CSUF Theatre: The Drowsy Chaperone

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FULLERTON, CA–Cal State Fullerton’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” with Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar is directed by Sarah Ripper, choreographed by William F. Lett, with musical direction by Mitchell Hanlon. Performances will be held in the Little Theatre, November 18-December 11, 2016.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is a joyous send-up of the Jazz age musical featuring one show-stopping song-and-dance number after another. With the houselights down, a man in a chair appears on stage and puts on his favorite record: the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical. The recording comes to life and the musical begins as the man in the chair looks on. Mix in two lovers on the eve of their wedding, a bumbling best man, a desperate theatre producer, a not so bright hostess, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, a misguided Don Juan and an intoxicated chaperone, and you have the ingredients for an evening of madcap delight. The original production was hailed by New York Magazine as “The Perfect Broadway Musical.”

Director Sarah Ripper earned her MA in Educational Theatre from NYU, and received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Sam Houston State University. Sarah was the runner up in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Directing Competition in 2015 and is in her last year in the Department of Theatre and Dance’s MFA in Directing program. Some of Sarah’s directing credits include “Moon Over Buffalo” and “Spring Awakening” at Sam Houston State University and “Really Really” and “Dancing at Lughnasa” at Cal State Fullerton.

The cast of “The Drowsy Chaperone” includes Joshua Johnson as Man in Chair, Adriana Rodriguez as Mrs. Tottendale, Colby Hamann as Underling, Quentin Carbajal as Robert Martin, Cody Bianchi as George, Joe Stein as Feldzieg, Allison Schynert as Kitty, Marqell Edward Clayton as Gangster 1, Kyle Kayvaun Pazdel as Gangster 2, Ala Tiatia as Aldolpho, Kristina Dizon as Janet Van De Graaff, Erin Tierney as The Drowsy Chaperone, Kayla Contreras as Trix the Aviatrix, Matthew Ollson as Superintendent and the ensemble includes Evan Borboa, Lily Bryson, Hannah Clair, Jeff Garrido, Scout Lepore, Matthew Ollson, Allison J. Parker, Olivia Pence, Anthony Michael Vacio, and Samantha Wojtaszek.

Scenic design is by JR Luker, lighting design is by Katy Streeter, costume design is by Bradley Lock, sound design is by Cierra Peet and hair/makeup design is by Leland Stephens.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” plays at 8pm on November 18, 19, December 1,2, 3, 8, 9, 10 and at 2pm on December 3, 4, 10, 11. General admission tickets are $24 ($22 with advance Titan Discount purchase for students, seniors or with a CSUF ID). All tickets are $24 at the door. Tickets are available by calling (657) 278-3371, 11am-5pm, Monday through Friday and online.

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CSUF Theatre: Pride & Prejudice

 

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Photo by Jordan Kubat

 

Cal State Fullerton’s production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Jon Jory, is directed by Professor Mark Ramont and runs November 4-20, 2016 in the Young Theatre on campus. Adaptor Jon Jory was the longtime producing director of Actors Theatre of Louisville who helped form the Humana Festival of New American Plays that produced several notable plays such as “The Gin Games” by Donald L. Colburn, “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley and “Dinner with Friends” by Donald Margulies. In 2000, Mr. Jory’s successful career led him to be inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. 

Director Mark Ramont has worked professionally as a director, artistic administrator and educator at theatres such as Circle Repertory Theatre (NYC), Ford’s Theatre (Washington D.C.), the Alley Theatre (Houston), the Hangar Theatre (Ithaca, NY) and Capitol City Playhouse (Austin). He is a recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Statuette Award and recent CSUF credits include “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail,” “Loose Ends” and “Don’t Dress for Dinner.” Jane Austen’s classic plot concerns the independent Elizabeth, her overzealous matchmaking mother and a string of unsuitable suitors. When she meets the handsome but enigmatic Mr. Darcy, she is determined not to let her feelings triumph over her own good sense. 

The cast of “Pride and Prejudice” includes Casey Bowen as Mr. Darcy, Jacob Cropper as Bingley, Patrick Curley as Wickham, Jacqueline Del Valle as Jane, Kelly Rosales as Elizabeth, Johnny Eberhardt as Ensemble, Sadie Elizondo as Miss Bingley, Jayson Guthrie as Mr. Gardiner, Megan Hill as Charlotte, Danielle Johnson as Mary, Siena Ledger as Kitty/Georgiana, Timothy Lee as Ensemble, Noa Lev-Ari as Mrs. Bennet, Michael Libera as Mr. Collins, Monique Magpayo as Mrs. Gardiner, Jeremy Mercado as Mr. Bennet, Wyn Moreno as Fitzwilliams/William, Emma Petersen as Lydia, Allie Revelino as Lady Catherine, Isobel Beaman as Ensemble, Sarah Bloom as Ensemble and Leo Torrez as Officer. Scenic design is by Ann Sheffield, lighting design is by Carly McNamee, costume design is by Dianne Graebner, sound design is by John Favreau and hair/makeup design is by Jaqueline Davis.

