Wednesday, March 29, 2017

AND BABY MAKES SEVEN Opens Tonight!

It's time to open yet another show at MSU! We're winding down, but you won't want to miss our next studio show, Paula Vogel's And Baby Makes Seven! The cast size may be small, but the characters you'll meet are many. In this hilarious play, Anna, Ruth and Peter await the arrival of their newborn baby, but first they must rid the apartment of their three imaginary children.

Samantha Fairchild, Alyssa Johnson and Felipe Escudero

Samantha Fairchild, Felipe Escudero and Alyssa Johnson


The two women in the cast each play more than one character in the play. Alyssa Johnson plays Anna (one of the female adults) and Cecil (a 9-year-old genius child). Samantha Fairchild plays Ruth (one of the female adults) as well as Orphan (a 6-year-old child raised by wild dogs) and Henri (a 7-year-old boy from France). Finally, Felipe Escudero plays Peter, the only male in this trio.


Samantha Fairchild and Felipe Escudero

Samantha Fairchild


The play is being directed by Kristin Fox, a 2nd Year MFA Directing Candidate. "I chose this play because it is a story that is close to my heart. A story about three young adults learning about what it truly means to be a “grown-up”. For these characters, they believe that growing up process means having to kill their inner child, however, throughout the course of this play we learn that it is rather the opposite and the hanging on to a piece of our inner child is what truly allows us to grow and learn the most about ourselves."


Alyssa Johnson and Samantha Fairchild


Samantha Fairchild

Set in 1984, the play has many themes relevant in today's culture. One of the most prominent is the growth of LGBTQA rights and awareness over the past 3 decades. Fox is very grateful to have such a wonderful group of people to help share this story. "This has been a fantastic process. I have been very fortunate to have such a talented cast and design team for this production.  Everyone has been on board with the playfulness of this show from the very beginning. Between going back to the ‘80s for the styles of the clothing and the “interesting” interior decorating choices of the time period, there has been ample opportunity for fun and play within the design elements. Also the dedication of the actors to play so many characters, often simultaneously, has been so fantastic to work with on this project."


Samantha Fairchild and Alyssa Johnson

And Baby Makes Seven opens TONIGHT in the Andreas Theatre at 7:30 PM, and plays through Saturday, April 1st. You won't want to miss this one! Buy your tickets at msutheatre.com or call the box office at 507-389-6661. We look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Spotlight On: Mitchell Evans

This week we get to meet Mitchell Evans! He's just about to finish his second year as a Musical Theatre BFA, and by the end of this year he will have been involved in 11 productions at MSU! You may recognize him in roles such as Neleus in Mary Poppins, Noah "Horse" T. Simmons in The Full Monty, Simon Bright in The Game's Afoot or a Wickersham brother in Seussical. You may have also seen him dancing in the MSU Dance Concerts. Mitchell does it all!


Name: Mitchell Douglas Evans
Hometown: Litchfield, Minnesota
Year/Major: Sophomore/Musical Theatre
Current Role: Mereb in AIDA and Spring Dance Concert


How did you get your start in theatre? Growing up I’d always been a choir boy and didn’t do my first show until 8th grade when our choir director told us we were doing The Wizard of Oz and they needed a bunch of short kids to play munchkins. So I tried out and was a Lollipop Guild munchkin amongst other ensemble roles and I loved every second of it.

Mitchell in The Wizard of Oz

What's your favorite thing about theatre? The reason I did theatre in high school was because I loved performing and the social aspect that it brought to my life. Now as a young artist I do it to express myself in a way that I couldn’t on the streets of Mankato. I not only continue theatre because I only love to perform but it’s also so rewarding to be able to tell someone’s story and to hopefully reach out and touch someone’s heart and open their eyes to something they might not have before. There's also nothing like the adrenalin rush you get just before a curtain opens or light comes up that I live for. 

What's your favorite MSU Theatre memory? My favorite MSU theatre memories honestly are my days off. Not because I don't love rehearsing or performing, but because of the little memories I've created with everyone and it's so fun getting to know everyone off stage. Doing things like apple picking, sleepovers, jumping in freezing lakes, kayaking, baking and exploring the area. It's just refreshing to remember life outside of theatre making it that much more rewarding going back to it. Since coming to school I’ve also taken a knack for dancing way more than I’d anticipated, last semester I participated in my first dance concerts where I performed in two pieces and debuted as a choreographer in our student showcase. I also participated in my first ACDA contest last week in Duluth as a box technician for one of MSU, Mankato’s dances that performed and made it into the gala concert. 



Titanic: The Musical

Plans after graduation? I can say with a smile that I hate the question, because this industry is so unpredictable. I’m hoping to attend the UPDAs audition my senior year and to get my first job from that. Otherwise, I hope to go out to Seattle or Chicago and perform for a few years until who knows, maybe graduate school or something. Eventually I’d like to create a program for young artist within the foster care system, to help them be able to become the artists they want to be. 

2016 Spring Dance Concert


Any advice for aspiring performers? The best advice I could give an aspiring performer would be to just give it a try, good or bad, just get your butt to that audition or rehearsal and see where it takes you! It’s taken me places as a performer and person that I never thought I’d go! 

