Summer fun for kids at Wilmette Theater

In June 2006, the renovated Wilmette Theatre was reopened, and since one of the twin theatres was retrofitted with a stage, the venue expanded programming to include live theatre, first-run and art films, and film-related discussion groups. For more information visit

"Sing Along Mary Poppins"
Chicago Kids Company Theatre for Children and the Wilmette Theatre present "Sing Along Mary Poppins," an event for the whole family on three Sundays this summer. A live cast of actors from Chicago Kids Company perform along with the 1964 film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Songs include A Spoonful Of Sugar, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Step In Time, Let's Go Fly A Kite and, of course, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. This co-presentation continues the two organizations' commitment to family programming on Chicago's North Shore.

Where: Wilmette Theater, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette
Metra Union Pacific North Line to Wilmette stop
Metered parking, wheelchair accessible
When: Sundays - June 22, July 27 and August 31 at 11 a.m.
Tickets: $10 tickets at the Wilmette Theatre Box Office or at

Chicago Kids Company Theatre for Children Presents "Jack and the Beanstalk"
Chicago Kids Company Theatre for Children (CKC) presents its musical "Jack and the Beanstalk" in the North Suburbs and the city. Join Jack and his dancing Spanish cow Carmelita as they try to save their village from a crazy Giant. You'll meet a goose that lays golden eggs, a beautiful singing Harp, a wacky Giant and his crazy wife, and see the Beanstalk really grow on stage. This musical version of the favorite fairy tale features five original songs, including two sing-along songs with Jack and his singing/dancing cow. The show runs one hour with no intermission, and is for kids aged 2 -- 10.

Where: Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette br /> Metered street parking
When: Saturdays only at 10 a.m.; July 19 and 26; August 2, 9, 16, and 23
Tickets: $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For tickets, call 847-254-7424 or visit
Where: The Stahl Family Theater at the St. Patrick Performing Arts Center, 5900 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Free parking lot, wheelchair accessible; CTA 77-Belmont, 85-Central buses
When: Stahl Family Theater through July 17
Weekdays at 10:30 a.m.:
June 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, and 27
July 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, and 17
Also Saturday July 12 at 12:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10 tickets at 773-205-9600
$6.75 - $8 per ticket for groups of 20 or more contact

Cast: Matt Rudy (Jack), Lavenia Davis (Mom), Ellen Fliesler (Carmelita) and Jeff Bouthiette

Staff: (The Giant). Jesús Perez (Director), Paige Coffman (Musical Director) and Lara Caprini (Stage Manager).

Funder: The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Next: CKC will present "Alice in Wonderland" through Aug. 22 at the Beverly Arts Center, 111th and Western Aves., Chicago, weekdays at 10:30 a.m., and select Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.

Musical Theater Day Camp

Chicago Kids' Company offers a two-week Summer Musical Theater Day Camp for children from 10 to 15 years old. Summer 2008 dates are July 21 through August 1, weekdays only from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

History: Founded in 1992 as a non-profit theatre company, Chicago Kids Company has produced 53 original musicals based on fairy tales, and performs for over 75,000 people each year. The productions feature professional actors, up-to-date references, sing-along songs, brightly colored costumes and sets, and are geared for children ages 2 to 12 and their families. Past productions have included fairy tale classics such as "Cinderella," "The Three Little Pigs," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Sleeping Beauty."

Bios: Company co-founder and Executive Director Paige Coffman is originally from New Jersey, and holds a degree in Theatre from Northwestern University, where she performed with notable alums such as David Schwimmer. As an actress, she has performed in over 30 productions for children at several Chicago theatres, including Drury Lane Theatres in Evergreen Park and Oakbrook, and Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre, and has been a member of Actors Equity Association for 18 years.

Co-founder and Artistic Director Jesús Perez is a Jeff Award winning costume designer. He was raised both in Illinois and Puerto Rico, and studied Theatre at Joliet Junior College and Lewis University. His professional theatre credits include acting, writing, directing, designing, and producing. He is a member of Actors Equity Association, and has performed in several theatres in Chicago. He has also directed shows for various theatres in the Chicago area, including Centerlight Theatre for the Deaf, Bailiwick Rep, and Village Players in Oak Park.

Children's Theater Classes

The Actors Training Center at the Wilmette Theatre under the direction of Carole Dibo began offering classes for professionally minded young actors this year. ACT will be rolling out a full fall curriculum in late July that will cover everything from Creative Drama, Musical Theatre, Scene Study, On Camera and Monologue work.

Training Center Director, Carole Dibo has been teaching teen and young actors for over 20 years. Dibo bridges the gap between the industries expectations and a young actors needs. She is often called upon to recommend actors for film and television and theatre projects. "It has always been a dream of mine to offer quality training for young actors that are considering acting professionally." Dibo has taught On Camera Acting classes in Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles, she also teaches Acting for the Camera at Northwestern University. Carole began her career in Washington D.C. in 1980 and has done countless commercials, films and training films, she has also been a Casting Assistant at Tenner Paskal Rudnicke Casting and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

The Actors Training Center at the Wilmette Theatre is dedicated to offering high-quality, unique classes for actors of all ages. We believe that addressing the industry's expectations in partnership with the actor's need for ethical, creative and practical training is essential to developing the well-rounded actor. We seek to fuse theatrical and film training to empower actors' voices in the creative process under the professional direction of the most accomplished instructors. The Actors Training Center offers process-driven classes that range from cultivating the young actor's imagination to perfecting the most advanced performance techniques.

