September 3, 2009

Regent Grad's Original Show Seen Off-Broadway This Summer!

Remember our post last semester about our lab shows? Well, one of those lab shows produced here at Regent, The Confessional, written, directed, and starring our own Jayson Akridge (MFA Acting grad '09) was accepted to the New York Fringe Festival last May. Together with fellow Regent MFA '09 graduates Kelly Levander, Kevin Stidham, and Ashley Larsen, Jayson performed The Confessional in NYC last week to rave reviews. Check out this article and the links to the review and the show's website!

Theatre Alumni Join Together, Perform Off-Broadway
By Sarah H. Dolan, Regent PR
August 25, 2009

Four Regent University MFA in Acting alumni are currently performing in a critically-acclaimed production, The Confessional, as part of the NYC Fringe Festival—the largest performance arts festival in North America. Performances of The Confessional during the Fringe Festival are scheduled for Thursday, August 27 (9:00 p.m.), Friday, August 28 (2:15 p.m.), Saturday, August 29 (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday August 30 (2:00 p.m.).

Classmates often go their separate ways when graduation day ends. After the tassels are turned, caps are thrown and well-wishing words are spoken, the average student leaves the community to focus on career. But for these four Regent alumni, graduating meant integrating an aspect of Regent community with career. The alumni—Jayson Akridge, Kevin Stidham, Kelly Levandar and Ashley Larson—joined forces to perform together as part of The Cohort Theatre Company, sponsored by Regent. The company quickly caught the attention of representatives of The New York Fringe Festival, who selected their original play, The Confessional written by Akridge, to be performed off-Broadway. "Their play was chosen from among thousands submitted worldwide," said Michael Patrick, dean of Regent's School of Communication & the Arts. "This weekend they opened off-Broadway for the two-week run. This is a wonderful professional confirmation of talent and faith, and it reflects positively on Regent University's theatre program." The Confessional is a hard-edged detective murder-mystery, which takes place entirely in a police station. The plot addresses the redemptive question: how far good should or would go to stop pure evil, without becoming evil itself. The production debuted on August 23, and received a favorable review from "In the hands of the wrong cast, this kind of thrill ride could have been either confusing or overblown...but an expert cast [is guided] through the twists, and we cheerfully follow along" wrote Kimberly Wadsworth of in her review of The Confessional. "At one point, one of the plot twists made me scribble [in my notes] a disappointed 'no, you didn't make that be the answer, did you?' But five minutes later, I wrote ', sorry, it's not, never mind.' Eventually my notes get even more inarticulate—awestruck one-word entries like 'whoa!' and 'huh?' and 'wait'...and '!?!'" In addition to being the playwright of The Confessional, Akridge is also the co-director and plays Bill Bryce, the detective. Current Regent theatre student Alexis Hill serves as the stage manager. Each member of The Cohort Theatre Company holds a leading role in the production. For more information, locations and to purchase tickets, visit For the full review, click here.

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