Saturday, August 18, 2012

Actors Assigned for Discovery Walk 2012

Judy Brown, Artistic Director of Illinois Voices Theatre, which collaborates with the McLean County Museum of History and Evergreen Memorial Cemetery to present the Discovery Walk every year, has announced casting for this year's celebration of historical figures from Bloomington's past.

Brown wrote, "Welcoming back Kathleen Kirk, Rhys Lovell, Kevin Wickart, and Gwen de Veer and wishing our newbies Marcus Smith, Leola Bellamy, Cathy Sutliff, and John Bowen a terrific acting experience unlike any other that I am familiar with."

Kathleen Kirk and Rhys Lovell have appeared in this historical reenactment event often, most recently as Southern sympathizer Martha Rice and wounded Union soldier Lewis Ijams in the 2011 Discovery Walk. Gwen de Veer and Kevin Wickart were also present last year; she played Frances Ela, half of a sweet young couple divided by war, while he was John C. Roeder, a German immigrant who became a raider to catch Confederate outlaws.

Kathleen Kirk as a ghostly Martha Rice in Discovery Walk 2011
You may've seen Marcus Smith and Cathy Sutliff, both newcomers to the Walk, in Heartland Theatre's production of "Superior Donuts" last spring, while John Bowen was on stage with Heartland in "Proof" and "The Diviners" in 2011 and at Community Players in "Hauptmann" earlier this year. Leola Bellamy is part of the cast of New Route Theatre's "Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine," which begins August 28 at their theater tucked inside the Bloomington YWCA.

Rhys Lovell as Lewis Ijams
Brown did not make mention of which actor is matched to which role, but we've seen the list of personages represented this year.

A few I know:  Gwen de Veer and Leola Bellamy are playing Madame Annette, the pseudonymous newspaper writer who interviewed local celebs, and fortune-teller Sophia Huggins, while Marcus Smith will take on Ike Sanders, owner of the Workingman's Club restaurant.

And we only have two female characters other than Annette and Huggins, so that means Kathleen Kirk and Cathy Sutliff will divide Georgina Trotter, a "dynamo," and Charlotte Scott, wife of prominent judge John M. Scott, between them. I'll go with Kirk for Trotter and Sutliff for Scott, just as a wild guess.

That leaves John Bowen, Rhys Lovell and Kevin Wickart unaccounted for. I'm going to predict Bowen gets Jerry Wonderlich, the racecar driver/Hollywood Romeo, but I haven't got a clue who's who between charismatic politician "Trott" Funk and W.C. Hobbs, the Beau Brummell of Bloomington-Normal. Lovell for Funk and Wickart for Hobbs?

I could be on target here, or I could be absolutely wrong for everyone!  I expect a few of the actors to set me straight soon enough, but for the total picture, I will clearly need to show up for the Discovery Walk (September 29-30 and October 6-7) to find out.

Tickets will be available after September 4 at the Garlic Press in Normal, Casey's Garden Shop in Bloomington, Evergreen Cemetery, or the McLean County Museum of History. They range from $4 for kids to $10 for Museum members and $14 for the general public.

Photo credits: Dana Colcleasure

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