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Walt Willey Media > Joliet Township High School Drama Students Partner with Actor Walt Willey for Wild Bill In-School Mentorship Program

27 Jan 2015


From the community:

Joliet Township High School Drama Students Partner with Actor Walt Willey for Wild Bill In-School Mentorship Program

Students in the Joliet Central and Joliet West High School drama departments will have the unique opportunity to work with professional actor Walt Willey as part of the Wild Bill! In-School Program. Willey, best known for his role as Jackson Montgomery on the long-running daytime drama All My Children, will work with the students in a variety of facets, including scene study, monologue coaching, and classroom seminars.

The in-school program serves as a fundraiser for the each school's drama department. A portion of the proceeds from Willey's performance of the one-person show, Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok, will benefit the department and students will serve as production and show crew.

"JTHS is extremely excited to work with Walt on this project. The mentoring program fits perfectly within our Academy of Arts and Communication and provides real-world theatre experience from a seasoned industry professional," said JTHS Alumni Director Lynne Lichtenauer. "Walt is eager to work with our students and teachers and has an approachable nature that is sure to make this program a success. It is clear that he genuinely wants to give back to the community and we are grateful that he has chosen Joliet Township High School to partner with him in this endeavor. To have an actor of Walt's caliber directly working with our students and teachers provides valuable learning experiences, while raising funds for the drama program."

Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok is actor/writer Walt Willey's tribute to fellow Illinoisan and Old West legend, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok.

Willey will perform the one-person show on Saturday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. in the Joliet West High School Auditorium, 401 N. Larkin Avenue in Joliet. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. All seats are reserved.

Tickets can be purchased by calling toll free (866) 967-8167 or online at showtix4u.com. For more information, call the JTHS Alumni Relations Office at (815) 727-6763 or by e-mail at llichtenauer@jths.org.

The show is presented by WilleyWorld Community Productions in association with the JTHS Alumni Association.
Willey explained how the show came into being. "My son Chance and I were doing Arsenic and Old Lace with my theatre company in my hometown of Ottawa, Illinois in 2010. We were traveling to a nearby town to pick up the rest of the family at the train station there. On the way, we saw this sign: 'Troy Grove, Birthplace of James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok."

Willey had been looking for a one-man show to take on tour after All My Children went off the air. "I began to research this man's life and I was fascinated. Even with the myth and fable surrounding him stripped away, his life is as exciting as any of the fiction written about him. Plus, he was six-foot two, blonde and blue, like me." Willey noted.

After almost two years researching Hickok and writing the script, Willey first presented his new play in March of 2012 to enthusiastic audiences and great reviews.

Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok stars Willey as Hickok. "It's Hickok's life story from his own mouth. The sources I've used are the ones that lean on provable truth", says Willey. "Now whether Hickok could separate his truth from his legend…well, that's part of the journey."

"This is a man who was many things; a farmer, a plowman, a teamster, a trapper, a scout, a spy, a marshal, a sheriff, a gunfighter, an actor and a gambler - and a legend in his own time. In fact, he was the very first "media generated celebrity".

"In western movies, when we see gunfighters step into the street for a showdown, it's because Wild Bill did. When we speak of "sitting with our backs to the wall" or "shooting from the hip", it's because Hickok did." Willey is clearly enthusiastic about his new role.

The first-person narration follows Hickok's life from his birth and adventures in Illinois, through his years as scout and guide, spy and lawman, gunfighter and gambler, to his assassination in Deadwood, the infamous mining camp.

The show features audience participation and after the presentation there will be a discussion and question/answer period, followed by a meet and greet reception.

Willey is co-founder of WilleyWorld Community Productions and co-founder and board member of the Illinois Valley Coalition on Performing Arts (IV-COPA), both headquartered in his hometown of Ottawa, Illinois.

For interviews and additional information, please contact: Walt Willey at waltwilley1@aol.com

For more information on Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok, please go to:

Ticket Information & Show Details At-a-Glance
WHAT: Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok
WHEN: Saturday, February 28 at 7:30PM & Sunday, March 1 at 2:00PM
WHERE: Joliet West High School Auditorium, 401 North Larkin Avenue
Joliet, IL. 60435
TICKETS: $20.00 in advance/$25 at the door. All seats reserved.

OR ONLINE AT: showtix4u.com

Photo Identification: JTHS administrators and drama teachers team up with professional actor Walt Willey for the Wild Bill! In-School Program. L-R: Carol Collins, JTHS Project Director; Mike Lutz, JCHS Academy Coordinator; Joseph Hoyt, JCHS Drama Instructor; Walt Willey; Kristin Blake, JWHS Drama Instructor; Karla Guseman, JTHS Asst. Superintendent; Lynne Lichtenauer, JTHS Alumni Director.

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