Latest Entries »

Tin Roof Theatre Presents “Angel Street” Nov. 8-11
Submitted to Artist Insight by Karla Pederson
Sometimes, just before a storm breaks, the unusual behavior of animals transmits an eerie sense that something is wrong.  In the opening seconds of Hamilton’s ”Angel Street,” a similar feeling seeps over audiences as they watch Bella Manningham convey, without uttering a single word, a sense that something is wrong.  The Tin Roof Theatre Company will perform this Victorian thriller by British playwright Patrick Hamilton on Nov. 8-11 at The Stage, the home of FMCT.  Wrapping all the suspense in a unique package, local musician Topher Williams (3rd & Main) has written an original musical score to augment the emotion of Tin Roof’s 8th-season opener.
Even though the drama unfolds in late 19th-century London, the relevance to psychological abuse occurring in our own 21st century is all too clear.  In the darkness of late afternoon, just before the lighting of the gas lights and the serving of tea, the diabolical Jack Manningham (Malcolm Thompson) awakens and resumes his devious game of slowly convincing his wife Bella (Andrea Peterson) that she is going insane.  The rest of the mystery–wealthy murdered woman, missing rubies, dimming gas lights–starts to unravel when retired Inspector Rough (Charles Chinquist) calls on Bella.
Hamilton’s play was first presented with the title of “Gas Light” in Dec. of 1938 on London’s West End.  The Broadway version “Angel Street” had a very successful 3-year run from 1941-44 with Vincent Price playing the evil Jack.  In 1944, four years after a British film adaptation, the famous Hollywood remake came out, winning Ingrid Bergman her first Best Actress Oscar.
The play, as well as its film adaptations, gave rise to the term gaslighting–a form of psychological abuse in which the victim is gradually manipulated into doubting his or her own reality, memory, and perception.  Roger Kalinowski, the director of Tin Roof’s mystery-thriller, observes that “in order to be able to defeat the effects of gaslighting, you have to know what it is, or you’re doomed.”
Tin Roof’s “Angel Street” runs at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9, & 10, closing with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 11.  The Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead will help facilitate a discussion following the Nov. 9 performance.  A portion of that evening’s ticket sales will be donated to the center.
Reserve tickets at 701-235-6778 or http://www.tinrooftheatre.org/

The following is a series of Q & A questions recently asked to the cast of Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead’s production of Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical. They were conducted by MTFM and Artist Insight would like to share these as a re-posting.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: MTFM Presents Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical
WHERE: The Stage at Island Park (home of FMCT)
TIME & DATE: September 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, at 7:30 pm & September 9 & 16 at 2:00 pm
TICKETS: www.thestageatislandpark.org – or call 701-235-6778

Featured Artist – Karly Pierce

Karly Pierce plays Nellie and is our Dance Captain.  She has been a dancer as long as she can remember.  AND she has an exciting event this weekend! Karly is audition for the Rockette’s – yes the Radio City, NYC, Rockette’s!  The following is from an impromptu interview during last evening’s rehearsal:

When did you know you wanted to be a Rockette?

I always dreamed of being a Rockette, since age 10 or 12… as long as I can remember.

When did you decide to go to this audition?

About a month ago.  I found out about an open call and I thought the time is now.  I am the right age, I’ve been healthy all year and injury free all year.  I’ve trained really hard all year.  I had frequent flier miles and found a cheap hotel to stay in.  It just all feels right.

Have you been to NYC before?

Just this July was my first time in New York.  I was there and took a tour of Radio City. That’s how I found out about the auditions.  I met a Rockette who happened to be there and she told me to come to the open auditions on August 20.  And everything just fell into place.

It’s like fate!

Yes it feels like fate.

Did you know about the Rockette’s before you were a dancer or was it dance that introduced you to the Rockette’s?

I danced with Gasper’s when I was young and their Christmas shows mimicked Radio City’s Christmas show, including the Rockette’s [kick line]. Ever since then, I wanted to be in the Rockette’s.

Featured Artist – Samuel Krauth

Getting to know the men and women in our cast is a lot of fun and full of surprises.  You just never know who you’re working with, even though we stand on the same stage night after night in rehearsals.  The next cast member you’ll meet is Sam Krauth. He’s a Moorhead native and Moorhead High grad, and he’s already been everywhere!  We are extremely blessed to have him as part of Jekyll & Hyde

Q: How many shows have you done with MTFM

A: This is my 3rd show with MTFM. The first being Chicago a year ago in which I had the great honor of playing Amos Hart opposite many of the fabulous artists that are also featured in J&H. I also assistant stage managed Nunsense this past spring.

Q: What is it about J&H that made you audition?

A: I was first introduced to the show via VHS tape (David Hasselhoff, Coleen Sexton, Andrea Rivette, etc) probably about 10 years ago now and have been itching to do the score (and play Lucy) ever since! Bricusse’s book is heartbreaking, Wildhorn’s score takes your breath away, and to have the pleasure of working with this fabulous company again….it was a no-brainer!

Q: What do you do? (occupation, student, etc)

A: I am an AEA-eligible actor currently working a day job while in Fargo. I work for Multiband USA which is a sales and support center for DIRECTV. We service hundreds of thousands of multi-dwelling properties all across the country (and many celebrities). So until I move back to New York or Chicago, Multiband takes good care of me.

