September 3, 2010

Regent Students Active in Summer Theater

Many of our current students and recent graduates were very busy this summer working in theaters around the country. Here’s a sampling of what some of them were up to!

Hannah Hughes, (3rd year MFA), spent this past summer in the Apprentice Program at the acclaimed Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, MA. To read more about her experiences, check out her blog!
Hannah's Journey Through the Berkshires

Rob Arbaugh and Ryan Clemens, MFA ‘10, appeared at the well-known Virginia Shakespeare Festival in Williamsburg. Ryan played Duke Frederick in As You Like It, and Rob reprised his role of Orlando in As You Like It, and also appeared as Roper in Man for All Seasons.

Andrew (AJ) Lease (1st Year MFA) spent the summer interning on Broadway with The Nederlander Producing Company of America. AJ created a small archive for the company and worked in the office. At night, AJ worked in 9 lobbies on Broadway signing people up for a free rewards program. He also worked at the National High School Musical Theater Awards and The National Boy Scout Jamboree in Times Square. AJ met some amazing people including: Kathleen Raitt (Producer of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL and THE CIVIL WAR), Tommy Tune, Paul Gordon (The Composer of JANE EYRE: THE MUSICAL), Frank Wildhorn (Composer of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL), Levi Kreis (2010 Tony Award Winner for Best Featured Actor in a Musical), Thelma Pollard (The Phantom's personal make-up designer and longest running make-up artist on Broadway), and James Moye (Currently in MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET.)

Jeff Fazakerley (2nd year MFA) performed The Wreck of the Dictator, a half hour long, one-man show at the beach front all summer. You can read more about his experience by clicking the following link.
The Incomplete Works of Jeff Fazakerley

Diana Coates (2nd year MFA) worked with the African Continuum Theatre Company of Washington D.C. and award winning author Pearl Cleage to bring some of Mrs. Cleage's most famous plays back to the stage including Blues For An Alabama Sky, Bourbon at the Border, and Flyin West. Teaming up with the DC Theatre Festival, she also performed in the original work, Harlem 9/11, a play that highlighted one family's struggles during the aftermath of September 11th. Diana finished her summer writing and directing a show for her church's youth conference where nine young people trusted the Lord as their Savior.

Early in the summer, Brandon Langeland’s (M.A.) original adaptation of The Scarlet Letter was performed on Regent’s campus. The show was directed by Chad Gilliland (3rd year MFA) and the cast included Whitney Rappana (2nd year MFA), Chris Bookless (1st year MFA) and Margaret Beasley (B.A.)

Andy Geffken, Tabitha Ray, (3rd year MFAs) Amy Dunlap, Britain Willcock (2nd year MFAs) and Chris Bookless, (1st year MFA) together with ’10 MFA graduate Kaja Dunn put together a six-person adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The show was directed by our own Shakespeare professor, Scott Hayes. The cast referred the project as the “Blair Witch” Macbeth, as the production made innovative use of the limitations of the library auditorium and very low technical elements to encourage the audience’s imagination.

Regent’s 2010 Summer Theatre C.A.M.P.s provided valuable directing and teaching experiences for many of our students and alumni. Ryan Clemens (MFA ‘10) directed The Wiz. Mike Salsbury (2nd year MFA) directed Mulan, Jr. and music directed The Wiz, joined by Nathan Schmidt (3rd year MFA) on piano. Amy Dunlap (2nd year MFA) choreographed and taught dance classes for both productions. Whitney Rappana acted as music director for Mulan Jr., and played Evilene as the mentor actor in The Wiz. Anna Koehler (MFA ‘10) taught improvisation, Andy Geffken (3rd year MFA) and Jeff Fazakerley (2nd year MFA) taught acting, Chad Rasor (MFA ’10) taught stage combat and headed up set construction. Tabitha Ray (3rd year MFA) assistant directed The Wiz and helped with stage combat, Britain Willcock (2nd year MFA) worked on set construction, and Beka James (B.A.) was choreography intern for The Wiz. Brad Archer (MFA ‘10) and Jared O’Dell (B.A.) stage-managed, and Tianna Yentzer (B.A.) assistant stage managed.

The following link is to a Virginia Pilot article about the process of producing The Wiz.
Yellow Brick Road Comes Our Way

Gene Gray (3rd year MFA) apprenticed at The Shakespeare Company of New Jersey.

Gene describes his apprenticeship as a “life changing experience.” Continue reading for Gene’s personal reflections!

“I was a part of the 2010 Summer Professional Training Program which also involved interns, the next stage ensemble, the junior/senior corps, and Shakespeare Live! For 11 weeks, I was surrounded by 25 other apprentices from all over the country and ranging from ages 19 to 32. Our classes consisted of acting Shakespeare, Catherine Fitzmaurice voice training, Viewpoints contemporary movement training, Laban movement training, unarmed and single sword rapier combat, Shakespeare’s play reading, textual analysis, Sunday seminars, and Master Classes. My favorite classes were Fitzmaurice and Viewpoints. I plan to use both of these techniques as warm-ups and part of my thesis research for my role of “Toby Felker” in The Runner Stumbles this coming January.
We had many projects that we rehearsed and performed in front of the company, family, and friends. In 11 weeks, the entire SPTP and Equity Main Stage produced four main stage productions and 14 SPTP projects. I don’t know of any program that pumps out that many non-equity projects during the summer. Many of the projects include: Shakespeare Scenes, Classical Scenes, adaptations of four Shakespeare plays, three adaptations of classical plays, a late-night cabaret, and the SPTP final project- Coriolanus.
My favorite part of the entire experience was meeting all the equity and non-equity actors and taking some of them home by driving the actor’s van to NYC. I drove the van from Madison, NJ to 42nd street in the “Big Apple” a few nights a week. I was able to introduce myself to many actors by asking them about their beginnings in the theatre, how they got started, and any suggestions for up-and-coming non-equity actors. I never saw myself living in NYC, but now I see it as a possibility.
I would recommend any B.A., M.A., or MFA to partake in Shakespeare Theatre of NJ’s SPTP program. It is very long, very daunting, very busy, but it will be worth it in the long run. You’ll make lots of friends and have the possibility to make a strong connection to a major professional theatre company. I know I did, and I hope to return there and work as a non-equity actor.”

- Gene Gray (3rd year MFA Acting student)

No comments:

Post a Comment