Arts and Culture

Sweet Sounds of Summer at Barrington’s White House Barrington

By Lisa Stamos

Barrington’s White House presents its “Sweet Sounds of Summer” Cultural Series, beginning on July 3. Enjoy a wide range of musical events across all genres. For the tickets and details, go to

Chris Walz Bluegrass Players
Saturday, July 3, 11:30 a.m. (following July 4 Parade)
FREE, In-Person on the Lawn Following the Parade

2nd Thursdays Jazz Cabaret Series
Thursday, July 8, 7 p.m.
FREE, In-Person on the Lawn Following the Parade

Geneva Barbershop Quartet
Thursday, July 15, 6 p.m.
FREE, In-Person on the Lawn

Paddy Homan Presents Traditional Irish Music
Thursday, July 22, 7 p.m.
In-Person in the Grand Ballroom

Stephanie Block and Friends, String Sextet
Saturday, July 24, 7:30 p.m.
In-Person in the Grand Ballroom

Stephanie Block
Left: Parker Players presented the classic Ephron sister’s play, “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” in 2019. In front, from left: Maggie Black and Christine Shelton. In back, from left: Erin Shechtman, Jennifer McHugh, Jill Morkes Rojas, Christina Anderson, and Josie Croll. Photo by Jim Jim Prisching. Upper right: A piece titled “Spotlight” drawn by Liza McHugh, age 17. It represents this period of hibernation performing artists have been experiencing as they wait to return to the ‘spotlight’. Lower right: Jennifer McHugh, Artistic Director of Parker Players, is eager to bring live theater back to Barrington.

Entering Stage Left

What do performing artists do during a pandemic? We train. We teach and take lessons virtually. We invest in ring lights and iPhone stands to record our virtual auditions. We read plays and listen to soundtracks. We experiment with virtual rehearsals and filmed productions.

We make do.

The truth, though? Nothing replaces the energy of a live performance. The thrill of the moment when anything could happen. The immediate reactions of audience members—whether it be laughter, boredom, joy, or even heckling. The camaraderie of a cast, remaining in the moment, and helping each other craft the best show possible.

What now?

Parker Players is committed to bringing live theater back to Barrington. Our musicians, our vocalists, our dancers, and our artists are ready.

Saturday, June 5, 2021, we launch a dinner/theater performance series. We open with two shows at Moretti’s upstairs event space. Tickets will be sold to either a 5 p.m. or an 8 p.m. performance and will include dinner and an evening of live music featuring Barrington area vocalists and pianists. We intend to continue the series at other Barrington area restaurants throughout the summer and fall. We are ready to return. We hope you are ready too.

Ticket information can be found at:

Jennifer McHugh is the artistic director of Parker Players. For more information, visit, or email

Left: Actor and Barrington native Kayden Koshelev. Photo: Rachel Rae Stella. Right: Kayden Koshelev with William H. Macy on set at The Art Institute of Chicago. Photo Courtesy of Sara Turkin.

Introducing Kayden Koshelev

Kayden Koshelev started his acting career at age 4. The Barrington native works alongside such luminaries as William H. Macy, and recently booked his first film, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” with Director Joel Coen.

Now 11, Koshelev had immediate success as a model, landing shoots for Radio Flyer and Land of Nod. He enjoys being in front of the camera, and decided to become an actor, taking musical theater and acting classes, as well as dance. His first agency, Paonessa Talent Agency, signed him following his first audition with them. It was his first choice for representation. His manager is Chelsea Streano with Brave Artists Management in Los Angeles, and is also signed by David Doan at CESD. He is currently in the Second City Youth Ensemble.

Koshelev’s reputation and resume in the Midwest has helped him secure commercial work for Sara Lee, Saint Louis Zoo, Jell-O, Kraft, Raisin Bran, First Midwest Bank, Whirlpool, and Kmart. At 8, he booked a co-star role on an episode of “Chicago Med” as well as a co-star role alongside William H. Macy in “Shameless”. His first musical lead was in “Oliver” at the Marriott Theater.

Once the pandemic hit, the entertainment industry ground to a standstill, but Koshelev kept busy with virtual classes. Things are now moving again in TV and film. We caught up with the actor after his latest trip to Los Angeles where his is most current project was a role in “Diary of a Future President”, Season 2, airing on Disney+ later this year.

What do you love most about being an actor?

What I love most about being an actor would have to be getting all of these scripts, almost daily sometimes, and new characters I get to portray. My other favorite thing about acting is when I get the job. It makes me feel very accomplished and I get to go on set. Being on set feels like my home and I just love looking around and seeing the stages and the crew and going to hair and makeup…getting camera-ready. I just love the set-life!

How do you prepare for a TV or film role?

Usually when I’m in my trailer I start to think about everything this character would like, even if it has nothing to do with anything in the scene, just to put me in the characters position. I obviously go through my lines a ton, too.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far about acting?

You have to treat every audition and role like it’s YOUR role, because your role could be any role. It could be something you don’t expect it to be. It could even be a small role that leads to something else, then something else.

What do you do between breaks in rehearsal and filming?

I meet all the cast and talk to them. I obviously have to do school, too, and there are lunch breaks. There’s always so much food on set! I love talking to my fellow actors on set and with theatre because it’s really awesome to learn other peoples’ stories. In Oliver, it was so fun because it was a huge kid’s cast and we had a green room to hang out in and see how everyone was doing.

What is your favorite movie?

I love all the Marvel movies!

Favorite TV show?

One of my favorite TV shows is “WandaVision” because Scarlett Witch is my favorite character ever, so when they created a whole other series off of her, I was psyched! But when I want to have fun, I love “Brooklyn 99” and all the ABC sitcoms too. Would love to be on one someday!