Q: You have that classic Broadway male voice that is just so amazing to hear. What are some of the roles you have always wanted to play and have you played any of them yet.

A: Thank you! That’s so kind of you to say!. I hope you know this is a dangerous question….haha. I’ve been extremely fortunate thus far and have had the honor of playing a few of my dream roles such as Seymour (Little Shop), Audrey II (Little Shop), Peter (Bare), Amos (Chicago), Johnny (Tick…Tick…BOOM!), Charlie Brown (You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown), David (Twilight of the Golds), Judas (JCS). Roles I still hold close to my heart and within sight would include Beast (Beauty & the Beast), Leading Player (Pippin), Bobby (Company), Baker (Into the Woods), Elder Cunningham (Book of Mormon), Jean Val Jean (Les Mis) Tom Collins (RENT), Albin (La Cage Aux Folles), Phantom (Phantom), Paul (Chorus Line), Thomas (Story of My Life), Father (Children of Eden), Phillip (Taboo), Shrek (Shrek), Dan (Next To Normal), Max (Bent), Charlie (I Sing), Effie (Dreamgirls) (a boy can dream, right?!) The list goes on. I warned you. Honestly, there are so many roles out there that I’m drawn to. Roles dripping with passion and heart. Stories that challenge the mind and address social advocacy. The ones that pull at your heart strings and inspire not only myself but all that come into contact with them. Mix all this with a score that makes your heart skip a beat and your stomach flutter with feelings of eternal joy….those are the shows I want to be a part of.

Q: What is next for you?

A: Just days after we close J&H I will be jumping into the backstage role of Stage Manager and Co-Lighting Designer for Tin Roof Theatre’s production of Angel Street here at The Stage at Island Park in November. The end of September I have a callback for the touring company of American Idiot and have scheduled an audition for a regional theatre in Pennsylvania so will be flying out to New York briefly for that and hitting up PA on my way back.

Q: Tell me something that no one in the cast knows about you – that you’re willing to share with the world – of course!

A: I have an alter-ego named Adele that comes out a few times a year. She has been lovingly nicknamed “Tranny Granny,” has a low-hanging bosom that many of her grandchildren call home (or Hell), and a thick Minnesotan accent.

Q: (This question is just for me and will only be used for my reference in putting the article together….(I guess this was a bold faced lie since I’ve added Sam’s answer word for word below…lol) What is your theatre background? degree/working on? music degree? lived in Fargo how long… stuff like that? Anything you want me or the world to know about you?

A:
I grew up in Moorhead. My older sister brought me to Moorhead High’s production of Godspell when I was in 8th grade and from that moment on I knew that I had to be a part of something as amazing as that. Weeks later I auditioned for my first play (Alice in Wonderland at Moorhead Junior High School), was cast as the Mock Turtle and I was hooked. Once I got to the High School I was so extremely blessed to have teachers and mentors such as Dawn Gunderson, Rebecca Meyer-Larson, Kelly Gerchak, and many others that instilled such a passion for art and life within me and really helped me grow not only in my craft but also as a person and for that I will forever be grateful. After graduating MHS class of ’05 I went on to pursue my dreams at The Theatre Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University (AKA “CCPA”) studying Musical Theatre Performance under a few legends of the Broadway stage. CCPA opened my eyes to an entirely new world of opportunities. After playing and studying at CCPA for a year and interning at one of Chicago’s most renowned theatre companies, I was lucky enough to have been cast in my first touring production. I said so long to the conservatory, threw caution to the wind, and took advantage of an incredible opportunity. Since then I have been extremely lucky in my career and have had the honor of working on stage and screen with many of my idols in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Scotland, London, and of course here in Fargo-Moorhead.  I moved back to Fargo about 5 years ago (holy crap) to be close to my family for a while but still frequently fly out to New York or Chicago to audition, visit friends, or workshop a new musical that I have been involved in since 2006. Hopefully in the next couple years I will move back to New York and restart my professional career, but for now I’m enjoying watching my nieces and nephews grow up which is worth so much more than any acting gig I could possibly book. Along with being on stage I have also done a fair share of directing, choreographing, stage managing, writing, and lighting design…..ing. I’m actually in the process of writing 2 original musicals; one with our very own Taylor Schatz, and another with my good friend Topher Williams.

Featured Artist – Linda Hinrichs

Linda Hinrichs is one of the most involved arts supporters in the FM area in addition to being a fixture on the stage.

Q.You are involved in so many arts organizations here in the FM area. What are they and what is your role with them?

A. I have done stage productions with FMCT, Harwood Prairie Playhouse, Red River Players, A Center for the Arts, Shakespeare in the Park. I have helped in the costume shops at FMCT, Trollwood, A Center for the Arts, and did some sewing of bed accessories for HPP. I have run the light and sound boards at FMCT. I usher for FMCT, Theatre B, HPP, MTFM, Bare Stage Theatre, MSUM, and Straw Hat Players. I currently serve as treasurer and community board member for Theatre B. Certainly, last but not least, I have the great pleasure of working for the Fargo Moorhead Symphony and serving as an accounting consultant for The Arts Partnership.

Q. What are you having the most fun with in Jekyll & Hyde?

A. As with all shows I do, I enjoy the comradery among my castmates and having the opportunity to get to know them a little better, both on and off stage.

Q. What is your theatre background?

A. I did virtually nothing in high school. I was in 6 productions in the early 80?s with Tri Community Theatre when I lived in Lidgerwood. I then took a 15 year hiatus and stepped back onstage in 2006 at FMCT.

