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Broadway bits benefit kids’ stage program

Nan Grommes piano music director Fox Country Players’ “A Night Broadway” rehearses show tune with members productiDirector MarshSwansleft.

Nan Grommes, at the piano, music director of the Fox Country Players’ “A Night of Broadway,” rehearses a show tune with members of the production and Director Marsha Swanson, left.

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Fundraiser musical

What: “A Night of Broadway” musical fundraiser for Fox Country Players’ summer workshop for students

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Community Christian Church, 129 Commercial Drive, Yorkville

Tickets: $15; at the door or online at

Updated: February 16, 2013 6:08AM

YORKVILLE — Black tie is optional, but patrons attending the Fox Country Players “A Night of Broadway” are encouraged to dress up to the nines Saturday as the talented local singers perform some of Broadway’s best-loved tunes.

The event is a fundraiser to support the theater group’s summer workshop program for elementary and high school students.

The show will begin at 6 p.m. at the Community Christian Church, 129 Commercial Drive, Yorkville.

Fox Country Players President Doug Earnest envisions this fundraiser to become Kendall County’s most elegant affair.

“Eventually, I’d like to see it a black tie event. But we also plan to keep it very affordable,” Earnest said.

Tickets are $15 each and will be available at the door or online at

The playbill includes songs from “Les Miserables,” “Oliver,” “The Lion King,” “West Side Story,” “Carousel” and “Guys & Dolls.”

There also will be a silent auction for an assortment of items that include baskets from local business, and tickets for the Goodman Theater in Chicago, the Paramount Theatre in Aurora and the Shakespearean Theatre on Navy Pier.

Earnest said that at last year’s inaugural fundraiser, Fox Country Players raised $2,700 through auction bids. He predicts this year’s auction will be even better.

“The Paramount has really worked with us nicely. They’ve stepped up and helped us every time,” Earnest said. “And our baskets have everything from wine bottles to car washes to local automotives.”

Earnest’s mother, Marsha Swanson, the director of the event, said “A Night of Broadway” will offer a variety of current as well as classic show tunes.

“It went really well last year, and we have even more talent this year,” she said during one of the ensemble’s rehearsals. “This is a fun group to work with because they are used to working together. It’s going to be a great show.”

Nan Grommes is musical director for the show, and Ken Wayne, head choral director at Yorkville High School, is acting as assistant musical director and performing in the production along with about 25 members of Fox Country Players.

Kids and arts

The Theatre Arts Academy this year will be from July 8 to 28.

Jen Whittington, a Yorkville High School graduate who now lives in Bolingbrook, is in charge of the academy. She said that the workshop for first- through eighth-graders is held in the mornings for two weeks, and the high schoolers meet in the afternoons for two weeks and then attend all day for a final week.

At the end of the workshops, the younger students do a show for their parents and the high school students put on a full-fledged musical production. Last year they did “Happy Days.”

“Kids learn performing arts skills, like memorization of lines, choreography, dance, music, projection, stage presence,” Whittington said. “... The Academy bolsters its students’ self-confidence and encourages camaraderie. They really support each other. It’s neat how they come together.”

It’s also a lot of hard work. The high school students paint scenery, learn how to do makeup, voice projection, memorize a lot of lines and songs, and learn dance routines, all in three weeks.

“It’s pretty impressive what they can pull off,” Whittington said.

She said she would welcome any students who have an interest in acting or music to consider attending the Academy.

“We can handle as many students as we can get. And it really is fun,” she said.

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