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Beginnings

The Summer Place, Inc. (or Summer Place Theatre as it has come to be known) got it's start back in 1966 as a way to keep students active and their acting skills sharp over the summer months. 

 It was founded by Donald "Doc" Shanower, then Dean of Theatre at North Central College in 1966. 2016 was our 50th season, and we dedicated our shows to Doc. Sadly, we lost Doc in 2015, just shy of our big 50th anniversary. We miss you, and most of all we thank you for creating this long lasting Naperville institution.

Our Mission Statement:

The Summer Place, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer-supported community theatre, based in the Naperville area, strives to provide professional quality year round theatre arts entertainment. We are committed to providing:

  • A supportive and collaborative environment for artists;
  • High quality, culturally enriching entertainment to the community;
  • Educational opportunities for all ages through mentoring and performance based participation.

The Summer Place, Inc. gets funding through ticket sales, advertising sales, concessions proceeds, grants, and the generous donations of our patrons.

The bulk of our expenses go towards royalty fees, set building costs, and, depending on the production, costuming. To a far lesser extent we spend money on honorariums for our directors and musicians. Our actors do not get paid. For that matter, our actors don't pay us for the opportunity to act in our shows, although of late they have paid a script and costume fee to help defray those costs. Our producers, who are pulled from our Board of Directors, are not paid to produce the shows, nor are any of our Board Members or Officers paid for their service.

Summer Place is a Community Theater. It provides a great deal to Naperville: the opportunity to gather and create a work of art and to share that work with its citizens at a very low cost.

One of our largest supporters is Naperville itself.  The Naperville Park District provides rooms for us to meet and rehearse and is a partner with us for Ghost Stories in the fall, and Naperville School District 203 provides our theatre venue during the summer: Naperville Central High School Auditorium. 

Our Officers

President Don Gingold

Don Gingold, President

"Your Ghost Host," Don has led the production of Ghost Stories ... In the Park ... In the Dark for the past several years, as Producer, Director, TD, MC and Story Teller. In the Summer months he's been in numerous productions, most notably the Wrigley Field Announcer in Bleacher Bums, Elisha Whitney in Anything Goes, Merlin and Pellinor in Camelot, Mr. Tinsworthy in 9 to 5, the book voice in How to Succeed, Potifar in Joseph, Doc in West Side Story, Senex in Forum, old Ben in The Secret Garden, the Ringmaster and Bailey in Barnum, and his first role at Summer Place, Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof. He is also one of the Summer Place Singers. Don was on the board for several years, supposedly cured but due to contagion from his daughter, had a relapse and is back. He heads the Publicity Committee of the troop. A 25+ year Naperville resident with wife and local author Kate, together they own Gnu Ventures Company which does publications, training and voiceover, and Sprocket Websites which powers this site. They have two grown children: one's a producer in LA and the other ...

Vice President Emma Gingold

Emma performed in her first Summer Place production in 2004 and has appeared in several productions since then, including Summer Place's annual Ghost Stories ... in the Park ... in the Dark for two years. Although being on stage has its allure, she also enjoys being back stage, or even better, below it: Most recently she was the Vocal and Music Director for Footloose, as well as Camelot, and has also played in the pit orchestra for 9 to 5 and Oklahoma. Emma graduated from Knox College in 2012 with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Music. Her love for writing and her experience doing odd jobs for her parents' web design company make her well suited to help out on the board's Marketing Committee and with the website. She currently works as an accompanist for high school choirs, Solo and Ensemble festivals, and other musical theatre productions, and she teaches piano lessons in La Grange.

Secretary Sabrina Zeidler

Sabrina Zeidler was introduced to theatre when she saw her father in Summer Place Theatre’s production of Man of LaMancha. Her mother took to every performance. She is very grateful for being brought to the theatre by her mother and being handed a drill by her father, all at the age of five.  Since then, she thought of other things to do with her life.  But, has come to embrace the entertainment industry and enjoys every adventure it brings her.  Sabrina says, “I am one of the lucky few that knows what they love to do and I am so ecstatic that I get to do it every day.” She is a graduate of Elmhurst College with a degree in Theatre – Stage Management, Design and Technology, and Theatre Arts Administration, with minors in Communication Studies and Business Administration.  Sabrina has been honored by the Kennedy Center for her work as a Stage Manager on several occasions.  She has worked as a freelance stagehand and stage manager for corporate and educational venues.  Currently, she is a Technical Director at Hinsdale South High School and a Technician at the McAninch Arts Center.  Summer Place introduced her to theatre as a patron.  It allowed her to volunteer for us starting in 2006.  Brought her on our design teams in 2010. And we graciously accepted her to the Board of Directors in 2013. 

Treasurer Jeff Sand

Jeff has served Summer Place in many capacities in his 10 years with the troop: Sound designer, Stage Manager, Producer, Box Office, Ticket, Poster and Program Designer and Board Member. Jeff has recently taken the lead in our grant submissions efforts as well as updated our bookkeeping.

 

Our Board of Directors

Sara Blankestyn

Sara Blankestyn became part of the Summer Place Family in 2016, as a follower in Jesus Christ Superstar. This was a return to the stage after a long hiatus and she couldn’t be happier. Since the summer of 2016, Sara has been seen on stage with SPT in Anything Goes and Sugar – the Some Like It Hot Musical. When Sara is not on stage, she still likes to be part of the team that makes the magic happen! Lending her skills in Production Management, Costumes, Props, and now as a board member with SPT.