Q. What is your career background?

A. My career background is and always has been in accounting. I worked for a multi million dollar cooperative in Lidgerwood for 26 years before coming to Fargo. Besides the Symphony, I am currently working for dogIDs and Delta Design and Construction. I also have 7 clients with my own business called Small Business Accounting Services FM. I love dealing with numbers.

Q. Have you always lived in the FM area?

A. I moved to Fargo after spending 30 years in Lidgerwood raising our 6 children with my husband, Wayne. After our youngest child graduated from high school, I told my husband it was time for time for me to leave the small town and get into the arts in the FM area. So I moved here in 2006 and have been loving it ever since. It has opened up so many opportunities for me, including doing some commercial work, which I never would have dreamed of.

Q.Tell me something no one in this production knows about you (that you’re willing to share with the world, of course!)

A. Wow, that is a hard one since I have worked with several of these people before. Most of them probably do not know that I volunteered on an ambulance service for 28 years and was certified in Advanced First Aid, and later as an EMT basic for 15 years.

Featured Artist – Benjamin Fink

Today’s featured cast member of Jekyll & Hyde is a talented actor and singer, Ben Fink.

Q. How many shows have you done with MTFM?

A.  This is my second show with MTFM.  I was able to be part of the ensemble for Chicago last year, and it was a great experience.

Q. What is it about Jekyll & Hyde that made you want to audition?

A.  I wanted to work with MTFM again, so I had been planning on auditioning pretty much since Chicago closed.  When the season’s shows were announced, I listened to the cast recording of Jekyll & Hyde, and was even more excited for this show.  I had sung through a couple of the songs with my voice teacher, and I really enjoyed the music in this show (and I still do!)

Q. What’s your favorite role that you’ve ever played and what made it your favorite?

A.  In my freshman year of high school, I had the opportunity to play Norman in The Boys Next Door, which is a play about four men in a group home.  The script remains one of my favorites that I’ve encountered.  It’s an amazing story, and it’s really touching.  Playing Norman was one of my most challenging roles to date, and I really enjoyed being able to rise to the challenge.  The cast was also wonderful to work with.  I was one of two people cast who were not seniors at the time, and it was great to be able to work with an amazing group of actors who I really looked up to.

Q. What’s your dream role and why?

A.  Jean Valjean, Marius, or Enjolras from Les Míserables; Sweeney or Anthony from Sweeney Todd; Tony from West Side Story; Jamie from The Last Five Years; Gabe from Next to Normal… The list is only getting longer as time goes by.  I love those high baritone roles.  In my daily life, I’m fairly reserved and laid back, but as an actor, you get a really unique chance to step out and be larger than life for a couple of hours.  Those characters always have a great big character arc that gets wrapped up neatly at the end of the show.  Everything fits together, and the end result is, if not what they deserve, then at least cathartic.  I guess I like those characters, and theatre as a whole, because it’s better and more beautiful than real life.

Q. What else do you do? In other words what is your day job?

A.  I am a Junior at Concordia College majoring in Theatre Art.  I also work with Campus Lights, illuminating our theatre productions as well as various other concerts and events on campus.

Q. Are you from the FM area?

A.  Nope.  I’m a transplant from Fairmont, on the southern edge of Minnesota.  I came up here two years ago for college, and decided to stick around.  Two summers ago, I worked with the Gooseberry Park Players, and this last summer, I worked at Trollwood Performing Arts School doing lights.  I’m always amazed at the huge amount of talent and passion that goes into the arts in this area, and at the number of opportunities that students have to take advantage of.

Q. What got you into theatre?

A.  I was always a dramatic child and have been an actor since before I can remember (at least if I remember it correctly…)  However, my first formal experience with theatre was the summer before fifth grade.  I was cast in a children’s theatre production of Robin Hood, and since then, I’ve been almost constantly involved with theatre in one way or another.

Q. Do you plan to go elsewhere some day?

A.  Eventually I hope to make it out to New York and work as either an actor or a lighting designer, but who knows?  My plan is pretty much just to find somebody who wants to give me money to do what I would do for free.

Q. What is something that no one in the cast knows about you (that you’re willing to share with the world, of course?)

A.  I love to cook, and can make a pretty mean deep dish pizza.

Featured Artist – Keith Schweigert

Q.What is your role in the show?

I play multiple roles, which, some would say, matches my personality – Poole who is Jekyll’s man servant, Jekyll’s father, other various ensemble roles.

Q.What is it about Jekyll & Hyde that drew you to audition or to be part of the production?

I knew of the great music and of course, who doesn’t know the story? But more than anything else, it was the MTFM reputation for producing great theater (and a personal word invitation from someone close to the show). I did know more than half of the cast prior to the audition, which was both encouraging and intimidating.

Q.What is your theatre background?

I have little formal education in theater, although I did take a related course or two in college. I attended a very small elementary and high school where most drama took place in the locker room, bathroom or classroom, rather than in a real theater. I do remember my first time on stage as a 7-year-old in a Christmas pageant. Since then, I have been involved in one way or another with many, many productions. Besides being on stage, I have also worked on the technical side of things in lighting, sound and backstage management. I have also been lucky enough to do some film and advertising work.

Q.Who/what influences(d) your choice to be in theatre?

