It’s ‘A Whole New World’ for Lilliana Andujar’s Debut as Jasmine


Lilli thoughtful croppedI am extremely thrilled to be playing Jasmine in the Fox Valleys production of Aladdin Jr. This is the very first theatre show I’ve ever done. I have performed in dance before, these performances include 5 recitals, 4 competitions, and one performance at Great America, however I have never actually done theatre.

This is a wonderful experience and I am so blessed to be able to enjoy it with all of the amazing friends I met through the cast. Going into the show, I wasn’t sure how it was all going to go, I wasn’t sure if anybody would like me, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live up to the expectations. Though, going through the step- by- step process in rehearsals has really shown me a lot and I feel as if I have grown in my knowledge of theatre. I have also gained quite a few new friends along the way and I’m so grateful for that. They have really shown me a lot and have helped me if I ever was confused on something or if I simply needed help. Receiving directions from the directors has also helped me gain more knowledge. Seeing as I have never acted before, the directions they have given me and the way they’ve shown me how to act has really given me a solid idea on how to present myself on the stage when speaking dialogue and the way I present my movements.

This has really been a great learning experience for me and I know I am going to continue with theatre. I am most comfortable on stage and when I perform. Through the show I have really grown a true passion for theatre. If my friend hadn’t given me the confidence to audition, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

Lilli sideways look

I am 14 years old and I will be attending East High School this upcoming year. I know for sure that I will be doing the drama club and any shows they have going on at the school and I’m thrilled to be a part of this wonderful art of theatre.   Aladdin Jr. Blog by Lilliana Andujar.

For more info on Aladdin, visit

Photos by Sarah O’Donnell

Posted in: Aladdin Jr. 2014

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FVR Aladdin Jr. Youth Ensemble Cast talks about love of theater and Disney!


Director and choreographer Kyle Donahue of Fox Valley Repertory and the FVR Youth Ensemble are bringing Disney’s Aladdin Jr. to the Fox Valley Area this summer.  Under the musical direction of Debra Stombres, the FVR Youth Ensemble brings this all-time Disney classic of magic, splendor and true love to life on the Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage August 1-10, 2014.

During rehearsals, some of our cast members stopped to answer questions about the opportunity of being a part of this production.


IMG_1923_webDirector, Kyle interview:

Q: How many shows have you done with FVR?

A: This will be my 5th show, and I have been with FVR for about 3 years

Q: What part of this show stands out to you the most?

A: The style is fun, it’s based on Disney and the energy and story translate onstage and makes it great!

Q: What is your favorite part of working with a youth ensemble?

A: I love the teaching aspect – I love teaching theatre, I love the craft and to watch the kids grow

Q: Has the cast surprised you in any way?

A: Yes- this is a great training ground and this cast is an extremely respectful!! Respect is hard to teach



Cast member Mitch plays Aladdin:IMG_1904_web

Q: Why did you audition for the show?

A: I really love Disney shows and Aladdin is a classic!

Q: What is your favorite part of being in a musical?

A: I love learning the music along with telling the story and combining the two!

Q: If you could be any other character in this show, other than your own, which would it be?

A: Genie – because Genie is crazy and out there!



Cast member Chrissy plays Genie:

Q: How do you memorize your line?

A: I read through them every night and practice with friends

Q: What is your favorite part of being in a musical?

A: I get to work with friend s and I love singing and dancing

Q: What made you want to audition for this show?

A: Theatre is my passion, and Aladdin is part of Disney. Before the auditions, I practiced being Genie and it worked!! I got the part!!!


Cast member Taylor who plays the Narrator:

 Q: What is your favorite part of the show?


A: A Friend Like Me, it’s a really fun dance!

Q: What made you want to audition for this show?

A: I wanted to get more experience and FVR has a great reputation!

Q: What is the most challenging part of this show?

A: Learning the dances because they are very fast paced

Q: Are you having fun?

