First, I want to start by saying welcome back to any and all readers; as for new members of my audience: It’s a pleasure! This year has been so awe-striking. Thanks to the CFPCA and other at WSU, I was able to study at the origin of modern theatre in Moscow, Russia for a whole month! I got back and House Managed an amazing sophomore season with the Underground Theatre Company, and began to gear up for what is bound to be my best, most gruelingly busy year to date. I will succeed at everything I want to do before I walk across that stage and am handed my degree. However, patience is a virtue, but you needn’t seek it when concerning a certain process that happens at the beginning of every semester in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance — GENERAL AUDITIONS! As many may know, undergrads audition for the entire semester and the first show of the Winter semester on the first day of classes. I had a high energy, jam packed week of callbacks and low and behold this happened:
With a job in fashion retail, my roles for the semester solidified, a position on the executive board of the newly revived Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Fraternity, membership of the Black Theatre Ensemble, position working in our Scene Shop, an Administrative Assistant position, a three credit online gen-ed, the personal task of writing a one-man show, directing a play, preparing material and mentally for Senior Showcase, committing my efforts to Shakespeare in Detroit, administrative producer of Senior Showcase, and holding down my wonderful position as one of the ORIGINAL CFPCA Dean’s Delegate Members…would I have enough time and strength to move on campus!??
P.S. – MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW! > The Detroit Trilogy will be at the Charles H. Wright Museum on October 13-15 AND A Raisin in the Sun will be at the Bonstelle Theatre February 12-21. I hope to see all of you and your two favorite people at both of these sure to be wonderful productions!
Here we are in the Winter semester of 2015!
The Theatre Department, at this point, has completed the general audition process, callbacks, and casting for the rest of the shows featured during this semester. I really wanted to be a part of the Enemy of the People cast as an understudy and crowed member; however, it conflicts with FENCES performances.
Which brings me to my next update: FENCES by August Wilson will be opening on February 13th at the Bonstelle Theatre~! Come see me perform as Jim Bono, the main character’s best friend! We’re gonna knock it out of the park!
This story has won a Pulitzer Prize and depicts an impoverished African American family in the Hill District of Pittsburgh during the late 50s and early 60s. Please come and see this show; perhaps you want to explore a little Detroit culture for Valentine’s Day–it’s full of laughs, drama, and heart wrenching moments that will surely have your Valentine in your arms.
GET YOUR TICKETS!
Now, I wasn’t able to add another Hilberry cred to my resume THIS semester; however, I was cast in the Bonstelle Theatre’s production of URINETOWN~!!! For which, I am very excited! This week has been deemed pretty special because a number of our faculty members are away at URTA auditions; thus, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a certified Stage combat and WSU Theatre Graduate Alumn, David Sterritt, come in and teach us general stage combat that will only be useful to our careers. Maybe even in Russia at the Moscow Art Theatre this summer! I’ve been accepted into this years Study Abroad Month in Moscow Program and am doing all that I can to find the funds to go. It’s the third year I’ve been accepted, but I’ve never been able to go due to lack of financial resources. Plus, if I go this year: it’ll be my FIRST time out of this country (other than Canada) and on a PLANE! Crossing my fingers, and if any of my readers know of any scholarships, organizations, grants, etc. that could be of help; feel free to leave me some connective details in a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you with immense gratitude!
That’s it FOR NOW! I’ll post again on opening weekend of FENCES and I hope to see you in the audience~!!!
So before the actual semester began, I took the initiative to do some extensive research on the shows I wanted to be a part of this upcoming season. One of which was FENCES by August Wilson. In fact, I knew that to be the only show I was sure I wanted to be cast in during this season and I’d be satisfied with that. I began to read a number of Wilson plays, and then chose my monologue for the general auditions where Theatre students audition for all of the semester’s shows with one audition. After proper preparation, class registration for my first semester as a BFA Actor, and an unworldly/unexpected obstacle, I began my last semester of my Junior year and first as a BFA Actor. The schedule was so weird at first and difficult for me to adjust to, but I came around. I made a point to be sure to have a plethora of extracurricular options just in case I wasn’t cast at all this semester. One of those options is an all participation based studio course in Active Analysis. A marvelous class that is spearheading recent developments in how an actor prepares a character or more so themselves for performing and building a role. With other classes such as Acting 3, Movement 2 and Development of Drama where we read at least two plays a week, I realized I had underestimated the amount of work ethic I would need to exert to meet my personal standard of success. The first half of this semester wavered me a bit, but I don’t believe I can’t come out on top with personal satisfaction and achievement of my own personal level of quality as a student. Doing this balance act presented itself as a challenge especially after being cast in the first show of the semester: All’s Well that Ends Well by William Shakespeare. But I persevered with my juggling act and had the pleasure of working with returning guest director Carolyn Gillespie and guest co-director Michael Gillespie! It was an administering experience; and I had the pleasure of working with Michael on a bout of Alexander Technique training on a group and individual level. That was my favorite part. This won’t be the only stage blessing I received this semester, however-it turns out that…oh, well just take a look for yourself!>>>
WELCOME BACK! It’s Fall 2014 and boy what a summer I’ve
had! Thanks to the marvelous Maggie Allesee Department of
Theatre and Dance, I was able to train in a number of different
niches within the realm of theatre. Two very important realms
other than Acting, to be specific: Theatre Management and
To provide a more in depth description, I acquired a student assistant job that allowed me to learn a great deal of skills from the theatre and marketing aspects. Ideal times to invite via social media, organizational skills, building rapports with your community, and a multitude of clerical skills that will never expire in usefulness. Over at 95 W. Hancock, I got the opportunity of a lifetime! Finally having the opportunity to learn, I ventured into building carpentry skills. From demolishing whole structures in our shop to learning how to use an industrial grade router, the work done in the scene shop this summer was definitely an answer to a calling I’ve had for a very long time! It was definitely one of the most fun jobs I’ve had thus far. The company kept and different personalities found in my co-workers in the Theatre Management office never alloted a dull day and I realized how important, extensive and far reaching this aspect of theatre is. It proved to be one of the more practical and versatile learning experiences I’ve been given by this university.
