tribe

Staged Reading: November 11

Attend a FREE Staged Reading of a brand new work by Chicago Street Theatre's very own Tom O'Neill.


by Tom O'Neill

November 11 in the Edith B. Wood Studio (Upstairs) at 8pm

If you're a fan of the "B" Movies of a bygone era, VAMPIRE ROBOTS of GIANT SPIDER ISLAND is a show you will love! Packed with laughs, thrills, and science fiction mayhem, you can be part of helping CST and the playwright further develop this comedy for future performances.

Featuring Andy Urschel, Kat Lutze, Matt McCann, Daniel Matern, Mary A. Bird Matern, Tim Gleason, and Jason Kaplan. 

RSVP on CST's Facebook page.

Upcoming Auditions

We have several upcoming auditions open to our membership and the public. You'll find all the details on available roles and how to prepare on our Audition page.  The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical is auditioning October 8 and 9, and Pale Dream (a world premiere) is auditioning on October 22.

To audition, please read the descriptions on the Audition page to determine if there is a role that is of interest to you, and that it is within the appropriate age range. Next, check the rehearsal dates and performance calendar of the production(s) you are interested in, making sure you do not have any major conflicts. Lastly, fill out the on-line audition form and, if there are any scenes (or songs) posted, print them out and make yourself familiar with them in preparation for the audition.   

We hope to see you there!


Tammy Cast Announced!

We had an incredible turnout for autiions this weekend. Thank you to all the talented kids, teens, and adults who participated.  We will be announcing casts as they are finalized.  

First up, Directors Andy Urschel and Timothy Gleason are pleased to announced the cast of Tammy: A Coming of Age Story About a Girl Who is Part T-Rex by CST alumna Julia Weiss. Congrats to all! 

  • Maddie Blaney as Tammy Rex
  • Stephanie Meyer as Hope Endoor 
  • Tom O'Neill as Cliff Samorga 
  • Julia Michaels as Jennica Lupis 
  • Lindsey DeBoer as Amber Swan 
  • Mary DeBoer as Mrs. Sanchez 
  • Lindsey Elderkin as Mrs. Rex 
  • Charlie Scanlon as Mr. Rex 
  • Rodney Thornton as Brian Rex 
  • Chris Brennan as Steve "Bacon Bite" Watson 
  • Brittany Brice, Matthew Klemm, Mahdi Stephens, Riley O'Neil, and Kendra Vanderstar as Students
  • Angela Powell and Jim Henry as Teachers



"Chicago Street Theatre. This is Mike. How can I help you?" is a familiar phrase to anyone who has ever called the theatre or have visited our lobby. This is because Box Office Manager, Mike Hite is one of our most valuable players in the day-to-day scheme of things at CST.
Mike has been a member of the theatre for twenty years and got involved with the group after being introduced to it by his family members, Jim and Dona Henry. His intense love of music, initially led him into designing sound for shows his aunt and uncle were working on. "When Jim was directing Death and The Maiden he talked with me about how movies had a soundtrack and that this was what he wanted for his show. He wanted me to 'score it'," said Mike. At the time there was less than a handful of people at the theatre really "designing sound" for shows other than "doorbells and telephones ringing."
Mike found a niche for himself that led him to designing scores in addition to other soundeffects needed for plays that were being done at The Opera House, CTG's Alley Studio and other places the theatre was doing shows. He has worked on our group's productions of A Streetcar Named DesireSnow White ('95), MacbethRevenge of the Space PandasDancing at LughnasaMarvin's Room,OrphansThe Dining RoomAs You Like ItBalm in GileadJulius Caesar  and more.
During the 1995 Popcorn production of Snow White, Mike got his first shot at acting when an actor who was playing the Wicked Queen's butler couldn't make it to the show. Following his stint as the butler, Hite decided to audition for other roles. Next, Mike landed a lead in our unique production as Wally in Wally's Cafe. What made the project interesting was that it was actually performed in Valparaiso's own Jimmy's Cafe. "That was really fun because the working restaurant was the set," Mike said,"The audience sat in the booths and at the tables that weren't being used in the play!"
In 1998 when the group settled into The Chicago Street Theatre, Mike appeared inBeyond Therapy and as George's brother Harry in Our first production of It's A Wonderful Life. He continued to create innovative sound design work. He added,"Just like the set or the lights, Sound and underscoring can be like another character in the play. It's so important for setting the tone of the piece."
One of the last roles Mike appeared in was as a veteran in 2003's production ofBalm in Gilead. This was the first show he had done where it was necessary for him to use a cane to walk because of the progression of his multiple sclerosis. Mike was diagnosed with the disease in 1989 and it wasn't a problem for him in earlier productions he had worked on. As things became more physically difficult for him he left his previous job but wanted to continue to stay active.
Seven years ago CST's Board and Patty Bird who was the theatre's Managing Director decided that it was time to employ a part-time person to manage the Box Office. "Our patrons are especially happy that we hired Mike," said Marketing Director, Eric Brant, " and Mike really loves our patrons. He knows everyone of them by name and reinforces how essential they are for what we do." Mike admits that he "loves" his job and the customers that come to Chicago Street.

