Spotlight: What people in the arts are up to

Heres a look at the latest news on local authors, actors, artists, musicians and more:
A dream fulfilled: A duck has one wish in Susan Wolffs childrens book, Quackers Wants to Fly. Were happy to report that Quackers has taken off in a big way. Sixty copies of the Deerfield authors book were flown to Kenya as part of the Tusome Project, which promotes literacy in Africa. The children have never owned their own book and it makes me so very proud that lsquo;Quackers is their first, Wolff said. She hopes to donate many more copies to the cause. Quackers Wants to Fly is available at Barnes and Noble and

Author! Author!: Evanston author Christine Sneed will be honored by the Society of Midland Authors on May 13 as winner of its adult fiction competition for Little Known Facts, published by Bloomsbury. Also being saluted as a finalist in the adult nonfiction category is Ted Anton of River Forest for The longevity Seekers: Science, Business and the Fountain of Youth, published by University of Chicago Press.

Fancy footwork: Youll be seeing a lot of that in Porchlight Music Theatres production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Stage 773 through June 1. Thats because the show was choreographed by Brenda Didier of Libertyville. The Jeff Award-winning director and choreographer, who owns the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance, has collaborated with Porchight on nine productions. Evanston native Emily Rogers plays Hedy LaRue in the show. For tickets, call (773) 327-5252 or visit

Noteworthy teens: Two suburban 16-year-olds caught the attention of judges in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Associations 2014 Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions. Cellist Lucie Ticho of Hinsdale was named first alternate. She will fill in if winner Gallia Kastner is unable to perform as a soloist with the CSO during its 2014-15 season. Michael Zyzak of Barrington, also a cellist, was named second alternate.

Poets praised: The winners of the 36th Annual Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Awards will read their poems at 2 pm Sunday, May 4 at the Evanston Public Library. That includes Ann Hudson of Evanston (second prize for Deep Thirst), Susan T. Moss of Evanston (third prize for The Encounter), Diane dos Santos of Evanston (honorable mention for Giraffes and Other Animals Falling) and Victoria Raphael of Evanston (honorable mention for Putting Her Dignity On). Winners in the high school category are Emma Rosengarten (Evanston Township High School, first prize for the light that isnt orange), Balen Maciel (Buffalo Grove High School, second prize for Purple Pineapples), Laurianne Pene (Evanston Township High School, third prize for I Am the New Ginger), Stefani Lah (Buffalo Grove High School, honorable mention for Bardwell), Lesya Bazylewicz (New Trier Township High School, honorable mention for No Fags in Here) and Annie Umbanhower (Evanston Township High School, honorable mention for Winter Break).

Shannons inspiration: Shannon Dunne is having a staged reading of her play, Emmas Inspiration at American Blues Theaters RIPPED: The Living Newspaper Festival, 7 pm Monday, May 5 at the Greenhouse Theater Center. Its about a young girl who works in a sewing factory in 1861 Chicago and focuses on workers rights. Oh, did we mention that the Oak Park playwright in an eighth-grader at Edison Park Elementary School? For tickets, call (312) 725-4228 or go to

Making their mark: Twenty four young people spent April 25 attending a full day of workshops with theater professionals as finalists in the Third Annual Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards. The honorees included Kaitlin Feely of Buffalo Grove, Jonah Rawitz of Buffalo Grove, JT Snyder of Barrington, Sammy Ferber of Deerfield, Christian Klepac of Libertyville, Marianna Veneri of Niles, James Nash of Kenilworth, Cari Schuette of Wilmette and Stephen Steinheiser of Vernon Hills.

Strike a pose: Anna Butler of South Barrington, Karen Griffin of Northbrook and Sandra Stone of Nortbrook took 1st through 3rd place in Pinstripes annual photo contest. We had such a wonderful time this year reviewing hundreds of submissions from kids bowling to wedding lsquo;selfies and families at Sunday brunch. It was a tough decision but we picked the three winning photos that put the biggest smiles on our faces! said Pinstripes Event Director Sandie Montgomery. Participants were asked to submit photos of themselves bowling, playing bocce or eating at one of three Pinstripes locations.
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