Under the Hood, Volume 3

Ligeia R. Lester (Cinderella) during Into the Woods rehearsal, by Kathryn Lynn Morgen

An interview with Ligeia R. Lester by Katie Woodzick

You're a new face on the WICA stage! Where did you come from? I grew up in Missoula Montana and did about a dozen shows with Missoula Children's Theater. My dad and I would do a show together every year, and it's one of my fondest memories of growing up in MT. I didn't care for the mountains or the weather or the horses, but I loved the theater! This is my first show on Whidbey Island, though over been here for almost ten years.

We hear that theatre runs in the family! Will we be seeing your kiddos on the WICA stage anytime soon? Yes! Both of my children will be in "A Christmas Story" directed by Deana Duncan. And who knows? Maybe we'll wind up doing a show a year and start a new family tradition!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of this production? Meeting so many talented and amazing actors!  I've seen several shows here on Whidbey Island and I'm just thrilled to finally be a part of one of them.

The Slipper as Pure as Gold by cos1163 on deviantart

Cinderella is such an iconic role. What has been your process of getting into character? Well, Cinderella is just NICE. She's the kind of girl I would like to be.  I'm not really that nice, but I think if I draw on the sweetest parts of myself and repress the rest, I can get pretty close to how nice Cinderella is.

I've also spent a lot of time thinking about why she is so nice.  What kind of parents must she have had to raise such a sweet, forgiving little lamb?  What kind of upbringing fosters such genuine goodness?

I'm looking into that part of the character to see if I can get it for my own life. But I also have to remember that this is a fairy tale.  No one in real life is actually that good or sweet, and no parent in real life is perfect. So as much as I want to be the perfect mother, perfect daughter, perfect wife, I have to settle for just playing perfect on stage.

What do you want audience members to know about the show? The music is ridiculously difficult. Sondheim is a genius and a bastard. (Can I say that out loud?!)

And, in the spirit of Bernard Pivot and James Lipton (of Inside the Actor's Studio fame):

What is your favorite word? Peanut. And boogle. That's a tough choice.

What is your least favorite word? But-

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? A challenge.

What turns you off? Unreliable people. 

What is your favorite curse word? SONOFA....

What sound or noise do you love? Rain on a tin roof. What sound or noise do you hate? Can I say noisy children? I feel like that's a really mean thing to say, but it's the truth right now. 

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I wanna be a rock star! 

What profession would you not like to do? House keeping. OMG I hate house work. The only thing worse than cleaning my dirty house is cleaning someone else's! 

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I want to hear Him sing "Ligeia! Ligeia, Ligeia, Ligeia!" To the tune of "Maria" from West Side Story.

Katie Woodzick is an actor, director, writer and feminist who lives on Whidbey Island. By day, she can be found working for Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. By night, she can be found rehearsing at local theatres, writing for Whidbey Life Magazine and singing karaoke. Learn more at katiewoodzick.squarespace.com and woodzickwrites.wordpress.com

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is directed by Robert W. Prosch. It runs October 10-25. Visit the event page for more information.

Everyone Can Dance at WICA

We are so thrilled to announce the newest addition to our arts and education programming. Walter and Celina Dill of Everyone Can Dance will be leading two five-week Swing Class Sessions beginning on Sunday, September 28! Read all about it below:

Everyone Can Dance at WICA

part of WICA’s Arts and Education programming
with Walter Dill & Daughter, Celina
in Zech Hall @ Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

5 Sundays: September 28–October 26

Swing 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5:30-6:30pm

East Coast Swing is the best place to start learning partner dance and is probably the most useful and fun dance in our culture. Most local bands that play Swing. There is an immense variety of music that inspires Swing dancing – Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Pop, Western, and even Big Band! No prerequisite.

Swing 2: Double-time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6:45-7:45pm

There is a marvelous selection of rockin’ out music that is too fast for Triple-time Swing and too slow for Single-time Swing. If you want to feel good about life, this is the dance for you. Prerequisite: Any Swing class.


$60/person for a 5-week class series; $45 for 18 & under. $30 for 12 & under with paying adult.

