March 28, 2013

Professional Theatre Comes to Regent Summer 2013

By Amanda Morad

March 26, 2013

Regent University's School of Communication & the Arts (SCA) has announced the inaugural season of Tidewater Stage, a new professional theatre company in residence, beginning July 2013.

With the only MFA training program for actors at a Christian university, the addition of Tidewater Stage reflects a commitment to best practices in theatre education and opens doors for professional opportunities to students during their residency.

For graduate actors, a professional theatre serves as a training laboratory where students gain valuable experiences performing alongside professional actors in the industry. The model exists at most graduate institutions offering MFA actor training and ushers in a new era of national recognition for Regent's acclaimed graduate program in theatre.

"This initiative reflects a deeply held value among theatre faculty and SCA leadership, as well as peer institutions across the country, that a graduate education in theatre is significantly enriched through a partnership with a professional theatre company," said Eric Harrell, producing artistic director for the new company. "Tidewater Stage has been part of a decade-long strategic plan for the theatre program, and it's thrilling to see it finally come to fruition."

Tidewater Stage productions will differ from the academic season by reflecting the highest standards of professional, regional theatre. This summer's company will feature the talents of select MFA actors, alumni, local professionals, current faculty and staff who are members of the Actors Equity Association (the national union for stage actors) and a guest scenic designer from Washington, D.C. As a professional theatre, all company members will be compensated.

For the inaugural season, Tidewater Stage will present Forever Plaid July 5-7 and 12-14, and Barefoot in the Park Aug. 2-4 and 9-11. "You would be hard pressed to find two more endearing pieces to celebrate our first summer of professional theatre production. When it comes to laughs, these shows deliver," said Scott Hayes, chair of Regent's theatre department.

Forever Plaid is a "deliciously fun" 1950s musical revue that centers on four young, eager male singers killed in a car crash on the way to their first big concert, and are now revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was. In the tradition of musical groups like The Four Freshmen and The Four Aces, "The Plaids" revive such favorites as "Three Coins in the Fountain," "Sixteen Tons," and "Chain Gang."

Barefoot in the Park carries the light summer tone with a comedic look at newlywed life and the unexpected differences couples often find as they begin to experience life—and in-laws—together.

Auditions for roles in both productions are open to all local actors. Auditions will be held in Regent's Performing Arts Center on April 6.

"Not only are our students excited about this new era of professional theatre, many donors and local businesses have caught the vision and stepped forward to partner with us as season sponsors," Harrell added. "Other professional arts groups in town have graciously welcomed our new company to the stage and have even assisted us in promoting our inaugural season. There is a sense throughout the arts community that something significant is being birthed at Regent University."


Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888


Theatre Arts Hosts Tenth Annual Virginia Beach Bash

By Brett Wilson

March 22, 2013

The stakes are always high for actors in the competitive world of onstage and onscreen performing. But add free-falling and being set on fire to the job description, and the pressure certainly doesn't fade to black.

On March 16-17, Regent University's Department of Theatre Arts hosted its tenth Virginia Beach Bash, the regionally sanctioned workshop by the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), held annually to help students of the theatre be en guarde for such stunts. Expert fight director, Richard Ryan, who has choreographed stunts and fights for famous films like Troy, The Dark Knight, and Sherlock Holmes, led the charge for the weekend-long combat event.

While the Virginia Beach Bash offered its classic courses on stunt training for high falls, harness stunts, firearms, and full-body burns, last weekend's event also allowed students to grab stunt opportunities by the wheel with its brand-new precision driving class.

Third year MFA in acting student, Ashley Dakin, was able to practice her favorite stunt—spinning a car 90 degrees—in the back lot of the Communication & Arts building with a professional driver during the class.

"I was nervous to try it, but it was so much fun once I did!" said Dakin.

This was the second time Dakin participated in the Virginia Beach Bash. She believes the knowledge she gains from these combat classes will help her become more marketable in her future pursuits as an actress.

"Something like this event allows me to connect with professionals in the industry and learn skills that could come in handy on a movie set," said Dakin.

Dakin was one of more than 70 Virginia Beach Bash participants, including Regent students and non-students traveling from as far as Canada and the United Kingdom.

