Dreamer's Workshop: 'Titans' star, will teach students in 8-day programJOLIET - Actor John Barrowman remembers what it was like to sit in the choral room at Joliet West High School with a dream to become a star.
Now, the actor is coming back home to share his secrets and offer guidance to students who want to sing, act and dance for a living.
He will be teaching an eight-day workshop for 30 high school students and graduating seniors at Joliet West High School.
Barrowman starred in the Aaron Spelling drama Titans and several London productions, including, Anything Goes and Miss Saigon. He also has an album, Reflections from Broadway.
The 1985 Joliet West graduate said it might sound silly, but he got the idea to go back to JT from watching, Oprah.
"I watched a show about people giving back what they have learned in their life and giving it back to other people," Barrowman said. "I always wanted to come back to Joliet and do something after having some success in my career. ... I was given my greatest introduction of music and theater from Joliet West High School."
The Dreamer's Workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 23 to Aug. 1. The cost is $200 per student. There will be grants available to reduce the cost. To register, call Beverly Holt at (815) 729-4896.
Barrowman will be teaching the workshop with Holt, the accompanist at Joliet West High School.
Barrowman has a new album coming out this fall, called Anyone Can Whistle, with lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim. He is meeting with Sondheim next week with hopes to perform in his Broadway shows, Assassins and Into the Woods.
Dreamer's Workshop is being held in conjunction with JTHS's centennial anniversary. The district received a grant from the Cultural Arts Council of the Joliet Area to help reduce the fee for each student. People interested in donating to Dreamer's Workshop can call Lynne Lichtenauer, JTHS centennial coordinator, at (815) 727-6763.
"I'm hoping to get scholarship money for the kids so they don't have to pay," Barrowman said. "I'm hoping to get donations from corporations around the Joliet area, and in return for that I would be happy to take a picture with the person or shake some hands. I strongly believe in helping the kids out."
The workshop will be closed to the public and parents, but there will be a presentation of the students' work at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1 at Joliet West High School, 401 N. Larkin Ave. Students will perform monologues, skits and songs. Barrowman will perform with the students and on his own. The cost is a $5 donation per person.
During the summer, Barrowman usually has some time on his hands. His hope is to offer Dreamer's Workshops on an annual basis and to other schools in the area and across the nation.
"I'm a firm believer in fulfilling your dreams," he said.
Meeting Barrowman is a dream come true for student Kevin Hooper, who will attend the workshop.
"I can't wait. I've listened to John's music and watched his TV show. I think it is amazing to be part of something where he would teach us some of the techniques he used to get where he is today," Kevin said.
Kevin, who was Roger in Grease last spring, said Barrowman will critique each student.
"I want him to tell me how I can improve my singing, dancing and acting abilities," he said. "I think I'm very lucky to go to the school he went to. I think it's really cool. You see someone on TV, and you can say, 'He went to my high school.'"
(c) Joilet Herald News 06/22/01