Nick Skaja: Lighting Designer

On April 29 – May 3 at 7:30pm in Barnett Theatre, students from the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department will perform William Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo & Juliet with a new twist, steampunk. Over the month of April we will be featuring cast and crew members each week on our blog to allow them to share their experiences working on the show. Interested in seeing the show? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today!

Today we focus on lighting designer, Nick Skaja.

Name: Nicholas Skaja

Role: Lighting Designer

Major: Theatre Design/Tech with am emphasis on Lighting

Year in school: Senior

Favorite part of working on R&J: My favorite part about Romeo and Juliet so far is that it’s given me many new opportunities. I was able to rent some moving fixtures, which is a new technology for me to work with. This has allowed me to really get creative and working with this production team has really given me the drive to push myself even harder.

Most difficult part of working on R&J: With the rotating units, every time they move to a new position I then need to obviously light that, however it becomes complicated when it rotates numerous times. Keeping track of that has proven to be somewhat of a challenge for me.

What have you learned from this experience: I learned how to adapt and not have that adaptation weaken my design. Unfortunately some parts of my design had to be cut. I initially was worried my design would suffer however there is always another option. This show has taught me how to quickly find that alternative while still maintaining my initial concept.

Why should people go see the show: There are lots of talented people involved in the show. Not to mention the cast has worked very hard to make this a Shakespeare performance that is appealing to all audiences. I truly feel this show is fun and entertaining and guarantee anyone who comes will also feel the same.

Want to see what Nick is talking about? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today! Stop by the Theatre/Dance website for more information or check us out on Facebook

Katie Krueger: Dance Captain

On April 29 – May 3 at 7:30pm in Barnett Theatre, students from the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department will perform William Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo & Juliet with a new twist, steampunk. Over the month of April we will be featuring cast and crew members each week on our blog to allow them to share their experiences working on the show. Interested in seeing the show? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today!

Today we focus on dance captain and actress, Katie Krueger.

Name: Katie Krueger

Role: Dance Captain, Livia (Ensemble)

Major: BBA Marketing, BFA Theatre Management/Promotions

Year in school: Junior
Favorite part of working on R&J: Working on the choreography for the “Men’s Variation” dance was a blast. It’s a showdown between the men of the two households that verges on violent conflict at times. In order to illustrate the differences between the Capulets and Montagues, each side was encouraged to create their own choreography with some guidance from the choreographer and the dance captains. It’s truly impressive what they were able to come up with and the actor involvement adds a lot to the personality of the scene.
Most difficult part of working on R&J: It’s often a challenge to keep up with schoolwork and other obligations while working on a show, and this has been no exception. R&J has had a demanding rehearsal schedule, and we’ve all had to work hard to make the show the best it can be while maintaining our grades.
What have you learned from this experience: I’ve never been in a Shakespeare production before. It’s fascinating for me to see the beautiful language come to life when it is performed. I would love to be part of more Shakespeare shows in the future.
Why should people go see the show: Our production has something for everyone. There is sword fighting, gorgeous poetry, dancing, stunning steampunk-style costumes and scenery, and a timeless love story. It’s a production that is meant to dazzle.
Anything else you’d like to share? Even if  you don’t consider yourself a Shakespeare fan, you will enjoy this production. If you think that’s not true, come see it and prove me wrong.

Want to see what Katie is talking about? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today! Stop by the Theatre/Dance website for more information or check us out on Facebook

Ryan Schabach: Fight Choreographer

On April 29 – May 3 at 7:30pm in Barnett Theatre, students from the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department will perform William Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo & Juliet with a new twist, steampunk. Over the month of April we will be featuring cast and crew members each week on our blog to allow them to share their experiences working on the show. Interested in seeing the show? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today!

Today we focus on fight choreographer, Ryan Schabach.

Name: Ryan Schabach

Role: Fight Choreographer

Favorite part of working on R&J: The students passion to learn. Admiring each individual’s process in studying the principals behind creating a dynamic yet safe fight, one that the audience will be engaged in yet never feel it is out of control.That is a very fine line to walk, and the actors took it seriously.

Most difficult part of working on R&J: Choreographers always wish they had more time. Time to tweak that one-tenth of a second moment,to adjust the angle of the fight, or to add a clever move. Knowing what they know now, I would like to come back and teach a semester on fighting for the stage as a way to incorporate the educational with the practical.

