Raue Center to welcome CL Central grad in The Magic School Bus

Crystal Lake Central High graduate, Katie Kallus, returns to Crystal Lake’s Raue Center For the Arts starring as Miss Frizzle in “The Magic School Bus” as a part of Raue Center’s Mission Imagination educational outreach program. She takes time to talk about her path to professional theater and what it’s like to be back in her hometown. 


Name: Katie Kallaus
Age: 25
Education: BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point
Hometown: Crystal Lake
Highschool: Crystal Lake Central High School


What education path did you take to prepare to be an actress?

I got my BFA in Musical Theatre and I’ve taken other various classes in dancing/singing/acting throughout my life.


What was the first stage show that you saw?

I believe the first stage show I saw was my brother’s 5th-grade production of Guys & Doll’s haha, but my first professional show was a touring production of Meet Me in St. Louis.



What’s been your favorite role?

I can’t pick a favorite, but if I had to choose a couple of favorites that aren’t Miss Frizzle, I’d say Inga in Young Frankenstein: the Musical and Cinderella in Into the Woods.


Thinking of all theater roles, what’s a role you’d really like to have?

As stereotypical as this sounds, Glinda in Wicked. I’d also love to play Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County one day.


How does it feel to be returning to the Raue and Crystal Lake?

It feels like a dream come true. I remember going to see shows at The Raue when I was in elementary school and I can’t believe that now I get to be on stage and share this story with a new generation of little learners. I also can’t wait to show my cast and stage manager all of my favorite places in Crystal Lake!


Miss Frizzle is a beloved childhood character, how did you feel when you heard you were going to be playing her?

I was in full denial when they called and offered me the part. Miss Frizzle was ( and still is) my favorite part of The Magic School Bus when I was little, and I couldn’t believe I was chosen to bring her to life on so many stages across the country! She’s just the perfect blend of warmth, wisdom, and chaos.


How did you prepare to Play Miss Frizzle?

I honestly didn’t have to do much preparation for this role because I always felt that Miss Frizzle and I were one and the same. We also only had a 2-week rehearsal process before we hit the road, so I had to come into the room ready to go. Our director wanted to make sure I was honoring the original Miss Frizzle while also being able to make my own personal choices and twists, and I think we’ve accomplished that!


What are your most/least favorite aspects of this type of experience?

My favorite aspect is bringing this show to places that might not have that much access to the theatre. Our show might be a kid’s first experience of theatre and it’s an honor to be a part of that. My least favorite part of touring is not having a lot of access to vegetables.

While THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS at Raue Center is primarily available through school reservations, a select number of seats may be purchased through the box office. Please email them at boxoffice@rauecenter.org or call 815.356.9212 to reserve tickets!

Actor Sarah Beth Tanner Gets Cookin’

Actor and virtual chef, Sarah Beth Tanner, talks about playing Patsy Cline and how teaching the culinary arts feeds her soul and creativity.

What do you like about acting/singing the most?

  Storytelling through acting and music is the most basic of human art forms, and I love knowing that I am a part of an ancient transformational tradition. Acting – especially in the immediacy of live theatre – helps expand human empathy by challenging the audience’s perception of the world. We are able to get to know characters, hear conversations, and witness situations that we might not be privy to in our real lives. At its best, it’s more than entertainment – it’s a chance to learn and grow.

Can you introduce yourself to our audience?

I’m Sarah Beth – I’m originally from a small town in north Alabama, and I moved to Chicago in 2013 after working for regional theatres across the country. I was looking for a place to settle in after years of bouncing from contract to contract, and Chicago was the perfect fit.

Did you take up any training?

I hold a BA in Musical Theatre from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama. These days, I try to take at least one acting class a year (many great options in Chicago!), and I regularly work with several vocal coaches.

When did you start acting?

I started acting in high school. ‘Drama Class’ was a natural fit for me, and I had the great fortune of having a dedicated, dynamic teacher who recognized and cultivated my passion for the work we were doing. Thanks, Mrs. McClung!

 What do you love about this character?

Patsy Cline died young, but she was not an overnight success by any stretch. She battled through so many various obstacles throughout her life and career – abusive relationships, tragedy and injury, and rampant sexism to name a few. I admire her tenacious grit in a huge way, but she was also known as a big-hearted and fiercely loyal friend. I love that combo.

What is the first thing you do to research and approach a role?

Every role is different, but I’m a big reader and a proud nerd about details. For this role, I dug into every biography and documentary I could find. I was cast in this role pre-COVID, so I’ve probably had too much time to research! I even made an impromptu pilgrimage to the Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville last summer after a camping trip in the Ozarks. I saw her iconic costumes and her personal handwriting on many of the letters she’d written friends and fans. It was an extremely memorable day for me, and I highly recommend visiting if you’re ever in Nashville!

 What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?

This script is unique in that it’s extremely one-sided. Louise has the vast majority of words to say, and Patsy is somewhat limited to telling her story through her songs. Kevin (our fabulous director) and I have worked hard to bring depth and detail to these songs – especially the ones we’ve all heard many times before.

Why did you want to be involved in this production?

I’ve known I would play this role one day since I saw a production of this show when I was 15. I loved it so much and the pull it had over me solidified my dream of being a professional storyteller and actor-musician.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

We’ve added so many new ideas to this production – this is going to be unlike any other Always, Patsy Cline you’ve ever seen! I’m so excited for folks to see what we’ve been crafting!

  Besides this one, what’s your favorite stage show?

I’m a serious musical theatre lover, so it’s hard to pick a favorite! I enjoy different shows from different eras, but I always love a folksy vibe with lots of heart. Right now, I’m stuck on Come From Away. I also love the show In the Heights, and I’ve been on a fresh ITH kick since the movie came out last year!

What do you do when you’re not doing theatre?

I’m a Culinary Creative and professional food lover! I work as a recipe developer, food stylist, and content creator, and you can find more about that at sbtcooks.com. I’m also a nature lover and always looking for a chance to get out of the city for some camping or hiking. In the last few years, I’ve gotten into gardening, so in Spring and Summer, you’ll find me working in a city fire escape container garden.

What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?

I take deep breaths and remind myself to trust the good work we put in while preparing and rehearsing. I try to find a reverent, meditative mindset and focus on telling the story instead of worrying about myself. It’s much easier said than done, but it’s what I strive for!

This experience was the carrot on the end of my personal pandemic stick, and I’m just so grateful to finally be living this part of the story.

Photos by Todd Heintz Photography: (Pictured) Cast members Sarah Beth Tanner and Michelle Tibble rehearse with director Kevin Wiczer and music director Jason Hartge. 

See Sarah Beth Tanner as Patsy Cline in Raue Center’s musical production of “Always…Patsy Cline,” March 19 – April 16, 2022. Tickets at rauecenter.org.

Bake for the Arts! Join Sarah Beth Tanner for a virtual Buttermilk Biscuit Class, on April 30, 2022, at 10 am.
Proceeds benefit Raue Center and its educational programs, Mission Imagination and Raue Center School For The Arts. To sign up for this scrumptious online baking class visit sbtcooks.com