Suzanne Andersen of Hinsdale is excited to be directing Annie Jr. at the Clarendon Hills Park District’s six-week summer theater program for ages 7-17. “Annie has a special place in my heart because it was the first show I was ever involved in, and all because my oldest son Shawn thought theater might be a good activity for my ever-singing, youngest daughter,” says Andersen, who also works as webmaster for Lyons Township High School. Seven-year-old Avery was initially afraid to audition and recruited her big brother to join her. From there, Andersen says the whole family (including her husband Art and youngest son, AJ) got involved and community theater is now a tradition. She’s directed many shows since then at the Clarendon Hills Park District (among other local organizations) and is a volunteer for Westmont Performing Arts and Maercker PTA. For more information about the park district’s summer theater program, visit clarendonhillsparkdistrict.org. Here are some of this go-getter’s favorite lasts:
Last fabulous vacation that you will not soon forget?
Last summer we took a road trip with the kids (and our pup, Miles) to Painted Rocks National Lakeshore in the UP and down through the “mitt” of Michigan. It gets so difficult to find the time with our growing kids that it was a simple no-frill trip in a cabin in the woods hiking to waterfalls and boating on Lake Superior.
Last musical production that inspired you?
The last musical I directed with my husband, 13 inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing. What we learn from 13 is that being popular isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. It’s more important to have true friends on your side. Kids (and adults) need a safe place to fit in and to belong—and theater offers that to so many who may or may not fit in with a specific group.
Last piece of advice you received that you’ve shared with others?
Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success.
Last feedback from a student that made you realize why you teach?
From a parent who said that her shy daughter has never shined as bright outside of the house as she did on stage. “You’ve given her a voice,” she told me.
Last local discovery that you made you happy you live in the Western Suburbs?
Fullersburg Woods/Graue Mill Trails. I lived here for 7 years before venturing out in the beauty just a mile away.