August Fine Arts Articles

August 19
'Pageant Play' Kicks Off Theatre Season on Aug. 24-25

The Niles North Theater Department opens the 2012-13 season with the Director’s Circle production of “Pageant Play” by Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock. 

“Pageant Play” examines the surreal world of child beauty pageants: the contestants’ homes, coaching sessions, and seminars and the competitive drive to be the best. Performances will be held at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on August 24 and 25 in the Drama Performance Center at 9800 Lawler, Skokie. Tickets are $10. To reserve tickets, please call the Box Office at (847) 626-2122. A free community performance will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 23.

The cast of “Pageant Play” includes Christopher Khoshaba as Bobby and Buddy; Ryan Loach as Bob and Gunnar; Nina Roy as Pinky and Rachel Sepiashvili as Marge, Pinky’s Mother. Additional cast and voiceovers:  Jo Ludington, Michael Rourke, Erin Rourke and Athanasia Giannetos.

Production staff: Timothy Ortmann, Director; Annaliisa Ahlman, Scenic Designer; Teresa Ripley, Costume Designer; Barbara Reeder, Lighting Designer; Brian Fallon, Hair Designer; Erin Rourke, Sound Designer; Alex Hammond, Assistant Technical Director; Athanasia Giannetos, Stage Manager; Sarah Alkyer, Properties Mistress; Linda Room, Costume Assistant; Zach Zirlin and Ken Otsuka, Graphic Artists and Anne Zavell and Stephanie Persaud, Production Assistants.


Director’s Circle is an audition-only program at Niles North designed to offer an opportunity for outstanding theater students to hone their craft. Actors and technical crew are chosen prior to play selection, so that the play is specifically selected to showcase their abilities. Upon completion of this production, the students assist their teachers in the school’s theater classes, run acting clinics and work as leaders in sharing their skills with fellow drama students. Director’s Circle students for 2012-13 are: Alex Hammond, Tech Direction; Athanasia Giannetos, Stage Management; Christopher Khoshaba, Acting; Ryan Loach, Acting; Nina Roy, Acting and Rachel Sepiashvili, Acting. 


Other Niles North productions include:  “Love’s Labors Lost,” October 11-13; “That’s My Story,” November 7; “Almost, Maine,” December 6-8; “Reflections,” January 9, 2013; Aristophanes’ “The Birds,” February 12-13; “Beauty and the Beast,” March 14-16; and “Punk Rock,” May 2-4. For more information, go to


August 15
Fine Arts Parents Get New Name
The Niles North Fine Arts Parents are now the Niles North Fine Arts Parents & Patrons. The new name keeps the organization's focus squarely on the Fine Arts at Niles North High School, but allows the organization to reach out to the entire District 219 community to help the arts flourish at the high school.

For example, alumni and parents of alumni can now join the organization and continue to support art, band, choir, dance, orchestra and theatre at Niles North.

August 15
Meet D219's New Fine Arts Director
Jason Brown becomes new Fine Arts Director
Jason Brown hit the ground running on July 1 as the new Director of Fine Arts for the district.

Brown’s Strong Credentials
Brown was named Art Educator of the Year for 2012 by the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis. The council recognized him for “opening the world of art to many students” as Director of Fine Arts of the Riverview Gardens School District, a position he has held for the past two years. The committee cited Brown’s effectiveness in establishing strong partnerships between the district and community arts organizations and performing arts organizations.

Brown began his career in 1997 as a music educator in St. Louis Public Schools. He has served as a band and vocal music teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels and as director of bands. He has also served as a principal, and as a literacy facilitator in St. Louis Public Schools and as an assistant principal in Montgomery County Public Schools in Virginia.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Eastern Illinois University, a master’s in educational leadership from St. Louis University and is currently working on a doctorate in educational leadership from Lindenwood University.

Brown replaces Mary Jo Papich, who retired after three years as Interim Fine Arts Director.

August 15
Meet Niles North's New Band Director
Cheryl Filipek Takes the Reins for Band 
Cheryl Filipek also joined Niles North's Fine Arts faculty, becoming the school's new band director.

She began work on Aug. 14, leading the school's band camp for this week.

Filipek takes over program from Elton Eisele after 29 years of teaching at Niles North.

Filipek has been Director of Bands at Lincoln Park High School in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) since 2005. She directed the 102-piece concert and marching band and the school’s top wind ensemble. She also taught Freshman General Music. 

Filipek was instrumental in Lincoln Park High School earning the No. 2 Rank in Class AA Overall Music State Final School Results from the IHSA in 2010 and 2011, and her groups have earned 14 Superior Ratings from CPS and IHSA Festivals. Filipek’s Pep Band was chosen by audition tape as the No. 1 Pep Band of the Year in 2009 by the IHSA.

Filipek was Band Director at Lane Technical College Preparatory High School from 2000 to 2005 and taught Music Appreciation. From 2000 to 2010 she was an instrumentalist for the Air National Guard Band of the Midwest, performing as solo oboist in the Concert Band and Woodwind Quintet; she also served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Public Affairs.

Filipek earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.