Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Welcome to EMU Theatre Jackie Marlett!

Meet one of our newest EMU Theatre students
Jackie Marlett!

   Jackie Marlett is a new graduate of Woodhaven High School in Flat Rock, Michigan who is headed to EMU next month! Just like so many others, the last show she binged on Netflix was New Girl, "I love it!" she said with a smile. (We love Zooey Deschanel too Jackie.)

  She is planning on being involved in EMU Theatre, but she's taking her first year to get acclimated to college life. So far Jackie is undecided on a major, "I wanted to go through my first year and take the classes that everyone has to take (general education) and discover what interests I have in things outside of what I did in high school." When asked what she was most looking forward to when it comes to starting college she said, "Meeting the different people in the community and working with new people. You get so used to working with the same people and the same director from high school and I think it will be good to work with new people."

    Jackie had a lot of first-hand experience that informed her decision to attend EMU "When we were applying for classes I knew EMU had a good theatre program and educational program because I was interested in being a teacher. I also knew a lot of people here, alumni from Woodhaven, which was really cool!," she said. 

   She is excited to start experiencing the Arts Management side of theatre by working alongside our House Managers as an Usher in the Fall. She is looking forward to working in college theatre because "I'll be getting to do shows that aren't just PG. You get a better variety of shows in college." She's also very interested in the role that theatre plays in community dialogue, "I like the messages theatre can bring tot a community. You can tell a variety of different things to the community and there are so many aspects of theatre that people don't even know about! There's so much that goes into a show, it's very intricate."

   Jackie's favorite show is Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda. "I like how they mix hip hop and rap elements to bring more people into the story. It's history too so that's cool!," she said with a laugh. Her favorite shows that she has worked on are Once on this Island and The Insanity of Mary Girard. She explained, "I liked them both because it was an ensemble and we all worked together. I thought they both really exemplified strong ensemble work."

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Welcome to EMU Theatre Shelby Seeley!

  Meet one of our newest EMU Theatre students
Shelby Seeley!
   Shelby Seeley is an 18 year old who just graduated from Woodhaven High School in Flat Rock, Michigan. Just to let you know how cool she is, the last show she binge watched on Netflix was Stranger Things. (Who hasn't?! Come on Stranger Things was fantastic!) An interesting fact about her is that she absolutely loves her job, to which she added, "I'm a barista now and it's the best job in the entire world. I wish I was there all the time I love it."

  She'll be attending EMU this fall and majoring in theatre arts, but she is still deciding on a minor.  When asked what she was most looking forward to when it comes to starting college she said, "Theatre, I miss it so much. I needed to do it this summer and I didn't which created this hole in my heart."

    Shelby gives credit to her high school drama teacher Michael Clemons for helping her choose Eastern for college, "I chose Eastern mainly because of how much Clem talked it up and then there's the people that already go there and it's close to home, but mostly Clem," she said with certainty. She has also gotten experience with EMU Theatre by attending our Drama Day while she was in high school, "...the show was my favorite part. I love seeing theatre and seeing the people behind the scenes earlier in the day at the workshops was really cool too. My favorite workshop was the movement one, it was the best." At Drama Day, high school students attend workshops led by our students and faculty members with other high school students from all over the state. After lunch the students are then led into Quirk Theatre where they get to see an exclusive performance of our first Mainstage production of the season just for them! For more info on Drama Day email pam.cardell@emich.edu

   Shelby is excited to be studying theatre at Eastern because of the environment that comes with it, "I'm most looking forward to working with people who have the same level of dedication that I do. Having every there honestly wanting to be there and working as hard as possible to make the show the best it can be." She is pursing theatre because, "...it gives me a purpose and a goal and something to work for that is bigger than myself." (We know exactly what you mean Shelby!)

   Shelby's favorite show is Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl. Her favorite show that she's worked on was The Insanity of Mary Girard which she co-directed at Woodhaven. Their show was entered into the MIFA Theatre Competition and made it to the State Finals "I was very proud," she said with a smile.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Welcome to EMU Theatre Molly Price!

