Kudos | Local Talent

November 2017 View more

Kudos to four young residents this month representing the plethora of local talent coming out of west suburban performing arts studios and cooking classes. Watch these students appear on stage and screen this fall as they perform in Billy Elliot and “Top Chef Jr.”

Anna Bramlett & Peyton Owen
Young performers hit the big-city stage

The cast of Billy Elliot the Musical will be the largest in Porchlight Music Theatre’s history, but a few of the actors aren’t even old enough to drive themselves to rehearsals. Naperville’s Anna Bramlett (Julie Hope) and Aurora’s Peyton Owen (Michael Caffrey), both 13, are among ten child actors cast in the Tony-award winning musical. The story revolves around a British boy who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes and inspires his family and community through his passion for dance.

The show runs October 15 to November 19; for ticket information visit porchlightmusictheatre.org.

Fernando Nicholson & Henry Wieser
Budding chefs work behind the kitchen counter and in front of the camera

“One day I was hungry and decided I wanted to make myself a quesadilla,” says 11-year old Fernando Nicholson (on left), “and then I kept on cooking.” A year later the boy found himself in California competing in Discovery Kids’ “Top Chef Jr.” Fourteen hour-long episodes shot in Los Angeles will feature “Top Chef” judge Graham Elliot, plus celebrity guest judges.

A natural competitor, Nicholson recently won his school’s Battle of the Books reading program, and he also participates in soccer, cross country and triathlons. The Elmhurst student’s secret weapon in the kitchen is his passion for science and math. “I want to be a scientist or a cook,”
he says.

Naperville resident Henry Wieser (on right) came by cooking naturally—his father is a talented chef. Augmented by cooking classes at Sur La Table, the 13-year old frequently cooks in home competitions with his dad and uncle. “Cooking brings people together,” says Wieser. “We appreciate food in my house.” The teen’s lofty goals include owning a three Michelin-starred French restaurant—but first he wants to win the show’s $50,000 cash prize.

Watch the inaugural series of “Top Chef Jr.” on Fridays at 7:00 p.m. CST on Universal Kids, NBCUniversal’s network for kids two to 12.