CHECK OUT SOME OF MY WORK IN THE SHOP:
With that being said, I grew to be such a valued member of
those two families that I was offered positions as student
assistant in both the scene schop and the theatre management
office; and post my acceptance, I am now working in those two
realms and completing 15 credit hours in my first semester of
my BFA Acting training! They say being an artist isn’t hard,
but…my schedule begs to differ!
This is what I wore February 26th to my fitting as a guest model for the collaborative fashion show between the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and NEIMAN MARCUS, The Art of Fashion! After dressing in Armani, Tom Ford and Gucci, fellow Dean’s Delegate, Talya Slaw, and I were given the “model treatment!”
As a theatre major, I’ve had many fittings before, but this one was rather different. They gave me the choice to wear what I wanted on the runway, and did I mention the main guest model was dean of our college, Matthew Seeger. All in all, it was a fancy collision of the two power houses and with great confidence thanks to what I was wearing!With beautiful, well-polished pieces from the Fashion Department and jazzy, sophisticated accompaniment from the Music Department, the evening was a lovely glimpse into the types of elegant parties one hopes to be invited to if/when famous. An amazing experience I could only get from being apart of the CFPCA here at Wayne State University!
The amazing and first Michigan cast of In the Red and Brown Water saying our goodbyes to our new friend from Korea, Eunji! A sweet and intelligent addition to our rehearsals, who powered through other states and terrible weather to earn her Detroit coat of arms! We loved her energy and she always shared candy with us! We’ll miss you, Eunji!
So the weekend before last I had the pleasure of culminating everything that I learned in my opera workshop class in a wonderful production of The Mikado. It was the first semester I was involved in that had this much collaborative effort from other departments; mostly the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre & Dance. Our professor, Emery Stephens, wanted us to experience what a professional opera would entail in regards to having separate directors for separate aspects of the production, thus we had the abundant pleasure of being stage directed/choreographed by the Artistic Director of Theatre and Dance here at WSU, Michael Barnes! A phenomenal source of creative insight and intelligence, Michael came in under our unheard of time restriction and not only provided us with a great energy boost, but a level of professionalism that felt standard worthy for semesters to come. In addition to Michael, hailing from our Theatre Department, we had Mary Copenhagen executing the amazing work on our costumes and makeup. The end result was nearly awe-strucking! Take a gander at Samuel Murphy and I’s costumes above. In addition to Mary and Michael, Andrew Neen, a WSU graduate, collaborated with us as our conductor. As an instrumentalist (42R) Trumpet for the US Army and Chief Editor at Pinebrook Music Company, LLC (Sole Proprietorship), the cast had an amazing opportunity to work with those who are doing well in their professions! Although rigorous in rehearsal and nearly impossible-seeming in the amount of time we had available to us: this production was extremely fun to execute! There’s possibility that we’ll be performing it again at the Detroit School of Arts; thus you’ll be hearing more on the show from that performance soon. It feels great to be a part of such a collaborative and community based college! ONLY IN THE CFPCA!
HEY THERE! MY NAME IS DANTE’ JONES AND I’M A THEATRE MAJOR, MINORING IN MUSIC! THIS IS MY 3RD YEAR IN THE CFPCA AND I CAN’T EXCLAIM ENOUGH HOW AWESOME IT IS TO BE A MEMBER OF THIS COLLEGE! LAST WEEK, WE WERE OFFERED A FREE MASTER CLASS IN VOICE FROM THE 313 CABARET’S FIRST PERFORMER AMANDA MCBROOM AND ACCOMPANIST MICHELLE BROURMAN!
-Amanda is a Grammy-nominee and Golden Globe winner whose songs have been recorded by many other renowned artists Leanne Rimes, Barry Manilow, Judy Collins, and more. She has starred in U.S and European productions of Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, and on Broadway in Seesaw, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music and Mame. Her recent cabaret show at the Cafe Carlyle was met with rave reviews by the New York Times.
UPON COMPLETION OF THE CLASS, WE WERE INVITED TO SEE THE SHOW…FOR FREE!!! THUS, I WAS NOTHING BUT EAGER TO SEE THE LATE NIGHT SHOWING OF THE 313 CABARET. WE LEARNED, ABOVE ALL, HOW TO MAKE A VOCAL PERFORMANCE THAT COULD BE A PART OF WHOLE INTERESTING PLOT OF A MUSICAL…PERSONAL, WHICH UPS THE ENGAGEMENT FACTOR FOR YOUR AUDIENCE. LOVED AMANDA AND MICHELLE! COULD NOT GET ENOUGH OF THEIR ENERGY AND HIGH SPIRITS!