Barbara Weldon Barbara fell in love with theatre during her freshman year in high school. She auditioned and was cast as Mrs. Parker, the lead in the play, A Case of Springtime. Barbara received her Bachelor in English/Theatre at Indiana University. She continued with graduate studies in theatre at Northwestern University. Barbara has been a lifelong actress, performing in high school, college, and community theatre. She has also been an English teacher and a Debate coach, she taught Creative Dramatics at Greeley School in Winnetka as well as Acting and Improv classes at the Winnetka Community House. Barbara was also a director at the Winnetka Children’s Fair Main Stage show. Barbara was Co-Founder of Children’s Theatre of Winnetka and has directed many of its shows.
Holly Francis With dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Holly began studying ballet when she was eight. About the same time she made her musical theater debut in a local production of Alice in Wonderland where she appeared in a two-sided cardboard costume as the Ace of Hearts. Although unable to sit down, she loved every minute of the experience and has been singing, dancing and acting ever since. She attended New Trier East High School and performed in multiple productions including Lagniappe, as a dancer in Kismet and Kiss Me Kate, Tuptim in The King and I, and Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker. After graduating from New Trier, Holly attended The University of Illinois where she majored in theater with a minor in dance. She went on to receive a Master of Science degree in Communications from Northwestern University and has spent more than 20 years using her performance skills as a professional communicator, and media and communications skills coach. She is delighted to have the opportunity to combine her professional and theatrical experience working with the children of CTW, and to honor the talented professionals and teachers who made a difference in her life by using her gifts to “pay it forward” and help children acquire the confidence, perseverance and team building skills that come from working in the theater.
Cathy Hirschmann Cathy has been working in theatre since she was a girl, starting when she was with the Tom Thumb Players in Chicago at the age of 14. She attended Drake University where she graduated with a BFA in Theatre. After college, Cathy got her equity card doing dinner theatre at Drury Lane. She also acted in commercials, modeled, worked trade shows and acted in industrial films. Cathy was even a Honey Bear for the Chicago Bears! Later, Cathy became an agent for David and Lee and started their acting and live modeling division. After getting married and having children Cathy was asked to help with the "Main Show" for the Winnetka Children's Fair, which she did for many years. Next, she became involved with CTW – first with choreographing, then directing. Cathy has been with CTW for 20 years and has loved and enjoyed every minute! "It's so exciting to see the children that I have worked with going on to Broadway and Hollywood."
Toby Nicholson Toby attended Northwestern University, where he received a BS in Theatre, and a MS in Dance Education. Additional activities include: Cecchetti Ballet, Commercial acting, Film acting, New Trier High School Dance and drama instructor director/choreographer for 30 years, acting in commercial films and Chicago theatre and directing roles in recent years at grade and high schools, Menz Dance at New Trier. Children's Theatre of Winnetka Director and choreographer since 2000. See more about Toby here
our music directors
Annamarie Baskin (spring) Annamarie brings to our kids 40 years of vocal education expertise and performance experience in concert halls and opera stages around the world. She holds a bachelor's degree in music, a master's in vocal pedagogy, and did post-graduate work on development of adolescent voices. Annamarie has been musical director for amateur and equity plays for many years including the production of Fiddler on the Roof at the University of Illinois which involved a statewide selection of talented high school kids for the cast and played to a 3000 member audience. Annamarie also taught three generations of singers at New Trier, and received the coveted Distinguished Teacher Service Award when she left to focus on individual student development and her work with Children's Theatre of Winnetka. Learn more about Annamarie by reading her book, Whad'ya Say Your Name Was, Sweetie?