I was five years old, standing in my voice teacher/children choir director’s living room, singing a song I had spent two months learning. Familiar and strange faces alike, staring at me with bright wide eyes, glistening smiles and edge-of-your-chair posture, a captivated audience. The musical sounds from the piano begin to set the stage for what is about to become the world premiere of the next Mario Lanza or Luciano Pavarotti. I open my mouth. I fill my lungs with air and at the appropriate moment I begin to sing; “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow….the corn is as high….Oh, what a beautiful mornin’” My performing debut. Those who listened were kind and applauded with enthusiasm. I even remember hearing someone say, “Isn’t he so darling?” What I most remember... I got to eat an ice cream cone on my way back home in the back seat of my dad’s “56” orange and white Buick. Kids
Over the past sixty plus years I have had countless opportunities to sing; in church, at weddings, at funerals, anniversary celebrations, in and assortment of community choirs. Singing has taken me to so many places: the open air of a national park amphitheater, to Carnegie Hall in New York, to Orchestra Hall in Chicago, to magnificent cathedrals in Europe, to the Parker Playhouse in Barrington and to all those places in-between. Through all these experiences I have learned three important lessons. First, you must constantly develop, train, and perfect your gift. Rarely does it just happen. Second, it takes a lot of people to help you; from voice teachers, to parents, to other choir members, to spouses, to other singers. It is always a collaborative effort. Third, it is never about you. It is always about the sound, the product, the effect it has on others, the experience that you have been blessed to help create.
These three lessons guide our approach in how we do theater: to diligently work at our craft in all of its facets, to combine our collective gifts and talents in all creative enterprises, so that you might be engaged emotionally and intellectually in any production that we humbly place before you.
On behalf of the Artistic Team, the Board of Directors and me, we are The Parker Players. Welcome to your theater.
Jennifer McHugh loves to share stories. An avid reader and 'pretender' Jennifer gravitated naturally to performing arts. Whether acting, singing, dancing or directing, Jennifer is most comfortable in the theater. Recently, she performed in Nunsense (Sister Mary Amnesia) with Up & Coming Theater Co., and Suite Surrender (Athena Sinclair) with Elgin Theater Co. Jennifer also directed The Gift of the Magi and Love, Loss and What I Wore by Nora Ephron for Parker Players.
Jennifer brings a unique perspective to the artistic team because she also has a background in business. She worked in the production department at Steppenwolf Theater, went on to earn her MBA from The University of Chicago and then spent a few years working in advertising at Leo Burnett. Jennifer believes that her combination of strategic thinking and creative vision is ideal in directing a theater company.
Jennifer is married to Dan and has three daughters who are all involved in the performing and fine arts in the Chicagoland area. Jennifer is thrilled to work with the rest of the Parker Players team to establish the company as a permanent part of Barrington's arts culture.
TREASURER / SECRETARY
Joe Bateman has served as treasurer for Parker Players since 2019. In a previous life, Joe served as a board member and treasurer for the Pump House Theatre in Watford, England. Occasionally, he leaves the financial books behind and ventures onto the stage, performing in Spider's Web for Parker Players and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Death of a Salesman, Chess, Annie and In Praise of Love for other theater companies.
BOARD MEMBER & TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
Ray began learning all stage crafts while a student at Barrington High School. He gained further expertise working at a Lighting House in L.A., providing equipment to theaters and concert venues. In 2002, while taking an improv class at Second City in Chicago, Ray heard his teacher mention that Second City needed a 'light guy' for a show. Ray volunteered and spent the next decade designing and running light boards for improv shows throughout Chicagoland. Ray is also a founding member of Parker Playhouse and helped design the entire technical program for the theater. Ray now looks forward to designing for Parker Players.
TREASURER / SECRETARY
Sharon Schmidt combines experience in music, business and art. She spent high school boarding at Interlochen Arts Academy studying music, then majored in Retailing, Clothing and Textiles at Michigan State University and finally went on to earn an MBA at Indiana University.
Sharon is a true artist with an artist's eye for detail. She works in chalk pastels on her own paintings and teaches classes in pottery and fibers at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Sharon is a skilled seamstress and carries an almost encyclopedic knowledge of costume design in her head. She's worked with BHS productions as well as community and professional productions to sew, build and borrow whatever was necessary to complete each wardrobe. Sharon was instrumental in the founding of Parker Playhouse and is looking forward to its next chapter as Parker Players.
The power of story captivates, Dan McHugh, and has done so ever since he discovered a copy of Bulfinch's Mythology in 5th grade. That anthology launched a lifelong passion for reading and creating story. Fast forward to meeting Jennifer Pryor, who would later become my wife, and the introduction of theater to my palette. To think that for years I had adored story but ignored the wonder of story brought to life before my eyes. Jennifer changed all that and instilled a deep respect for the entire process that takes the written work to the stage. That respect has challenged me to become a part of Parker Players and to assist in any way that I can in this transformation of people and place into another world filled with mystery, intrigue, comedy and song.
Lori Rowe has been a part of the Parker Players since the Parker Playhouse was established. A Barrington resident since 1987, she wants to ensure that performing arts will always be an integral part of the community where she raised her two daughters, and now her grandchildren reside. Lori and her husband, Kevin, are members and former presidents of Second Set, a play readers’ group in Barrington. In 2019, she served as a location scout, found lodging for the cast and crew, and hosted a fundraiser for the independent film, “The Grasshopper,” which recently premiered at the Bend Film Festival. She has served as location scout for the Disney Channel, commercials (Kool-Aid Man!), and television. As Entertainment Chairman for the Barrington Relay for Life, she coordinated 10 hours of quality live music and performances and raised thousands with her Song Sponsor program. Lori has been a busy Barrington Area real estate broker since 1986. Former careers include teacher and Allstate Operations Manager. At home, she supports Kevin’s creative pursuits in the country music world, and she oversaw two music videos shot in Los Angeles for her daughter, Hailey, that have 1.5+ million views. She is constantly seeking opportunities to increase community awareness and support of Parker Players and looks forward to using her party planning skills for PP’s Red Carpet events!