Classes

Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts offers classes for all ages! If you or someone you know are interested in the performing arts, these classes in everything from acting, to dance, to improv comedy are a great place to begin. Check below for upcoming education opportunities.

To get the most up-to-date announcements about class enrollment, auditions, and other youth opportunities, please contact wagonwheeljr.kids@gmail.com and you will be added to our email database.  Please use subject ADD in the email.

Acting Classes

Wagon Wheel Jr has opened enrollment for the second session of Acting Classes in 2021.

 Both in-person and virtual options are available! Please note that classes will suspend during our Wagon Wheel Jr production. No classes will meet from March 13th – March 27th. Detailed dates are listed for each class in the Master Schedule.

IN-PERSON classes

offered Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays from Feb 20th to April 24th
Click Master Schedule below for specific times and days offered

WWJr 2021 Session 2 Master Schedule

Our in-person classes will be limited to only ten students each class. We will all be masked during the entire class and remain distant even when working on two-person scenes. We expect anyone feeling under the weather to remain home and tune into our virtual class that week. There are no refunds for missed classes.

Class descriptions:
Theater Adventures – Grades 2-4
An introduction to the world of theater! Each class will bring a new adventuresome scene to life as the students learn basic principles of acting. Students will gain confidence and creative experience through storytelling, games, and creative dramatization.

Drama Time – Grades 5-7
Learn voice, movement, and acting techniques through beginning scene work and improvisation. Students will practice creating characters by making specific choices to support the text in this introduction to the formal study of acting.

Acting the Script – Grades 8-12
This class covers everything from audition techniques to performance. Students will engage in intensive scene work using scenes from contemporary and classic plays to explore the actor’s world of analysis and character interpretation.

Tuition: $70 for a session of seven classes. Scholarships are available (see below)

Please click on the respective button above to enroll now.

Enrollment is limited and will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Classes fill up quickly. Reserve your spot today!

Questions: please email wagonwheeljr.kids@gmail.com

VIRTUAL ONLINE

classes offered Wednesdays from Feb 24th to April 21st
Our virtual classes are a great option for families who want acting opportunities for their students without leaving the house. These classes will be tailored to the online environment with a focus on PLAY and FUN. There are no refunds for missed classes.

Click Master Schedule below for specific times and days offered

WWJr 2021 Session 2 Master Schedule

Class descriptions:
Online Storytelling – Grades 2-5
Each class will be a fun exploration of acting techniques on Zoom! Games, improvisation, and scripts intended for online theater will keep students engaged and excited to play and learn.

Virtual Acting – Grades 6-12
The pandemic has opened the doors for theater-makers to create scripts intended for online performance. This class will dive into fun-filled online theater that will develop and build on acting techniques that can be used live once theaters open up again!

Tuition: $70 for a session of seven classes. Scholarships are available (see below)

Please click on the respective button above to enroll now.

Enrollment is limited and will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Classes fill up quickly. Reserve your spot today!

Questions: please email wagonwheeljr.kids@gmail.com

Private Lessons

Voice lessons:
Voice lessons at the Wagon Wheel will help to develop a reliable, balanced, and performance ready singing voice across multiple musical genres. Lessons are structured to help students develop healthy vocal production, and properly implement those skills across the various genres that are present in the current musical theatre landscape. There will be a firm foundation in classical voice, and the development of a balanced musical theatre speech-mix and belt.

Lessons are available for 30-minute and 60-minutes sessions. Upon completion of your registration, you will be contacted to set up your lesson time.  Click the respective button below to enroll now!

Please email Thomas Hall with questions: thomaschall85@gmail.com

Piano lessons:
Piano lessons through the Wagon Wheel will focus on developing the piano skills needed for solo piano performance with a movement towards collaboration and accompanying.

Piano lessons are offered in 30-minute sessions. Upon completion of your registration, you will be contacted to set up your lesson time. Click the respective button below to enroll now!

Please email Thomas Hall with questions: thomaschall85@gmail.com

Scholarships:

Scholarships are available for all programs. Wagon Wheel Theatre believes that every child should have an opportunity to experience live theatre first-hand regardless of ability to pay. To request consideration for a scholarship, please complete the scholarship application form and bring it to the box office.  You may also submit it directly to Executive Director, Jay Michaels, (jay@wagonwheelcenter.org).

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Meet the Teachers

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Kira Lace Hawkins

Education Director

Bio

Kira has performed in over 40 Wagon Wheel productions playing such roles as Miss Hannigan in Annie, Donna in Mamma Mia!, and Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. Kira has an MFA in Acting from Penn State University and loves teaching students of all ages. She has served on the theater and music faculty of St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and Manchester University in North Manchester.

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Thomas Hall

Voice/Piano Instructor

Bio

Thomas Hall holds a M.M. in Voice Performance from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. He has maintained a private voice studio since 2003, taught five years at Warsaw Community High School, music directed over 30 productions, worked as a Graduate Assistant in Voice and Opera at Ball State University. He has recently joined the Wagon Wheel Family as the music director for many Wagon Wheel Junior Productions, the music director for the latest production of Always, Patsy Cline, and he looks forward to working as a music director this upcoming summer season.

