Mundelein teen gets into Goodman program
Mundelein high school junior Rylee Freeman plays Prince Escalus during last week’s showing of Romeo and Juliet. Freeman was accepted into the Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. | Rick Kambic~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2012 8:42AM
MUNDELEIN — She has not been cast into leading roles, but her influence is always strong when Mundelein High School produces a play.
Junior Rylee Freeman has been in charge of building the stages for most of her two years in the theatre, and her creativity allows actors to better portray a story.
As one of 25 girls accepted into the Goodman Theatre’s Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program, Freeman will learn how her overall opinions can be used in the media to make or break a production.
The program is for female high school students and includes one-on-one mentoring twice a month at the theatre, in Chicago, by professional journalists.
Each student gets tickets to nine of this season’s 11 shows, as well as opportunities to go back stage for interviews.
After Freeman writes a critique, her mentor will provide feedback and help revise the article. Each student will get at least one review posted on the theatre’s website.
Theatre teacher Jonathon Meier said Freeman is a perfect fit because her passion is more for writing than acting.
“It takes a unique kid to be in the Goodman program,” said Meier, who also directs the school plays. “You can’t be a theatre kid learning to write. You have to be a writer who has an open mind and a knack for the details.”
As Freeman submitted assignments for theatre class last year, Meier became more and more convinced of her qualifications.
“I usually have to give kids a minimum page length on writing assignments,” Meier said. “For her, I have to give a maximum number of pages.”
As she browses colleges to apply to next year, Freeman plans to one day write a novel and seeks schools with high writing expectations. Her interest is in fantasy and paranormal romance.
“In both theater and writing, you can really become a whole other person for an extended period of time,” Freeman said.
Willa Taylor, director of education and community engagement at the Goodman Theatre, said the Young Critics program fits all types of writers.
“This is for young adults who have something to say. We hope the experience teaches girls that any time they speak, either verbally or written, they can be persuasive,” Taylor said.