A: Yes, I have made a lot of new friends and I’m doing what I really love to do


Parent interview with JoAnn Bennett- Kristen’s mom:

Q: How has your experience been with Fox Valley Rep?

A: Fantastic, everyone’s friendly and all the kids are involved in the play

Q: How do you feel this program is beneficial to your child?

A: It helps to build her self-esteem. She is developing friendships. And it is helping with her love of theatre                               

 The cast members include: Batavia: Sophie Chahmirzadi; Elburn: Isabella Caballero and Amanda Eckstrom; Geneva: Diego Cardenas, Cassie Ernst, Jenna Kaba and Katie O’Brien; Hanover Park: Haley Troyan; Lombard: Maura Mueller; Montgomery: Lexii Gravis; St. Charles: Lilliana Andujar, Kristen Bennett, Christine Chlapeka, Emily Johnson, Kira Nutter, Marie Nunn, Mitchell Strickland, Daniella Taylor, Caeli Wu; Sugar Grove: Taylor Moss.


Disney’s Aladdin Jr. will be presented on Fridays, August 1 and 8 at 7:00pm; Saturdays, August 2 and 9 at 10:30am; and Sunday, August 10 at 2:00pm on the Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage.  Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the Pheasant Run Resort Box Office at 630-584-6342 or by visiting  For more information on Fox Valley Rep’s Academy and Youth Ensemble, visit

Posted in: Aladdin Jr. 2014

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FVR Instructor Jock Schloss asks — WHY IMPROV?




By FVR Academy Instructor Jock L. Schloss


As little as 10 years ago, one of the most reoccurring questions people would ask me was: “Why should I learn Improv?” Which would usually be followed by: “I like having a script” or “I’m not an actor.”schloss127small.jpg


Now, with more and more theatre schools requiring it in their curriculum, and many businesses bringing Improv workshops into the workplace, this question is asked less often.


Improvisation is now officially recognized as a theatrical art-form, and many theatrical & casting directors have said that having Improv experience is a big plus in their decisions whether or not to cast a particular person.


Although people have “Ad-Libed” since the early days of Vaudeville, Improvisation as we know it today was developed, in the early 1920’s, by a teacher of children’s theatre named Viola Spolin. She was introduced to the idea of games and storytelling as a teaching tool, while a student of Neva Boyd at Chicago’s Hull House. Deciding to use games to help teach her young students spontaneity, teamwork, and basic acting skills, she developed the first true “Theatre Games” out of the common recreational games used by her mentor Neva Boyd.


Since that time, these theatre games have been developed from their use as tools, into performance based Improvisation by people such as Viola’s son Paul Sills (the founder of Second City) & Keith Johnstone, who many think of as the father of modern Improvisation.


The late great Improv Guru Del Close once told me that he believed performing Improv increases your I.Q. Although that opinion has never been proven, it is true that Improv does use a part of your brain that many people let weaken, due to society’s common dependence on pre-planning. Theatrical actors are especially vulnerable to this weakening, due to “script dependence,” which can result in character portrayals that are “unbalanced” or ”missing something.” As a result, if an actor loses his/her place, or can’t remember the next line, many end up looking like a deer in the headlights, not having a clue how to cover, and waiting for his/her fellow actor to save them. Improv, however, strengthens that part of the brain, and helps to create characters that ring true.


But it doesn’t stop there. Improvisation has broken its chains to the theatre. Today it is used in: Fortune 500 businesses to help their employees to be sharper and better at their jobs, Recovery centers to help in the treatment of addictions, Education to help students understand what they are learning, and even social work, to help people get a deeper understanding of themselves.

So these days, if someone asks me “Why Improv” my response is simply:

“Can you think of any good reason why not?”


Check out out listing of Improv classes at!


