Wendy J Wheeler – Fame Jr. Artistic Director
Wendy is making her BCJT debut as Artistic Director, with this production of Fame Jr. She is new to the area, currently serving as Director of Music at First UMC of Battle Creek. At the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre , she Music Directed Grey Gardens, taught for the Academy of Theatre Arts and performed in pit orchestras, and has served as Musical Director for Comstock’s Center Stage Theatre. Recently Wendy has music directed for Marshall Civic Players and “The Wizard of Oz” with Mattawan High School. Wendy’s resume includes a variety of educational programs, theater work in many venues, and almost 20 years of private vocal and piano instruction. Her performance experience includes work with the Saginaw Bay Orchestra (Saginaw, MI), Midland Music Society (Midland, MI), Pit & Balcony Theatre Company (Saginaw, MI), Rome (Italy) Festival Opera, and What-A-Do Theatre Company (Battle Creek, MI). Wendy holds a BA from Saginaw Valley State University and earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from WMU. She lives her son, Nicholas, in Portage, MI.
Kay Satoh – Fame Jr. Music Director
Originally from Minnesota, Kay moved to the Kalamazoo area in August by way of Carbondale, IL, where she recently got her Master’s degree in piano accompanying and music directing. Prior to graduate school, she worked at Omaha Children’s Theater Company for a year as a contract teacher and assistant music director. Past music directing/assistant music directing projects include: Annie Jr., Little Shop of Horrors, Seussical Jr., Peter Pan, Sound of Music, Cinderella, and RENT. She is currently working as a freelance accompanist, playing for students at WMU, Portage Central Middle School, and Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.
DeQuan Perry, Jr. - Fame Jr. Technical Director
Dequan Perry is a lover of the arts. He enjoys long walks on the beach and even longer naps. He has five cats and one dog. He adores his friends and is a total momma’s boy. Dequan began his theatre journey when he was only 7 when he was casted as Snippy in a Charlie Brown’s Christmas in a school play. It wasn’t until he joined Junior Theatre at the age of 11 when he continued his adventure to becoming the world’s greatest actor. Soon after he realized that his life would take place bot only on the stage, he wanted it to take place in other parts of the theatre as well. His tech skills began with lighting and sound. Soon after he began taking classes and studying the different aspects of theatre. Well into his 2nd year of college, Dequan directed his first show, ‘The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet.’ Moving to the next step he designed and built the entire set for the show. Dequan has so far directed two shows. Fame Jr. Will be his second Junior Theatre production where he plays the role of Tech Director. He’s highly intrigued to work with his new production team and create a wonderful set. He still has a lifelong dream of owning a theatre that will give away scholarships to any and all Performing Arts Majors. He looks forward to seeing all of your bright and shining faces at auditions.
Leah Smith – Fame Jr. Costumer
Leah Smith is currently a senior at Western Michigan University, majoring in Theatre Design and Technical Production with a focus in Costume Design. Leah has worked with BCJT once before, on their summer production of “Zab!nga”. Leah’s other costuming credits include costume designs for WMU’s productions of “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” and “Macbeth”, costume coordination for WMU’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding”, and costume design for Center Stage Theatre’s “The Wedding Singer”. She one day hopes to enter the field of costume design for film.
Tess Hensel – Fame Jr. Choreographer
Tess is a freshmen at KCC this year. She recently graduated from Lakeview High School. While at Lakeview, Tess participated in 7 productions – 3 plays and 4 musicals – and was a mentor in their acting class. She is now working as their choreographer for their spring musical, Beauty and the Beast. Tess has also performed at Comstock Center Stage Theatre, MarshallCivic Players, What A Do theatre, Battle Creek Civic, and of course, the Battle Creek Junior Theatre. She started the BCJT program when she was in 5th grade and performed in almost every play until she graduated from the program in 9th grade. But she didn’t stop there. Loving the outstanding opportunities that BCJT gives to young actors in our community, Tess continued to work for Battle Creek Junior Theatre as a student intern, assistant, and finally, as their choreographer. Fame Jr. will be Tess’s 6th production as choreographer for the Battle Creek Junior Theatre, and she can’t wait to be a part of this exciting family once again.