Pay online at www.EveryoneCanDance.com or download registration form here.

Pre-registration encouraged.

Make checks to: WALTER DILL.
Mail to or drop off at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts
565 Camano Ave, Langley, WA 98260. 

More info: 360-301-4755, walter@everyonecandance.com

Why dance?

• Contrary to popular belief, everyone can dance. The Dills have proven this thousands of times. All you have to do is show up and try.

• Get exercise and develop “plays-well-with-others” skills. Name another activity where people of all ages can collaborate and respectfully touch. Bring your kids, parents, partner and friends.

• Find the joy of being creative and experience the satisfaction of finding your own “groove”.

• Dancing was the only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia, as reported in a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, 6/19/2003

Walter & Celina

Walter, whose formal education was in art and design (see www.WalterDill.com), co-created Living Traditions Dance (1990-2004) in Seattle, which taught dance to over 14,000 people. Many dance instructors in Seattle took their first dance classes with Walter. Since moving to Whidbey Island in 2006, the Dill’s have hosted over 1,000 islanders in their classes. Celina has now taught with her dad for a decade and is a deeply knowledgeable, skilled and caring instructor. They have been teaching together in Seattle for the past two years and are ready to offer classes again on Whidbey Island.

Dancing for the Dill’s is about becoming conscious of how we move through life, relating creatively and in harmony (non-competitvely) with our partners, friends, families and community as a whole, and of course, having fun.


Under the Hood, Volume 2

by Katie Woodzick

What is the first image that comes into your head when you think about Little Red Riding Hood? Most likely the cape, followed perhaps by the basket, the woods and the wolf.

For me, creating character starts with visual elements. In our musical, Little Red Riding Hood’s crimson cape is one of four items that the Baker and the Baker’s Wife must collect in order to reverse a spell that The Witch has cast upon them years ago.

This week, we started the process of costume fittings. Our costumer, Mira Steinbrecher, has pulled pieces for each character. There are three racks filled with potential costumes, sorted by large plastic tags. These tags are used for each production, and have painters tape on each side: the front-facing side has the character name, and the back side has the actor name.

Costume pieces are pulled, borrowed, or built. Pieces that are “pulled” come from WICA’s costume loft, which holds hundreds, if not thousands of pieces, organized by clothing type, color and time period. Pieces that are borrowed (or rented) come from local theatres. Pieces that are built are constructed using fabric or taking apart existing costumes and repurposing them.

The costumer looks at the costume plot, often provided in the script of a given play. A costume plot details how many costumes each character has over the course of the play.

In our show, Little Red has one base costume, on top of which two different capes get placed. Our production has a traditional aesthetic, in that each of the fairy tales is costumed from the era in which it originally takes place. Little Red’s inspiration was pulled from the era of Heidi, with an Alpine flair. The base costume is a navy blue dirndl with red embroidered flowers, a vintage piece borrowed from Studio East in Kirkland.

The first cape is the iconic red one with a hood. Mira pulled a beautiful vintage wool cape donated to WICA that was originally from Saks 5th Avenue. Costumes must be adjusted for function as well as their visual appeal. In our show, the Baker temporarily steals Little Red’s cape off her shoulders, so Mira will modify it to have a front clasp that easily comes apart.

The second cape is made from the skin of the wolf. Little Red proudly proclaims to Jack: “My granny made it for me from a wolf that attacked us. And I got to skin the animal—and best of all, she gave me this beautiful knife for protection.” Mira is crafting the wolf cape from a piece originally used in Gaielle Remembering.

In addition to the dirndl and the capes, Mira has built a red and white mop hat with red lace trim, for comedic effect as well as to age down the appearance of a 29 year old actress playing a 14 year old character.

Mira then secures pins to create new hems for petticoats and mark spots to later place fasteners, etc. In the five weeks between now and production, Mira and her crew of volunteers will finish costumes for the other 24 actors in the production.

Mira reminds me to let my readers know that there is always room for volunteer stitchers and wardrobe/dresser folks for the run of the show! If you’d like to be part of the magic, you can email Mira: MiraJean@whidbey.com.