“Pride and Prejudice” plays at 8pm on November 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19 and at 2pm on November 12, 13, 19, 20. General admission tickets are $14 ($12 with advance Titan Discount purchase for students, seniors or with a CSUF ID). All tickets are $14 at the door. Tickets are available by calling (657) 278-3371, 11am-5pm, Monday through Friday and online.

Soon to follow in the CSUF season is “The Drowsy Chaperone” with Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. The winner of five Broadway musical Tony Awards (including Best Book and Best Original Score), is directed by Sarah Ripper, choreographed by William F. Lett, with musical direction by Mitchell Hanlon. Performances will be held in the Little Theatre, November 18-December 11, 2016.

Clayes 10th Anniversary Community Open House

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Last year, the School of Music held its 50th Anniversary with their Dedication Celebration which featured performances by the Symphonic Chorus and University Symphony Orchestra with Titan alumna, Deborah Voigt. Since 2006, the Joseph A.W. Clayes III Performing Arts Center has been the beacon for training the next generation to mold the arts landscape. In it’s 10th year, Dean Dale A. Merrill and the College of the Arts invite students, alumni, supporters and community members to come “behind the scenes” and discover what makes the Clayes Performing Arts Center an amazing resource for arts students and audience members.  Step into a variety of performance and rehearsal spaces where students will be showcasing their talents, join a backstage tour that highlights students’ work in our Scenic and Costume Shops, an art exhibition, refreshments and more!

Save the date for Sunday, November 6, 2016 from 2 PM – 6PM. A special Jazz performance will be held in Meng Concert Hall at 4pm and will feature the School of Music’s Jazz Orchestra students alongside with guest artist, Doc Severinsen, and other invited guests.

Here are more events happening during our open house!:

CLAYES 10TH ANNIVERSARY
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Scene from Pride & Prejudice
James D. Young Theatre
2:15pm, 2:45pm, 3:15pm

Scene from Drowsy Chaperone
Jerry Samuelson Musical Theatre Room
2:30pm & 3:00pm

A Conversation with Emeriti Chair of Theatre & Dance Susan Hallman
A conversation about the history of the Clayes Performing Arts Center, from A to Z.William J. McGarvey Family Dance Studio
3:15pm – 3:45pm

Dance Presentation featuring dance students from the Department of Theatre & Dance
Selections from Fall Dance Theatre
William J. McGarvey Family Dance Studio
2:15pm, 2:45pm

Cello Performance featuring students from the School of Music
Kathryn T. McCarty Grand Foyer
2:00pm – 3:30pm

“A View From Above” Canopy Tour
Guests will see what 5 tons of tuning looks like (aka “The Acoustic Canopy” that hangs in Meng Hall) from the unique perspective of the choir loft behind the stage.
Vaughncille Joseph Meng Hall (Upper Level entrance)
2:15pm – 3:00pm

Sound Design: An Evolution from Studio to Stage
A look into the process of creating and designing theatre production cues which begin in a recording studio and are completed on stage.
Douglas R. Young, Terry Forrest Young, and Megan Forrest Young Audio Studio
2:00pm – 3:45pm

Throughout the afternoon…

  • Guided backstage tours will depart from McCarty Grand Foyer and will feature stops in the Lois M. Brockett Costume Shop and the Lee & Nicholas Begovich Scenic Laboratory
  • Exhibition of art by students in the Department of Visual Arts in the Millie and Dale Hallberg Theatre
  • Doors will open for the concert at 3:45 pm – general admission seating

CSUF Theatre: Italian American Reconciliation

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Photo by Jordan Kubat

Cal State Fullerton’s production of John Patrick Shanley’s Italian American Reconciliation is directed by Professor Maria Cominis and runs October 7-30, 2016 in the Hallberg Theatre on campus. Italian American Reconciliation is a tale about Huey, a man who is safely divorced from his shrewish first wife (who shot his dog), but he feels he cannot regain his “manhood” until he woos and wins her one more time. This lighthearted romantic comedy by the author of the critically acclaimed movie, Moonstruck, is hailed as “lovely” and “bathed in moonlit madness” by The New York Post.

 

Award-winning John Patrick Shanley has written over twenty-three plays and ten films. He grew up in a working class family in the Bronx, attended college and failed his first year at New York University. He joined the United States Marines and later enrolled once again at New York University—this time graduating as valedictorian. Perhaps, he is best known for, Doubt: A Parable, which earned a Drama Desk Award, Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, Drama Critics’ Circle Award and more, and his film Moonstruck, which received three Academy Awards and a Golden Globe Nomination.

