Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Who's at the Discovery Walk, Part II: Kirk, Smith, Sutliffe andWickart

It's been a week and a bit since we looked at four of the actors in this year's Discovery Walk at Evergreen Cemetery. I have been remiss in filling in the blanks, but there's still time to fill you in on the remaining four actors before the Walk starts up again on Saturday for four more rounds of performances.

The Discovery Walk is, of course, the annual celebration of Bloomington's past put together by Illinois Voices Theatre, the McLean County Museum of History, and Evergreen Cemetery. Judy Brown, who directs the actors who present real people who lived and worked and made an impact in our town, has chosen some veterans, like Rhys Lovell and Gwen de Veer, and some newcomers, like
Leola Bellamy and John Bowen, as we discussed last time.

The last four actors are that same mix, with two returnees in Kathleen Kirk and Kevin Wickart, and two actors trying out the Discovery Walk experience for the first time in Marcus Smith and Cathy Sutliff.

Kirk has, of course, performed as part of this event many times. She's a well-known local actress and poet with plenty of appearances on local stages. This year, she's portraying Georgina Trotter, a tireless advocate for education and the public library in Bloomington. In the Museum's biographical material linked under Trotter's name, they note that "The Pantagraph called her 'one of the most remarkable women Bloomington has ever claimed as a citizen.'" Kirk will also be playing Georgina Trotter in the dinner-and-drama salute to educators called "Spirit of Educators Past" coming later in October.

Marcus Smith and Cathy Sutliff co-starred in Heartland Theatre's Superior Donuts last spring, and they're both making their Discovery Walk acting debuts this year. Smith is playing Ike Sanders, a local entrepreneur who started the Workingman's Club, a popular restaurant that served miners and railroad workers in downtown Bloomington. Sanders was the first African-American to own and operate a restaurant (he actually had three of them over the years) in town.

Sutliff is the current president of the Area Arts Roundtable and former president of the board at Community Players. A 25-year resident of Bloomington-Normal, she is also an experienced costumer, and has acted as costumer for the Discovery Walk before. Her role is Charlotte Ann Perry Scott, the wife of Judge John M. Scott, a character whose script I wrote for the Discovery Walk in 2002.

Rounding out the cast is Kevin Wickart, who's been seen recently at Heartland in Mauritius, at Eastlight in Les Miz, and in Prairie Fire's Damn Yankees. Last year, he played John Roeder, the wild-eyed soldier who served with the Union Army hunting down "bushwhackers" in Missouri, and this year, he's taking a very different turn with Benjamin "Trott" Funk, the seventh of ten children born to Isaac and Cassandra Funk, founders of Funks Grove. Trott was a respected politician who served five terms as mayor of Bloomington, making welcome improvements to city sewers and streets and the water supply.

Tours begin at 11 am and 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday, and tickets are available at the McLean County Museum of History, the Garlic Press, Casey's Garden Shop and Evergreen Cemetery. For more information on the characters in Discovery Walk 2012, click here. For ticket information and general details, click here.

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