Katie Woodzick is an actor, director, writer and feminist who lives on Whidbey Island. By day, she can be found working for Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. By night, she can be found rehearsing at local theatres, writing for Whidbey Life Magazine and singing karaoke. Learn more at katiewoodzick.squarespace.com and woodzickwrites.wordpress.com

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is directed by Robert W. Prosch. It runs October 10-25. Visit the event page for more information.

Into the Woods looking for actors!

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine runs October 10-25 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. The production is directed by Robert W. Prosch and is seeking actors and singers to fill the roles of: 
Birds/Demon: movement-oriented role, non-singing part.
Mysterious Man: Intellectual, pleasant. Strong story telling skills. Mostly acting role. Age 40-65, Bass/Baritone
Cinderella’s Father: A well-meaning drunk: Male, Age 40-60 - speaking role with some ensemble singing

Rehearsals are weeknights from 7-10 and some weekend hours. Rehearsals require more hours closer to opening night. Please Contact Director, Robert W. Prosch at rob.prosch@gmail.com for more information.

Under the Hood, Volume 1

by Katie Woodzick

I was introduced to musicals from an early age. We didn’t have a television in our apartment in the suburbs of Madison, but we would borrow my father’s TV/VCR combo from neighboring Milwaukee whenever I was sick.

My mother picked out a handful of VHS tapes to entertain me while I stayed home from school with the chicken pox when I was seven. I started grabbing for the Disney movies, but she stopped me. 

“Why don’t you try this one first?” She held up a copy of Yankee Doodle Dandy, staring James Cagney. 

“Aw, Mom, it’s in black and white. It’s gonna be SO boring!” I whined. 

“How about this: just try watching the first ten minutes. If you don’t like it, you can pick another movie.”

I begrudgingly agreed to the bargain, and a life-long love of musicals was born.

I would go over to my neighbor’s house after school and spread Cheez Whiz on Ritz Crackers and watch Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse sing and dance their way across her television screen.

I first experienced the work of Stephen Sondheim through the film of musical West Side Story. I would watch it on a seemingly endless loop when I visited my grandparent’s house. I danced through the olive green tiled kitchen snapping my fingers and singing, “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way!”

The first time I saw Into the Woods, I was twelve years old. I was mesmerized by the music and the storyline. I was amazed that a musical could transition so quickly from being hilarious to heart-wrenching.

I was (and still am) big fan of Weird Al Yankovic, and was struck by the similarities between the way he would take a song that everybody knew and alter it to make it more entertaining. Into the Woods takes fairy tales that everyone knows, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk, and tells them in a different manner, making them intersect.

Act One follows the characters through the arc of the story with which people are familiar. Jack slays the giant, Cinderella gets her prince, etc…But Act Two goes further in imagining what happens after each of the characters respective “Happily ever afters.”

Currently, we are in our fifth week of rehearsal. Our director, Rob Prosch, is teaching us our music with the assistance of Jess Monett, our accompanist. The score has over sixty-five musical numbers. 

Many of us participate in community theatre because it feels like family, like home. The rehearsal room is a place where it is safe to try and fail: a place to be held by castmates, the stage manager and the director. And, finally, after weeks of putting it all together, it’s ready to share with you, the audience. 

We’re so glad you’re part of our theatrical family as well.

Katie Woodzick is an actor, director, writer and feminist who lives on Whidbey Island. By day, she can be found working for Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. By night, she can be found rehearsing at local theatres, writing for Whidbey Life Magazine and singing karaoke. Learn more at katiewoodzick.squarespace.com and woodzickwrites.wordpress.com

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is directed by Robert W. Prosch. It runs October 10-25. Visit the event page for more information.

Welcome to the 2014-2015 Season!

Mark O'Connor Band - DjangoFest Northwest, September 2011 by Scott Bookman

Gwen Jones as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit - Theatre Series, October 2013 by Tyler Raymond

Wonderheads' Grim and Fischer - Family Series, November 2013 by Tyler Raymond

Local Writers - Literary Series with Hedgebrook, March 2014 by Kathryn Morgen

This season's theme, Stage Notes, is inspired by the notes a director gives to actors and crew during and after rehearsals--where to stand, what to keep, what to change, a new idea or mood or feeling to convey--the myriad nuances which facilitate the process that eventually leads to opening night.