Professional actor, author and director Maria Cominis earned an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Rehearsing in the Zone, A Practical Guide to Rehearsing Without a Director. As an actor, Maria played the recurring role, Mona Clark on ABC’s Desperate Housewives and is a member of Neo Ensemble Theatre in Los Angeles where she both acts and directs.

The cast of Italian American Reconciliation includes Rey Pulice as Aldo Scalicki,
Arash N. Fakhrabadi as Huey Maximillian Bonfigliano, Sarah Ellsworth as Teresa, Summer Ruley as Janice and Rose Genevieve Rodriguez as Aunt May.
 

Scenic Design is by Ana Martinez, Lighting/Sound Design is by Benjamin Hawkins, Costume Design is by Spencer Purdy and Hair/Makeup Design is by Katherine Riddell.

Italian American Reconciliation plays at 8pm on October 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and at 2pm on October 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30. General admission tickets are $14 ($12 with advance Titan Discount purchase for students, seniors or with a CSUF ID). All tickets are $14 at the door. Tickets are available by calling (657) 278-3371, 11am-5pm, Monday through Friday and online here!

Sound by Design

 

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Prof. Dave Mickey working with students in the Sound Studio

The immersive experience of theatre relies heavily on visual cues –costuming, set design, lighting, not to mention the actors on stage. But while it may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to theatre, sound design may very well be its unsung hero. Imagine not hearing anything but dialog, watching TV or a movie on mute or not listening to the radio. Sound heightens the impact of the theatre-going experience and transforms it in both subtle and obvious ways using music, whistling gust of wind, slammed door, chirping bird, or ominous tone creates a dynamic and layered environment to help tell the story. Music, tones and sound effects can change how the audience interprets the story. Would a scary movie still be scary on mute or does the sound creates the tension and anticipation of what’s coming next? Music or sounds can change the mood of a scene. Would you still be scared if you heard circus music during the scary scene? As Department of Theatre & Dance Production Sound Engineer, Jeff Polunas, puts it, “Sound is the only design element you can’t see.” Professor Dave Mickey, Head of Sound Design, and Mr. Polunas have been instrumental in the technical and artistic evolution of sound design for campus productions.

In 2011, the sound design program underwent something of a phoenix-like transformation when new hire Professor Mickey removed outdated CD and MiniDisk players from the theatre spaces and replaced them with QLab (a media playback software) and iMacs allowing a more dynamic and immersive sound design. With a $10,000 grant from the CA-lottery, Professor Mickey updated the analog Sound Mixing Board to current digital, industry-standard sound mixing board for musical theatre. With the help of Mr. Polunas and a local Guitar Center store, the department upgraded the University’s outdated analog equipment for current digital sound mixing boards, one for each theatre space. More recently, the sound department received an $80,000 grant to update the musical theatre sound system with all new Meyer Sound Speakers and a Yamaha CL5 soundboard. The students are now able to learn current hardware and software that is used on broadway NYC, regional theatres, and theme parks.  As a working USA-829 (Theatre Designer’s union) sound design professional, Professor Mickey and professional sound designer Mr. Polunas advocated for these updates in order to enhance the learning environment and provide students with a model for what they would encounter in their professional careers in theatre.

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By converting from analog to digital, the Theatre & Dance department sound program has become more portable, nimble, and responsive to the sound needs of each production, all of which are helmed by students in the design and technical production program. Instead of being tied to the controls of a soundboard which are hard wired into the theatre space, students now have the ability to make immediate audio adjustments remotely from a laptop or iPad. The technology allows for the student designer to be in the space to hear the sounds and to be an active collaborator with the design team. This encourages a more creative and collaborative approach and promotes a high-impact practice that enhances the learning experience. Digitalization also enables sound designers to save soundboard settings, something impossible to achieve with analog equipment. If settings were accidentally moved, it meant hours of time resetting each dial and switch.

Sound design is not only about the tools, but about the art. The tools help the sound designer to tell the story of the show. Students learn about how art and technology works together to tell a story. In summer of 2015, the advance sound lab recording studio saw upgrades with current sound design software. With these updates to the lab, students are able to record songs and voice-overs for productions and class, compose music, and create sounds or effects with the latest software. The core focus is on how to tell a story with only sound. Because what do they do in theatre? We tell stories.

Professor Mickey and Mr. Polunas also offer hands-on training to students as mentors by providing internship opportunities outside of the classroom in professional theatres across the United States. “During my Spring semester of my Freshman year, I took Dave Mickey’s Beginning Sound class, and I fell in love. During the course of that semester, I asked Dave what else I could do to learn more about sound,” explains theatre arts major, Devon Swiger, “That fall I interned with Diablo Sound at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. I have continued working at Halloween Horror Nights every year since then.”

Professor Mickey and Mr. Polunas also raises money to keep the sound  department up-to-date through fundraising. Nearly $14,000 has been raised over the last three years, and the department continues to modernize its sound equipment and sound design with the help of these funds. Since technology is always improving and changing the sound department needs to change and update to teach current standards.