CaST Profile: Words to the Weisenbacher

This week we're featuring a member who has gained a bit of a reputation as a "Mad Scientist" for creating furniture out of sticks, motorizing set pieces, and making items that transform themselves on stage. For nearly a decade, Marty Weisenbacher has been CST's hip "Jack of All Trades." He has dabbled in all aspects of technical theatre. Last season was a big one for him as he created incredible sets for Snow White and The Graduate, co-directed the latter of the two to SOLD OUT shows, appeared as Jonathan Harker in Dracula, and became a new father. As with other couples at CST, Marty and his talented wife Kelley met while working on shows together. In fact the couple had their wedding at Chicago Street on stage in 2006.
Kelley said that they had met when she was working on CST's 2004 production of Julius Caesar. "Marty was friends with Shannon Hite who was designing the sound. She asked him to compose some original music for Caesar's theme music and for some transitions in the play." She says that the couple began dating the summer after that and that Marty was hanging around working sound and tech for other shows CST was doing.
"I used to work in Chicago," Kelley says, "And Marty would pick me up from the train and take me to rehearsals. He'd always be there at the station, waiting with a bottle of Gatorade and some Swedish Fish for me." She says that Marty loves to learn and figure out "how things work" and that by being at the theatre he would work sound on a show and then bounce over and learn lights for another one. Kelley shared that she told Marty that if he wanted to be with her he needed to work shows with her.
"He saw every performance of Alice in Wonderland when we did it for the Popcorn Festival during the 50th season," she says, " His only contribution to that show was that he got me gloves and toe socks for my Cheshire Cat costume." Kelley added that Marty loves watching shows and that he often quotes lines from the shows he's working on. 
Marty has worked on sets, lights and sound for numerous CST productions like Fuddy MeersA Murder in Green MeadowsThe Boys Next Door,Camping with Henry and TomThe Pillow Man and both productions of A Tuna Christmas. For several years in a row both Kelley and Marty worked on every single holiday show with the tech and stage managing. One year during the production of It's a Wonderful Life, Marty got his fist big break stepping into a role when another actor couldn't make it to one of the touring performances. Since then he has acted in last season's Dracula andThe Man Who Came to Dinner.
In addition to his stage work, Weisenbacher is a musician who plays with two different bands: The Smoking Suits and The Way of Man. Both bands have some members from his CST family in them. He has also tried to pass along his love of the theatre to his niece who appeared last season in Snow Whiteand his daughter, Lucille, who took part in last year's Little Black Dress Partyfashion show.
Recently, Marty created the motorized exclamation point that will be featured on this year's Popcorn Festival float and he'll also be working out some speakers, so that the float will have music. He says that he's looking forward to the new season and whatever creative projects he can work on to help out his CST family. In the mean time he's happy about starting a new job and spending time at home with his wife and baby.