What have you learned from this experience: It has rekindled a desire to design more fights for the stage. My career as an actor often prohibits that skill set from being expressed on the professional side.

Why should people go see the show:Shakespeare is timeless, contemporary in many ways and elegant in others. The language is always moving to the beat of our hearts and makes us question the big topics. We see archetypes of these characters every time we turn on the news. It is beautiful to hear and exciting to watch!!!

Anything else you’d like to share?It has been said that for every second of violence on stage, there has been an hour of rehearsal and there is plenty of stage violence. The students have worked hard and spent many hours to perfect their craft. And for many, this is the first time they have held a weapon in their hand. They deserve much praise for their accomplishments.

 

Want to see what Ryan is talking about? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today! Stop by the Theatre/Dance website for more information or check us out on Facebook

Claire Kinder: Fight Captain

On April 29 – May 3 at 7:30pm in Barnett Theatre, students from the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department will perform William Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo & Juliet with a new twist, steampunk. Over the month of April we will be featuring cast and crew members each week on our blog to allow them to share their experiences working on the show. Interested in seeing the show? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today!

Today we focus on fight captain, Claire Kinder.

Name: Claire Kinder

Role: Diana (Girl Fighter) and Fight Captain
Major: Secondary English and Theater Education
Year in school: Junior
Favorite part of working on R&J: This is my first show here at UW- Whitewater so a lot of it has been fun.  My favorite part has to be taking  a classic Shakespearean piece and making it as engaging to watch as it is to be in it. Between the steampunk style, the epic fights and the great characters, the show has a lot to offer cast and crew alike.
Most difficult part of working on R&J: I have never had experience as a fight captain before so it has been a bit challenging to not only be responsible for learning every fight sequence on top of learning my own role. It is a lot to take on all at once, but well worth it.
What have you learned from this experience: I came into the production with basic stage combat experience and I have learned so much more, even some fight choreography. It also has been a great learning opportunity for myself as an actor to let go of my preconceived notions about Shakespearean theater and have fun with playing my role.
Why should people go see the show: It is a fantastic take on a classic work that many people are familiar with through being forced to read for school or otherwise. It is a refreshing change to those who think that Shakepeare is all men in tights and frilly language. It makes Shakespeare cool! (If you didn’t think so before that is.)
Want to see what Claire is talking about? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today! Stop by the Theatre/Dance website for more information or check us out on Facebook

Marguerite Frey: Stage Manager

On April 29 – May 3 at 7:30pm in Barnett Theatre, students from the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department will perform William Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo & Juliet with a new twist, steampunk. Over the month of April we will be featuring cast and crew members each week on our blog to allow them to share their experiences working on the show. Interested in seeing the show? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today!

Today we focus on stage manager, Marguerite Frey.

Name: Marguerite Frey

Role: Stage Manager

Major: BFA Theatre, Stage Management; minor: Arts Management

Year in school: Senior

Favorite part of working on R&J: I love all the different aspects, including acting, dancing, and fighting. They combine to make the show look really awesome. We have a professional director, dance choreographer, and fight choreographer and they are all AMAZING. As stage manager of the show, I have had the chance to work closely with the three of them and to be involved in how those elements work and intertwine, which is a lot of fun!

Most difficult part of working on R&J: The large cast. We have an amazing cast, but with 25 students, 1 professor, and 2 doubled roles in the show, things definitely get a little hectic sometimes. We also do not move into the actual performance space until three weeks before the show opens.

What have you learned from this experience: I have learned about a lot of things through stage managing this show. For instance, our rehearsal process has been a semester long process, so I have learned what it means to go into every rehearsal refreshed and ready to start a new day and how to instill that into the cast. In addition, I have also learned how to work and communicate effectively with a large cast. Lastly, this was my first and only college show with fighting, so I have also learned everything that goes into fight safety, weapons maintenance, effectively running rehearsals when weapons are involved, etc.

