Former local actor cast in lead in Chicago show

Drew Thomas (new theater stage name Andrew Chandler West) in Palos Village Players' She Loves Me. Photo provided

By Bill Beard
Theater Critic

Former Rockford-area actor and director Drew Thomas is currently cast as the romantic lead in the successful musical comedy, She Loves Me, produced by one of the longest-running community theaters in Illinois: the Palos Village Players (since 1942) in Chicago suburb Palos Park.

Thomas was active in several local stateline theater groups for the five years he resided here in Rockford. He was active on the board of the Main Street Players of Boone County in Belvidere and directed several productions there.

He served on committees, acted and directed at Pec Playhouse Theatre in Pecatonica as well. He was cast in productions by Winneshek Players in Freeport, the Performing Arts Guild in Mount Morris, and directed for North Boone High School in Caledonia. He was employed regularly as production stage manager for performances at Woodstock’s historic Opera House.

He taught for several years in Rockford’s District 205, as a biligual Spanish-English specialist in Rockford’s elementary system, under his full name, Andrew Thomas Outmann, but chose to perform under the stage name of Drew Thomas.

Since moving to the Naperville area (actually, Lisle, Ill.), he has established a new theater stage name as Andrew Chandler West. He plays the role of Georg Novack in the Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick Broadway musical She Loves Me, based on the same story as the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail and the old James Stewart movie of the 1940s, The Shop Around the Corner.

This is an excellent community theater production. I covered a professional Equity production of the show just last week, a brilliant performance by the Writers’ Theatre in north suburban Glencoe (reviewed in last week’s The Rock River Times). I was pleased that the Palos Players, directed by George Machay, also did a quality production.

The show plays again this weekend, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13, at 7:30 p.m.

For information, call 877-787-8497 or visit

From the Nov. 10-16, 2010 issue

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