CaST Profile: Braden Cleary

"It has truly been a rewarding experience watching Braden develop over the past four years.  He has grown from an Intern to an insightful and generous instructor, and from an enthusiastic teen actor to a dedicated and disciplined artist.  He is genuine and unique - a wonder of potential that I am grateful to have had the pleasure of knowing and working with.  I look forward to watching as he continues to define and shape himself and others."  -Director of Education Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano
Braden Cleary is a familiar face at CST... Largely due to being the "poster child" for this year's The Comedy of Errors Shakespeare in the Park production. Not only does this Indiana University Junior; majoring in theatre; have a role in our mainstage production, but he is also the instructor/director for this years Summer Shakespeare Workshop. The students will wrap up their summer session by doing their version of The Comedy of Errors this weekend on Friday at 5:30 PM and Saturday at 2:30 PM. 
Cleary began with CST when he went to an open casting call for Ascension Day when he was a Junior at Wheeler High School. He landed a role in the play and began taking classes at CST with the play's director Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano. "Lisa really taught me a lot of hands-on skills that are a foundation for how I approach working on any type of production," said Braden.
During his Senior year he was took a course to find an internship in a field he was interested in pursuing. Braden asked to become an intern with the Educational Programming with CST and assisted Lisa and Peyton Daley with classes. During this time he took parts in various plays like PinocchioThe Man Who Came to Dinner, Frost/Nixon, and worked backstage as well as helped with the Summer Shakespeare Workshop.He says that one of the things he really appreciates about being part of CST is that the group took him in and got him involved while always treating him with respect. "I've never had anyone here ever treat me as if I were a kid or anything less than an equal and I think that is so important for the students coming through here to have the same experiences I've had."
Braden says that the process of directing the student production of the same show he is currently in has been an "interesting experience" because it's an adaptation by Kari-Anne Innes that pits rival high schools against each other at a mall. "I've had to be very careful not to direct the students where I'm saying things like- Well in our version we do this this way..." Cleary admitted that he thought it was good for his students to see him in the Graney version because he thinks that watching their teacher and the other cast members "go all out" showed his students how the could "step up" their own performances and be "less self conscious." He believes it also helps teach them where all this training can be applied, because his students know how he "was where they are" not that long ago. 
In the Sean Graney version of The Comedy of Errors, Braden plays Dromio of Syracuse the playful sidekick to his master and Dromio of Ephesus the the nervous "whipping post" for his master. Fellow cast member Eric Brant said that Cleary is a "joy" to work with especially with the improvised elements of the show because "he takes whatever anybody throws at him and finds a way to make it better."
Braden said that he loves the people at CST because the experiences they've given him helped become the Education Coordinator for a student run theatre group at IU. He added that he also loves returning to "this place where people have a sense of pride and professionalism about their work. It shows me that people really love the what they're doing here."
-Eric Brant

CaST Profile: Mary D'Aloisio

This week's featured member has only been involved at CST for three years, but has virtually been a part of every single production since The Heidi Chronicles in 2010. While she definitely a talented artist, her work at the theatre isn't as an actor or designer. She's Mary d' Aloisio who has been a huge advocate for CST through the beautiful production photos she has taken for all our shows.
"Mary's amazing," says member Traci Brant, "She's been photographing CST shows for a while now and she is passionate about our group and the types of shows we produce. As someone who works with the photos to develop graphics for our website, facebook and print material, Mary gives me so much to work with." Brant states that d'Aloisio has given her "pre-press" shots that look like their from the full blown production of the play. "It's difficult with some of the recent pictures for A View from the Bridge to tell which shots were taken before and after that play was up."
Times Entertainment Columnist, Phil Potempa and Community Editor, Annette Arnold both complimented CST on Mary's work. Arnold shared that the recent photos for The Comedy of Errors  were "Just too good not to use."
Mary stated that she really enjoys taking the photos for her CST "peeps" because the actors are generally so accomodating with her asking them to do things that will help create the best images to represent the play. "They tend to be less self conscious than models I work with for my other photography gigs," she says, " I also learn a lot from doing the production photos that I can use with other photography assignments by working with the lighting designers and directors here." She also commented that she has liked being able to take photographs of lots of different types of shows.
Although she has enjoyed working with all of her work with the theatre, some of d'Aloisio's favorite CST assignments have been with the group's productions of The Cherry Orchard and American Rex. She added, "The sets, lighting, and costumes for Cherry Orchard just worked so well together to create really beautiful imagery and American Rex was so dark, moody and edgy. It's so awesome when I can capture those elements of a play... Or maybe I just have a thing for Bob Cooley (lighting designer)"
Mary said that she loves that CST is such a family of artists who are so open to taking risks to make the best product. "People here trust me even though I come in to photograph them with all these piercings and tats. There's no judgement here, we're just passionate about making great art."
We are lucky to have such a talented artist and professional donating her time with CST!