Why should people go see the show: Romeo and Juliet is obviously a well-known play. Most high schools read it and people may think that, because they know the story, it will be “boring.” Our show is NOT boring, it is absolutely fascinating. In the 45 rehearsals we have had so far (with a month still left to go), I can honestly say that I have never gotten bored. Once the technical aspects and breath-taking costumes are added in, the show is going to be at a whole new level of awesome. You will be left breathless with amazement, do not miss this show.

Anything else you’d like to share? COME SEE THE SHOW!!! It’s steam punk, people fight, people dance, people kiss, what is not to love?

Want to see what Marguerite is talking about? Head to tickets.uww.edu or call 262-472-2222 to buy your ticket today! Stop by the Theatre/Dance website for more information or check us out on Facebook

Lumberjacks in Love – opens in 1 week!

Lumberjacks in Love tickets are going fast – call to secure yours, right after watching this sneak peek!

Tickets can be purchased by calling 262-472-2222; Monday – Friday 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.  Be sure to purchase in advance so you can get a great deal at a local restaurant before the show.  Details about the deals can be found on our Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/events/307559072709288/

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Summeround – Murder in Green Meadows

Catch a glimpse before you go.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 262-472-2222; Monday – Friday 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.  Be sure to purchase in advance so you can get a great deal at a local restaurant before the show.  Details about the deals can be found on our Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/events/307559072709288/

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The Edwin Booth Company Presents

UW-Whitewater’s faculty member Angela Iannone and theatre performance major Jake Lesh will be travelling to New York City for the staged reading of The Edwin Booth Company Presents. Iannone is not only the director of The Edwin Booth Company Presents but she also is the playwright. Lesh originated the role of Edwin Booth and will be portraying him again at the staged reading; the rest of the cast will be 17 New York City actors, most of whom are members of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors. The staged reading will be in The Hampden/Booth library inside The Players Club in Gramercy Park, directly across from the bronze statue of Edwin Booth.  The Hampden/Booth library is a spectacular resource for anyone researching 19th and 20th century American Theatre. The Players Club also houses one of the finest collections of portraits of 19th and 20th century theatre artists that exists and has a bar and grill for members. Booth established The Players Club to be a private club for New York actors to gather and research. During his lifetime, Booth lived on the second floor of the building; his bedroom is still there, as he left it when he died in 1893.

Statue of Edwin Booth in Gramercy Park

“The university has been instrumental in helping me develop and promote the script itself, and the UW-Whitewater production was chosen to participate in the Region 3 finals of the American College Theatre Festival in January of 2012,” shares Angela Iannone. She also wanted to make note that several UW-Whitewater alums are being considered for roles, however there have been no final choices made.

Jake Lesh as Edwin Booth

I sat down with Jake Lesh to talk about this exciting adventure. This is what he had to say:

How does it feel to have originated Edwin for this now growing production?

Lesh: It’s been an absolute honor. Most professional actors go their whole lives without ever originating a role for a show that receives so much attention. To do something like this so early in my career is a great accomplishment and gives me hope that I am headed in the right direction. I’ve been blessed to have this awesome opportunity.

At the Players Club you will be performing with mostly Equity actors. What are your thoughts on this? Are you nervous or further inspired?

Lesh: To say that I am nervous would be an understatement, but of course I am inspired. I will finally get a chance to see accomplished actors in the professional environment. I can’t wait to just set back, observe, and learn as much as I possibly can from these people.

Have you ever been to New York?

Lesh: Last Summer I traveled with Angela Iannone to the Player’s Club so we could confirm the date for the upcoming performance. We saw everything, from Edwin’s Bedroom (untouched since his passing), the church that held his funeral service, Times Square, Broadway, Stonewall, just to name a few.

If asked, would you continue to play Edwin after this reading?

Lesh: Yes, without a moment’s hesitation.

The Department is extremely proud of Angela Iannone and Jake Lesh and wishes them all the best in this venture. They also are anticipating the workshopping of Iannone’s second play, the sequel to The Edwin Booth Company Presents; which is set to happen in Oregon.

For more information on The Edwin Booth Company Presents please visit its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EdwinBoothCompanyPresents

For more information on The Players Club please visit their website: www.theplayersnyc.org

 

Where is your Shakespeare? Our’s is in the Love.

