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April 17, 2013

Talent Showcase

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance’s Emerging Artists Showcase contains so many remarkable talents, it requires two rotating performances to fully enjoy them.

Thursday and Saturday evenings, April 18 and 20, highlight VSU student performers in the Musical & Readers Theatre Showcase; on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, audiences can enjoy dancing in the Student Choreography Showcase.

These showcases became a regular conclusion to the VSU Theatre & Dance academic seasons a few years ago. Initially, these shows featured graduating seniors performing outside of the regular season.

Karl B. Wildman directs the Readers Theatre Showcase. Dr. Christopher Bailey directs the Musical Theatre Showcase. Catherine Schaeffer coordinates the Choreography Showcase. Through directors’ notes, they share their perspectives on these various performances.

Wildman learned of his assignment to direct the showcase shortly after arriving in South Georgia and becoming part of the VSU Theatre & Dance faculty. The idea of a new home inspired his showcase’s theme: “Home Aloud.”

“The theme of home rang out to me as I approached this project,” Wildman says. “I also observed many of my students adjusting and becoming ‘at home’ here at Valdosta State University. This deep-seated need for a sense of place exists in all of us.”

The Readers Theatre Showcase includes vocal performances of the following works: David Sedaris’ “Ship Shape,” an excerpt from Charlayne Woodard’s “Pretty Fire,” an excerpt from Tania Bayard’s translation of “A Medieval Home Companion: Housekeeping in the 14th Century,” an excerpt from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.”

Readers Theatre performers: Christa Bynum, April C. Coleman, Khalif Cooper, Noah Ellis, Darshanna Loveland, Clarissa Phillips, Tyrell Ruffin, Matt Tito, Athena D. White.

The Readers Theatre Showcase is this performance’s Act I; Act II is the Musical Theatre Showcase.

Musical Theatre performers: Ashley Anderson, Jessica Mathis, Chance Wall.

In his director’s notes, Bailey praises his three musical students, mentioning that he has come to count on them as young leaders within the program.

“What an incredible joy these three emerging artists have been over the past two years,” Bailey says. “... All of these students are mindful performers, dedicated actors, and most importantly, kind humans.”

Bailey says he cannot wait to see where their careers take each of them. The showcase may give some indication how far their talents may take them. Anderson, Mathis and Wall perform pieces together and as individuals. These songs include “Mr. Snow” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” Phil Spector’s “Chapel of Love,” Dave Matthews’ “Crash,” Boublil & Schoenberg’s “A Heart Full of Love” from “Les Miserables,” songs from Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana,” Bailey’s “I’m Still Dreaming” from “The Impossible Bridge,” etc.

Musical Showcase direction, production: Dr. Christopher Bailey, director; Amy Neal accompanist; Sarah Arnett, choreographer on dance in “Dancin’ Fool” and “Crash.”

The Choreography Showcase’s dances were created by students in the choreography class, says Schaeffer, and reveal culminations of work produced in a series of courses.

“Their work displays a wonderful range of styles created to music they selected with original movement which they crafted,” Schaeffer says. “Each of the 17 students in this class has been successful in the creative process which is both messy and exhilarating.”

There are so many dances that the Student Choreography Showcase offers half of the students during its first performance Friday, and the second half of students during the second performance Sunday.

FRIDAY DANCE SHOWCASE

— “Insidious.” Choreographer: DeVante Graham. Dancers: Chaelsea Jenkins, Rachelle Sanford, Marissa Shankle.

— “Within.” Choreographer: Tehya Malone. Dancers: Maryah Fields, Marie Harper, Ariel Merriweather, Darius Jackson.

— “Out of Shape.” Choreographer: Halle Biggs. Dancers: Elizabeth Adams, Brianna Edwards, Chelsea Graham, Rachelle Sanford, Sierra Jordan, De Angela Harvey.

— “Indigenous Travels.” Choreographer: Leah Kelly. Dancers: Darius Jackson, Jennifer Jackson, Nicole Summerlin, Antoinette Williams.

— “Finding Mine.” Choreographer: Haley Sheppard. Dancers: Marie Harper, Kristen Keebler, Jesse Vickers.

— “Finding Nemo the Musical.” Choreographer: Ariel Balla. Dancers: Megan Law, Mallory Stewart, Curt Balla, Krista Robinson, Emily White, Karlie Griner.

— “Subtlety.” Choreographer: Jennifer Jackson. Dancers: Tehya Malone, Rachelle Sanford, Nicole Summerlin, Antoinette Williams.

— “Indecisive Love.” Choreographer: Makeda Bryce. Dancers: Megan Stewart, Ben McGaha, Chelsea Graham, DeVante Graham, Rocky Harris, Ariel Merriweather, Dai Jackson, Kia Street, Hanna Kortrey.

— “Heart of the Problem.” Choreographer: Marie Harper. Dancers: Makeda Bryce, DeVante, Graham, Jonathon Gray, Rocky Harris, Marie Harper, Darius Jackson, Tehya Malone, Ben McGaha, Marissa Shankle, Haley Sheppard, Kendra Stevens, Sharia Stripling.

 SUNDAY DANCE SHOWCASE

— “How It Works.” Choreographer: Ben McGaha. Dancers: Ben McGaha, Esmond Pickett.

— “Slowing Down.” Choreographer: Nicole Summerlin. Dancers: Leah Kelly, DeVante Graham.

— “Communication Barrier.” Choreographer: Sharia Denise Stripling. Dancers: Halle Biggs, Dresden Lamar, Coleman McNair.

— “Dancers Pride Land.” Choreographer: Rocky Harris. Dancers: Shadaijah Jackson, Ariel Merriweather, Esmond Pickett, Marissa Shankle, Kendra Stevens.

— “Beautifully Broken.” Choreographer: Helen F. Brown. Dancers: Donovan Campbell, Leah Kelly, Ben McGaha, Kendra Stevens.

— “Shades of Anomaly.” Choreographer: Rachelle Sanford. Dancers: Shayla Day, Brianna Edwards, DeAngela Harvey, Kristen Keebler, Sierra Jordan, Coleman McNair.

— “Excruciate.” Choreographer: Darius Jackson. Dancers: Darius Jackson, Tehya Malone.

_ “Showstoppers.” Choreographer: Jesse Vickers.

Dancers: Sierra Jordan, Antoinette Williams.

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