Shakespeare in the Park was for the second year in a row a tremendous success for Chicago Street Theatre and The Valparaiso Parks and Recreation Department. The weather was perfect on July 12 and 13 as Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza and The Porter Regional Amphitheater welcomed over 2,000 audience members to the wacky town of Ephesus to view Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors under the stars.
The event, coordinated by CST's Director of Development, Kelly Hite, featured delicious food from Bon Femme, Don Quijote, El Salto, Industrial Revolution, Kernels & Kones, Martinis, Nana Clare's Kitchen, Pikk's Tavern, and Valpo Velvet. This year's festivities also included more for kids to do while waiting for the show with activities conducted by Perpetual Motion, Face Painting, and bounce houses from Bounce 'N' Around.
The Summer Shakespeare Workshop provided entertainment for the crowd and interacted with guests during the earlier portion of the evening. The students will be performing their own version of The Comedy of Errors at CST on July 26 and 27.
Volunteers worked before and throughout both evenings with every aspect of setting up the event, coordinating needs for the performance, venders' areas, and guest services. Jim Drader, Jonni Pera, Mike Strayer, Don Parker, Traci Brant, Caroline Rau Geldernick, Bob Cooley, Tiffany Rhoda and Glenn Silver were the Board Members who assisted in supervising CST volunteers.
Chicago Street wants to thank all the members who helped prepare and/or worked the event. They are: Barb Owens, Patricia Schulz, Richard Schulz, Jim Henry, Dona Henry, Mary DeBoer, Lindsey DeBoer,Elizabeth Simmons, Deb Porter, Mary Jo Nuland, Mike Porter, Judy Doan, Auriel Lark Felsecker, Kat Lutze, Grant Fitch, Chloe Hoeksema, Paul Braun, Stretch Miller, Mark Baer, Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano, Patty Bird, Chuck Gessert, Peyton Daley, Braden Cleary, Mary Bird, Jim Higbee, Scott Miller, Dan Matern, Jason Kaplan, Kathy Arfken, Marcia Burbage, Phil Parmigiano,Robyn Rutar, Mary d'Aloisio, Matt Pera, Julie Roberts, Bob Prescott, Tommy Krueger, Shirley Remijan, Kathleen Erny, Jerry Erny, Jeff Zimmerman, Sarah Wermuth, Brett Worthington, Nick Travis, Eric Brant, Matt Pera, Mahdi Stephens, Arin Mykel Martin, Jaime Hite, Stan Christianson, Keith Palazolo, Mike Hite, Lauren Brant, Nicholas Brant, Camille Daley, Laney Roberts, Eden Roberts, and Rudy Parmigiano. 
The Valparaiso Parks and Recreation Department congratulated Chicago Street on the success of the event. Work didn't end for the cast and the crew of The Comedy of Errors as they took down their set and reassembled it back at Chicago Street for six more performances July 19 through 27. 


Chicago Street Theatre's new Chairman, Jim Drader, stated at a recent Board meeting that he would like each member to look at their involvement with the organization and where they can "step it up." With an event as big as the current production of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, Drader says that it is important that the public see the faces of CST and the type of quality productions we produce and the strength of our volunteers.
"Too often, I think, our members are looking at things from the aspect that someone else will take care of things because we have some paid staff or because they're coming to see a show," said Drader. "The reality of it is too much work is falling on the shoulders of the same people all the time, and for something like Shakespeare in the Park or the new season of shows, that can't be the way we operate." 
The Chairman says that two was that members can become more involved are either financially or by donating time. He understands that while not everyone has the ability to write a check, volunteering time is really the more important of the two. Jim stated, "Most members of our group really love being in shows or partying afterwards. I believe if we have time to do that, we can make time to be part of the group in other ways."
First Vice Chairman, Jonni Pera states, "We need to strengthen our core membership again, especially now with events the size of Shakespeare in the Park. Things are only getting bigger, and if we're to continue growing and moving forward, we need our people to get us there." Pera is also trying to prepare for how busy paid staff like Box Office Manager, Mike Hite will get with the holiday double feature that will be happening and other events that are planned for CST's 59th season. "When we say: All Hands On Deck; we mean it," said Pera.
Kelly Hite still needs help for Shakespeare in the Park and the crew for The Comedy of Errors also needs volunteers to assist with putting up and taking down the set tonight. The set will return to Chicago Street where it will be put up once more for the remaining performances at the theatre. "Come down," says Drader, "We can certainly make use of anyone who's available."