  Meet one of our newest EMU Theatre students
Molly Price!

    Molly Price is  a recent graduate of Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio and she'll be attending EMU this fall! She'll be majoring in Communications and double minoring in Musical Theatre and Theatre Arts! When asked what she was most looking forward to when it comes to starting college she said, "I am looking forward to making new friends and expanding my education! "

   Molly visited EMU her freshman year of high school and it seems like the rest was history, "I love the atmosphere, the campus, the people, and of course the beautiful building that is Quirk!" She's also already gotten her feet wet in EMU Theatre by attending one of our scholarship auditions, "I loved meeting the other future EMU theatre students as well as the amazing professors!"

   "The thing I like most about theatre is the feeling you get when you perform," Molly's love for performing is inspired by being in front of an audience. She said, "I love being able to take people away from the real world for a couple hours and showing them a new reality. In the words of Lady Gaga- 'I live for the applause, applause, applause.' The feeling you get when you're performing is like none other. And it's the best adrenaline rush you can experience."

Her favorite show is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, "I mean, cmon. Tim Curry in high heels. What more can I say?" Nice choice Molly, we have to agree with you on those heels! Her favorite show that she's done was Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella where she played the title role. "It was seriously the best experience of my life and that show proved to me that dreams really do come true. I can't wait to see what dreams come true for me at EMU and in my future career in theatre!" We can't wait to see what EMU has in store for you either Molly! Have a wonderful rest of your summer!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Welcome to EMU Theatre Rebekah Preiss!

      Meet one of our newest EMU Theatre students
Rebekah Preiss!
    Rebekah Preiss is a recent graduate of Lutheran High School Westland and she'll be attending EMU this fall! She stopped by our office for some summer advising, so naturally we decided to interview her to get to know her a little better. 

   Rebekah will be majoring in Theatre Arts with a musical theatre minor. She decided to come to EMU because, "A lot of my friends were going here and I had also done solo and ensemble for MSVMA (Michigan School Vocal Music Association) here. I went to Drama Day last year and saw Little Shop of Horrors and got to chat with the cast afterward. I really like it here and I got a good vibe from everyone here-not too big and not too small, and the campus is beautiful!" The dance workshop led by our Musical Theatre professor Phil Simmons was her favorite workshop at Drama Day, "Usually I get nervous around groups that I don’t know very well, but I felt so comfortable there.
   She decided to pursue theatre in college because, "I enjoyed doing it in high school. At first I wanted to be a vet, but then I decided against it. I’m really good at this singing and acting thing so I said ‘let’s do it!' I just really enjoy doing this." Rebekah hasn't always been interested in theatre though, "I used to be shy so I hated theatre. I was afraid of making mistakes, but doing theatre made me realize that when you make a mistake it’s okay." Rebekah's favorite show is The Music Man. Her favorite show that she's been a part of is Footloose, which she is rehearsing right now with the Players Guild of Dearborn.  
  When asked what she is most looking forward to in college she said, “Lots of new faces, new people, independence and being responsible. Getting to walk around campus and seeing different people and trying new things every day.” We can't wait to see you in the fall Rebekah! 



Monday, April 4, 2016

Need a laugh? Then you need ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS!

"If you're not having a good time at this show, you may be on the wrong medication."-The Hollywood Reporter

 One Man, Two Guvnors is Richard Bean's hilarious rewrite of Carlo Goldoni's 18th-century Italian farce, Servant of Two Masters. A plethora of shenanigans, pratfalls, and music abound in this raucous, slapstick comedy. Nominated for seven Tony Awards, One Man, Two Guvnors features original music by Grant Olding performed live by a skiffle band during the performance.

Hilarity ensues when our man Francis gets kicked out of his skiffle band and takes up working for two different men at the same time! One of his guvnors is Stanley Stubbers who has fled to Brighton after murdering his lover's brother, Roscoe Crabbe. His other guvnor is actually Stanley's lover Rachel Crabbe who is in hiding disguised as her dead brother. While Francis is trying his best to make sure neither of his guvnors knows that he has a second employer, all his guvnors are trying to do is find each other!