With the blessing and support of Northwestern University's Drama Department Chair Rives Collins, Northwestern University Drama grad, Philip Markle created a specialized Creative Drama program for grades 2-5. "I am delighted to add my enthusiastic support for the dynamic team at the Actor's Training Center and the marvelous work they are doing with actors. Cutting edge, full of heart, parent-friendly and student-centered -- the Actor's Training Center of Wilmette meets the needs of students in innovative, engaging ways and is a most welcome addition for families seeking meaningful opportunities in the arts."

Janet Louer, a former talent agent, manager and choreographer who currently teaches at DePaul University heads the Musical Theatre Classes for grades 6 and up. Janet is known for pushing actors past self imposed limitations. "My husband and I both could not get over the professionalism and poise of the young performers in Janet's class." Says Diane Flanga a Wilmette mom whose daughter Bianca just completed Janet's Acting The Song class. Rick Boyton of Chicago Shakespeare says, "Janet Louer is without doubt the finest teacher for the Musical Theatre Actor".

Classes for High School students focus on the tools needed to compete as actor, monologue, on camera technique and building honest relationships in scene study classes. High School Seniors auditioning for theatre programs in college will have the opportunity to work with Dibo and Louer on preparing for their college auditions.

The Actors Training Center has been host to guest teachers such as Geoff Soffer , Casting Director of ABC's Ugly Betty and L.A. Casting Director Deborah Dion whose specialty is casting kids for major motion pictures such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

For more information, visit or phone at (224) 688-0268.

History of the Wilmette Theatre

  • 1913. Village of Wilmette issues a building permit and a 600 seat theatre is built at a cost of $52000. The first movie was a Mary Pickford feature. Tickets were 10 cents.
  • 1928. The inside of the Metropolitan Building (the home of the Wilmette Theatre) was gutted and the theatre was completely remodeled. The theatre reopened with "The Melody Man" starring Buster Collier, Jr. and Alice Day.
  • The theatre changes owners. Sam Meyers, owner of Teatro del Lago and the Glencoe Theatre buys the Wilmette Theatre.
  • 1950's. The theatre is acquired by Encyclopedia Britannica Films (EBF), headquartered in the Baker Building. EBF is the largest maker of educational films in the world – many filmed at the Wilmette Theatre.
  • Richard Stern purchases the Wilmette Theatre from EBF. Stern's family is credited with bringing "art films" to the Chicago area, at the Cinema Movie Theatre on Michigan Avenue. Stern continues this tradition and operates the Wilmette Theatre for the next 40 years.
  • May 8, 2006. A brand new era for the Wilmette Theatre begins when former Broadway actor and talent agent, Sam Samuelson of Evanston and actress/acting teacher, Carole Dibo of Wilmette buy the theatre saving it from being turned into a furniture store. A Grand Re-Opening on June 24th 2006 is a village-wide event that celebrates the restoration and re-opening of the Wilmette Theatre.
  • For the restoration, the interior was painted and original crown molding was restored, restrooms were upgraded, painted and cleaned, new sound fold curtains were added, the Concession area was upgraded and the marquee was updated. A stage was also added to one of the twin auditoriums to be used as a live performance space.
  • The Wilmette Theatre now hosts movies, live theatre, children's theatre, and educational events.
  • The Wilmette has been host to many celebrities. John Tuturro, Jeff Garlin, Olympia Dukakis and Steve Zahn have all made personal appearances at the theatre.

Carole Dibo

Carole Dibo has been a professional actress for over twenty years. Having started her career in the Washington D.C./Baltimore market, she moved to Chicago in 1985, where she has worked extensively in the film, television and industrial film markets. Carole has been directing and training teens on the North Shore for over a decade and is one of the Co founders of the Teen Program at Acting Studio Chicago. Carole is the Director and Founder of the Actors Training Center at the Wilmette Theatre, a professional training ground for young actors that wish to pursue acting as a career.

Carole is also a well respected teacher and coach in Los Angeles where she co-teaches with L.A. Casting Director, Deborah Dion, she has also worked as a Casting Assistant for Tenner Paskal Rudnicke Casting and Steppenwolf Theatre Co. She continues to work on camera as well as teach and coach young actors.

Sam Samuelson

As an actor, Sam played one of the twins in the original Broadway company of Blood Brothers. His national tours include Blood Brothers, Ragtime (Younger Brother), I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and the anniversary tour of The Fantasticks as Matt. He has appeared Off-Broadway in I Love You, You're Perfect and at the famed Sullivan Street Theater in The Fantasticks. He can be heard on the cast recordings of 110 in the Shade with the London Philharmonic, opposite Kristin Chenowith, and the anniversary recording of The Fantasticks. Sam is currently an agent at Stewart Talent, the largest agency in the Midwest, and was responsible for establishing their New York office. His clients are currently on Broadway and on national tours in The Color Purple, Mamma Mia, Lestat, Wicked, Spamalot, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

He has taught master classes and lectured on all aspects of the entertainment business at universities throughout the Midwest. He is a board member of the non-profit educational organization, Movable Arts. Sam received a BFA in Music Theater in 1989 from the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music where he has just been honored as the first recipient of the Young Alumni Award for excellence in the entertainment industry.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.