Naperville, IL

(630) 243-5100

Same Programming, New Name! Academy of the Arts is now Illinois Conservatory for the Arts

Next event:

Velvet Social: For The Dreamers

with the Touring Cast of Back to the Future

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IMPACT: Musical Theatre

Session 2: August 5-9

Before the Parade Passes By

Before the Parade Passes By

Students from the Academy of the Arts were grateful it didn’t snow on their parade when they participated in a unique performance this Thanksgiving.

Festive floats, live music, waving crowds; what could be better than a holiday parade? Each year Naperville’s Holiday Parade of Lights draws thousands of visitors to the heart of town as they prepare to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Naperville, this year’s event is expected to raise almost $75,000 for local charities.

Traditionally the parade has always featured children from performing arts schools and this year organizers were especially delighted to welcome newcomers from the Academy of the Arts.

“The Academy of the Arts float really brightened up our Rotary Holiday Parade as a new entry this year,” said event co-chair Donna Malone. “Honestly, they may have even given Santa and Mrs. Claus a run for their money as the crowd favorite.  The kids were dressed up perfectly and their talent was undeniable as they passed the thousands of bright-eyed children watching from the sidelines and singing along with them – in awe that these famous princesses and even Olaf was right in front of them in their hometown of Naperville.”

The parade provided just as much fun to those participating as watching.

Fifteen-year-old Amira Woods said: “It was an incredible experience for me because I love performing and playing a character.  I was Princess Tiana who has been my favorite Disney Princess since I was a little girl, so it was a dream come true! It was an amazing event!”

For Alexandria Danley, 13, the parade was a chance to see what life might be like if one of her dreams comes true.

“I’ve always wanted to work at Disney as a character in this gave me a little glimpse of what it would be like,” she said. “I really enjoyed being able to be Elsa for little kids and just making them smile.”

 

session 1 • june 10–14, 2024

session 2 • August 5–9, 2024

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James T. Lane / Dance

West End: The Scottsboro Boys, A Chorus Line – Revival (Palladium Theatre). Broadway: Chicago (Billy Flynn and Amos Hart) Kiss Me, Kate (Paul), King Kong the Musical ,The Scottsboro Boys (Ozie Powell/Ruby Bates), Chicago and A Chorus Line (Richie Walters). Tours: Jersey Boys, Cinderella, Fame the Musical. Regional Theatre: Guys and Dolls ( Nicely Nicely) Virginia Stage Company, Mary Poppins (Bert) Aint’t Misbehavin ,Drury Lane Theatre, The Wiz (Tin Man), Broadway at Music Circus,The Old Globe, The Little Mermaid (Sebastian) The Muny, A.C.T and Dallas Theatre Center. Encores/Off Center:Promenade,Grand Hotel, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope Concerts: Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops, Ottawa Symphony and many more. James is the creator of and the 2023 Audelco Award winner for Best Solo Performance for “Triple Threat” that played Off Broadway to great acclaim at Theatre Row in New York City. Mr. Lane teaches music theatre dance when and wherever anyone will let him! Instagram: @jamestlane www.jamestlane.com

Syndee Winters / Voice

Syndee Winters (@syndeewinters) is an American singer, recording artist, and actress. Best known for her role as “Nala.” Syndee’s other credits include lead roles in Motown the Musical, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar on NBC, and Hamilton. In 2020, Syndee founded R.O.A.R., a professional development program helping artists hoan their skills, transform their stage presence and navigate the industry. Inspired by the art of storytelling, Syndee’s tours the world with two magical productions. Disney Princess: The Concert and Lessons From A Lady: A Dedication to Lena Horne. Syndee is also an award- winning recording artist and her latest project with GRAMMY® winning producer Ben Williams entitled, “Butterfly Black” is available everywhere now.

Caitlin Kinnunen / Acting

Caitlin Kinnunen Is a Tony nominated actress for her work in THE PROM on Broadway, having originated the role of Emma Nolan. Most recently you can hear her as Juniper on the podcast The Callisto Protocol: Helix Station starring Gwendolyn Christie. Caitlin was nominated for an Audie Award for narrating the audiobook MaryJane, and was handpicked by Judy Blume to narrate her book Forever. Film/TV credits include The Intern, Sweet Little Lies, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, We Need to Talk About Kevin, “Our Ladies” (pilot for The CW), “Suck Hole” (pilot for FX), “Younger”, “American Vandal”, “The Knick”, and “Law & Order: SVU”.

Peter Van Dam / Casting

Peter is the recipient of four Artios Awards for excellence in casting. He joined Tara Rubin Casting in 2018 as a Casting Director, and previously was an associate at Jim Carnahan Casting / Roundabout Theatre Company.

Broadway: The Heart of Rock & Roll, Six, The Phantom of the Opera, Tootsie, Head Over Heels, Angels in America, Farinelli and the King, The Cherry Orchard. National Tours: Six, The Band’s Visit. Off-Broadway/New York: Dead Outlaw (Audible Theater – World Premiere), Pal Joey (New York City Center), Whisper House (The Civilians), Sing Street (New York Theatre Workshop), Something Clean (Roundabout), The Beast in the Jungle (Vineyard). Regional: Summer Stock (Goodspeed – World Premiere), Sing Street, (The Huntington), 42nd Street (Goodspeed), Kismet (Granada Theatre/Santa Barbara Symphony), Chasing Rainbows (Paper Mill Playhouse), Chess (The Kennedy Center), Wonderful Town (LA Opera). Canada: Beaches, Six, The Louder We Get. West End: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Nice Fish. Benefits: I’m Still Here (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts), Julie Halston’s Broadway Belts for PFF, Thoroughly Modern Millie (The Actors Fund).

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