When North Central College presents its three musicals this summer, hundreds of children and adults from the community and College will take the stage as pirates and Indians, fairy princesses, disciples of Jesus, soldiers, lost boys, villains and more. Many in the cast have North Central connections as students, faculty, alumni and staff.
Appearing on Pfeiffer Hall’s stage is “Jesus Christ Superstar,” directed by Susan Craig-Olsen, and “Peter Pan,” directed by Brian Lynch. The comic opera “Iolanthe” will be directed by Matt Boresi in the theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall.
“Summer theatre at North Central College is something we do well here and it’s a lot of fun for everyone,” says Lynch, also the College’s fine arts director. “Each show features 60 to 150 people in the cast. They’re all ages with diverse talents and interests, and many of the adult performers could do this professionally.”
Chad Pedigo, a 2006 graduate and fine arts manager at North Central, is part of a large contingent of alumni who auditioned together and landed many principal roles in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
“We’re all connected through theatre in Naperville and ‘descendants’ of Brian Lynch and thought this was a great gathering place and chance to spend time and work together,” he says. Pedigo (photo, far left) plays the role of Simon and, like many of his fellow actors in the show, majored in musical theatre and the arts at North Central. Max DeTogne (photo, right), a 2013 graduate and theatre major, stars as Jesus. Chelsea Ward, a North Central junior who plays Mary Magdalene, first performed at age 9 in the College summer production “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“I joined because my friends were all involved,” says Ward. “The summer shows were really the building block for the rest of my life. After ‘Joseph,’ I told my mom that when I was old enough I would be going to North Central. I was so inspired by the students’ talent and direction I was getting. Ten years later, here I am as a student and still participating in the shows.”
Lynch got his start in acting doing summer theatre, too. “It’s something I remember doing growing up each summer, with my family watching every show I was in. Even today as a director, I enjoy seeing the smiles of families and friends having a good time and watching those they know perform.” Lynch went on to pursue acting and starred as Jean Valjean in a Broadway touring production of “Les Miserables” before joining the faculty and staff at North Central.
Jen Berosek, a 2008 graduate and box office manager at North Central, will appear in one of two roles as Queen of the Fairies in the opera “Iolanthe.” She’s performed in previous summer musicals, which she says, “are an outlet for your creative side and great way to express your love of theatre or music. I have a more operatic sound so this show is a great fit for me.” Berosek especially loves working with the show’s musical director Jeordano “Pete” Martinez, North Central’s professor of music emeritus, and director Boresi, a 1997 graduate of North Central.
“The caliber of community theatre in Naperville is top-notch,” Pedigo says. “The production and direction are great because the historical and professional backgrounds of those involved over the years make it so strong.”
To purchase tickets for all shows, call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.