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Bebe Neuwirth

Theatre students receive scholarships from Chicago arts organization

Posted: 08/27/2014

Two Roosevelt University theatre students will be awarded scholarships by The Sarah Siddons Society of Chicago during the organization’s annual fundraising event for the benefit of local college theatre talent that is being held Sept. 7 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago. Roosevelt musical theatre students also will sing and dance in a tribute to two-time Tony award and Grammy award winner Bebe Neuwirth (pictured above), who is being honored as 2014 Artist of the Year by the Chicago arts organization.

Will Lidke, 21, (pictured at right) a native of Edina, Minn., who will star as Orlando in Roosevelt’s Sept. 26-28 Theatre Conservatory production of As You Like It, and Sara Reinecke (below), 22, a native of Charlotte, N.C., who will have a lead role in the Conservatory’s Nov. 20-23 production of Assassins, are the first Roosevelt students ever to be awarded prestigious Sarah Siddons scholarships.

“These scholarships and the performances by our musical theatre students during the upcoming Sarah Siddons Society fundraiser are a testament to our program’s success and to the many accomplishments of our students,” said Sean Kelley, director of the Theatre Conservatory and associate dean of Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA). “We are extremely proud to be a part of this initiative,” he said.

The luncheon, performance and fundraiser begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Ritz Carlton.  For more information on the event, call 847-446-4140 or email

Under the direction of Roosevelt associate theatre professors Ray Frewen, Luis Perez, Jane Lanier and Bonnie Shadrake, students in the Conservatory’s Musical Theatre Program will be performing All That Jazz, which will include a series of songs and dances performed by the legendary Neuwirth during her Broadway career.

ReineckeThe mission of the Sarah Siddons Society has been to provide theatre scholarships to theatre students at major universities in Chicago, and it is the first time that Roosevelt theatre students are recipients of the scholarships.

“For many years, we have recognized Columbia, DePaul and Northwestern, but with the establishment of the Conservatory and its strong musical theatre program, Roosevelt’s theatre alumni have had a reputation for being some of the best talent in Chicago,” said Dominic Missimi,  producer and director of the Sarah Siddons Society fundraising event. “It is only fitting that Roosevelt be part of our program,” he said.

Lidke believes the $2,500 scholarship will give him financial assurance as he continues to establish connections and pursue opportunities on Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene. “Having opportunities for internships and roles in Chicago theatre productions and receiving encouragement from the theatre faculty to pursue those opportunities is one of the best parts of Roosevelt’s theatre program,” Lidke said.

Lidke recently had the lead role in Dog Sees God at Chicago’s Rivendell Theatre. Reineke, who is also grateful for the $2,500 scholarship, also recently took advantage of opportunities on Chicago’s theatre scene, first as understudy of the lead character, Ruth, in Bailiwick Chicago’s Dessa Rose.  More recently, she played Barbara Streisand, Joan Rivers and Mama Cass in Three Cat Production’s  Hang Your Hat at Mr. Kelly's. “It’s an awesome thing to have this kind of scholarship, particularly in my senior year, and I look forward to applying myself to getting more parts in Chicago shows,” she said.       

Last updated 09/18/2015