The Boil. Or, how three students and four alum road-tripped it down for the Louisiana Tech Stage Combat Workshop. Also, see my most recent hashtag #FREDBoil.
The Boil is held annually every Easter weekend and for the second year in a row, we had a group of fighting Fredonians meet at the loading dock of RAC to drive for twenty-four straight hours south all the way to Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana with only a quick stop in Erie to pick up one more member of our road-trip gang along the way.
A whole day later, we were in Louisiana, re-united with alum Sarah Flanagan (currently a graduate student at Louisiana Tech) and ready for two days of stage combat classes. They were offering all the stage combat classes that I couldn’t possibly imagine being available it’s my first stage combat workshop: whip-cracking, tai chi and sword, knife and tomahawk throwing, fighting with handcuffs, intimacy, sword and shield, mismatched weapons, etc. Some of the hardest things I did this weekend was just choosing what class I should take.
We Fredonians did good at The Boil – I know for myself, I got to even learn some basic smallsword and fighting with handcuffs, which was really neat. I’m also happy that even in the advanced classes offered, I found that I was able to handle whatever the instructors taught us. Especially considering the knee situation from last semester, this was a nice realization of how I’ve improved in the past year as a combatant. I’d also like to say congratulations to Thomas Buckley, for coming in second in the fencing tournament, and to Hannah Roccisano, for receiving a recommended pass on her sword and shield renewal (#worththerec). Plus, our own Steve Vaughn was there teaching broadsword and quarterstaff classes. Just goes to show how strong our stage combat program is here in Fredonia!
All in all, it was a great weekend away from campus and with friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since graduation. When we weren’t in classes, it seemed that we always had a birthday to celebrate or something else was going on. Our last day in Louisiana was spent at The Boil – the boiling of crawfish that is. A big crawfish barbeque in the backyard, with aerial silks hanging for anyone to try, a throwing range was set up for the knife-throw contest, a piñata for the kids and one big fight family to share it with.
Even the late-night drive back to Fredonia was okay, knowing that I was leaving with new bruises, new weapons, and new friends. Here’s to hoping that we can make The Boil a Fredonia tradition!
With less than a month until the end of the year (and graduation!) students in the department are lining up summerstock and year-round theatre jobs all across the country! Many are still in the process of callbacks, contract negotiations, and weighing some options, but here are some of the places and positions TADA members are headed for next!!!
Cassandra Giovine (Senior BFA Musical Theatre)
Actor and Stage Combatant - Point Sebago
Steven Russell (Senior BFA Musical Theatre)
Marius in Les Miserables, Ensemble in Shrek, Swing in Hands on a Hardbody - Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
Theresa Egloff (Senior BFA Musical Theatre)
Touring Actor in Wizard of Oz - Missoula Children’s Theatre
Allison McCarthy (Senior BFA Acting)
Touring Actor in Pied Piper - Missoula Children’s Theatre
Brittany Bassett (Junior BFA Acting)
Luciana in The Comedy of Errors - Shakespeare in Delaware Park
Pablo Vasquez (Sophomore BFA Acting)
Ensemble in The Comedy of Errors – Shakespeare in Delaware Park
Anthony Ward (Freshman BA Theatre)
Choreographer for two musicals - In Good Company Productions.
Colin Braeger (Junior BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Touring Production Manager and guitar tech with 10,000 Maniacs.
Audio Tech - Raven Sound
Working summer dance shows with Eric Hadley – SUNY Fredonia
Noel O Day (Sophomore BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Stitcher/Wardrobe - Heartland Festival
Chris Dake (Junior BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Master Carpenter - Hangar Theatre
Lindsay Zimmerman (Senior BFA Musical Theatre)
Management Internship in Theme Park Operations -The Walt Disney Company
BJ Hylton (Senior BFA Musical Theatre)
Merchandise Internship – The Walt Disney Company
Jessica Ames (Senior BA Theatre)
Assistant Director of Shrek - ACCORD summer program
David Rivera (Sophomore BFA Musical Theatre)
Actor, Indian man named “Stand-in- Water” - Tecumseh Outdoor Drama
Jacob Brinkman (Senior BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Assistant Master Electrician - Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Lighting Designer for Pinkalicious – Theatre of Youth
Tim Neggie (Sophomore BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Electrics Internship - the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
Miranda Bashwinger (Sophomore BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Hair and Makeup Intern - Central City Opera
Kevin Stevens (Sophomore BFA Acting)
Company Actor - The Huron Playhouse
Shelby Converse (Senior BA Theatre)
Company Manager/House Manager -Summer Repertory Theatre of Santa Rosa
Ryan Glynn (Senior BFA Acting)
Touchstone in As You Like It - Camden Shakespeare Festival
Touring Actor in Pinocchio & Romeo and Juliet– The Hampstead Stage Company
Kiernan Matts (Sophomore BFA Musical Theatre)
Company Actor - Trumpet in the Land
Jaclyn Rahmlow (Senior BFA Musical Theatre)
Laurey in Oklahoma, Pauline in One Man Two Governers, & Lucrece in The Liar – Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre
Josh Carey (Freshman BFA Musical Theatre)
Lead Actor in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Geva Theatre Center
Jordan Fischer (Junior BFA Musical Theatre)
Producing a production of his original musical “Natalie: A New Musical!”
