April 17, 2012
12-116

Jessica Pope
Communications Specialist

VSU Theatre and Dance Emerging Artists Ready to Showcase TheirTalents

VALDOSTA -- Before entering the world of castings and callbacks, Susanna Agnew, Jonathan Butts, Luke Newsome, and Tim Olivar will share the skills they learned as students at Valdosta State University with musical theatre fans from across South Georgia and beyond.

VSU’s Theatre and Dance program will kick off its Emerging Artists Showcase, a two-program event, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, with the Musical Theatre Showcase. Agnew, Butts, Newsome, and Olivar will perform more than 20 selections beginning with the first act’s “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts and ending with the second act’s “King Medley,” arranged by their director, Christopher G. Bailey, and featuring “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles, “King of the World” by Jason Robert Brown, “King of Wishful Thinking” by Cox, Drummie, and Page, and “King of Pain” by The Police.

“Our audience can expect an array of repertoire, ranging from Harold Arlen to Stephen Schwartz,” said Bailey, assistant professor of musical theatre. “The program is peppered with pop tunes, among them various solos, duets, trios, and production numbers that feature all four.”

This is the fourth year of the Musical Theatre Showcase, Bailey said. Feedback from past audiences has been positive, and he expects the tradition to continue for years to come.

“The Musical Theatre Showcase features graduating seniors who are a part of the musical theatre emphasis for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree,” he noted. “Producing a showcase at the end of their last year in the program is the most logical step. The showcase highlights the performers’ greatest strengths as emerging artists. This is their last performance as a part of the VSU Theatre and Dance area before they enter the audition world for jobs.”

Agnew, Newsome, and Olivar were last seen on stage in VSU Theatre and Dance’s “State Fair.” Butts was a member of the production staff.

Bailey described the Musical Theatre Showcase as a group effort. He chose several selections for the group to perform together, and then the four graduating seniors collaborated with each other to finish designing a showcase based on their unique strengths.

SOUTHERN WRITERS SHOWCASE

VSU’s Emerging Artists Showcase also features the Southern Writers Showcase.

“The Southern Writers Showcase was my desire to showcase Southern literature in the style of readers theater,” Deborah Morgan, director and associate professor of theatre, shared in her director’s notes. “When looking for authors, I did not have to look farther than my own South Georgia back yard. Janice Daugharty, Dean Poling, and George Brannon, all South Georgians, offer their insights on life in our ‘neck of the woods.’ With humor, honesty, and compassion, we see our neighbors, our families, and sometimes ourselves. I am indebted to each author for allowing me the opportunity to bring their words to life on stage.”

Emily Bradford, Charlotte Grady, Andrea Johnson, Andrew Miller, Rebecca Morris, Clarissa Phillips, Ryan Stillings, Blake Fountain, Shawanna Hall, Carlie Johnson, Laura Monsalvatge, Rishik Patel, Kelsey South, and Matthew Tito will perform Poling’s “An American Voice,” “They Had A Lot In Common,” and “Southern Hospitality,” as well as Daugharty’s “Amazing Grace” and Brannon’s “He Were A Human Being” and “The Play’s The Thing.”

“VSU’s theater, dance, and music students continue to provide outstanding performances each year,” shared Dr. Louis H. Levy, interim president of VSU. “We are fortunate to attract highly gifted and talented students from across Georgia who are eager to be a part of this outstanding program …. I appreciate the dedication and commitment from the faculty, staff, and students.”

Musical Theatre Showcase performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 and on Saturday, April 21. Southern Writers Showcase performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20 and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 22.

Both showcases will be held in Sawyer Theatre on the first floor of VSU’s Fine Arts Building, which is located on the corner of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street.

Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for senior citizens; $8 for children, non-VSU students, and groups of 10 or more at a single performance; and free for VSU students with identification.

For advance reservations, please call the VSU Theatre and Dance Box Office between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday at (229) 333-5973. Tickets can be picked up outside Sawyer Theatre approximately 30 minutes prior to curtain. Reserved tickets not picked up within 15 minutes of curtain are subject to release to the waiting list.