There are many reasons I make this choice, one of which is the self-torture of doing what 98% of the general public is afraid to accept the challenge to do – speak or perform in public. I also list volunteering as one of my hobbies, so the theater creates tons of opportunities for me to get involved. But more than anything it is the opportunity to take an audience away from their daily lives and transport them to a different place.

Q.Outside of theatre, what do you do? ie what’s your day job?

I am a Process Improvement Coordinator in the health care field, which means I advise and subsequently assist management and line staff employees in decreasing or eliminating waste from their daily processes This work not only improves efficiencies, but ultimately increases customer satisfaction – blah, blah, blah!!!. If you didn’t understand that, you are not alone, but we can talk……

Q.How many shows have you done with MTFM? What were they?

This is my third; well, maybe my second MTFM show. Let me explain: I was an audience member, chosen as a speller, in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and I want you to know that I made it to the last round – I still think I spelled the word right, but of course the script required that it be wrong – bitter, bitter, bitter. I also ran the live microphones for “Nunsense” last season.

Q.I love the current NPR theme asking famous actors and directors about the movie that they have seen 100 times and it never gets old. What movie is that for you? Why?

One movie which never gets old for me is “The Wizard of Oz”. I have probably seen it, or at least parts of it, at least a hundred times. The strange thing about it is that I never knew how it ended until I was twelve years old. I could never watch past the part of the hot air balloon scene because it is way too sad – I just couldn’t imagine having to say goodbye to your friends, knowing that you would probably never see them again. I still have a really tough time with that…. OK, it’s off to my psych appointment!

Q.Or the MTFM twist… what play could you be in over and over again… why?

There are very few shows that I have done that I would not do again, although there are a couple. I really enjoy seeing other people do roles that I have done. Sometimes, it is satisfying to know that I portrayed a character in a manner that I liked better; sometimes I just want a “do-over”!

Featured Artist – Crystal Cossette

Q.What is your role in the show?

Lady Proops and a member of the chorus.

Q.What is it about Jekyll & Hyde that drew you to audition or to be part of the production?

This show has such wonderful music! It’s like a vocal workout. I also love working with MTFM and probably would have auditioned regardless of the show.

Q.What is your theatre background?

I started doing theatre in high school and haven’t been able to stop. Surprisingly, my Grandma tried to get me involved with theatre and go see shows with her when I was younger, but I wasn’t interested. I have a BA in Theatre Arts (and also a degree in Organizational Communications) from Augsburg College. I’ve performed in the area with Trollwood, FMCT, Tin Roof, Theatre B, and the FM Opera. While living in Minneapolis I also did shows whenever I could find the time.

Q.Who/what influences(d) your choice to be in theatre?

My grandma got me started. She was finally able to get me to go with her to Trollwood’s production of West Side Story. When the performance was over, I knew I had to be up on the stage! Also, my mom has always been my number one fan and supports all my theatrical endeavors! I continue to do theatre because it is such a kathartic experience. We don’t usually get to show such extreme emotions in every day life and it really feels good to get those emotions out! I like to hope the audience is also following along on the journey and experiencing their own katharsis.

Q.Outside of theatre, what do you do? ie what’s your day job?

I’m a stay-at-home-mom to my 3 year old daughter, Olivia, and my 5 month old son, Adrian. It feels really good to go to rehearsal and interact with other adults :)

Q.How many shows have you done with MTFM? What were they?

I was in Chicago last year.

Q.I love the current NPR theme asking famous actors and directors about the movie that they have seen 100 times and it never gets old.  What movie is that for you?  Why?
Or the MTFM twist… what play could you be in over and over again… why?

For a movie- Legends of the Fall and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Both movies have really developed characters. Actually, when I was in early labor with my son at 2 in the morning, I watch The Fellowship of the Ring to pass the time! There are a number of plays/musicals that I could be in over and over again. I played Mary Ann in Gilligan’s Island, the Musical and that was the most fun I’ve ever had in a show. Other parts and shows I could do over and over again would be Cosette in Les Mis because it’s such an epic show and Little Red in Into the Woods because the music is amazing.

 

Featured Artist – Angie Schultz

Q. What is your role in the show?

I am playing the Role of Emma Danvers, Henry Jekyll’s fiancé

Q. What is it about Jekyll & Hyde that drew you to audition or to be part of the production?

I love how this show examines good and evil and what forces influence human behavior along with a lush score and beautiful story.

Q. What is your theatre background?

I have a degree in vocal performance from Concordia College in Moorhead.  I have been a performer since I was small.  Music and theatre have always been an interest of mine.

Q. Outside of theatre, what do you do? ie what’s your day job?

I do a variety of things outside of theatre.  Mostly I have three daughters.  I direct a choir at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, I sing for funerals, I model and do commercials, I teach voice lessons.

Q. How many shows have you done with MTFM? What were they?

I am a founding member of MTFM.  I have done every show with the company except for TITLE OF SHOW.  Some of my favorites were, YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN. FROG AND TOAD. THE LAST FIVE YEARS, I LOVE YOU YOU’RE PERFECT NOW CHANGE, WORKING, CHICAGO, NUNSENSE.  I guess that’s all of them…..

Q. The concept of the show combines the ideas of the graphic novel with melodrama… Which part of the show’s concept resonates more with your prep-work? (Melodrama or GN)

I feel that melodrama has resonated with me more than the graphic novel.  Deep feelings of excitement, passion, fear and desire are all a big part of what we experience in life and melodrama heightens them.