Kira Lace Hawkins
Kira Lace Hawkins

Bio

Kira Lace Hawkins has performed in over 40 Wagon Wheel productions playing such roles as Miss Hannigan in Annie, Donna in Mamma Mia!, and Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. Kira has an MFA in Acting from Penn State University and loves teaching students of all ages. She has served on the theater and music faculty of St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and currently directs and teaches at Manchester University.

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Scott Michaels

Bio

Prior to Scott’s 12 years as the Wagon Wheel’s Artistic Director, he spent 12 seasons as resident Choreographer/Director on nearly 100 productions. During that time, he spent 4 years as the resident Director/Choreographer at the Armory Theatre in Janesville, Wisconsin. In his free time, he continues to work with high schools and colleges all over the Midwest directing, choreographing, and running countless workshops and master classes. Scott’s work on Cats at Arrowhead H.S. in Hartland, Wisconsin won USA Today’s award for Best High School Musical in the country for 2008. Scott spent 2 years as an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL as the Musical Theatre Dance Teacher. He has over 25 years of performing experience from Chicago to Regional theatre. Scott has performed all over the country and Japan and enjoyed a 2 year tour as a back-up singer for Perry Como.

Jennifer Dow

Bio

This marks Jennifer Dow’s 21st year at the Wagon Wheel as a performer, her 11th year as the wig designer, and her 8th year as a wearer of many hats including organizer of the Wagon Wheel Jr. program. After receiving her BFA in Music Theatre from Millikin University, Jennifer’s favorite place to work quickly became the Wagon Wheel Theatre. Her most memorable roles on the Wagon Wheel stage are A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), AlwaysPatsy Cline (Louise), Young Frankenstein (Frau Blucher), Marvelous Wonderettes (Suzy), Guys and Dolls (Adelaide), Seussical (Gertrude), South Pacific (Nellie). Other regional credits include Cats (Rumpleteaser) at the Marriott Lincolnshire, Grand Hotel at Drury Lane Water Tower, Jekyll & Hyde (Emma) at Pheasant Run, and performing as a singer with the Rockettes for 3 seasons in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

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Andy Robinson

Summer Play/ Summer Songs and Scenes

Bio

Andy Robinson has worked with Ben Dicke on the Wagon Wheel Theatre Youth Programs since 2005. He holds a Masters from NYU in Educational Theatre and has taught theatre to grades 1-12 for over fifteen years in both New York City and Chicago. He is currently Chair of the Department of Musical Theatre at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. A long time Wagon Wheel actor, his favorite roles include the 2nd Gangster in Kiss Me, Kate, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, and the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. Along with Ben Dicke, he directed Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Importance of Being Earnest, Blithe Spirit, The Crucible, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Wagon Wheel main-stage. He loves collaborating with Ben and Emily on making theatre with young actors!

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Ben Dicke

Summer Musical Theatre Workshop

Bio

Ben Dicke began working at the Wagon Wheel in 2004. Favorite roles on that stage include Henry Higgins in last summer’s My Fair Lady, Dr. Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, Applegate in Damn Yankees, and Cliff in Cabaret, among many others. Ben helped develop the Wagon Wheel’s Summer Youth Programming alongside Andy Robinson in the summer of 2005. In addition to their directing work with the students of Warsaw and the surrounding areas, Ben and Andy have collaborated as directors for the professional company on a number of projects including Brighton Beach Memoirs, Blithe Spirit, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, among others. Ben is excited to, once again, collaborate with Andy Robinson as co-directors for Peter and the Starcatcher. Ben is currently the Chair of the Theatre Department at The Chicago Academy for the Arts.

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Emily Ann Luhrs

Summer Songs and Scenes/ Summer Musical Theatre Workshop

Bio

Emily Ann Luhrs is a Chicago theatre artist whose exploits include writing, performing, directing, and puppetry. Favorite roles include Sophie in Mamma Mia (Arvada Center Theatre), Lizzie in Baby (Cherry Creek Theatre), and Emily in A Christmas Carol with Richard White (Arvada Center) among others. Recent directing credits include The Wolves and Seussical at the Chicago Academy for the Arts She also designed a five-headed dragon puppet for the Theatre department’s play: She Kills Monsters. Emily also worked for five years as a teaching artist at the Denver Center Theatre Academy. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from the University of Oklahoma.

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Scott Michaels

Dance Classes

Bio

Prior to Scott’s 11 years as the Wagon Wheel’s Artistic Director, he spent 12 seasons as resident Choreographer/Director on nearly 100 productions. During that time, he spent 4 years as the resident Director/Choreographer at the Armory Theatre in Janesville, Wisconsin. In his free time, he continues to work with high schools and colleges all over the Midwest directing, choreographing, and running countless workshops and master classes. Scott’s work on Cats at Arrowhead H.S. in Hartland, Wisconsin won USA Today’s award for Best High School Musical in the country for 2008. Scott spent 2 years as an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL as the Musical Theatre Dance Teacher. He has over 25 years of performing experience from Chicago to Regional theatre. Scott has performed all over the country and Japan and enjoyed a 2 year tour as a back-up singer for Perry Como.

Auditions for Youth, ages 9 -18

Please visit our audition page for the latest auditions for Youth/Teens.

Please click button below for more information.

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