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Apr23

HELPING US DRESS TO IMPRESS- An interview with Costume Designer Jenna Lourenco

Posted on Apr 23 by

The show is going up now!  If you haven’t gotten a reservation yet, you can still come by before the performances and wait to get seats from any reservations that get released. Last week, I found a bit of time to sit down in 233A in Marion (also known to the Department as “the Costume Shop”) to speak with Costume Designer Jenna Lourenco. Jenna is an alumna of Emmanuel, having been a student and in the theater department here (formerly known as the Theater Guild) before graduating and attaining her Masters in Theater Education from Emerson.  She is a public speaking and acting professor here at Emmanuel now, and has most recently directed the last mainstage play, Dancing at Lughnasa.  She was working on a costume for the show throughout our interview, but she gave me some insightful and very informative answers to my questions as she was asked them. Q: “What is the process you go through as a costume designer to begin a show like Xanadu?” “The first thing to do is to read the script.  If...

Apr16

WHAT’S UP WITH XANADU NOW? And a Highlight on Student Stage Manager Christian Kelly

Posted on Apr 16 by

We’re halfway through the first week of tech, and a lot of things have been happening at once!  There’re about a dozen projects being worked on at once, so I’ll try and cover a bit of each to paint the picture of how a typical Emmanuel musical comes together.   Work was officially under way after Accepted Students Day had concluded on the 11th.  Saturday evening saw the whole cast and crew working to bring set pieces, raw materials, and supplies into the auditorium, as well as assembling the base floor, the show’s main flooring (a laminate specifically designed to mimic a hardwood used for roller skating rinks), and the two trusses (which holds the lights for the show). Sunday brought about more work on assembling the set, as well as an intensive dance/workout rehearsal in Avenue Commons with Cori followed by a vocal run of the show’s songs in Marion 223 with Jason.  The cast floated between rehearsing and helping the crew work, so a great deal of progress was made overall.  A trio of alumni, Adam Roderick...

Apr13

WHAT BRINGS IT ALL TOGETHER – A Look at Xanadu with Director Scott Gagnon

Posted on Apr 13 by

Tech for Xanadu is officially under way!  This show has a number of wonderfully exciting technical aspects to it, so expect a post very soon regarding what progress has been made over the weekend and some new, pictures, and video on all of that.  Before diving in to this wealth of new information, I thought it would be a great time to sit down with the metaphorical captain of this ship and get his views on the show and what he hopes to accomplish with the students in taking on this big of a project. Hailing from Taunton, Massachusetts, Scott Gagnon graduated from Bridgewater State College with a B.A. in Theater Arts and then went on to graduate from Emerson’s Graduate program here in Boston with a Masters in Theater Arts – Directing.  In addition to directing the majority of the mainstage shows here since 1999, he has directed productions at Emerson, MIT, Turtle Lane Playhouse, Savoyard Light Opera Company, The Boston Center for the Arts, Longy School of Music, The Footlight Club Theater, and Curtain Call Theater.  Some...

Apr09

MEET THE DANCING QUEEN – A Brief Chat with Cori-ographer Cori Wooldridge

Posted on Apr 9 by

It’s been a few weeks since the more intensive rehearsing has started, and so much of the core blocking, dancing, and singing has been introduced.  Now that just about all of songs have been choreographed, I thought it a good time to speak with our resident choreographer about her thoughts on the process so far and what’s to come. Cori Wooldrige grew up in Charlton, Massachusetts, and graduated from Emmanuel College in 2010 with a major in Performing Arts (Dance) and Elementary Education.  In 2012, she began her Masters in Mathematics from Simmons Graduate School, which she completed in 2014.  She has been working at the Quinsigamond Elementary School since 2011, where she teaches 5th grade math & science. She has choreographed numerous shows for Emmanuel both while here and after graduating, including Oklahoma!, Frogs, Dr. Faustus, Spamalot, and Sweet Charity. Cori’s got such a busy schedule, we had a bit of trouble finding a good time during rehearsals to meet up, so instead I sent her some questions via email and got some wonderful responses. Q: What interests you...

Apr01

ALL THE CAMPUS’ A STAGE – An Overview of the Student Actors in Xanadu

Posted on Apr 1 by

Rehearsals are still going well, and the team running them has been hard at work putting the pieces together on the technical end of things.  But I’d like to take a moment to highlight the group of students working on the physical performance itself- the actors. Of course, if I were to ask who would like to tell me all about their acting process and their challenges and goals, I’d likely end up with eighteen essay-long interviews to sort through.  Emmanuel’s Theater Department might be small compared to some other schools, but from my experience it makes up for its size with its dedicated, talented, and fiercely ambitious students.  Instead, I’ve collected bits and pieces from the group in order to gain an idea of what the cast’s overall objective is in working on this piece. Q: What has been your favorite song to work on so far vocally, and why? “My favorite song to work on so far has been ‘Don’t Walk Away’ because of the acapella section.  I was in an acapella group in high school and...

Mar29

MEET THE MUSIC MAN – A Brief Check-In With Music Director Jason Whiting

Posted on Mar 29 by

As the rehearsal process continues and students steadily develop their work, I had a chance to interview Xanadu’s wonderfully talented music director, Jason Whiting. Jason has had a long relationship with Emmanuel College.  Originally from Independence, Missouri, he graduated from Northwest Missouri State University and shortly afterwards moved to the Boston area.  His first connection with Emmanuel happened when his roommate asked him to help out and join the 1999 production of Annie here, since it was still an all-girls school and in need of male actors.  He continued to act in various EC shows, including Once Upon A Mattress, Museum, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, until in 2002 he worked with the band on Merrily We Roll Along and later music directed Anything Goes. Jason has worked in the Boston area at various other institutions, including Emerson College, Babson College, Bentley University, Suffolk University, and at theaters such as The F.U.D.G.E. Theatre, Riverside Theatre Works, and The Player’s Ring.  He has done work accompanying and music directing countless musicals, including (but not limited to) Avenue Q, Batboy:...