Meet a Mom: Actress Hannah Rose! | Chicago North Shore Moms

Happy September everyone! We are pleased to introduce you to this week’s Chicago North Shore Moms’ Meet a Mom feature, Hannah Rose! Born and bred in Michigan, Hannah Rose moved to Chicago in the 90’s to attend DePaul University and never looked back. The mama of two energetic children has lived in Highland Park since 2010 and loves it! She’s happy to share with you two super mom hacks including, favorite podcast listens and local hanging spots. Hannah is a true Jane of all trades! A musician by passion and training, she is also an actress staring as Donna Sheridan in Highland Park Players production of, “Mamma Mia!” at the Northbrook Theatre AND she teaches acting classes to 3rd through 5th graders in Glencoe! Parenting is tough and when the going gets tougher, Hannah has this real life sentiment to share: “When parenting gets hard I remind myself, ‘it’s not just me.’ Every parent who has ever walked the earth knows how difficult it is, and there is solace in numbers. Commiserate with your husband or your friend…and then go apologize to your mother.” So true, Hannah, So true! Please meet Hannah Rose! 




Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to your current town?


I am originally from Livonia, MI. I moved to Chicago to attend the music school at DePaul University in the late 90s and fell in love with the city. My husband, Brad, and I moved from the city to Highland Park in 2010. We knew we wanted quality schools and a culturally rich environment in which to raise our kids. Since he’s served as the president of Highland Park Players (our local community theatre) for 19 years, Highland Park was a great fit for our family!



You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?


As of September 4, I have an 11 year old son and an 8 year old daughter. 



What’s your favorite thing about being a mom? Please share at least one mom “hack/tip” that makes your every day life a little easier.


My favorite thing about being a mom has always been watching my children learn. As a lifelong teacher, I’m fascinated by kids’ brains and how they develop. 


My best mom “hack” is the daily to-do list I post on our fridge–a laminated version for each child. Every morning I update it with their morning and evening schedules for the day: feed the dog, pack your lunch, practice piano, the time for baseball practice, etc. They slide magnets to the “done” column when they complete each task. It helps us all to have a visual cue for the day’s expectations. No more before-school nagging!



Least favorite mom job?


Always has been and always will be meal planning and packing lunches. My kids are definitely old enough to take on more of that responsibility this year! They know that if Mom packs their lunch, they “get what they get, and don’t get upset!”



One thing people would be surprised to know about you…


People who know that I’ve been a musician my whole life would be surprised to learn that my ears require a long “music break” every day! I’m an NPR junkie and have also been getting into podcasts lately. Some favorites include “Armchair Expert” and “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.”



What are your favorite local places to spend with the family? Any indoor and outdoor places you love as well as family-friendly restaurants?


We love to bike to the Chicago Botanic Garden, or to the forest preserve in Fort Sheridan. We all have happy bellies after a visit to Greenwood (if you go early enough, it’s certainly family friendly!) or a quick after-sports stop at Backyard Grill. Our favorite dessert is ice cream from Scoops, in Lake Forest. 



Moms are eternally multi-tasking; tell us about your business ventures!


I don’t run a business. BUT I do teach musical theatre for 3-5 graders in Glencoe, through the Sarah Hall Theatre Company/Glencoe Park District. That, in addition to running our household, creates a full time job. I try to leave room for a few passion projects, including my current project–starring as Donna Sheridan in “Mamma Mia,” with the Highland Park Players. Most people know it as, “the Meryl Streep role.” The production is running September 13 through September 22, 2019 at Northbrook Theatre and we’d love to see you there!



What was/is the inspiration and/or training involved behind your business? What is your background and how did your background help with getting involved in your business?


To pursue my teaching job, I obtained a music education degree from DePaul University. Before I had kids, I taught general music in Park Ridge. For the past seven years, I’ve been teaching Broadway Bound in Glencoe. 


