Shonn is the “consummate song and dance man..” and a gifted choreographer. Born on May 18th in the small mid-western town of Adrian, Michigan, Shonn’s love for the American Radio Songbook truly began when he saw his first movie musical. His father Herb, a tap dancer himself, enrolled Shonn in dance classes at the tender age of five. From the very first class, Shonn’s love for performing was evident. While most fathers were teaching their sons about baseball, Shonn and his dad were in the living room studying the style of “Hollywood greats” like Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, James Cagney, and Sammy Davis Jr.
The Historic Croswell Opera House in Adrian became a second home for Shonn. For over 150 years this “gem” of a theatre has stood in Adrian’s downtown and continues to be the center for the arts in Lenawee County.
Shonn reflects: “My development really took flight at the Croswell under Artistic Director Robert Soller. I learned so much about what true collaboration meant. Working together for a common cause. It’s a beautiful thing when people from different walks of life are united by music and dance”.
His adolescent years were spent performing in musicals, teaching young kids theater and dance as a member and faculty of Centre Stage Productions, and making films with his friends.
Upon graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Shonn set off for New York City to fulfill his and his father’s dream of performing on the ‘Great White Way’. Shonn realized that dream in 2001 when he made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award winning revival of 42nd Street. The greatest thrill was on opening night when his parents Herb and Beth Wiley sat front row to watch their sons hard work pay off.
He was then fortunate to travel to Moscow for 16 weeks as a member of the ground breaking North American cast of 42nd Street. Shonn was the first American actor to perform in an English speaking musical in Russia.
Other New York credits include Dracula the Musical (2004) on Broadway, City Center Encores! Productions of Stairway to Paradise (2007) and No, No, Nanette (2008), My Vaudeville Man (2008, cast album) at The York Theatre, Candide (2008) at New York City Opera, one-man show The View From Here (2005, Cast Album) at New York Musical Theatre Festival, Workshops of new musicals Never Gonna Dance on Broadway (2003) and Playwrights Horizons’ Saved (2008) plus numerous performances at NYC’s Town Hall.
Regionally, Shonn has been seen all over the country performing at Goodspeed Opera House, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Seatle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, Atlanta’s Theatre of the Stars, Denver Center for the Perfoming Arts, Cassa Manana in Ft. Worth, TX, and Michigan Opera Theatre.
As a choreographer, Shonn was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his work with Lynne Taylor-Corbett on My Vaudeville Man (off-broadway). Other shows include Music Man, Forever Plaid, the musical revue Come Dance With Me, original musicals Pool Boy, and The View From Here.
Shonn is a founding member of Under The Streetlamp and serves as USL’s movement director. The group gained success very quickly, with their 1st PBS special, and their very first 60+ city tour. They are currently on a short spring tour, while rehearsing for their 2nd PBS special that will be filmed in the summer of 2013. The group will embark on a lengthy fall and winter tour, hitting many cities all over America!
“Entertaining has always been a life passion. I am so grateful to the fans of Streetlamp that continue to join us on a journey through the American Radio Songbook. If Streetlamp can be an outlet to forget ones troubles, lose ones-selves in the music and just have fun, then collectively we’ve succeeded in experiencing something magical… Many Thanks, Shonn!”