School of Music, Theatre and Dance

SMTD students and alumni share summer, future plans

May 2019

icon of a calendarMay 15, 2019

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SMTD students and alumni share summer, future plans
Spring Awakening
Doran Berger, Josh Frink, Mekhi Holloway, Dimitri Jurgensen and Robert Smedman will perform in Exit Left Theatre’s production of "Spring Awakening" from May 30-June 9 in Holland, Mich.

Whether they’re taking the stage at Oakland University to perform with the OU Brass Band, touring with the children’s production of James and the Giant Peach, or studying abroad in Greece, students and alumni of OU’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance will be busy rehearsing and performing this summer throughout the state and beyond. Here are some of the highlights:

Exit Left Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening (May 30-June 9 in Holland, MI) includes Doran Berger as Melchior Gabor, Josh Frink as Moritz Stiefel, Mekhi Holloway as Ernst Robel, Dimitri Jurgensen as Otto Lammermeier and Robert Smedman as Georg Zirschnitz.

Annika Andersson will perform as the Baker’s Wife and Ryan Heath as Steward in Thunder Bay Theatre’s production of Into the Woods in Alpena, Mich. from June 19 - July .

Tyler Bolda (BFA ‘19) has a 10-month acting internship set up with Meadow Brook Theatre starting in September.

Eileen Brennan and Rachel Daigneault will both be general production interns at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre in Holland, Mich.

Scott Brickner (BFA ‘19) has accepted a graduate assistantship to attend Western Michigan University in the fall of 2019. Scott was a trumpet performance major at OU.

Amy Brown (BFA '19) has accepted the Costume Design internship at Williamstown Theatre Festival that runs June-August. Before that, she is designing costumes for OU's production of James and the Giant Peach. In the fall, Amy is moving to NYC to pursue a career in costuming.

Ellie Vargas

Dance junior Gabriella Cascioli and alumna Elizabeth (Ellie) Vargas (BFA ‘19) have both been accepted into the fall Disney program and will be moving to Florida over the summer.

This summer, Elaina Ciccone (BFA ‘19) will be assistant stage managing Orpheus for Opera MODO in Detroit, then stage managing the operetta program at the Michigan Opera Theatre. In August, she will be moving to Boston to pursue a theatre career.

Abigail Elliott will spend the summer as an audio, lighting and video technician at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Sam Torres will also be there, teaching vocal health and voice.

Josh England is working at Encore Musical Theatre in the Gershwin musicalCrazy For You (June 20 - Aug. 20 in Ann Arbor, Mich.) in the ensemble as a tap dancing cowboy.

Neil Faulkner (BM ‘19) has accepted a graduate assistantship at Bowling Green State University, where he will be pursuing an MM in percussion performance, studying with Dr. Dan Piccolo. In addition to Bowling Green, Neil also received assistantship offers at Western Michigan University and Ball State University. While at OU, Neil studied with Dan Maslanka, served as the equipment manager for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, as well as the percussion mentor for the Oakland Youth Orchestras program.

Several theatre grads/students will be spending their summer working at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio: Stephanie Gettings as a dancer in the Vertical Impact show; Clayton Sallee as singer/dancer in Beach Blanket Beagle; Tony Sharpe (BFA ‘19) as bass in the male quartet and male dancer with the can-can girls in “Lusty Lil’s French Revue; Jordan Allyse Taylor (BFA ‘19) as an actor in their newest attraction Forbidden Frontiere Adventure Island; and Paige VanSickle (BFA ‘19) as lead singer/rhythm guitar for the Toes in the Sand Band.

Domenic Santini

Some students are spending some time teaching high school students. For example, Eli Cavaliero will teach theatre to students at Churchill High School in Livonia and Domenic Santini is working with the drumline for the Novi High School and Southgate Anderson High School marching bands. Kelsi Fay is working at Madonna University's Summer Musical Theatre Camp for the second year in a row.  She will be coaching students in the acting field and putting together their end-of-the-week show.