Q. In trying to immerse yourself in the “dark” nature of Jekyll & Hyde, what are some modern things (movies, novels, world events, etc) that you have drawn from in order to fill in the world of the play?

I read quite a lot about the social status of London during the late 1800’s.  It strikes me that many of the same issues that were experienced them are still experienced now. The wealthy does not see the poor, people lie and cheat in order to get ahead, we fail to see “what’s behind the façade.”

Q. I love the current NPR theme asking famous actors and directors about the movie that they have seen 100 times and it never gets old.  What movie is that for you?  Why?
Or the MTFM twist… what play could you be in over and over again… why?

There are many shows that I could be in over and over.  Right now, I am so in love with JEKYLL AND HYDE, I could do this show over and over.

 

Featured Artist – Dawn Gunderson

Q.What is your role in the show?

I play the roles of Lady Beaconsfield and a seedy lady of the evening (prostitute) at the Red Rat.

Q. What is it about Jekyll & Hyde that drew you to audition or to be part of the production?

I was drawn to Jekyll and Hyde because I enjoy musicals and plays I’ve never been in, directed, choreographed, or costumed. I want a new experience to enrich my theatre background and build my resume.

Q. What is your theatre background?

My theatre background began as a dancer at age four, which lead me to being a member of Red River Dance and Performing Company with Kathy and Eddie Gasper. I spent my summers at Trollwood Performing Arts School taking classes and being in productions. My Fargo North theatre director, Judy Cooper, encouraged me to pursue a theatre degree. I graduated from MSU in 1988 with degrees in English, Speech Communication, and Theatre Arts Secondary Education. I’ve been teaching English and theatre for twenty-three years along with directing, choreographing, and costuming.

Q. How many shows have you done with MTFM? What were they?

Last year I played the part of Hunyak the Hungarian in MTFM’s production of Chicago. My daughter Chloe and I were both in the show, which was really special. This year it didn’t work out with her school and work schedule to audition. Maybe next year?

Q. The concept of the show combines the ideas of the graphic novel with melodrama. Which part of the show’s concept resonates more with your prep-work?

One universal theme from this show that audiences may ponder is the idea of creating a facade. Many people are afraid of being true to themselves and their own values: they can’t be 100% real, honest, authentic. Instead, people create a facade and pretend to be something they are not to impress others, hide feelings from others, or fit into a group.

Q. I love the current NPR theme asking famous actors and directors about the movie that they have seen 100 times and it never gets old. What movie is that for you? Why?

One movie I’ve seen at least 35 times is To Kill a Mockingbird. I still shed tears while watching many scenes. I love this film because I aspire to be a person like Atticus Finch who is a leader with integrity, common sense, compassion, courage, and honesty.

 

Featured Artist – Taylor Schatz

Q. What is your role in the show?

I play Mr. Simon Stride, the secretary of the Board of Governors of St.Judes hospital. He is also Jekyll’s rival for Emma Carews’ affections.

Q. What is it about Jekyll & Hyde that drew you to audition or to be part of the production?

David Hasselhoff, of course. Truthfully though, it’s been a while since I’ve done a full-blown musical, so I’ve been itching for the opportunity to get my “song and dance” on. I’m a fan of the story and of Robert Louis Stevenson work, and this type of melodrama is always fun to perform. I’m a fan of darker dramatic adult-esque musicals like Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Silence! The Musical, Evil Dead: The Musical, Nightmare Before Christmas… it was only natural that I would want to be involved with Jekyll & Hyde. This is my first MTFM production, and after the wonderful productions they’ve put on in the past, mixed with the talented individuals that I knew were going to be auditioning, I knew I had to try out. This is such a great group of people to come and work and play with every day, I feel truly blessed.

Q. What is your theatre background?

I’ve been involved in performing in one way or another ever since I was knee high to a something-or-other, but my first theatre show experience was in middle school… Guys and Dolls was the show. After high school, I went to University to pursue a degree and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with an Emphasis in Performance from North Dakota State University. Ever since then, I’ve performed with Improvisational Comedy groups, acted in a couple of films and web-series, and performed with many talented people at a few different theatre houses around town.

Q. Outside of theatre, what do you do? ie what’s your day job?

I have a couple of jobs right now, actually. One of my gigs is DJing in The Cadillac Ranch at The Hub on the weekends. I also teach Improvisational Comedy around town, most notably up at Fargo North High School. Out side of those forms of employment, I usually spend my time writing scripts, screenplays, songs and music. I’ve had a couple of musical projects on the “back burners” for a while now, and more recently have been collaborating with a fellow Jekyll and Hyde cast member, the very talented Sam Krauth on a new musical project. It’s pretty epic in nature, so keep your eyes and ears open for that!

Q. The concept of the show combines the ideas of the graphic novel with melodrama… Do you read graphic novels?

I read a lot of comic books, and by proxy, graphic novels. Graphic novel is sort of a marketing term that is supposed to make it sound more adult and mature that it actually is… it’s a comic book put into a novella form. Some of my favorite influences from the West are Will Eisner, Alan Moore, Niel Gaiman and Frank Miller. Some of my favorite influences from the East are Akira Toriyama, Hiromu Arakawa, and Kentaro Miura. These individuals are all amazing, creative story-tellers. Whether or not you consider their works comics or graphic novels, that’s your prerogative… either way, they’re amazing works of art.

