Wildcats on Broadway fundraiser June 23

The El Dorado High School Drama Department is hosting an evening including dinner and a performance by two Broadway performers, as well as the students.
This will be during their “Wildcats on Broadway” fundraiser June 23.
The event begins with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and includes three courses served during a progressive dinner, where the first course will be at District 142 and the next two at art galleries.
Following the dinner, a show will be put on at 7:30 p.m. at the high school auditorium featuring Broadway performers Katie Banks-Todd, who also is the EHS drama department director, and EHS graduate Daxton Blomquist, who is currently appearing in “Book of Mormon” on Broadway. Banks-Todd had performed in the “Phantom of the Opera” doing a national tour and then performing with the Broadway Company from 2005 to 2008.
They will be singing some solos and duets, as well as performing with the drama students.
“I have a bunch of kids that really love to perform and I am excited for them to get that chance,” Banks-Todd said. “I’m excited to get to perform with the kids because I never get to do that. I’m excited for Daxton to come back and give the kids that opportunity to work with him.”
The show will be emceed by Michele Banks and Bob Peterson, Butler theatre instructor. It is choreographed by Josh Parson and accompanied by Linda Montgomery and Wade Burtchet.
People have the option of attending the dinner and show for $50 or just attending the show for a suggested donation of $10. Reservations for the dinner are needed by June 20. For reservations, e-mail ehsreservations@gmail. com or call 646-269-3902.
The money raised will be used for their shows next year, including “Beauty and the Beast” and “1776,” as well as for their trip to New York City next year where the students will have the opportunity to attend a master class with a nationally recognized voice teacher and broadway dance captain and chat backs with broadway performers.
“I try to make everything as professional for them as I can and just to give them another opportunity to work with professional people is awesome,” she said.

Bloomquist achieves dreams on Broadway

Daxton Bloomquist is living his dream as a Broadway actor and he is going to share those experiences with the El Dorado High School drama students when he comes back for their fundraiser this month.
“I’m really excited to be singing in the new auditorium and I’m just really excited to be singing with Katie Banks (Todd, EHS drama instructor) and getting to sing with some of the high school kids,” Bloomquist said.
Of course, the thing he is looking forward to most is seeing his family because he hasn’t been home since Christmas
Bloomquist is currently performing on Broadway in “Book of Mormon,” for which he was previously part of the national tour.
“I have been with the show now a little bit over a year and I absolutely still love it every day,” he said. “We do eight shows a week Tuesday through Sunday.
“It’s a very interesting job. It’s really, really fun and the lights and glory are there but it’s still a job and you still have to show up and you still have to give 100 percent.”
Bloomquist first moved to New York after he graduated from Wichita State University in 2010.
He said he had a year of not working in the theatre, then he booked a show on a Disney cruise ship.
“I came back and auditioned for ‘Book of Mormon’,” he said.
He said he was fortunate to only have one year of not working in theatre.
“I’m very, very blessed I had the opportunity to be working in New York because not very many people get to do it,” he said.
“It’s what I love to do. I don’t look at it as work, but it is definitely a challenge. Physically you have to be at the top of your game and mentally too because you are doing the same thing every day and have to bring something new to it every day.”
One thing he enjoys about it is the opportunity to always get better.
“There’s not a place where you can just stop and say ‘I did it’,” he said. “There’s always a creative urge and you always want to take that next step as an artist. What can I do next to be better? I’ve been a person who always liked the idea of working toward something and succeeding and then working toward something new.”
He said he will continue to act as long as it is something he loves to do, which is important to Bloomquist.
“I’m a very big advocate on doing what you love to do,” he said. “That’s another reason I’m coming back to El Dorado to show it’s possible for any of us to get out there and do what you want to do. I want to be that role model for someone else who thinks they can get out of the small town and do what they enjoy doing. If you really put your mind to it, you can get what you want. Katie taught me that. I would not be anywhere if I did not have a role model like Katie and my parents. The El Dorado community was really supportive of me and continues to be, and I hope I can show my support to my old high school.”
He encourages everyone to come out and see the EHS fundraiser show.
“El Dorado is very lucky to have someone like Katie teaching these kids at such a young age,” he said. “It blows my mind El Dorado gets that opportunity. There are very few people who get to do what Katie did and very few people get that teacher who has been in the middle of it.
“That’s why I want to come back to the show. We love being here and we love to keep supporting the arts.”