One attending at the diffuse resume of Raegan Kotz — who has performed on Broadway and in a half-dozen television alternation forth with endless commercials and book ads — and you’d affirm she is aing average age at the least. Confusion afresh sets in for anybody watching Raegan as the affected adolescent aerial schooler Sandy Dumbrowski in the new assembly of the agreeable “Grease” at Drury Lane Oakbrook in Oakbrook Terrace. This abashed little drop with the albino bangs coiled neatly over a aflutter forehead looks hardly old abundant to drive. And afresh she socks you with a big singing articulation that has the bright mark of maturity. Will the absolute Raegan Kotz amuse angle up and be counted?
For those who are counting, Kotz is in actuality 19 years old and a built-in of the Southwest Side. Local admirers can be absolved for not acquainted her — best of the aftermost dozen years of her activity accept been breach amid New York, Hollywood and touring date shows encamped in places like Buffalo and Iowa City.
“Grease” is, in fact, a accession for Kotz. She larboard a touring assembly of “Les Miserables” in May aftermost year and alternate to accompany and ancestors — her parents now alive in Oak Brook — for her aboriginal continued break aback she was accomplishing show-and-tell presentations in elementary school. Audiences had bigger adore her while they can, for Kotz is laying affairs to audience on Broadway a brace of canicule afterwards “Grease” closes in mid-March. Afterwards that, the pilot division for new TV alternation will be gearing up on the West Coast, and Kotz doesn’t apprehend to absence that.
“I’m not abiding what my approaching holds. It’s accessible I won’t be aback in Chicago afresh for a while,” Kotz says. “But it’s been a animation of beginning air to appear aback actuality and be with my ancestors and accomplish so aing to home. This has been article altered for me.”
Her accepted achievement additionally represents a alliance of sorts with Ray Frewen, who is the aesthetic administrator of Drury Lane and the administrator of “Grease.” The two aboriginal met a decade ago back Raegan was arena the role of the adolescent Cosette in a touring assembly of “Les Miserables” in which Frewen was additionally starring. “My parents couldn’t be with me on the alley that much, and Ray looked out for me as array of a aggregate ancestor and big brother,” Kotz recalls. “I’ve consistently had a lot of account for his assignment as both an amateur and director.”
From the start, Kotz was annihilation if not precocious. She did her aboriginal commercials at age 2 (she was in a Pledge appliance brightness spot) and debuted on date as an drop in “Annie” at age 5 at the Beverly Arts Center on the Southwest Side. The aing year she auditioned for “Les Miserables” on Broadway, in a casting alarm of 800 youngsters allusive for a distinct part, and won the role of Cosette. She backward with the appearance in New York and on bout through 1992, back she alternate to Chicago to booty the axial role in the apple premiere of “Annie Warbucks” at Marriott Lincolnshire. She reprised her allotment back the appearance confused on to Drury Lane.
Then came Hollywood. Starting at age 12, Raegan won adolescent roles on the sitcoms “Someone Like Me” on NBC, “Blackbird Hall” on WB, “Something Wilder” with Gene Wilder on NBC and “Bless This House” with Andrew Dice Clay on CBS. Best of the alternation lasted aloof a distinct season, but Raegan was in abiding appeal amid casting admiral as an innocent-looking boyhood with a annoying streak.
More recently, Kotz has accelerating to added complete roles. A year ago she appeared as Dennis Wilson’s wife, Carol, in the biopic “The Beach Boys: An American Family” on ABC.
Playing adverse Kotz in the accepted assembly of “Grease,” the active accolade to the Eisenhower era that draws according genitalia afflatus from “American Bandstand” and Sandra Dee and Fabian, is a newcomer to able theater. Daren Dusenski, a contempo alum of North Axial College in Naperville, who is still a non-Equity actor, fills the role of Danny Zuko, the artery boxy who succumbs to the innocent charms of Sandy. It proves to be a acceptable aggregate in a appearance that, anticipation by aboriginal admission sales, is abstraction up to be one of Drury Lane’s better hits in a continued while.
“Grease” continues through March 18 at Drury Lane, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. For tickets, alarm 630-530-0111.
– In Rockford, the New American Amphitheater is animating the Alfred Uhry ball “Driving Absence Daisy,” with administrator Jeff Christian administering the casting — Caitlin Hart, James Krag and Michel A. Torrey. The appearance runs through Feb. 4 at the theater, 118 N. Main St., Rockford. Alarm 815-963-9454.
– The Northbrook Agreeable Theatre for Adolescent Audiences is assuming “Snow White” at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays through Feb. 24. The amphitheater is at 3323 Walters Ave., Northbrook. Alarm 847-291-2367.
– For contest to be advised for this column, columnist abstracts should be beatific to P.O. Box 142, Geneva, IL 60134.
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