At 7:30 pm on November 27 and running until December 1 William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost opens at the Greenhill Center of the Arts’ Hicklin Studio Theatre. Love’s Labours Lost tells the story of the King of Navarre and how he and his three best friends, in order to better themselves, swear an oath to study, fast and not keep the company of women. It sounds like a good idea-until the beautiful Princess of France and her three lovely friends arrive. As tradition dictates, the men greet the women, and soon find it difficult to keep their oath. Suddenly, love is alive in the kingdom of Navarre, along with trickery, mistaken identities, and secret meetings. One of Shakespeare’s most fun and fanciful plays, Love’s Labours Lost explores loves is all of its different forms and the joy it adds to life!

This video link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2qetpkZAHY&feature=youtu.be) shows our promotions team sitting down with Jim Butchart, director of the UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department’s upcoming production of Love’s Labours Lost to find out more about the production. Keep in mind the footage from rehearsal is from the early weeks and actors are still carrying scripts.

From Left to Right: Andrew Muwonge, Peter Brian Kelly, Rasell Holt, Cory Jefferson Hagen
and Adam O’Neil

I sat down with Andrew Muwonge who plays Lord Biron, friend to King Ferdinand, and Assistant Director Sarah Stokes to talk about the Love’s Labours Lost (LLL). Here is what Andrew had to say:

How would you describe your character?

Biron is someone who loves to have fun in life. He’s not into commitments or things that will require him to work hard, a bit of a player and a ladies man, and likes to take life one day at a time. Words are something that Biron is very good with; it’s very easy for him to twist people’s words or talk his way out of a situation. He’s a very convincing and smooth guy.

What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to cross with LLL?

The biggest hurdle was of course, the language. Shakespeare can already be difficult for some people to understand. A lot of this show is about language and how characters communicate and miscommunicate with each other. My character in particular is very good with words, so learning my lines and making sense of them to myself and to the audience has been the biggest challenge.

What has been the biggest reward with LLL?

The biggest reward is knowing that I can handle Shakespeare. It can be intimidating for an actor, especially someone like me who didn’t really have much experience before coming to college, but now that I know I can handle the language and understand it, it gives me confidence in all other types of shows.

These posters have sprung up on campus with you in different areas of the university. What was the motivation for that?

We needed to advertise the show, and Jake Lesh, who plays Boyet was in charge of the publicity for the show. He asked me if I was okay with dressing up in costume and taking pictures doing every day things around the university. I think the idea behind the “Where’s your Shakespeare?” is to get people to think about art everywhere. It was based off the advertising Milwaukee schools did with their arts immersion.

If there was one thing you could say to the public to persuade them to come see the show what would it be?

We’ve all worked very hard to make the show understandable to a modern audience. We haven’t changed the language but we say the words in a way that they make sense, as all Shakespeare should be spoken of course. Love is one of the main themes of the show and most of us can say we’ve been in love or have been affected by it one way or another. We see how it affects everyone in this play and I honestly think people will be able to relate if they gives it an honest chance. For those of you who know what it’s like to chase after someone, other have someone chase after you, I think you will especially enjoy this show

 

I talked specifically with Sarah about her role as Assistant Director.

Why did you want to Assistant Direct LLL?

I wanted to be the Assistant Director for LLL because I wanted the chance to be first involved in the show and second to get more of a well-rounded experience with a Shakespearean show. It’s the only Shakespeare show that the department has done since I started going here and will be the last since I graduate in May. I wanted to take the chance to study all the characters instead of just playing one, which is what I normally do as an actor; and I wanted the chance to watch all aspects of the show come together and feel as though I was a part of that.

Describe your basic duties.

It started in the summer when Jim Butchart, the director gave me the option to be his assistant director and told me to do research on the play and the period. I watched videos and read and re-read the play to get myself ready for rehearsals. I attended the production meetings which were about every week. I loved attending those because as an actor, you aren’t able to see the technical process of a show come together quite to that extent.

Why do shows like LLL have seminars?

I think having the seminar for LLL was beyond helpful and maybe even necessary. There was A LOT of work we had to get done and without those extra “rehearsals” in seminar, I feel that we would have felt pretty rushed. We spent most of seminar doing read-throughs of the play. All of the actors in the show came in with different Shakespearean experience levels, some with none and some with quite a bit. So it was a matter of getting everyone on the same page, even the Stage Management team. We also spent a good chunk of seminar time learning how to scan and translate the text which in a normal rehearsal process probably wouldn’t happen.