About Jock

Jock L. Schloss Teaching Artist, Stand-up Comedian, Actor If you’ve lived in Chicago in the past 25 years, you’ve probably seen Jock L. Schloss perform. A well-known face in Chicago’s improv & sketch comedy community, Jock has also been seen in many venues, performing his hilarious and irreverent Stand-Up Comedy act. Jock has performed in over 20 theatrical plays, appeared in several improv groups, and even produced, directed, and hosted a variety show! On-camera, Jock has been seen quite a lot lately. You might recognize him as the irritating announcer for the Americash Loans commercial, the mood-swinging dad in the Callaway Diablo commercial, and falling over the couch after screaming about shoes in the Sears Doorbuster commercial. He’s also been seen in several reenactment shows such as Animal Witness, Undercover, and When Weather Changed History. When not performing, Jock teaches improv & comedy classes to kids, and holds workshops for adult actors, known as SASS (Serious Actors Strengthening Seminars).


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Theater brings friends together for FVR Subscriber Kathy Livernois


At Fox Valley Rep, our subscribers are very important to us.  Year after year, they support us by re-subscribing each season, bringing new faces to our theater, and spreading the word throughout the community. We want our subscribers to have a voice, and to let them tell you ‘why Fox Valley Rep?” in their own words.

Meet FVR Subscriber and Supporter Kathy Livernois:

How long have you been a Fox Valley Rep Subscriber, and what encouraged you to subscribe?

I have been a subscriber since the very start of Fox Valley Rep.  I decided to become a subscriber because I love theater and am committed to supporting local theater as much as I can.  Theater brings family and friends together and allows them an opportunity to watch a performance that may be funny, beautiful and thought provoking.

What does Fox Valley Rep mean to you and/or the beautiful town of St. Charles?

I consider St. Charles to be very fortunate to have Fox Valley Rep producing performances that continue to give this community something to talk about.


FVR Subscriber Kathy Livernois (top left) enjoying 'GIrls Night Out' at North Avenue Charhouse before enjoying their subsription tickets to "Sisters of Swing."

FVR Subscriber Kathy Livernois (top left) enjoying ‘GIrls Night Out’ at North Avenue Charhouse before enjoying their subscription tickets to “Sisters of Swing.”

To all of the fellow Fox Valley Rep fans who have been considering a subscription but haven’t done so yet, what would you say to them?

Initially I purchased several subscriptions as gifts for my girlfriends so they could experience the wonderful theater that Fox Valley Rep provides.  After the initial gift, they wanted to continue with the subscription and we now enjoy a “Girls Night Out’ with dinner followed by Fox Valley Rep theater.  Once you purchase one performance, you will want to purchase a subscription for the season - excellent theater at an excellent price!



Join Kathy Livernois and the rest of the record-breaking amount of Fox Valley Rep Subscribers by visiting!



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Director’s Note: ‘Sisters of Swing’ – more than just a music revue


Each year we look at several different scripts to consider as part of our season. We like to explore newer works that haven’t been produced yet in the Fox Valley area. Sisters of Swing is only a few years old but immediately jumped out as a piece that I thought would fit very well with our mission and also something that fits perfectly on our stage. It’s story and music are both charming and moving.

The Andrews Sisters in 1952.

The Andrews Sisters in 1952.

The music of the Andrews Sisters evokes so many memories for so many people, so it’s fitting that our story takes place as a memory. We’ve set the play in the attic of Patty, the youngest of the three sisters who lived into 2013. She is surrounded by photos, costumes and memories of her life with her two sisters, who have long since passed away.

The Andrews Sisters were world renowned in the 1930s and 40s. Known especially for their USO performances during World War II. They captured the innocence and “can-do” spirit of America and became an inspiration of all that was good in the U. S. of A.

But like many siblings, it’s not always easy to stay true to each other when dealing with fame and fortune. The Andrews Sisters broke up in the 1950s as rock and roll took over, and their music fell out of fashion as did their relationship with each other. Sisters of Swing will take you into the past as you share the greatest successes and biggest failures of one of America’s greatest singing groups.

- John Gawlik, Sisters of Swing Director

Artistic Director of Fox Valley Rep

Posted in: Sisters of Swing

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