While the intensive weekend guides actors through performing stunts onstage, it also offered courses on filming and editing action scenes, as well as how to incorporate sound into such acting sequences. Filmmakers who participated in this year's Virginia Beach Bash were able to receive guidance from professional directors, editors and sound designers.

"We have radically expanded what began as a stage combat only event into an impressive stage and screen combat event," said professor and resident fight-expert, Dr. Michael Hill-Kirkland, who founded and directs the program each year. "This year boasts the largest and most impressive staff we've ever had." According to Hill-Kirkland, this year's team consisted of 13 SAFD-certified teachers, including a former SWAT team instructor.

"Many of these classes would only be offered at stunt school, so it's nice to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Dakin. "I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to take these kinds of classes again, especially with such well-known instructors."


Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888


Diana Coates (MFA Acting 2012) gets rave reviews in Chicago production of Julius Caesar!

Diana Coates as Antony in Chicago-based Babes With Blades production of Julius Caesar.
 "Diana Coates is simply riveting as Antony, the slain Caeser's friend who delivers the famous speech ("Friends, Romans, countrymen") with repressed rage and disdain. It's a performance that makes me excited to see what's next for this articulate young artist."

“All one really requires are performers who understand and convey the words put down from them, form their characters hearts to ours. Coates’s Anthony is one of the wiliest I’ve ever seen. For a soldier routinely dismissed as simple, Anthony takes great pride in the cunning with which she makes the people and patricians dance to her tune. Coates rage, tempered to steely revenge is terrifying to behold (in the best way possible) and we almost expect her to heavily tread heavily upon her enemies corpses whilst she sings their praises.”

March 25, 2013

Announcing Tidewater Stage's Inaugural Season!

Announcing Our 2013 Inaugural Season

Writer, Original Director and Choreographer: Stuart Ross
Music and Lyrics: Various
Musical Continuity Supervision and Arrangements: James Raitt
Director: Eric Harrell
Rehearsal Dates: June 3-July 4, 2013
Performance Dates: July 5-7, 12-14 @ 7:30 pm and July 6-7, 13-14 @ 2:30 pm
Venue: Studio Theatre


Forever Plaid is one of the most popular and successful musicals of the contemporary theatre. This deliciously goofy revue centers on four young, eager male singers killed in a car crash in the 1950's on the way to their first big concert, and now miraculously revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was.

Singing in the closest of harmony, squabbling boyishly over the smallest intonations, and executing their charmingly outlandish choreography with over-zealous precision, the "Plaids" are a guaranteed smash, with a program of beloved songs and delightful patter that keeps audiences rolling in the aisles when they're not humming along to some of the great nostalgic pop hits of the 1950's including “Three Coins in the Fountain”,” Sixteen Tons”, “Chain Gang” and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”


"Screamingly funny! Entirely enchanting, utterly entertaining, awesome!...will put a smile on your face, a hum in your throat and a tap to your feet." — New York Post

"Letter-perfect! Sweet, funny and thoroughly amusing." — The New York Times

"The laughter doesn't stop!... Delightful, original and funny!" — Associated Press

Available Roles

FRANCIS: The leader and caretaker of the group. Confident. Asthmatic. He has a great deal of compassion for the music and the group. Romantic crooner and spiritual singer. Male, 20-35 yrs old; Range: F3 - B5

JINX: The shy one. He lives his life terrified and doesn't always remember what song comes next. Sparky's step-brother, he occasionally gets a nosebleed when he sings above an A. Male, 20-35 yrs old; Range: F3 - C6

SMUDGE: The worrier. He worries about the props, the running order, and always assumes the audience won't like him. Has chronic nervous stomach and is oddly reluctant to perform. Wears glasses, which hides his good looks and sex appeal. Male, 20-35 yrs old; Range: F3 - G5

SPARKY: The clown of the group, who is shown to have a heart. Very sharp and loves singing his tailor-made solos. Wears a retainer and has a slight speech impediment. Energetic and clever. Male, 20-35 yrs old; Range: F3 - G5