What has been your biggest challenge with LLL?

My biggest challenge was learning how to block a scene successfully. Jim allowed me to block a scene by myself which was great. I did however only have experience blocking and beyond that directing anything back in 2011 when I took the class called Directing 1 when I directed a 10 minute scene. It was kind of scary to be in charge of my own scene for LLL, but so much fun to direct something beyond anything I had attempted before.

What has been your biggest reward?

The biggest reward is to see something that I’ve helped to create and see it blossom in front of my eyes. It is amazing to see the amount of work and diligence that the actors in this Theatre Dept. put into their performances. They make it look so easy, even though I know it’s not just a walk in the park, especially for college students that are just starting their careers and maybe haven’t had a lot of time with Shakespeare before. Coming from the seat I’ve been sitting in as Assistant Director, I’ve seen every struggle, every surprise, and every success that this group of talented actors and designers have been through. Being a part of this show and seeing those moments is the best thing I can think of.

If there was one thing you would say to the public to get them to see the show what would it be?

This group of actors, coming from all levels of experience, have came together to provide such a great package to deliver to all audience members and I can’t wait to see people enjoy what we’ve worked so long and hard to create. The set as well is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen before. There is a pond on stage with actual water and you don’t see that every day! This show will provide 2 hours of laughs, love, and awe.

From Left to Right: Jennifer Samson, Jacob Lesh, Madison McCarthy, Stephanie Staszak,
and Hayley San Fillippo

Tickets for Love’s Labours Lost can be purchased Monday-Friday 9:30 am to 5:00 pm over the phone: 262-472-2222; in person at the Greenhill Center Box Office; or 24 hours a day online at http://tickets.uww.edu/. Prices are as follows: General Public: $10 Over 65: $8 Under 18: $5.50 UW-Whitewater Students w/valid ID: $4. 50     (update:  Tuesday – Friday’s performances are sold out – tickets may become available each night but it is not likely.  Purchase tickets ASAP to see this show on Saturday!)

Serena Sretenovich reporting from behind the curtain.

A Whole New World of Theatre

Every Fall UW-Whitewater’s Theatre/Dance Dept. puts on a children’s touring show. While the auditions are held the same semester as the performances, the process begins long before. Nine months before the tour leaves UW-Whitewater elementary schools are petitioned to become a stop for the show. They are sent letters explaining the show and what sort of moral lessons may be learned by it. Once the schools confirm they are interested to show the tour they are sent a study guide with everything from coloring pages to vocabulary and fill in the blank. The week before the tour is set to depart from UW-Whitewater the cast puts on a show at the University for local families and fellow students.

This season’s children’s tour is Aladdin:  the classic story of a young boy and his magic genie! When Aladdin is tricked into finding a magic lamp, he finds a genie inside, and soon is able to wish for anything he wants. However, his only real desire is to marry the Princess. Will Aladdin be able to use the power of his genie friend to impress the Sultan and win the heart of the Princess? Or will an evil magician destroy Aladdin’s plans and marry the princess himself?

There is a public performance with tickets available at the door in Arrowhead High School on Saturday Nov 3 at 1 or 3. Share in the magic of the lamp before it, like the genie, disappears in a puff of smoke!

 

Cast:
Mother. . . . . . . . . . .Stephanie Ruch
Sultana. . . . . . . . . . .Lauren Goggins
Amber. . . . . . . . . . .Jacqueline Boelkow
Sultan. . . . . . . . . . .Logan Bydalek
Magician. . . . . . . . . . .Kyle Higgins
Tareye. . . . . . . . . . .Paul Trentadue
Tiger Lily. . . . . . . . . . .Grace Felion
Princess. . . . . . . . . . .Leah Wasylik
Genie. . . . . . . . . . .Jacqueline Dunderdale
Aladdin. . . . . . . . . . .Tim Janikowski

Production Team:
Director: Skip Grover
Stage Manager: Alexi Strullmyer
Costume Designer: Julia Boarini
Lighting Designer: Sean Jensen
Set Designer: Eric Appleton
Sound Designer: Thad Kraus
Props: Krissy Fisher
Technical Director: Steve Chene