Q. Which part of the show’s concept resonates more with your prep-work? (Melodrama or GN)

I draw from multiple sources, however I do feel that the serious themes that go into writing and drawing comic books (graphic novels) are a major influence on me. It’s all about the story. It can be beautifully drawn, but without a solid story behind it, they’re just pretty art pieces. It has to move you. It has to make you feel something. This goes for all works of art, including this show. Some people don’t “get” musicals… they don’t understand why people all of a sudden break into song. The whole thing about musicals is that it’s a heightened sense of reality. In musicals, people start singing because words just aren’t enough to convey what they mean anymore. Regular action isn’t enough anymore. These characters have been pushed into song and seemingly unnatural movement as a way to express how they truly feel. You can then imagine with this being melodrama that people will be singing and moving a lot.

Q. I love the current NPR theme asking famous actors and directors about the movie that they have seen 100 times and it never gets old. What movie is that for you? Why?

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one that I’ve probably seen over a hundred time. I saw it in theatres when it first came out and thought it was so different from anything I had ever seen before at the time. Ghoulish creatures singing and dancing around, lamenting over the fact that they’re tired of their own holiday and how the correct course of action is hijacking another holiday… what could be better? My appreciation for this piece only grew as I grew older and discovered all of the dedication and meticulous work it took to produce this stop-motion animation musical.

Another is Young Frankenstein. The Mel Brooks directed film is an homage to all of its horror predecessors, twisted with the comedic genius that is Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, and Teri Garr. This is another film that I saw when I was very young and remember feeling exhilarated from all of the dark imagery and themes. Transversely, I remember feeling enthusiastic and happily entertained with the comedic elements. I liked the fact that I could be frightened and humored all at once. I think I keep going back to this one because it reminds me of those feelings. The jokes never get old and the imagery always entertains.

 

Over the past five years the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre’s Summer Theatre Project program has grown exponentially. From 68 students the first summer to a record breaking 170 students in this years shows, one has to wonder how it all comes together. As the programs creator, it was a labor of love and passion the first few years to get the kinks worked out and now a talented team comprised of 100% student artists from both college and high school, work together to create not only a musical, but they create friendships, confidence, cooperation and a love for the arts in the hearts and minds of 170 K-6 grade students.

This summer brought a great mix of former teaching artists and new ones together to work  to create organized chaos with these students. For four weeks these students met from 9 to 4, four days a week, to prepare for the show and learn the skills it takes to be a performer.  If you have come into the building this past week you will find small pods of kids singing their hearts out, learning new dance skills, getting into costume for the first time, and being reminded to project, smile and have fun! I would be writing through rose colored glasses if did not inform you that there are also many times when it seems like the whole building might explode with craziness, but all in all the pace is fast, the excitement is high, and the kids are having a blast.

At the helm of it all are two great young artists – Anna Rice and Christopher Damlo. These two, both theatre students at Concordia College, are each directing a cast of about 85. Both of them have had previous experiences in directing on a small scale in the Directing program at Concordia, but both admit this is a much bigger beast! I sat down with Anna yesterday to see how she felt it was going and what she was most excited about this week. Here are her thoughts about the program.

Anna Rice –

“This whole process has been anything but simple and familiar. I have had two full directing experiences prior to this one, both of which were directing other college students in a small cast setting. The largest cast I had directed prior to this summer was six upperclassmen college students. In both of these experiences I had no artistic team…which I anticipated to be something that made this summer easier. However, I have learned throughout the process that the ability that directors must strive most to have, is the ability to communicate effectively with an artistic team. It is difficult to articulate everything to a group of people, yet when you get a hang of it… it makes the production process so much more rewarding. To see, not only your work, but the work of a whole group of people come together into a final product.

There is nothing in the world that is more rewarding than seeing the final product of a show pull together. Costumes, lights, set, et c. All scattered with the smiles and pure effort and passion of eighty five children.

The one thing about this process that has been most rewarding is, without a contest, the kids. Nothing makes an early morning of work more fun than doing it with a huge group of energetic innocence. Kids are so simple, and so fresh. This lends itself so much to the world of theatre. Kids have the impulse and the ability to create that is slowly tainted as we grow into adulthood. These kids don’t yet worry about work and love and social perception… they just perform. And the amount of passion that the cast shows for the performance is what drives our artistic team.

Our show is ready, the kids our ready, the team is ready… and I am giddy with anticipation at the audiences reception of the production. I just KNOW they will all love it as deeply as I do. Who doesn’t love 8 year-olds singing A Whole New World”

Check back for a conversation with other artistic team members and maybe even a few kids…Anna hit the nail on the head when she said kids have the ability to create and perform like no other age group…just being in the building when the students are here gives all of us a new sense of passion and energy…like everything we do is worth it.

To see the end product of this month long summer theatre program, attend one of the shows this weekend. Shows open June 22 and run through June 26. Some performance have already sold out, but you can get tickets to the remaining shows by visiting www.fmct.org or by calling 701-235-6778.

 

 

Photos in this post are from last summer production of Willy Wonka Kids!