The 2014-2015 WICA Season is a result of hundres of "stage notes" spread over several months of planning. Last November, a call for programming was distributed to the community through our website, press releases, DrewsList, newsletters, and inside our show programs. The responding notes from our community consisted of requests for more of this or that (more literature, more classical music), requests to book specific artists (Weatherside Whiskey Band, Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen), new programming ideas (One Act Fest NW), submissions from artists for booking, and play proposals from directors (see Theatre Series line-up).

The new season's artistic choice is driven by "notes" from you, our WICA constituents. We believe in an open process and opportunity for all. We believe this so strongly that we have created the very blog you are reading called, of course, Stage Notes, where you will find a virtual home that shares stories, process, backstage content, news and updates. We invite you to visit the blog and share with us what is working--what do we keep, what do we need to improve--and new ideas and opportunities.

While you're at it, book the best seats for the 2014-2015 season!

See you here,
Stacie Burgua
Executive Director

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - Theatre Series, December 2013 by Lucy Brown

Rehearsal for Literary Series with Hedgebrook - March 2014 by Kathryn Morgen

Mark Findlay Rehearses - PianoFest Northwest 2014 by Kathryn Morgen

Our Town Rehearsal - Theatre Series, June 2014 by Tyler Raymond

Notes from Last Night's Audition Workshop

WICA hosted our 14th annual Audition Workshop last night taught by Andrew Grenier.

We've compiled the 'take away" notes and hope you'll enjoy reading them as we consider an ongoing "What are You Working On" workshop for actors.

WICA Season Auditions are next week, please call or write to sign up. We'd love to see you!

Big thank YOU to Andy for a great class!

Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

Audition Workshop with Andrew Grenier, August 6, 2014 at 7pm

Take Aways:

Andy was very clear that these are his ideas, what works for him and by no means the absolute truth for everyone. He encouraged all actors to read more plays, read a few Auditioning books and audition audition audition. Strong encouragement to always “keep a few pieces in your pocket” so we dont freak out when auditions come up…reminding us that “we are what we do not what we say.”

He is looking for:

        Show me a skill set that makes me want to work with you.

        Dont put barriers in your way, on Whidbey Island if you need to hold your monologue because the memorization isnt all there, hold the monologue. Help yourself.

        Be present, honest dont try to convince the director, just show

        Dont defuse your energy, no pacing, unnecessary placement of furniture. Own the space

        Choose material in your range, choose strong plays from great playwrights. (Help yourself )

        Choose pieces that give you something to DO

        Choose a piece that tells a story, has a beginning, a middle and an end. Read the play, know what has happened before and after what youve just done

        Do not choose a piece from the play you are auditioning for.

        Do not use pieces these directors have seen you do before, get new work!

        Stay on time, you will be stopped and its horrible

        Pay close attention to that audition sheet, dont be cute on it, dont skip anything, give them as much information as you can. Be honest about conflicts.

        Always slate give your name and the name of the material including playwright (know the playwright!)

        Understand the space, DC is strongest but you can introduce and then move into that space as a way to show body awareness.

        Remember you are auditioning from the moment you walk in the theatre

After an audition answer for yourself:

        What did you like about what just happened

        What would you do differently

        Do you want feedback-okay to reach out and ask for that but not in a negative way like, I was great, why didnt you cast me?


Question and answers:

“What mistakes have you seen”  - Andy talked a bit about the occasional presumptuousness of actors; that we know the directors and each other, and rely on that rather than our skills. Hed like to see all of us us come in more professionally. No bullshit. Pay attention to the items mentioned above. Breathe, ground yourself, own the space. Say thank you.

Dressing for Auditions:  Think about the character but dont come in full costume, can always dress towards the character to help the director and yourself.

