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Carol Stream

Carol Stream's stars of stage and screen: Locals find success in acting this holiday season

Actors of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels have called the Carol Stream area home.

This holiday season, Suburban Life is spotlighting individuals native to or living in or around Carol Stream and what they’ve accomplished on the stage and screen from New York to Hollywood.

Michael Semanic

Hometown: Streamwood

Current project: “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Previous experience: Michael, a seventh-grader at Canton Middle School, began his acting career when he was 7, with credits including the role of Oliver Twist in Light Opera Works’ production of “Oliver,” two roles in Main Street Opera’s production of the Puccini operas “Gianni Schicchi” and “Suor Angelica” as well as film and commercial gigs.

Thanks to a suggestion from his mom, Kris, Michael tried out for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater production. He landed the role of Robin Page, one of Sir John Falstaff’s pages in the comedic play, which marks his debut with the renowned theatre company.

Set in post-war England in the late 1940s, the production features music typical of the era and several dog performers, both of which are aspects of the production Michael said he loves.

Though Shakespearian language proves challenging for many high school students, it isn’t for 12-year-old Michael.

“As the show goes on, I see patterns,” he said. “I learned that ‘forsooth’ means ‘truth be told’ and ‘merry’ means ‘happy.’ And I can just see a lot of patterns. I get to learn the language a lot more as time goes on.”

Details: The show runs through Jan. 19. Tickets cost $48 to $78, with some discounts available. For more information, visit

Cory Goodrich

Hometown: Born in Wilmington, Del., but lives in Carol Stream

Current project: “The Christmas Schooner” at Mercury Theater in Chicago

Previous experience: As she watched her older brother perform in high school plays, Goodrich dreamed the lead girl would get sick and she’d be cast in the role.

“They never did that,” she said.

But Goodrich fulfilled her dream anyway, landing a Jeff Award-winning role as Mother in Oakbrook Terrace’s Drury Lane Theatre production of “Ragtime,” a role as Rona in Theatre at the Center’s “Spelling Bee” and other credits including productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Ravinia Festival and more.

The mother of two is playing the role of Alma in the Chicago holiday musical, “The Christmas Schooner.” Based on a true story, the show tells the tale of a captain who risked life and limb on Lake Michigan to bring Christmas trees to German immigrants in Chicago.

“It’s a Christmas musical, but it’s not too sugary or sappy,” Goodrich said. “It’s a little unexpected.”

Details: The show runs through Dec. 29. Tickets cost $20 to $55. For more information, visit www.mercury

Eric Petersen

Hometown: Carol Stream

Current project: TV Land’s “Kirstie”

Previous experience: Petersen began his acting career at Glenbard North High School because he missed soccer tryouts and needed something to do.

But high school performances eventually led to off-Broadway productions, a leading role in a national tour of the musical “Shrek” and parts in TV shows such as “Law & Order: SVU” and “As the World Turns.”

Petersen’s biggest gig so far is his current role as Arlo Barth, the son that musical theater diva Madison Banks (played by Kirstie Alley), gave up for adoption, in TV Land’s new sitcom “Kirstie.” Barth stars in the show alongside Michael Richards and Rhea Perlman.

“This is a big huge point in my career,” Petersen said. “It’s a huge goal I’ve worked for my whole life. Ever since I considered being an actor as a job, I wanted to be on a sitcom.”

Though he lives in Los Angeles, Petersen said he is “very, very proud to be from Carol Stream and the Chicagoland area.”

Details: “Kirstie” airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on TV Land.

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