 

The Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre (FMCT) hosted the 13th Annual Emma Awards on Thursday, May 26th .  The event is named after FMCT benefactor Emma K. Herbst, and the Emma Awards serve as a way to recognize and honor the work of community volunteers who contribute thousands of hours of service each year at the theatre. These awards are presented to volunteers of the theatre in four categories:  Mainstage Production, Musical Theatre Production, Children’s Studio Theatre Production, and Technical Theatre. Congratulations to these Volunteer Actors! To read about FMCT’s Historic announcement click here

Mainstage

Best Male in a Leading Role: Christopher Damlo

Best Female in a Leading Role: Kate Stevenson

Best Male in a Featured Role: Jeffrey Rondeau

Best Female in a Featured Role: Linda Hinrichs

Best Ensemble: The Cast of Lend Me a Tenor

Musical Theatre

Best Male in a Leading Role: Mark Seeba

Best Female in a Leading Role: Nina Grollman

Best Male in a Featured Role: Mark Hanna

Best Female in a Featured Role: Linda Hinrichs

Best Cameo in a Musical Production: Katherine Paynter

Best Ensemble: The Cast of 13: a new musical

Children’s Studio Theatre

Best Male in a Leading Role: Jacob Preisler

Best Female in a Leading Role: Abbie Haug

Best Male in a Featured Role:  Devon Sowold

Best Female in a Featured Role: Hannah Pearson

Best Ensemble: The Cast of Pippi Longstocking

Technical Theatre

Best Booth Technician: Ben Wetzel

Best Backstage Technician: Rachel Young

Best Stage Manager: Rick Mangahas

 

Ann Vander Maten Community Contribution Award: Cheryl Lausch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Gifford Volunteer of the Year Award: Rick Mangahas

With musicals like Gypsy, A Little Night Music, West Side Story & Company you would usually think of perfomers like Patty LaPone, Jean Simmons, Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence, Anthony Perkins and Susan Browning. However this weekend a new set of star performers grace the stage at the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre (FMCT) in Side by Side by Sondheim.

These performers are really quite remarkable. Some are singing in public for the first time, some are in their first play, but many would consider performing “Old Hat.” These delightful performers are known as the Silver Follies. This group was started over 15 years ago and was originally a vaudeville-like production with a variety of skits, songs and dances.  

In 2004, The Silver Follies broke with tradition and presented the musical Grease, which was a box office hit!   The following year they presented Bye Bye Birdie, and the new format for The Silver Follies was again wildly accepted by audiences. Since then, this troupe has performed Anything Goes, Once Upon A Mattress, Lil’ Abner, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Red, Hot and Cole and many others.

This weekend 20 of these Silver Follies actors sing and dance their hearts out to the songs of Stephen Sondheim in Side by Side by Sondheim. The most wonderful thing to watch in this show is how the actors live and love the time they have on stage.  They are so committed to their performances it is infectious. Most people claimed to be shocked to find out the Silver Follies are so good. I am personally shocked by this reaction. Most of these performers have been doing musical theatre for much longer than anyone reading this article, so why shouldn’t they be great. Age for this group is not a limiting factor, but a highlight, because with it, comes wisdom and experience. Did you know that this groups is the only theatre performing group for actors over teh age fo 50? The average age of this year’s company is 65.  I hope by the time I reach the age in my life when I am able to perform with the Follies,  I can remember as much as they do and perform as half as well.

Congratulations to a great cast and even if time is tickin’ you sure are kickin’ those old age blues!

For more information about the show visit www.fmct.org

 

The Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre (FMCT) is thrilled to welcome Katie Phillips to their staff as Community Development Coordinator. Phillips has been hired to fill the newly created position at FMCT which deals with donor development, community relations/programming as well as developing the new Theatre Business Network.  FMCT created this position to handle the growing number of supporters and community businesses who have shown an interest in their new and expanding programming.

Katie most recently served as Director of Programs and Events at Bluestem Center for the Arts, producing “Water, Water Everywhere,” a residency with Minneapolis-based “In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre,” and organizing the Lindsay Mac Masterclass, in collaboration with the Celebration of Women & their Music.  Phillips also secured sponsorships and facilitated ongoing development with FutureBuilders in support of Trollwood Performing Arts School since 2008. Katie was also a 2011 YWCA Woman of the Year nominee.  She graduated from Eastern University in Philadelphia, PA, and is excited to be cultivating support for the arts in the Fargo-Moorhead community.

Please join us in welcoming Katie to our team! Katie can be reached at katie@fmct.org

Each Summer in Fergus Falls, Minnesota a musical comes to life. In the quaint and historic 450 seat downtown theatre, a mega-musical production is held to the highest artistic quality. For the past four summers these 8 performance runs have seen sold out houses. This  summer will be no exception. The theatre is already asking the question “what do we do if we sell out before it opens?”  The only reason they need to ask this question is because they are putting on the beloved classic Annie. Over the weekend this question became even more important because they saw a huge number of area artists come out to audition for the show. The talent was unbelievable. Below you will see the extremely talented cast that took this director two days to decide. I hope to see you at the show July 2011. visit www.fergusarts.org for more information.

