Department News (12-8-14)

Over the weekend, two outside reviewers came to see Our Town, directed by Stephanie Breinholt.  Stephanie, the cast and designers all met individually with both reviewers who interviewed them and then saw the production twice. The two reviewers are listed below. If you haven’t had a chance to see the production yet, there are only a few tickets left.  This is the last week to see the simple, yet stunning production approach that integrates film and theatre to tell the story of George and Emily in Grover’s Corners.

Ann Shanahan

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Ms. Ann Shanahan is an associate professor of theatre at Loyola University, Chicago.  She teaches acting, directing and text analysis courses and mentors students in the Second Stage Program.  Ms. Shanahan’s areas of research interest and teaching specialties include director training, women and theatre, and theatre and social change. Her professional directing credits include: The Vagabond and The Turn of the Screw (City Lit Theatre) and Lies and Legends, Wasp, Warrior, The Living, and On Golden Pond (Buffalo Theatre Ensemble). Ms. Shanahan has directed numerous productions at the university level.  Favorites include: Ibsen’s Ghosts, A Doll’s House, and Hedda Gabler; Brecht’s Mother Courage; an original adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper; Loves Labours Lost; The Laramie Project; and Maria Irene Fornes’ Fefu and Her Friends and Abingdon Square.

Ted Sharon

unnamed-1 copyTed Sharon is an associate professor and the Head of Performance for the Department of Theatre and Dance at SUNY Fredonia. His work on stage has been seen on Broadway in Disney’s Newsies, at the Miracle Theatre in Tennessee, The Yakov Smirnoff Show in Missouri, Sight and Sound Theatres in Pennsylvania, the California Shakespeare Festival, Boston Lyric Opera, the Chautauqua Theatre Company of New York, the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and internationally at the Bargello Museum in Florence, Italy as well as in Taiwan R.O.C. and mainland China. Ted produces and directs stage and on camera productions for university and corporate clients.  He is also the founder of; a publisher of educational products. Ted holds an M.F.A. from Boston University School for the Arts and completed a Voice and Speech internship at the American Repertory Theatre and Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. He is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, a senior instructor with Dueling Arts International and a faculty member at the Action Film Workshops.


dc-best-ofDivine Comedy performed their “Best of” shows over the weekend in the JSB Auditorium.  The troupe, which is sponsored by TMA and is part of the writing program, consists of 12 cast members and 5 crew members.  The group performs two original shows each semester, and then a final show that consists of the best sketches from the first two shows.  Cast members pitch thirty original sketches for each show, which are then voted on by the company, and the top twenty or so are performed at their tech shows.  The audience vote from the tech show then determines which 15-17 sketches make it into their shows.  Online voting from the shows then determine which sketches are performed at the end of the semester in the “Best of” Shows.  The “headliners,” which are longer sketches written by the group that parody a film, cartoon, or play from popular culture, are used to publicize the shows.  This semester, the first headliner was “Guardians of the Goatee,” which parodied Guardians of the Galaxy.  The second headliner was “Mitt-u-les,” which parodied the Disney animated version of Hercules.  Both headliners were performed in the “Best of” show this weekend.  The group often introduces a music video at some time during the semester.  Click here to see the music video, “Manly” (based on Iggy Azaela’s “Fancy,” written and directed by Stacey Harkey, filmed and edited by Dhane Taylor, a media arts major)  that was premiered in the show over the weekend.  Divine Comedy is advised by George Nelson and Elizabeth Funk.  During Winter Semester, TMA will be offering a beginning sketch writing class under TMA 215R, which will be taught by Divine Comedy Alum Matt Meese. Seats in the class are filling up fast, but students interested in writing are encouraged to sign up.


If you have ever been to Mary and Hooshang Farahnakian’s home, you’ve seen their extensive Iranian collection of metal engravings.  They have loaned a part of the collection to the HBL Library.  The collection of Iranian Engravings of LDS Presidents is located on the 2nd floor of the library, in the hall on the way to the Family History Library.  The artist, Mehdi Alamdary is an internationally known Iranian engraver.  He produced the handmade images of each of the church presidents from pictures sent to him by Hooshang.  The first 15 engravings are done on silver plated copper with intricate inside designs unique to each subject.  The largest engraving of  Joseph Smith is done on sterling silver and set in a frame of Middle Eastern design made of inlaid wood, ivory, and brass, each piece individually set.  The hours of work represented by the engravings is staggering.  Hooshang estimates that each engraving took 1-4 months to complete, with the artist working a minimum of 8 hours every day.  The exhibit will be up until January 9, 2015.  


  Since the mounting of Single Wide last Winter, George Nelson reports that the script has gone through several rewrites.  The script was submitted  to 2015 Next Link Project, the New York Musical Theatre Festival’s (NYMTF) primary writer service program.  NYMF is one of the leading festival’s in the US that nurtures original musical theatre production.  George was recently given the great news that Single Wide has been selected as a finalist in the competition. Part of the congratulatory letter stated. “Each Next Link Project submission underwent a double blind evaluation process.  This ensures the work is judged on what is written, not who wrote it, giving all submissions an even playing field. The finalists are then reviewed by a Grand Jury composed of leading musical theatre artists. Ten shows are then accepted into the Next Link Project each year and awarded production spots in the Festival.”  It is already a tremendous honor to be a finalist in the project.  If Single Wide makes it into the festival, it will receive a complete production at the festival with a budget, dramaturgy support, and access to workshops and agents.

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