Western alumna, ‘American Idol’ hopeful, wants you to pick her card!

Western Illinois University alumna Aly Jados, a 2008 music grad who got the thumbs-up sign from Steven Tyler himself after her audition for “American Idol,” has unfortunately been shut out of the running, as of this week.

But, she says, she’s not giving up.

Jados, who made a splash in the Minneapolis auditions for American Idol Season 10 by singing the Beatles’ “Come Together”–and an impromptu duet with Steven Tyler on the Aerosmith classic “Dream On” [watch the clip here]–says there’s still a chance that her journey on the “Road to Hollywood” isn’t over.

In fact, in a note to the Beyond the Bell Tower blog editor this week, she asked her friends, former professors, and fans at WIU for a little help:

Hey guys!! I need your support more than ever now. Yes, I got the boot from American Idol, but the journey has just begun. THERE’S STILL A CHANCE, and I’m gonna go for it all the way.?? Here’s how it works…American Idol has decided to bring back the “Wild Card” this season. The Wild Card is picked by the judges and can be anyone that has been previously eliminated from the show. I’m obviously hoping for Steven Tyler’s pick. So, if I can create enough buzz, I have a good shot at it, but like I said I really need your help! ??You can help by joining my fan page on Facebook, spreading the word by posting my fan page on your wall, or search my name, “Aly Jados,” on Youtube and give feedback on the music videos I have up.

This is my dream, always has been….WE can do this!!

picture of Aly Jados Wild Card Invite

And by the way, it’s safe to say she isn’t just “dreaming on” about the possibility of Steven Tyler picking her. After all, she certainly got his attention in her Minneapolis audition. Here’s how MTV News described it in its audition recap:

“Wow,” Tyler said wide-eyed while looking over the raven-haired beauty with the voluptuous mouth. “You look like you could be one of my … nope, I can’t say it. … One of my friends.”
She knew just what song to pick, too, growling out a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together,” which Aerosmith famously covered in the disastrous 1978 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie, segueing into a duet with Tyler on Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”

And it shouldn’t be too surprising to any of her former professors at WIU that she’s got the tenacity to go for the Wild Card pick. Matthew Warnock, for one, remembers Jados quite well, since she was one of the first students he taught guitar at WIU, in addition to being one of his private-lesson students and playing in the guitar ensemble at WIU.

“She worked extremely hard while at WIU,” he said. “When she started with me she was playing basic rock stuff, but after three years she performed a great junior recital doing all jazz compositions, and improvising on all of them. She stands out as one of the hardest working and most determined students I’ve ever worked with. She’s very talented and has a great voice to go along with her guitar playing.”

Sing your heart out, Aly; Western wants you to rock on!

You can help Aly spread the word by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, and more!

WIU professor helps bring comic strip to the stage

WIU professor helps bring comic strip to the stage

One father’s love for his son has gone from a pent and paper (a cartoon strip), to Facebook fans, to a touring production. And he has a WIU theatre and dance professor to thank, in part, for taking his show on the road.

Jason Platt, a single dad who lives and works in the Quad Cities, (IL/IA), was featured in a story in the Quad City Times over the weekend. The story details how Platt’s comic strip about him and his son, Mister & Me, has been turned into a play for kids, thanks to Platt’s partnership with Ray Gabica, professor in the theatre and dance department at WIU. (And to add to the WIU connection to this story, Platt works for LinguiSystems, which happens to have been founded by two WIU alumnae!)

Screen shot QC Times story

a screen shot QC Times story

Professor profile: Ray Gabica

As the QC Times‘ story explains, children in the area got to enjoy the comic-turned play through a performance by the Western Illinois University Regional Touring Theatre Company (RTTC), which is known for putting on touring productions of kids’ shows like The Lion and the Mouse, The Tree House, and Free to Be…You and Me.

Gabica not only leads and designs the RTTC shows, but, in addition, designs from four to six productions a year, and can count among his accomplishments the more than 48 Summer Music Theatre productions, plus more than 60 main-stage shows. Gabica, who has an M.F.A in costume and make-up design from Michigan State University, teaches the costume design sequences on the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as theatrical make-up and visual concepts for the stage.

As the story points out, Platt is also involved in local theater, which is how he connected with Gabica, who adapted and directed the play:

“I kind of let him run amok with it,” Platt said. “I love and trust Ray so much that I knew he would handle the material with respect. I had no problem with how he was going to adapt the comic.”