Caprice Green (BFA ‘19) signed with About Artists Talent Agency in NYC after her senior showcase performance in March.

Mackenzie Gross is heading out west to the Bigfork Summer Playhouse in Bigfork, Mont. She’ll be performing in Seussical, Catch Me If You Can, The Wedding Singer and Oklahoma!.

Mitchell Hardy will be stage managing Dreamgirls with the Detroit Actor’s Theatre Company (DATC), which runs Aug. 14-18 in Detroit's New Center Park.

Torri Johnson will be attending the American Dance Festival (ADF) in Durham, N.C., which is the longest running dance summer intensive in the country (started in 1934.) This intensive, which is six weeks long, brings in the biggest companies in modern dance throughout the summer. In the past, ADF has hosted Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, Bill T Jones, Mark Morris and Martha Graham, just to name a few.

Leilas Kaakarni will be the properties master for OU’s production of James and the Giant Peach and a costume apprentice at Lake Dillon Theatre in Silverthorne, Colo.

Mannon McIntosh

Mannon McIntosh (BFA ‘19) is kicking off the summer as the assistant director/stage manager/tour manager of the OU children’s touring production of James and the Giant Peach. After that, she will be heading up to Interlochen Arts Camp (her third summer) as the stage manager of the Intermediate Repertory Production.

Lorenzo Macuja

Lorenzo Macuja, a clarinet performance major, was accepted into the master’s program in performance at the Longy School of Music in Boston and received a large scholarship. “I know he is very relieved and excited, and of course, so am I,” said George Stoffan, an associate professor of music at OU. Lorenzo said, “Studying music at OU has been an enriching experience and gave me many opportunities to grow. Thanks to Dr. Stoffan and the rest of the faculty for helping me reach my goals. This isn’t just a music program, it’s a family, and I’m proud to be its Varner Ghost.”

Becky Kowalski (BFA ‘19) will be Take Root’s new professional apprentice for the 2019-20 season as well as the Arts Education outreach assistant. She will assist with Take Root’s K-12 outreach activities with Thayer Jonutz (one of Take Root’s founding/artistic directors.)

Griffin Krause is going to be the drama specialist at JCC Daycamps in West Bloomfield, Mich.

Natalie Manor was invited to attend the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting Summer Conservatory in New York City from June 8 - Aug. 9.  

Jarvis Pitts will be performing in Shakespeare’s The Tempest for Water Works Theatre Company in Royal Oak, Mich. from July 27- Aug. 4.

Kristin Rebera (BFA ‘19), who signed with the Professional Artists agency in NYC after her Senior Showcase performance, will be in In the Heights at Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck, Mich. from July 21-July 14 and then off to NYC.

Hannah Faith Stevens is playing Ali in Mamma Mia at What A Do Theatre in Battle Creek, Mich.

Emily Stoddard (BFA ‘19) will be staff scenic artist at Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer.

Jordan Taylor

This fall, Jordan Allyse Taylor (BFA ‘19) will attend Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland where she was awarded a full tuition scholarship to pursue her MFA in acting.

Brandon Thibault (BM ‘19) was accepted to the Bayview Music Festival in Bayview, Mich. He will take part in the Spectrum Brass Seminar which takes place June 15 through Aug. 12. This fall, Brandon will be pursuing a masters degree in tuba performance at Bowling Green State University. He received the tuba euphonium graduate assistantship which includes playing in the graduate brass quintet and full tuition.

Mark Ukstivani (BFA ‘19) is returning to Missoula Children's Theatre, as actor and director, for his second summer. After that, he is planning to move to Chicago.

Madison Walby will spend the summer at Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre as a props intern.

Doran Berger

Alaina Whidby will work as a director and choreographer at the Young People’s Theater in Ann Arbor this summer. Doran Berger will also work there later in the summer.

Grace Zimmerman will spend her summer as a counselor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, where she will be taking classes and mentoring young dancers.

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