Watch this video to meet our one man and his two guvnors! Dakotah Myers serves up the laughs as Francis along with Nick Whittaker as Stanley and Grace Supplee as Rachel!

Written by Richard Bean and directed by John Seibert, One Man, Two Guvnors is a hilarious romp that will have you laughing long after you've left the theatre. Don't miss this laugh-out-loud comedy playing in Quirk Theatre on April 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 at 7pm and April 10 & 17 at 2pm. Recommended agest 13+

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Lesson for all Generations: "The Piano Lesson"

As Boy Willie pushes forward with his plans, family alliances are challenged and passionate voices are raised loud enough to wake the dead. 

 The Piano Lesson , winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, takes audiences back in time to 1930s Pittsburgh. Boy Willie has come up from Mississippi with a truck full of watermelons and a head full of plans. He unexpectedly charges into the home of his Uncle Doaker, sister Berniece and niece Maretha, demanding attention and a drink. Boy Willie attempts to persuade his sister to sell the family piano in order to purchase land back home, where their family were once slaves. Berniece is forced to take a stand to protect the antique piano that depicts the family’s struggle out of slavery through its ornate carvings. 

Meet the cast of The Piano Lesson! Watch this video to get an insider's look at what goes on during rehearsals, the chemistry between cast members and what the show means to them. 

Click here to learn more about the playwright, August Wilson! This blog post takes you through the famous Pittsburgh Cycle, some of his biggest influences as a playwright and some of the direct inspirations for his play
The Piano Lesson!

Written by August Wilson and directed by Lee Stille, The Piano Lesson is a haunting poetic drama that will be performed in the Sponberg Theatre on February 10, 11, 12, 13 at 7pm, and February 13 & 14 at 2pm. Recommended for ages 13+

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

August Wilson's Recipe for Success

“Well, actually, I didn’t start out with a grand idea. I wrote a play called Jitney! set in ’77 and a play called Fullerton Street that I set in ’41. Then I wrote Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which I set in ’27, and it was after I did that I said, ‘I’ve written three plays in three different decades, so why don’t I just continue to do that?’”

 Eastern Michigan University Theatre is gearing up for its next Mainstage production, "The Piano Lesson" by August Wilson. For those of you who don't know, August Wilson is an American playwright most famous for his Pittsburgh Cycle. Wilson was born on April 27, 1945 under the name Frederick August Kittel Jr. in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His Pittsburgh Cycle is a series of ten plays, nine of which are set in Pittsburgh, that chronicle the African American experience throughout each decade of the 20th century. It seems only fitting that he would write a series of plays that majorly focus on life in the city that he grew up in. "The Piano Lesson" fits into the cycle by depicting the African American experience during the 1930s. 

Wilson claimed to have been heavily influenced by the 'four B's.' These 'four B's' included: the blues, Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, playwright Amiri Baraka and artist Romare Bearden. In a 1999 interview with The Paris Review Wilson discussed their influence on his work by saying, "From Borges, those wonderful gaucho stories from which I learned that you can be specific as to a time and place and culture and still have the work resonate with the universal themes of love, honor, duty, betrayal, etc. From Amiri Baraka, I learned that all art is political, although I don’t write political plays. From Romare Bearden I learned that the fullness and richness of everyday life can be rendered without compromise or sentimentality." The image to the right is a collage by Romare Bearden entitled The Piano Lesson and it helped inspire Wilson's play of the same name. 

"The Piano Lesson" was written in 1986. It premiered at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in 1987 and appeared on Broadway in 1990 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. In 1990 the play was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play and won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. August Wilson has been noted not for writing to a particular audience, but instead writing about the Black experience in America “And contained within that experience, because it is a human experience,” he said, “are all universalities.”

See August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" come to life at Eastern Michigan University! You can see this powerful show Feb. 10-13 at 7pm and Feb. 13 & 14 at 2pm. 


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