Cailey Patano (Freshman BA Theatre)
Education Specialist – Allusions Productions
Justin Petito (Junior BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Assistant Master Electrician - Bay Street Theatre
Allen Wheaton (Junior BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Electrics Intern - Bay Street Theatre
Justin Michel (December Graduate BFA Theatrical Production and Design)
Lighting Technician - Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Adelia Gueli (Sophomore BFA Musical Theatre)
Theatre Improv Director - Camp Starlight
We are proud of our students for proving that you can get a degree in theatre AND FIND A JOB IN THEATRE TOO!!! Best of luck to everyone as they represent Fredonia in many different states this summer and upcoming year! FRED WORKS!
When RENT was developed at the New York Theatre Workshop, the Artistic Director of the theatre at that time was Jim Nicola. He remains the AD to this day, and he came to SUNY Fredonia at the behest of his Tufts College theatre department colleague Jefferson Westwood, who is the Director of the Rockefeller Arts Center. Mr. Nicola spoke to the students for about one hour, giving them some inside information about his relationship with Jonathan Larson, the backstage struggles that took place in producing the show, what took place and the decisions made immediately after Mr. Larson’s untimely death, and the nature of running a theatre such as the NY Theatre Workshop. Mr. Nicola is seeing the Theatre and Dance production of the show on Firday 4/11 and will talk to the students again on Saturday 4/12 after seeing the production to discuss the current trends in musical theatre. We are most excited, honored and proud to have Mr. Nicola, who was there right at the beginning, see this production of RENT. Thanks to Jefferson Westwood for making this happen for our students.
Pictured below from left to right: Prof. Tom Loughlin, Chair of Theatre and Dance and the director of RENT; Mr. Jim Nicola, Artistic Director, NY Theatre Workshop; Mr. Jefferson Westwood, Director, Rockefeller Arts Center. Photo by Shane Zimmerman.
The Theatre and Dance production of RENT has virtually sold out! The show has received very positive and appreciative feedback, and we are so glad our audiences are enjoying this production.
The following is a review of the show written by Dr. Robert Deemer, Associate Professor in the School of Music. It appeared in the Dunkirk Observer and is reprinted with the author’s permission.
It is rare for a musical to win both a Tony Award for Best Musical as well as a Pulitzer Prize in Drama, but Rent, Jonathan Larson’s modernized version of Puccini’s opera La Boheme, won both prizes and has become a mainstay in the musical theatre canon. Rife with contemporary story lines and songs that are both memorable and insightful, the musical is an obvious choice for college-age performers and SUNY Fredonia’s Department of Theatre & Dance has put together a high-quality production of Rent that features the singing and acting talents as well as the designing skills of their students and faculty.Set in the late 1980s or early 1990s, Rent follows the tragic and intertwining relationships between a group of eight friends living in New York City’s East Village over the course of a year. While characters in La Boheme were afflicted with tuberculosis, one of the major diseases of the late 19th century, the characters in Rent face life suffering from or under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Throughout the musical, the epidemic runs just under the surface of the story as the group of friends forge and destroy loves and friendships, all the while dealing with both poverty and the overhanded policies of what today would be termed the “1%”.Many musicals allow the audience to latch onto one or two main characters and follow them through the story, but Rent presents a challenge to those presenting it by creating a vast interweaving story that necessitates a large and talented cast. Fredonia’s students met that challenge head on and do a formidable job of bringing each character to life and making the audience believe in their relationships and their tragedies. Jordan Louis Fischer and Clayton Howe hold their own very well as Marc and Roger, the roommates that serve as the two primary characters throughout the show. Clayton had several standout songs in the show (“I Should Tell You” in particular) and Fischer continually steals the show with his quirky personality and spot-on camerawork. Roger’s love interest, Mimi, is brought to life with a gymnastic flair by Ilana Lieberman - her writhing portrayal is electric throughout. Steven Saezler as Angel and Nakiya Peterkin as Joanne both grabbed my attention and didn’t let go and Kadeem Davis (as Tom Collins) and Alex Grayson (Benjamin) were quite effective, but top kudos have to go to Jaclyn Rahmlow, whose performance as Maureen is downright amazing in its raw intensity.Rock musicals always bring certain challenges to a college production, both in sound reinforcement and in bringing a believable score to life stylistically without overpowering the singers and, for the most part, the production pulled these challenges off well. The house band, located on stage within the set itself, was ably directed by Raymond Stewart (who also played bass in the five-piece ensemble) and kept the energy hot from top to bottom. Sydney Thomas’s choreography was effectively natural, as many of the dance pieces were blended into the entire show that you were never sure when the dances started and stopped - one notable exception was “Maureen’s Tango”, performed with fire by Fischer and Peterkin.The first thing that hits an audience member as they enter Marvel Theater is the massively intricate three-story set that covers the entire stage. Screens serve both as windows in the building where the musical is set but also as screens that project video being shot in real time by Fischer (a neat technical feat that adds a wonderful new dimension to the visual environment of the production. If that wasn’t enough, halfway through the first act, the elevator that seemed to be just a piece of scenery suddenly began to transport characters. Lit well by Jacob Brinkman’s lighting design, Hyla Sue Stellhorn’s scenic design does as much as anything in the production to transport the audience to the East Village, which was fitting as this will be the last musical to have a large set for the next few years due to the upcoming renovations of Rockefeller Arts Center.Set for six performances, Rent promises to be a solid and enjoyable evening for anyone interested in contemporary musicals. The acting, singing, dancing, music, and sets combine for a visceral roller-coaster of an evening that will undoubtably move audiences in many ways and make one think as much as sing on the way home. The performances will be at 7:30 on April 4-5 and 10-12 and a 2pm matinee on April 6 with tickets being available at the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office and at the door.Rob DeemerAssociate Prof. of Music Composition