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From The School Yard to "Oklahoma?" – Glen Ellyn Actress in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at Wheaton Drama

Jennifer Myers of Glen Ellyn is playing the firecracker Jolene Oakes in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at Wheaton Drama. Photo by Steven Merkel.

Jennifer Myers of Glen Ellyn is playing the firecracker Jolene Oakes in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at Wheaton Drama. Photo by Steven Merkel.

Jennifer Myers of Glen Ellyn will be appearing as Jolene Oakes in Wheaton Drama's 2011-2012 season finale, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

Adapted from the Michael Caine and Steve Martin movie of the same name, this musical comedy follows the adventures of two con men on the French Riviera. Suave and sophisticated Lawrence has perfected his own style of con. His modus operandi is simple when it comes to marks: "Give Them What They Want". When rough Freddy comes along and tries to obtain "Great Big Stuff" for himself, it is clear that there's only room for one con man in town.

Memorable characters, a clever book by Jeffrey Lane, and upbeat music and funny lyrics by David Yazbek makes "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" a very entertaining show.

For lovers of the movie, Jennifer offers these words regarding the adaptation to a musical: "I think it is perfect. I would not change a thing."

Jennifer agrees with director Steve Schroeder's description of her character Jolene as "a force of nature all by herself!" "If I do my job right," Jennifer notes, "she will be a great comic moment in the show and have the audience asking 'What the heck just happened?!'"

The role is a change of pace from Jennifer's last Wheaton Drama performance as the severe Miss Fern in "Bad Seed". Of Jolene, Jennifer says, "I love her spunk, energy, and drive. And I wish I had her money!"

"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" has been a must-do show for Jennifer since she and her mom saw the original cast on Broadway. "We loved it! I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It’s the funniest script for a musical I have ever read."

Experiencing a performance is also what drew Jennifer to acting. Seeing Liza Minnelli in the movie "Cabaret" is what, as Jolene might say, tripped Jennifer's trigger. "That was it. I knew I wanted to do that (acting)."

Since that movie viewing, Jennifer has been doing her best to spend time on the boards doing what she describes as her "greatest joy and her greatest escape". Amongst the roles, she has a heavy-hitter to her credit at Wheaton Drama. "My favorite role was Blanche DuBois of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'…hard to beat that one." The lighter fare has also been fun for her. "I also loved Lily St Regis (in "Annie") and doing the show's 'Easy Street' dance with Rooster, played by Keith DeBolt. What a hoot!"

Having performed in musicals and plays, Jennifer can comment on how the experience differs. Performing in a musical is "a whole different vibe and challenge. You have to think about acting, dancing, and singing all at once! But what fun it is! I like both, and want to do both, but there is something that's always special about musical theatre."

Dream roles for Jennifer are in both types of shows, with Mama Rose in "Gypsy" and Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" being high on the list.

For the moment, Jennifer is very happy to be part of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", with a cast that she describes as "Talent, talent, talent".

Having fun with "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" includes not being afraid to have a good-natured laugh at herself. She describes a comical moment in the rehearsal process as taking place "when I jumped on the lead, with a varsity split and fell straight down on the floor, hit my head, and my pants fell down at same time. Needless to say, it was cut from the routine…".

While audiences may not be seeing the above choreography opening night, they will certainly see a show that Jennifer describes as "A great musical comedy ride that you don’t want to miss!"

Performances of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" are May 25 through June 17. Shows are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $18 for Thursdays; $21 for Fridays-Sundays. Music Theatre International licenses the show. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" contains some comedic adult language and themes.

Upcoming Wheaton Drama productions include "Hansel and Gretel" (children's show), "The Heiress", "The Sound of Music", "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure", "Full Circle", and "Into the Woods". Details on a Christmas show will be available soon.

At play since 1931, Wheaton Drama’s productions are staged at Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale Street in downtown Wheaton. Visit http://www.wheatondrama.org for more information and show tickets.

Article by Jo-Ann Ledger for Wheaton Drama publicity. Follow on Twitter at WDIpublicity.

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