As for acting/singing, I grew up “on the boards.” My parents were involved in the theatre (and still are!) my whole life. My siblings and I spent countless hours running through the halls of their community theatres, and most of us tried our hand at performing. I truly got hooked on musical theatre in college, when friends let me listen to their giant collections of Broadway cast recordings. I randomly auditioned for “Big, the Musical,” with HPP in 2002 (where I met my husband!) and have since performed in over 20 shows with HPP, Glenview Theatre Guild, Actors’ Theatre of Glencoe, and various other theatres in the area. I’ve also had the pleasure of participating in a few readings and concerts, and I’ve served as the music director for many shows at HPP. A few years ago I even had the opportunity to perform in the musical, “Ragtime,” at Lincoln Center in NYC. 



Through the years, I have studied private voice and studio dance here and there, but most of my experience and training continues to take place on the boards and in the audiences of a LOT of theatres–a fact I’m actually quite proud of. My husband and I spend most of our date nights in the theatres at Writer’s, Drury Lane, and the Marriott, to name only a few, and we try to make it to Broadway every year or two. I’ve done some of my best learning from watching other actors I admire, listening to their interviews, and, of course, from working with great directors over the years. Naturally, nothing provides a better learning experience than simply doing a show, particularly as a member of the ensemble! I tell my Broadway Bound students that being in the ensemble of a musical is the best place to learn more about acting by watching the principal players, to force yourself to stay in character on stage (even when the action doesn’t revolve around you!), to work on your organizational skills (lots of costume changes), and to learn how to blend your singing voice with a group. Those moments are invaluable to an actor! 



Have your children gotten the acting bug?


My son has an amazing voice and is studying drums at School of Rock in Highwood, but prefers to enjoy theatre from the audience. My daughter, already a budding pianist, will be joining me in Broadway Bound this year, which will be her first experience with putting on a full production. I can’t wait to see what happens!



What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?


One of my favorite roles, which I was shocked to receive, was in “CATS.” Since I’m not a classically trained dancer, I never thought I’d ever have the opportunity to play around in that show. But the staff saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and we were all very proud of our gorgeous production. It was also one of the hardest things I’ve ever asked my body to do…Epsom salt baths every night! 


Being cast as Donna in “Mamma Mia” will be at the top of my list of theatrical accomplishments. The competition for the role was fierce, and I auditioned for a staff I’d mostly not worked with before. It’s also my first “mom” role. Actresses often experience a blow to the ego when we transition from the ingenue roles to the mom roles, but this one is a blast! I get to sing and dance to ABBA’s greatest disco hits all night long. Yes, please! The cherry on top is that I get to perform alongside my best girlfriend, and under the guidance of my husband, who is our producer. Who could ask for more? 



How important is it for you to have a passion outside of being a mother?


It is of the utmost importance to me to continue to pursue my passions outside mothering. I think one of the best gifts a parent can give their child is the awareness that the world does not revolve around them day and night. Yes, today I will drive you to baseball games and ballet classes, but tomorrow I will be hiring a sitter so I can go to rehearsal or take a performing gig. Performing in the theatre gives me a chance to let the kids see Mom’s hobby in action. Maybe one day they’ll find it embarrassing, but for now they’re my biggest fans. 



When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?


When parenting gets hard I remind myself, “it’s not just me.” Every parent who has ever walked the earth knows how difficult it is, and there is solace in numbers. Commiserate with your husband or your friend…and then go apologize to your mother. 



What’s on the horizon for your business? Future aspirations, plans….


After “Mamma Mia” closes, I will likely put this hobby aside until the right opportunity comes along again. I’m very choosy with my projects, and I’m cashing in a lot of proverbial chips to pursue this one. I’ll trade my sparkly bell bottoms for jeans, and re-focus on my teaching job, my volunteer opportunities, and–most importantly–my family. 


Performance info:

Highland Park Players presents “Mamma Mia!” playing September 13 through September 22, 2019 at Northbrook Theatre.

Performance dates are:
  • September 13, 14, 20, 21 at 7:30 PM 
  • September 14, 15, 21, 22 at 2:00 PM  
  • Purchase tix online HERE



“On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding — one which includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is! Her mother Donna, the former lead singer of the 1970s pop group Donna and the Dynamos, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands. Sneaking a peek in her mother’s old diaries, she discovers three possible fathers: Sam, Bill, and Harry. She secretly invites all three to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him. But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought! Told through the legendary music of ABBA, Mamma Mia! has become a worldwide sensation that has audiences everywhere dancing.”
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