Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SITR Tech Week

Well, the final week of our production has arrived! We have only SIX days until opening, so I will keep you updated on what the daily goings-on are for the remainder of the process.

This past weekend we had cue-to-cue and level set. These are, respectively, when lights and sound cues are built around actors and set transitions are incorporated into the flow of the show. It is a sometimes tedious process, but, like I mentioned in my last entry, it is a time for actors to take a backseat to the tech elements of the show.This is by far the largest undertaking for designers and tech here are URI in recent memory. But, watching these elements become part of the story has only enhanced it ten-fold. Lighting, sound, and sets tell their own story as well as sometimes articulate what song, dance, and acting cannot.

It finally rained on stage! What a fantastic moment to witness. This has been the talk of our cast since the moment the show selections were announced last year. The set and rain-machine that was built for the title song sequence is absolutely incredible. I don't want to give much more away than that, but it is truly breathtaking. You'll just have to see it in person.

At last night's rehearsal, we ran "Broadway Melody," the largest dance sequence in the show, with costumes. This was the first time that we danced in costume, and the story came to life. "Broadway Melody" tells the story of a young dancer who goes to Broadway to hit it big. There are three sequences in the number: the first is daily life on the streets of New York, the second is a "rabbit-hole" moment when the dancer gets lost in the dark underground of NYC life, and the third is a classic tap sequence. Costumes are so integral to this number because there are no vocal moments for each person to say who they are, it is all movement and costuming. For instance, I play a bag lady/homeless woman. I can inhabit this character physically, but the costume tells the audience precisely who I am. You'll see me up there with my bag of garlic and fur stole. ;)

As we move in to the last days of this show, it becomes even more bittersweet. This is my last show in undergrad and because my experience here at URI has been so positive, it's hard to leave. This is a transition time for all seniors. My next move is to go to Boston for a year or so, get a full-time job and continue auditioning. When I made the decision not to go to graduate school directly after undergrad, it was because the life of working and auditioning is what I want for myself at 22 years old. This BFA program has set me up for a transition to an MFA program, but I believe that each student has to decide what is right for them. Just how college isn't the right decision for everyone out of high school, graduate school may not be the direct next step out of university. This all being said, my professors have imported to me how essential continuing education is, whether it be through internships, acting classes, or experiential.

As I mentioned before, Andrew Burnap is at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. this week. He is representing Region 1 of the Irene Ryan Acting Competition. This is under the umbrella of the American College Theatre Festival. We are so proud of his accomplishment, and I think it shows that we are truly one of the strongest undergrad programs in the country. He is participating in workshops and competing for scholarships. An added benefit is networking with other students from around the country and professionals in our field. Because he is playing Don in SITR, his understudy has taken the role on in his absence.

If you've seen the graphic used on our poster, you've probably noticed that it is credited to Tyler DiBiasio, a Rhode Island School of Design student. He is close friends with our Cosmo Brown (Joshua Andrews) and was hired to create this custom drawing for publicity use. The above video is an animation he did based on the original "Good Morning" choreography. I think it is a great partnership between students of two arts programs in the state. Kudos to Tyler for his work! A television will be in the theatre lobby during the run of this show featuring this animation and other work by Tyler.

That's it for today. Remember to get your tickets in advance. We have over 1,000 sold already! You don't want to be the one to miss out on this show.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


"Singin' in the Rain" rehearsals have taken a huge leap forward since my last entry. Set pieces are almost fully constructed, lights are hung and focused, and publicity photos have been taken (I'll post those as soon as we have them).

As I'm sure I've mentioned and/or you've deduced, this production is of a magnitude that none of us have ever seen here on the URI Stage. Among other things, this means that we as actors have to take a backseat to the production elements at times. There is no room for calling "line" or missing your blocking. This could mess up cues and you could get run over by a set piece.

Aside from the tangible production elements that the audience gets to enjoy, there is a lot of work being done off-stage by students, guests artists, and faculty that will never be showcased on stage. However, these are crucial to  the success of the production. Something I would like to feature here is work being done by student dramaturg and Assistant Director Kira Hawkridge. Kira is a senior double concentrating in both Acting and Directing. She is talented in both fields, and her dramaturgy for this show is so thorough and well-executed that it is a reflection of how well she understands the need for research. For those who don't know, a general definition for dramaturgy is: research surrounding a show. This can be historical fact such as the political climate or social movements, research on the playwright, information on past productions, structural play analysis - the list goes on. All Directing concentrates are required to be the student dramaturg for on production. Kira's dramaturgy has taken on a much different format than I've seen before. She has it posted on Facebook!

Singin' in the Rain Dramaturgy

It can be viewed at the link above. It is an extremely comprehensive resource for all involved in the production. A great benefit of having this online source is that videos and photos can be easily shared. This Facebook group resource will go along with the "paper" dramatrugy assignment that we are required to turn in.

If you haven't yet, listen to the interview on WCRI with Paula McGlasson (our Department Chair and Director of this production) and Andrew Burnap (playing Don Lockwood). The show features a sort-of talkback about our production and music from the show.

Listen Here

Andrew, who won the Region 1 of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan Acting Competition (that's a mouthful) is traveling to Washington, D.C. next week to represent the region and URI. It is such an honor for our department to be represented on the national level. Andrew will be participating in workshops and a scene presentation. We wish him the best of luck, and I know he will represent us well!
I think that's all for now. The production photos should be available soon, and I know they're going to be fantastic. Remember, if you haven't purchased tickets yet you can do that either online, over the phone at 401.874.5843, or come in and visit us at the Box Office. We are open now MWF 10-2 and TTh 10-4.