THE FERGUS FALLS CENTER FOR THE ARTS CAST OF
ANNIE

Leading Characters
Annie – Jamie Olson

Daddy Warbucks – Joe Johnson

Grace Farrell – Val Johnson

Ms. Hannigan – Debbie Kaminski

Rooster – Ned Eerdmans

Lily St. Regis – Katie Strom

Lead Orphans

Molly – Ava Belle Carlson

Pepper – Cassandra Eerdmans

Kate  – Olivia Torkelson

Duffy – Kara Anderson

Tessie  – Jenn Kaminski-Horak

July – Brita Sonmor

Orphan Ensemble
Abbey Weaver
Gretchen Davis
Annie Trosvig
Maddy Trosvig
Helaina Kremeier
Isabelle Kremeier
Emilie Reard
Anna Reard
Faith Deterding

Featured Characters

Bert Healy – Jordan Rasmusson

The Lovely Boyland Sisters – Laura Tungseth, Rebecca Thanel, Courtney Deistler
Star-to-be – Lexi Wedll

French Maid – Kristi Beaver

Louise Howe (assistant to Roosevelt)- Pam Torkelson

Drake (warbucks butler) Dylan Olmsted

Mrs. Greer (Housekeeper)- Mona Davis

 

Other Warbucks Staff/Ensemble Characters

Jesse Johnson
Erik Vergiels
Nathan Kaminski Horak
Katie Tripp
Jane Geisinger
Ada Erlandson
Michelle Fyhrie

Thank you so much for auditioning for this show. We saw over 90 auditioners over two days. 60% of these Auditioners were under the age of 13. While all of you did a fantastic job we were only able to cast 16 little girls for this show. Please continue to work on your craft as performers and we would love to see you back next summer for the musical. You can also advance your skills by attending the Summer Arts Academy later this summer. We are still in need of a few more High School/Adult males and females to fill out the remaining roles. If you know anyone or if you are interested please feel free to contact A Center for the Arts and they will let us know.

Thank you once again. IF YOU WERE CAST please send an email to scottmbrusven@gmail.com to accept your role in this summer’s musical. Please put ACCEPT ROLE in you subject line. This will also ensure that you receive information regarding the first rehearsals.

Thank you once again to all of you who came out to boldly share your talent with us, it was so hard to choose this cast!

 

Scott M Brusven – Director
Becky Sonmor – Music Director
Mark Solie – Pit Orchestra Director
Emily Olig – Choreographer
Katie Strom – Production Assistant
Rebecca Petersen & The Center for the Arts Board – Producers

Callbacks 

2:00 Orphan Callback

Brianna loobrock
Helaena Kremeier
Emilie Reard
Ava Belle carlson
Alise Werner
Jenn Kaminski – Horak
Ashlyn Fronning 
Maddy Godwin
Ada Erlandson
Cassandra Eerdmans 
Sophia Prischmann
Gretchen Davis
Bethany Wach
Brita Sonmor
Abbey Weaver
Abigail Christenson 
Jamie Olson
Kara Anderson
Olivia Torkelson
Isabelle Kremeier
Annie Trosvig
Mia Blaskowski
Maddy Trosvig
Anna Reard
Faith Deterding 

3:15 
Ned Eerdmans
Joe Johnson
And Annie carry- overs

3:40
Pam Torkelson
Debbie Kaminski
Valerie Johnson 
Katie Strom 
Ned Eerdmans
Joe Johnson
Jordan Rasmusson
Kristi Beaver
Lexi Wedell
(please plan to stay until released)

Thank You for all of your hard work. Please show up 15 minutes early at the Kaddatz Hotel across the street from the center. If you are not on this list, please check the cast list on Monday as there will be roles cast outside of callbacks. 

Thank you for sharing your talents with us at the auditions! 

Scott M Brusven – director
Becky Sonmor – music director
Katie Strom – production assistant

The center for the Arts in Fergus falls will post it’s callback list at 1:30 today. The first callback time slot will be at 2.

Thanks

THE RENT CAST REVEALED

Thank you so much for all of the incredible talent and bold choices you brought to the stage last week.  If you did not make the cast list, please know that there were a myriad of remarkably talented individuals who we could not work into the company of this show.  We invite you to be a part of this landmark production as a member of the support staff…from tech to promo…please email Stage Manager Darren Sitz at sitzda@gmail.com or Director of Theatre Scott Brusven at scott@fmct.org if you are willing to participate in this way. By doing this you will also be a part of the Adam Pascal Event! Thanks again for sharing your gifts with us.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

 

MARK             Mark Hanna                                       MAUREEN                  Kendrick Pifer

ROGER            Trevor Larson                                   JOANNE                      Cora Joe Anderson

MIMI               Jorie Kosel                                         COLLINS                     Abdul Habib

BENNY            Drew Lausch*                                   ANGEL                        Alex Grosz

RENT COMPANY

Megan Renslow                                             Kate Tepley*

Sam Wisenden – GORDON                           Jordan Hartjen

Nina Grollman                                               McKenzie Schwark

Spencer Hill*                                                  Chino Farok*

Megan Thompson                                         Maya Rowe

Forest Elstrom                                              Carl Swanson

Alexys Hewitt                                                 Sarah Johnson*

Kelsey Schroeder – ALEXI DARLING          Emily Olig*

*Featured Dancer

 

COMPANY ROLES YET TO BE DETERMINED…

Mark’s Mom                                       Mimi’s Mom

Joanne’s Dad                                     Joanne’s Mom

Roger’s Mom                                     Sue

Mr. Grey                                             The Man (Drug Dealer)

Paul                                                     Preacher

Steve                                                   Ali

Pam                                                     Vendors

Squeegee Man                                   Waiter

Blanket Woman                                 Bohemians

Cops                                                    Homeless People

AND…Seasons of Love Soloists

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT RENT AND THE REST OF FMCT’s PROGRAMMING VISIT www.fmct.org