Accents: Best left for callbacks and individual conversations with director. Just showcase YOU

How to prep: Consider beginning a local “What are you Working On Workshop” keep everybody fresh. Pick a piece that shows off YOU,  practice, rehearse, be confident


Download the PDF version of these notes here.

'A Christmas Story' Youth Auditions

WICA announces youth auditions for 'A Christmas Story'

Seeking boys and girls ages 6-12

WICA will be hosting auditions for all children’s roles for the December 2014 production of A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd, adapted by Philip Grecian.

 Auditions will be held August 7 & 8 and August 18 & 19 starting at 4pm. Auditions are by appointment only. To schedule a time, contact Deana Duncan at (360)-221-8276 or deana.duncan@wicaonline.com.

The young actors chosen must be available for all rehearsals and performances. Children’s rehearsals will be after school on weekdays and/or a few weeknight rehearsals during 1st month. Performance schedules include both matinee and evening performances. A Christmas Story rehearsals begin the week of October 13. The show runs December  5-20, 2014.


“A Christmas Story” ROLES TO BE CAST:

Ralphie Parker: male age 9-12, lead boy who is often teased by bullies.

Randy Parker: male, age 6-10, Ralphie’s little brother, adorable

Flick: male age 9-12, Ralphie’s friend., also plays Desperado One

Schwartz: male age 9-12, Ralphie’s friend, also plays Desperado Two

Esther Jane Alberry: female age 9-12, Ralphie’s classmate.

Helen Weathers: female age 9-12, Ralphie’s classmate.

Scut Farkas: male 9-12, bully. Also plays Black Bart. 

Summer at WICA

by Deana Duncan

It’s another gorgeous day and as we work feverishly to finalize our programming and get this season brochure to print it dawns on all of us, again, what an incredible beast this thing called WICA is. She holds all these years of artistic struggle and story, she offers us a cultural home for all art and she sits on this small hill above the sea and simply says “Believe” in the power of arts to change lives.

Summer at WICA means kids age 5-18 running in and out as they take camps ranging from Tech to Puppets to Broadway, it means Tyler is cleaning and organizing the shop, it means Annie is fixing all the new holes in the walls made by careening set pieces and people in the last 12 months.

Summer means Stacie is leading board and staff through strategic planning including solid reflection on what went well this year and what, honestly, needs some attention, it means the board is analyzing financials and re-energizing their forces while box office and front desk plan for the future by entering the new upcoming season in our ticketing program and create 7,000 labels for the season brochure to get mailed in three weeks.

Summer means Kathryn in marketing is buried to an inch of her life in Season Brochure, updated website, auction and Djangofest support and continued marketing of summer camps and rentals.

Summer at WICA means thank you to all our supporters, patrons, donors, and volunteers for another amazing year and it means we’re cleaning house, getting ready.

Feel free to drop by, say hi, take a tour, let us know your favorite moment at WICA or just come by for a sprite and grenadine – we have plenty!

Deana Duncan

Deana Duncan is a theatre producer, director, actress, and writer with a background in Non-profit leadership. She lives in Langley and is WICA's Production & Programming Director.

Our Town hits home

by Deana Duncan

Producers are lucky people, we get this opportunity to participate in artist process again and again and again. On Saturday I had the joy of watching the first full run of Our Town and as I listened to Jim Scullin welcome us to Grover's Corners all I could really see is...well…our town here on South Whidbey. He spoke of churches, and houses, and gardens, and town hall and the schools and I remembered my own children running up down this area growing up and moving on and it dawned on me again how wonderful this play is.  It’s populated with 26 amazing actors bringing us story after story that we will laugh, cry, chuckle, and shake our heads at.  There are lines that brought me to tears, and gestures that took my breath away. If you’ve seen it before, you know it’s a powerful American Classic and if you've never seen it…well you know what, if you've never seen Our Town you need to see it now.

If money is an issue call us, we’ll get you in. This play at this time is a gift from and to our community; thank you Tim Rarick and your wonderful team. Can’t wait for opening night!


Deana Duncan is a theatre producer, director, actress, and writer with a background in Non-profit leadership. She lives in Langley and is WICA's Production & Programming Director.