30 Apr 2013
WilleyWorld chooses 'Deathtrap' as 5th annual summer production
After four years of bringing "All My Children" stars to perform in Ottawa, WilleyWorld Community Productions will continue the tradition and present the play "Deathtrap" as its fifth summer show — this time featuring not one, but two special guest artists — and a new location for the production.
"'Deathtrap' is a thriller that will have audiences glued to their seats — unless they're leaping out of them in shock," said Ottawa native Walt Willey ("All My Children's" Jackson Montgomery) at a news conference Tuesday morning at City Hall.
Willey announced this year WWCP is bringing two guest artists to the Ottawa stage — Chance Willey, Walt's 18-year-old son, and Bobbie Eakes, his "AMC" co-star who portrayed Krystal Carey on the series.
"I'm so happy to be performing once again with Dad in his hometown," Chance Willey said in a news release. He was featured in the cast of WilleyWorld's 2010 production of "Arsenic and Old Lace." He is a recent graduate of the New Mexico School for the Arts, with a concentration in acting, and was named NMSA's Theatre Laureate.
"I've heard so many great things about Ottawa from (my actor friends) Julia Barr, Jill Larson and Vincent Irrizary — not to mention Walt — that I'm thrilled to be able to come in and perform," Eakes said in the release.
"Bobbie and I have known each other quite a while and worked together for several years on the soap and in cabaret acts as well," said Willey. "Bobbie used to come up to me and say, 'So what? I'm not good enough for your summer show?' She is, indeed, and we're thrilled to have her."
"Deathtrap" will be presented at the Central Intermediate School auditorium on Ottawa's South Side Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21, changing the location from the company's previous home because of the renovation of the Ottawa Township High School auditorium stage this summer.
"'Deathtrap" is a real crowd pleaser, a fast-paced comedy thriller," said WilleyWorld co-founder Kim "Howard" Johnson, of Ottawa. "It's got more twists and turns than a python."
"We're excited to be doing something different this year and we're sure people will love it," said Willey. "I would also urge folks to get their tickets early. The auditorium at Central is smaller than the OHS auditorium, and we would hate for our faithful supporters to miss out in case of a sellout this year."
Tickets will go on sale Monday, May 6, through the Ottawa Visitors Center at 815-434-2737 and experienceottawa.com. Previous WilleyWorld shows also include "The Odd Couple," "Plaza Suite"and "Harvey."
This year's run will feature performances by Johnson and Mary Morgan. Jane Mills and Maureen Wolfe will be directing for the third consecutive summer.
Johnson said "Deathtrap" is being co-presented with the newly-formed Illinois Valley Coalition on the Performing Arts, a nonprofit group.
"IV-COPA works to support the performing arts in the Illinois Valley area with special attention to programs for our area's youth interested in the performing arts," said Willey. "Our board, ex-officio membership and committees are comprised of educators, fundraisers and professionals in the performing arts. We have already begun our work with local school districts and communities, developing in-school presentations and workshops."