Achievements: This January I got to participate in the KCACTF Irene Ryan competition as a partner to Jessica Staples, where we made it as one of the 16 finalists. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spotlight On: Claire Clauson

This week's student spotlight features Claire Clauson! You may recognize her from her work as Aggie Wheeler in The Games Afoot, Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins, Chris Gorman in Rumors and Maryjo Kincaid in A Piece of My Heart. Claire is no stranger to the MSU Stage. 
Let's get to know her!


Name: Claire Clauson
Hometown: South St. Paul, Minnesota
Year/Major: Senior/Musical Theatre
Current Role: AIDA

How did you get your start in theatre? My family is a big supporter of the arts, my dad had season tickets to the Ordway when I was young so he would always be singing Les Mis and Fiddler songs around the house. My mom used to bring me to shows at the Children's Theatre in Minneapolis and we would always recreate our favorite scenes of movies. I didn't audition for a show until I was in 9th grade, I had a lot free time and my parents wanted me to choose another extra curricular. Our high school was doing Grease, which attracted a lot of people and I ended up making it in! I still remember looking at the cast list and just crying tears of joy.

What's your favorite thing about theatre? I love theatre because it tells stories of people in all walks of life. Sometimes the stories can change people's lives and sometimes they just make them smile! I also just love text analysis and trying to apply the analysis to the work on stage. And just children's theatre in general. The smile on a kid's face who is having fun on stage is absolutely priceless!

Aggie Wheeler in The Game's Afoot

What's your favorite MSU Theatre memory? Probably touring with the kids of Kiddie Tour! You'll never forget a tour, for better or worse, and I definitely remember all our fun times for the better. Oh, and going to New York with them was pretty great, too.


Chris Gorman in Rumors
Plans after graduation? After I graduate, I'm headed to Memphis where I will be a performance intern with Playhouse on the Square from July 2017 to May 2018 (YAY, steady employment)! After that, I plan to seek professional performance experience for a few years and then return to grad school so I can be a professor. I love teaching and theatre, so why not do both, right?

Any advice for aspiring performers? Learn to love pushing your boundaries. I always try to leave my fear at the door when I enter a theatre and it brings a new life to performances. Also, just have fun. When going to an audition, choose a piece you love to perform and just have fun sharing it with the people in the room!


Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins

Achievements: 2017 KCACTF Region V Open Jar - First Place, Irene Ryan Partner

After receiving first place at the 2017 KCACTF Region V Open Jar competition this year, Claire's going to Washington DC in April to perform on the Kennedy Center Stage. We're super proud of her. Break a leg, Claire! Thanks for chatting with us!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spotlight On: Jayme Beerling

Our student spotlights are back! We have an overwhelming amount of talented performers, directors, stage managers, designers and technicians here at MSU Theatre and Dance. We think it's about time you get to know some of them more intimately.

First up, Jayme Beerling! You might not recognize her onstage, but her work behind the scenes is extraordinary. Jayme is one of our senior Stage Managers, and believe us when we say, the show could not go on without her!

Name: Jayme Beerling
Hometown: Prior Lake, Minnesota
Year/Major: Senior, BFA Theatre Design & Technology
Current Show: AIDA

How did you get your start in theatre? Elementary school in the 1st grade production of something I don't remember! But I was always volunteering to get off stage and help with lights, sound and the set and I was always sad that I wasn’t ever picked. Its probably what made me not audition the most in high school because I wanted to do the backstage stuff. It just seemed like a lot more fun to me.

What's your favorite thing about theatre? I really love the “why”. When doing a production it's important to understand why the company is doing that production. Plus, being the Stage Manager makes me the first number one fan of any show I’m working on.

The cast of Frankenstein 1930 
Favorite MSU theatre memory? My dance concert lighting design or my scene designs are probably my most rewarding memory.  It was really great to watch the set come to life or help convey the story of the dance with the lighting.

What are your plans after graduation? I will be attending Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan for an MFA in Stage Management!

Any advice for aspiring Stage Managers? Ask questions! Take some psychology classes. Listen when people are talking to you, give them your full attention and then digest. Never be the “no” person, when a cast member or director wants something- you don’t get to say “no” it’s "I’ll ask." :)

Favorite past show? Titanic the Musical

Achievements: 

  • USITT Vice Chair 2015-2017
  • Achievement in Stage Management from KCACTF region 5 for Frankenstein 1930
  • Northern Boundary USITT Scholarship to National Conference for Scene Design of Oleanna
  • William Steil Technical Theatre and Dance Scholarship 2016-2017
  • Achievement in Stage Management from KCACTF region 5 for Titanic the Musical
  • Brianna Richmond- Cowles Theatre and Dance Scholarship 2015-2016
  • Loraine Larson Theatre and Dance Scholarship 2014-2015
Some MSU characters at USITT

Thanks for chatting with us, Jayme! We wish you the best of luck as you continue your education in Stage Management. We'll miss you here! Stay tuned to get to know more of our talented students.