Playwright: Neil Simon
Director: Scott Hayes
Rehearsal Dates: July 8-Aug. 1
Performance Dates: Aug. 2-4, 9-11 @ 7:30 pm and Aug. 3-4, 10-11 @ 2:30 pm
Venue: Studio Theatre


Paul and Corrie Bratter are newlyweds in every sense of the word. He's a straight-as-an-arrow lawyer and she's a free spirit always looking for the latest kick. Their new apartment is her most recent find - too expensive with bad plumbing and in need of a paint job. After a six day honeymoon, they get a surprise visit from Corie's loopy mother and decide to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor-in-the-attic Velasco, where everything that can go wrong, does. Paul just doesn't understand Corrie, as she sees it. He's too staid, too boring, and she just wants him to be a little more spontaneous - running "barefoot in the park" would be a start...


“A bubbling, rib-tickling comedy.” — The New York Times

"Critic weeps joyfully...I don't think anybody stopped laughing while the curtain was up last evening." — New York Daily News

Available Roles

CORRIE BRATTER: A spontaneous free-spirit; newlywed married to straight-laced lawyer, Paul: Female, 25-35 yrs. old

DELIVERY MAN: Adult Male, age open

TELEPHONE REPAIR MAN: Adult Male, age open

The roles of Paul, Mrs. Banks and Velasco (tentative) have already been cast.

Additional Information

Auditions are tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 6. Details will be posted by mid-March. Stipends are available for all roles. Additional technical and stage management positions are also available. Details will be posted in April.

March 22, 2013

Regent Students and Alum land Goodwill Commercial.

Congratulations to third-year MFA Acting students Ashley Dakin and Care Wilemon, and undergrad alumnus Jared O’Dell on their commercial with Goodwill! 

See both videos here:

March 11, 2013

Broadway Producer, Alumnus Visits Campus

By Amanda Morad
March 6, 2013
Bruce Long speaks to students at a
special chapel Thursday, Feb. 28.
What does it take to go from graduate student to Broadway producer? Regent University School of Communication & the Arts alumnus Bruce Long ('98) answered from personal experience at a special chapel on Thursday, Feb. 28.
"It requires an intense level of focus," he told students gathered in the Studio Theatre. "There is zero margin of error in your focus. It must be singular, and you must be completely confident in the call of God on your life."

Long's confidence has brought him through plenty of failures and successes to his current role as a producer on the new Broadway musical, Hands on a Hardbody. Opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on March 21, the ensemble piece features a group of misfit Texans in an endurance competition for a new truck and a new lease on life. "They all aspire to something greater and this truck is the key," Long said. "It would be easy to make light of their comedic situations, but these characters are you and me. It's all of our stories."

Years before Hands on a Hardbody, Long and his wife Michelle met as theatre students at Regent and began the long, arduous journey to Broadway straight out of the gate. After living in New Jersey and working in New York for a year, they diverted to North Carolina where Michelle landed a teaching job at a private Christian school. At the time, they thought the Broadway dream was on hold indefinitely.

"Be open to the will of God," Long encouraged students. "The Bible happens in compressed time, so there's this expectation that when we're promised something, we get it on the next page.

"We seem to have this idea of IKEA Christianity: If I follow the instructions, the end result should be what I want. God should be obligated to do what we want Him to do. But He's incorrigible. The way and the time in which God fulfills his promise is His business."

Long acknowledged that tough skin is a basic requirement to participating in the theatre business. "There are so many moments you hear 'no' and if you just would have heard 'yes,' you know things would be so different," he said. Long used his wife's original musical, By Grace, as an example. The soaring musical tale of the events surrounding Grace Kelly's marriage to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, has attracted interest, but hasn't gotten its "yes" yet.

Still, the Longs press on with other projects while they wait, developing relationships and knocking on as many doors as they can along the way—that's the life of any who pursue theatre, Long said.

He made sure to give students a down-to-earth snapshot of what life in theatre looks like: "97 percent of the time, you're not going to get what you want. It takes a toll, so you have to have that indivertible focus."

Long's wife joined him to close with a softer word of encouragement. "Those moments of failure are what shape you into who you are," she said. "God really does have your best interest in mind."

Learn more about the School of Communication & the Arts.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888