Sara holds a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management and works as a Group Sales Manager at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois.

Steve Koek

Steve Koek

Steve made his Summer Place Theater debut in 2018, marking a return to the stage for the first time in 37 when he protrayed Mr. Bienstock in Sugar - The Some Like it Hot Musical, and followed it up by playing Uncle Wes in Footloose. Steve brings to the board a passion for theater and years of experience in writing and web site administration. 

Cynthia Lauren Grant

Cynthia Lauren-Grant has created the Summer Place’s last four original Musical Revues, as well as our big anniversary show 50 Years of Musicals from the Summer Place Theatre. She was the producer/director for the show, as well as being a performer. Cynthia grew up in Bensenville, but gravitated to Los Angeles to “be a star,” where she worked as an actress and singer for The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville Theatre and the Birdcage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm. In Illinois, Cynthia has worked with the Tempo Players and the Magical Starlight Theatre. A Naperville resident, she was asked to be on the Board of Directors of the Summer Place Theatre in 1993, after playing “Peter” in their production of Peter Pan. It was her first production with the Summer Place, along with her then 5 year old son Corin, now an actor in Los Angeles. One of her early responsibilities for the Board was the theatre’s mailings. The mother and son team “licked and sticked” over 3000 labels per mailing! Since that time, Cynthia has performed in many Summer Place productions, most recently appearing as Sweet Sue in Sugar - The Some Like It Hot Musical in 2018, as well as serving as vice president, secretary, producer, and music director. She is the House Manager for SPT. Cynthia holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education, with a minor in Theatre, from the University of Illinois. She is a retired vocal music teacher with the Naperville Public Schools, and plans a second career in the world of voiceover performing.

Sharesa Uher Moffitt

Sharesa Uher Moffitt

Sharesa Uher Moffitt holds a degree in music education with a vocal focus from St. Xavier University. She owns a successful business travel teaching voice and piano lessons in the Hinsdale area. She has performed in close to 20 musicals, and has recently broadened her horizons by performing in plays. She first appeared on the Summer Place Theatre stage in 2015 as a Ni Knight in Spamalot, then as a citizen in Jesus Christ Superstar, Ethel in The Music Man, John in Anything Goes, and Dude most recently in Sugar - The Some Like It Hot Musical. The stage is where she feels she is her best self! Sharesa also has experience in music/vocal directing and props, hospitality, program compilation, sound board, and marketing and advertising. She is thrilled to be a part of SPT and cannot wait to see what is in store for the theater in the upcoming years!

Ramona Ory

Ramona Ory

Ramona started her theater career in high school with John Pearce, who took a liking to her and featured her in George M. Cohan and Flower Drum Song. She won third place twice in the Last Fling Talent Show. She taught at Rosemary Beyer Dance Studio in the 1980s, and performed in the Sesquicentennial Follies in 1981 with the late, great Naperville Mayor George Pradel and John Ripsky.

Ramona has been in several Summer Place musicals, including The Music Man, Anything Goes, and most recently, Sugar - The Some Like It Hot Musical.

She has been a dental assistant since the 1970s in Naperville and currently works at Alexian Brothers Hospital.

Anthony Urso

Anthony Urso is a theatre artist who graduated from Illinois State University in 2011 with a degree in Theatre Management. He was last seen as Jerry/Daphne in the Summer Place Theatre production of Sugar in 2018. He has been in numerous shows in and around the western suburbs and Chicago. Urso has directed at the Second City, Illinois State University and for his own short lived theatre company, The Dauntless Players, out of the Oakbrook Terrace Park District from 2007-2009. He and fellow Dauntless Players alumnus, Lynda Wellhausen, are currently working on a production company of their own focused on comedy and the healing power of laughter. He is extremely excited to help shape the future of Summer Place through his enthusiasm and passion for theatre as a storytelling medium and teaching tool.

Susan Vulich

 

Susan has been on the board for two and a half years. She has always been interested in theater. As a child she was in several operas and Toyland. When her children became interested in doing theater she became active with Kidz Kabaret, then Summer Place Theatre. As a board member she has helped with sets, manages the Box Office, and produced Shakespeare Land of the Dead and Desk Set.

Ted Waltmire

Ted Waltmire has been a part of The Summer Place since 1977 when he was cast in Damn Yankees. Since then he has served as a musical director and on the Board of Directors producing plays and musicals as well as a term as President.  Ted has also studied at the Second City Training Center, Chicago Dramatists, and Porchlight Theater.  Following a stroke in 2009 Ted wrote the book and lyrics, collaborated with Stephanie McCullough on the music, and starred in The Mighty Ted which has been produced twice in Chicago. He was recently seen as the Bellboy in Sugar - The Some Like It Hot Musical

Steven Zeidler

Steve is the past president of Summer Place Theatre and has been a major supporter of this theatre group for years. He's also an accomplished actor and singer, appearing in many of our plays and musicals, most recently as Osgood Fielding in Sugar - The Some Like It Hot Musical, as well as Arthur in Spamalot, and appearances in Oklahoma, Harvey, The Man Who Came to Dinner, a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (pictured).

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