Meet CAST's Snoopy - Graham Wielgos

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Melissa Ford

Coach - Personal & Business

Meet Graham Wielgos (pronounced:will-gus), a natural and versatile actor, who has just landed one of the two casts for Snoopy in CAST’s 2011 Summer Production, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Grabbing the chance to sit down with Wielgos (I bent his ear for over an hour), I inquired about his past performances, how he got his start in acting, and why he likes garnering attention. 

Melissa Ford - So Graham, have you always liked to act?

Graham Wielgos: Yes. I used to put on shows with my brother. A few years ago, I did a puppet show for my family. 

What do you enjoy about acting? 

Meeting all the people involved in the productions, and when I get a role, I feel like I’m a part of something big. Last year, I was in CAST and I started out with no lines at all. As we rehearsed, I ended up with 19 lines.  Also, as rehearsal goes on, it becomes more and more fun to see the show coming together. Even my dad says it’s amazing to see what happens in six weeks. 

How do you adapt to playing a certain role?

The first rehearsal is a big run through. I get to see what my character is like and maybe I even know something about the character, like Charlie Brown or Snoopy. It’s fun to be a character for two or three hours, and not be yourself. 

What do you plan on doing with your acting? 

I want to continue to act through high school and maybe college. I’ve even had thoughts about being a science teacher; I could do both. I really started acting last summer when I was in CAST. That’s when I first got in front of a lot of people other than my family. 

How do you improve your acting skills?

Directors in CAST are really helpful and nice. They can see what talents the actors already have or if they are talented in the special way the character is. In the morning, we have classes and our directors will pull out people to help them. Also, our directors teach us how to sword fight, juggle, do improv; they get us ready for our shows. 

Are you talented in a special way? 

My guitar teacher says I can memorize things. In our school’s talent show, there was a song called “One Day,” and first time I heard it, I had the words memorized. CAST directors tell us another talent is the ability to follow directions, and even if you have talent, the crew is one of the biggest parts because the show couldn’t even be a show without the crew. 

It takes courage to perform. Do you have any tips for someone trying to overcome stage fright? 

Pick someone out in the crowd and pretend they are the only person there. I like to look at my director; it makes me feel better. She’ll smile back at me. . . like she knows I can do this. 

Do you have any friends in CAST?

I made a lot of friends at CAST, of course. The person who brought me into CAST is my friend, Spencer Lombardo. Last summer his mom told my mom about CAST, and since my mom knew I loved acting, she asked me if I wanted to do it. I said yes! And, the past year, Spencer and I biked to CAST. He’s definitely helped me with my acting. 

How does Spencer Lombardo help you with your acting? 

This past week, I was practicing my audition in front of Spencer and I asked him how I could improve. His biggest tip was to speak louder. 

I saw pictures of you emceeing for Mann School’s Talent Show and I knew I wanted to interview you. You were wearing a white suit and fedora; did your parents make you wear it?

No. I like wearing suits and hats; I got the fedora on a family vacation in Turkey. When I made it as emcee for my school's talent show, the first thing I started thinking about was what to wear? I got the idea to wear a white suit from Justin Bieber. He wore a white suit to the Grammy Awards; I thought it looked cool. 

What do you like about donning a suit and hat?

I always like to get dressed up because I feel like no one else would do that. It makes me feel special and getting dressed up is a part of acting. My friend, Coleman, suggested I wear a suit to Picture Day so I could look like Bill Gates. Coleman was surprised that I wore a suit; no one else was wearing anything fancy.  And, I tried to act like Bill Gates by putting money in my breast pocket. 

What kind of support do you get from your parents regarding your acting?  

They let me go to this camp (CAST). I probably wouldn’t have recognized my talent so soon if I didn’t go to CAST. That’s what got me started. My parents come to my shows and that makes me feel good. They were happy when I made the emcee part because they know I like acting. 

I’m running out of questions. Do you have a question you’d recommend I’d ask? 

Hmmm.... Why not, “How did you first get into acting?”

That’s a good one; wish I had thought of it. Graham, how did you first get into acting?

When I was little my mom always sang. Then, I started singing and I started watching movies and plays. Other people in my family like to act, and I started trying to do what they could do. My cousin is really into acting and when I was littler - she would act in front of our family. I realized I wanted to start to do that.  

A few years ago, my cousins did Who’s on First and I got my brother, Duncan, to do that with me! Then, we performed it for my Grandma and Grandpa, and the rest of our family. Another thing we do - is every year we go to my Great Uncle Pat’s house and we do Karaoke. I like seeing what songs everybody picks and watching what the adults do. 

I’d like to personally thank Graham for spending a weekday evening with me and special thanks to his mom, Maura O'Hara, who ensured that our meeting took place prior to “Graham retiring by 8:30 pm.” 

CAST is also offering two other summer productions, Guys and Dolls and The Member of the Wedding. Performances are Thursday, July 14th at 7:30 pm, Saturday July 16th at 5 pm & 8 pm, and Sunday, July 17th at 12:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased on CAST website


Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

4 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Melissa from  

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 1:43 PM

Stay posted for more on CAST! I'll be interviewing CAST Program Manager, Kathy Simon & CAST Program Director, Bill McGlynn, bringing more news on their exciting, upcoming summer productions. . .

Teresa from Jupiter  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 10:33 AM

Congratulations! What wonderful accomplishments for such a young man. I bet you take after your mother!

Cathy from Oak Park  

Posted: June 21st, 2011 5:52 PM

I look forward to saying "I new Graham when.." It can also be noted that Graham is very good a dog and gerbil sitting.


Posted: June 20th, 2011 1:07 PM

Thanks for introducing Oak Park to this budding young star. Of course, I am his number one fan!

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Latest Comments