What would be your dream role?

My dream role would have to be a lead in a comedy series or a mystery movie/show. Those are my two favorite genres. One would be great, but both would be my dream!

What’s it like working with famous actors?

Honestly, it feels very surreal. I love doing scenes with them and then also talking to them in real life, because there’s a huge difference. When I’m working with them, it feels crazy sometimes! Like, I am working this famous actor. But I also need to connect with them, because if I don’t, it’ll be a harder to do a scene. They have all been so nice, and its so funny that some of their characters are nothing like them in real life.

What advice would you give other young actors trying to break into the business?

That’s a hard one but my advice is to never stop. Your role is coming. When it does come, you feel so accomplished that all of those struggles of auditioning not leading to anything, is totally worth it! If this is really what you love, put in the work. Take the classes and put in the time.

Anything else you want to share?

I act because I love it. It’s my passion. Being on set feels like home…like its where I am meant to be. I love feeling accomplished. I have big goals and I want to be successful, like actors that get to go from project to project.

Follow Kayden Koshelev on Instagram @kaydenkoshelev, at, and view his work on YouTube.

Above: Katie Johansson in her Barrington studio. Below left:  A variety of opals and petrified wood, each ring features a one of a kind gemstone.
Below right: This stunning necklace showcases royal imperial jasper with orbicular swirling patterns.

Artists You Should Know: Katie Johansson

Katie Johansson is a Barrington-based Metalsmith Jewelry Designer whose distinctive work is available through her company, Dollybird Design. A Long Island, New York native, Johansson grew up with nature all around her in the North Shore of the island. Her love of all things nature would lead her on a quest for unique and beautiful one of a kind semi-precious gemstones and rare sought after minerals turning them into one-of-a-kind artisan made jewelry.

Johansson began her career in interior design and architecture that ventured from Boston to New York to the City of Chicago. Her passion for fashion is what lead her to a profession in design and drafting of wholesale jewelry nearly 20 years ago, igniting an unexpected path for her. She learned the fine art of jewelry making by hand and enrolled in classes at the Evanston Art Center which spawned Dollybird Design in 2004. Dollybird has sold thousands of pieces to customers around the world and has a loyal domestic and international customer base which purchases her work at nationwide shows, online, Etsy, and private appointments.

The semi-precious gemstones Johansson uses in her jewelry are ethically sourced through miners and gem cutters all over the world. They are one-of-a-kind in rarities with raw natural patterns and are dramatically unique in color. Her metal craft skills turn sheets of silver and copper into rings, bracelets, and necklaces, securing and showcasing one or more statement gems. We caught up with the artist at her studio in Barrington to learn more.

What was it like growing up on Long Island?

I grew up in Huntington, L.I., where summers felt like the beach and ocean were in my backyard. You are surrounded by so much natural beauty and nature. It also is the birthplace of Walt Whitman.

What perspectives or skills did interior design and architectural engineering provide for the art of metalcraft and jewelry making?

I worked for a small interior design company in NYC before coming to Chicago. We designed windows on Madison and Park Avenue for top fashion brands such as Hermes, Bvlgari, and Ralph Lauren. Color, pattern, and high levels of creativity ran wild with these projects.

As an Interior Designer, I would sketch, spec, and draft concepts in space and perspectives. When I became a Jewelry Designer, I was still drafting, spec’ing, and building in the same sense, but for a new industry in the fashion jewelry trade.

Designing artful jewelry for your job sparked something that became a career. What is it that drew you in?

Geology. The more I learned about gems and minerals, the more I wanted to discover. It is something I will never tire of or get bored with. I’m obsessed with finding the obscure and one-of-a-kind.

What design elements help to make one of your pieces timeless?

Nature is timeless….it never goes out of style. It’s the minimalist lines and rare one-of-a-kind gems to highlight in a piece that inspire me.

There are many semi-precious gemstones to choose from. How do you pick out the ones you want to work with?

It is important for me to be a part of the global sustainability movement and source from miners around the world who share the same ethical responsibility in taking care of our earth. I work with miners direct to find gems that are rare to collect in making for a unique piece.

What is your business philosophy?

Dollybird’s ethos is to fight against fast fashion and mass-produced products. To create timeless pieces of jewelry for the wearer to find special and build memories with through the years. I grew frustrated with the mass production of inexpensive jewelry for trend. Everything started to be predictable style and looked the same.

Do you have favorite gemstones that you like to work with?

I love agates and jaspers for their fortification, wild colors, and patterns. I love opals for their illuminating glow. I even love Petrified woods for their fossil nature and millions and millions of years mineralization. I love them all for many different reasons.

How does geology fit into your work? Is it something that inspires you?

Yes, very much. I love studying and learning all about natural gemstones and the geological path that wind, water, and fire took to create the magnificent patterns and colors that are hidden below our feet.

What do you love most about your work?

I love that I get to work with miners and gem cutters from various countries and cultures all around the world.

Is there any advice you would give to someone contemplating a career in the studio or hands-on arts such as your own?

Start slow, don’t get overwhelmed with ideals of perfection. Enjoy the process, and make mistakes. Some of your greatest achievements will come from failed attempts. The freedom to create is a powerful force. Treat work as something you love first. Dollybird blossomed and was built organically with passion as the foundation. I’m forever grateful to have an opportunity to inspire people with what I do for a living as a Designer and for the loyal following that has kept the fire burning after all these years.

Learn more about Dollybird Design at: Shop at Follow on Instagram: @dollybirdjewelry. Become a fan

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