Til' next time,


Sunday, March 18, 2012


Hey all!

Today is our last day of spring break, and that means back to school and back to work for the cast of "Singin' in the Rain." Although, it wasn't a full spring "break" for the production team and many cast members. As you may remember, "Singin" is about the transition from silent films to "talkies." This means that the actual films are a large element of the production.

The films "The Dueling Cavalier" and "The Royal Rascal" were filmed last weekend. These include the two silent film stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, among other cast members. There are elaborate costumes and some impressive combat sequences that you will have to see on film (and stage!) to believe!

Here are some photos taken by cast and production team members last weekend:

On another, more somber note, I'm still going through "Tartuffe" withdrawal. Although it's always exciting to move on to another show and tackle the unique challenges it will bring, when a show ends it is something you will never get back. "Tartuffe" was special to me because it was so difficult and pushed me beyond where I believed I could go. It's also scary that "Singin" will be my last show in undergrad. Then I will make the transition into the unknown - the 'real' theatre world. This transition has already begun for many of us, with auditions for graduate schools, theatre companies, and applications for internships. Nothing is guaranteed in this profession, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty.

Despite my nervousness, I feel well-prepared from four years of hard work in undergrad. A final spring break treat to myself was a day-trip to New York City to see "The Best Man" by Gore Vidal on Broadway. It was not my favorite play (very similar situation to the film "The Ides of March"), but I got to see such legendary actors as James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury on stage, as well as the surprisingly fantastic television actor Eric McCormack (Will from "Will and Grace"). Every time I see a professional show of high-caliber I take something away as a student. These actors were so clear in both inner life and technical precision that it reminded me there is ALWAYS more work to be done.

Well, I have to work on my Costume Design project for "A Doll's House." Tomorrow the full cast is back to the grind in dance class with our choreographer Dante Sciarra. And Tuesday we are back to rehearsal. Wahoo! This show will come quicker than we could ever anticipate. (While I'm on the subject: BUY YOUR TICKETS in advance for this one - they will sell out!)

`Til next time,


Thursday, March 1, 2012


Sorry for the lack of posts this week! Performances are going so well, and audiences have been so receptive of the work we are doing. If you haven't seen us yet, what are you waiting for?! (:

Here's a profile of another Senior: Jamie Hansen. You'll see her this spring as the glamorous, tempestuous silent film star Lina LaMont in 'Singin' in the Rain.'

NAME: Jamie Hansen
FROM: Matunuck, RI
MAJOR/CONCENTRATE: Theatre - Acting & Stage Management 

WHAT DOES THIS ENTAIL? (EX. SM A PRODUCTION, LIGHTING DESIGN FOR 322s ETC): I have been an assistant stage manager, light board operator for One Act Festival, wardrobe crew, house manager, stage manager, and actor! 
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE URI THEATRE: The faculty of the URI Theatre Department, with their impressive credentials, were a big draw for me. 

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE PROGRAM: My biggest challenge so far has been the Junior year acting class. The class focuses on classical text with heightened language. This was the first time working on classical material for me, and it was intimidating at first. Luckily, I had an amazing teacher, Tony Estrella, whose impressive knowledge of the material and how to approach it was intrinsic to the appreciation for and understanding of heightened language. 
BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: My biggest accomplishment at URI was deciding to add Stage Management as a concentrate. Coming in as a freshman, I was only interested in being an actor. After taking the required Stage Management class, I realized my affinity for it and with the encouragement of Department Chair Paula McGlasson, proceeded to add the concentrate. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made! 

FAVORITE CLASS AND WHY. My favorite classes at URI are every single class I have taken with David T. Howard. All of his classes are focused
on design and costume, neither of which are areas I have ever excelled at or even really been interested in. Through David's passion for the material, engaging personality, and hands-on classroom approach, I have learned about and become interested in  aspects of design and costuming that I never dreamed I would. 

WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS SEMESTER? ROLES/PRODUCTION ETC: This semester I will playing the part of Lina Lamont in April's production of Singin' In The Rain. What a way to end senior year.... I'm so excited! I will also be working the box office for our production of Tartuffe. 

FAVORITE PRODUCTION YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN AND WHY: I think my favorite production I've worked on this far is The Rocky Horror Show. I worked as an Assistant Stage Manager on this show and had a blast! It was directed by Paula McGlasson, who created an atmosphere that was productive, yet fun and virtually stress-free. Not to mention the show is one of my all-time favorite musicals! 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU: I am hoping to be selected for a Stage Management  internship position at Trinity Rep in Providence, RI. This past summer, through URI Theatre, I was given the opportunity to work on a production as a Stage Manager at Trinity Rep, where I was able to make contact with some very important people in the New England theatre scene. 
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN TEN YEARS: In 10 years, I hope to have made my way through Providence and New York City through to California, having begun a management career in Film and Television. 
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE: I love my dog, Brady :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review from the URI Student Newspaper "The Good Five Cent Cigar"

Posting this from the Stage Management office, as usual.

In the throes of performance for another packed house!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Our first Review

Thanks to Tony Annicone for his kind words!

Back to the show,


"Tartuffe" Promotional Video

Here's a video made by URI Theatre Alum Jamie Dufault to promote our production. Check it out!

PS. OPENING NIGHT WAS A BLAST!!! Thanks to all who came. Get your tickets soon if you haven't yet. Shows are selling out fast! (: