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November News

Monday, November 4, 2013
November News

Everyone at Music, Theatre and Dance is delighted to announce that our online presence has been updated. We now have a colorful new landing page and if you visit the page, you will see you now have two options to seek further information. You can click on the “Academics” button on the left beneath the photo banner and follow on from there. Or you can click the “Performance Schedule” button for easy access to information about all our recitals and other productions.

That page can be sorted according to discipline and if you click on an event, a pop-up box appears, which gives you all the information you need, including a link to take you directly to the Star Tickets website so you can buy your tickets right then and there. Our aim is to make the information you need as easy to access and act on as possible. Our colleagues at University Communications and Marketing have worked hard to design and create these beautiful new pages and we are so grateful for their work. Very soon we hope to be able to announce a reinvented academic site that will also be easier to navigate.

Good alumni news is always welcome and this month we were thrilled to hear that Musical Theatre grad Emily Mitchell (B.F.A. ‘13) had been cast in the national tour of Bring it On. She persisted through a grueling number of callbacks -- we heard 10! Can that be true? The show is about competitive cheerleading. She will play the role of Eva, described in the casting notes as “an immensely likeable, sweet, fragile-seeming freshman who . . . turns out to be a sociopathic back-stabbing climber who takes over the squad and ruins the lives of many.” We need to get confirmation on this, but we think Emily’s tour will be in the Detroit area in April.

Early this month Professor Emeritus Michael Gillespie met up with some theatre alumni in New York. There were lots of smiling faces at the table during his visit with Lauren WainwrightPeter GiesslDavid Meese and Abby Alexander. We thought you would enjoy seeing them.

We have an update for you on the news that theatre alum Esau Pritchett has been cast in August Wilson’s play Fences, which is a modern classic of the American theatre. Esau will play Troy Maxson in a production to be directed by Phylicia Rashad. If you are, or plan to be, on the East coast, this is a performance you might want to catch. Fences will open at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut on November 27; and transfer to the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J. in the new year. You can read more details for Long Wharf here and for McCarter here

Closer to home, we know many of you will be enjoying A Christmas Carol at Meadow Brook Theatre in the next few weeks. Acting-for-Non-Majors instructor Tom Mahard will once again play Ebenezer Scrooge, but look out for four alums who have been cast this year: Joseph Feldman will play Fred, Dave Roy will play Dick Wilkins, Ashley Rozanski will play a Londoner and Matt Siadak will play Belle’s husband. 

Kevin Corcoran, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, made a recent appearance on CBS radio, WJR. During his interview he spoke about what great training a theatre degree is for any career. Among other things, he noted self-presentation, the ability to read people and respond to them, and the capacity for teamwork, as skills that any employer would value.  You can hear an extract from that interview as a podcast here.

Last month, the dance faculty and students hosted their first ever Dance Studio Event, which was attended by a large, enthusiastic and very well-trained group of dancers from Juliana’s Academy of Dance in Madison Heights. The dance program is hoping to extend their outreach into the community in the future. Our annual Dance Day will be on Sunday, March 9 this year and registration will open in December.

Music Education alum Dakotah Cooper was featured in an article in the Oakland Post last month. Dakotah, who teaches in the Lake Orion schools, is using iPads on loan from OU to faciliate his young students' work in composition. Dakotah decided to work on this idea after discussing teaching strategies with Associate Professor Deborah Blair. You can read the article here.

Finally, we want to brag a little about our amazing Oakland Chorale and their recent performance at the American Choral Director’s Association Michigan Fall Conference. They received two standing ovations, something their proud conductor Mike Mitchell says he has never seen before at ACDA. One of the ovations came after the Chorale’s rendition of a Raga from India and the other one at the end of their concert. Mike says there was also extended applause after the performance of his composition, Gloria, Pax, Alleluia. He concludes, “Our students were absolutely the talk of the conference.” 

We can’t think of a better note to end on!

Upper right: A screen shot of the new Music, Theatre and Dance home page.
Middle left: (l-r) Lauren Wainwright, Peter Giessl, David Meese and Abby Alexander. Photo by Michael Gillespie.
Lower right: Dean Kevin Corcoran.