Hinsdale Central senior is an unsung (and unseen) all-state champ in theater

We all know that Hinsdale Central High School produces state champion athletes and musicians as well as academic and artistic champs. With Ryann Chioda, the school can also boast an all-state theatre champ — and this one for behind-the-scenes work.

Chioda is a Hinsdale Central senior who auditioned for and was accepted to take a backstage role in the Illinois State Theatre Festival production of “The Grapes of Wrath.” I don’t think often about the backstage jobs and even more infrequently consider that those jobs may be as tightly parceled out as the on-stage roles are. Chioda specifically interviewed to do costuming for this selective production featuring the best of high school talent in Illinois. She put together a portfolio of her previous theater costuming work, and, in her words, “chatted” with six or seven of the teachers producing the play in order to be selected to “costume” the show. The cast was about 30 while the backstage was 27 from all over the state.

Oh, and “The Grapes of Wrath” ran over the weekend of Jan. 11 and 12, and Chioda joked, “I got to go down (to Normal) during the blizzards and the negative 50 degrees weather.” That was also the weekend before Hinsdale Central’s final exams, so it truly was a sacrifice.

Chioda is a theater girl.

“I’m actually more interested in acting than the backstage work,” she said.

Her sophomore year she was not cast in the school’s spring musical, so she decided to work with costumes, which she did find gratifying.

“I like it because I get to see a different side of theater,” she said.

She liked thinking about the character and setting and script as well as the actor portraying the role and then creating a costume which reflected all those aspects. She physically helps the cast members with their costumes during the show and has an opportunity to support the actors emotionally.

Chioda is a senior, and she hopes to major in performance at college. Her college applications have been turned in and she will be doing auditions for those schools very soon, but as of right now she is not sure where she is headed next year. But she said her parents are very supportive.

Meanwhile, for the March production of “Beauty and Beast,” Chioda will play the role of a silly girl. In truth, she is anything but.

Resilience and Kids Talk

The excellent School District 181 Foundation speaker series continues next week with Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg talking about Resilience: the Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Child. Ginsburg is a pediatrician and published parenting author who also has a master’s degree in education and lots of experience working with adolescents. He will speak at 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at The Community House, 415 W. Eighth St., Hinsdale and later at 7 p.m. in the Hinsdale Central Auditorium, 55th and Grant streets. The talks are free and open to the public, though pre-registration is requested. Visit www.d181foundation.org or www.d181.org for more information.

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