Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cincinnati

The Journey Begins......
(Part 4 of a 5 Part Series - April 2004)

See parts One, Two and Three in the series

Angel Reda, 3rd from left
The idea of The Journey Begins is to follow the choices, challenges, and accomplishments of a senior musical theater student over a two-year period as they try to make it in the entertainment world. Chosen for this piece was University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music (CCM) student Angel Reda. In this fourth installment, her first experiences as a professional performer and searching for work in New York City and beyond are examined.

When we last left Angel, she had just graduated and earned her equity card at Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera in the summer of 2003. She had moved to New York City and quickly got a small role dancing in the film The Stepford Wives. Auditions for numerous shows followed, and in the meanwhile, Angel was cast in two workshops of new musicals.

"My first workshop was Green Gables, a musical based on Anne of Green Gables. It was my first (script in hand) performance and an awesome experience. It was a thrill to see the creative team (who happen to be Cincinnati based and who I knew before the project) so excited about staging their work. We, in turn, had a fabulous time, and it didn't hurt that I was playing opposite former CCM classmates and friends."

Angel's other workshop was the much talked about Monica: The Musical. This hysterical musical fantasy includes such familiar characters as former President Bill Clinton, wife Hillary, Janet Reno, and of course, Monica Lewinsky. Some who witnessed the workshop publicly describe Angel's performance in the show as "phenomenal" and "perfection". Angel explains, "I played the part of Desire, who is Bill's evil angel, right hand girl, and personal demon personified. She is the force behind the President's major decisions and his public appeal. The creative team and other performers were extremely talented and fabulous. I didn't know it at the time, but l learned later that I landed the role as the result of a great recommendation. This project made me realize just how important it is to get your name out there and create a good reputation for yourself. You never know when someone will remember you and offer you a job. Workshops are an excellent opportunity to be seen by people in the business when you are still looking for that long term contract."

Creating a good reputation for herself is exactly what Ms. Reda did back in Cincinnati, and her efforts weren't forgotten after she left for the big city. Each fall, nominations for the prestigious Cincinnati Entertainment Awards are announced, and Angel garnered a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her brilliant work in CCM's The Wild Party (as Queenie in the Lippa version). Not only did Angel get nominated, she won. "I wasn't originally going to be able to attend the awards ceremony, and I really didn't think I would win. But timing was good, and I just so happened to be in Cincinnati the weekend of the awards. I thought it would be a great night on the town, so my boyfriend and I attended the ceremony. When it was announced that I had won, I was shocked. To be recognized for my efforts in a body of work that I truly cherished was a dream come true, and I felt very blessed."

Angel, far right
Awards and workshops are great, but they aren't likely to pay the bills for long. Thankfully, Angel Reda doesn't have to worry about that, at least for now. In late January 2004, she started performing in the national tour of Chicago as June. "I was submitted for the show by my agent at DGRW. I auditioned and ultimately got a callback. There, I sang, danced, and read for two of the Merry Murderess roles, but this time with Walter Bobbie, the show's director, in the room. A month later, I received a call with an offer to join the tour. It's been a wild ride filled with a few surprises and a sprained ankle, which caused the postponement of my opening night by two days. I've been performing in the show for a couple of months and I find it absolutely exhilarating. I am so fortunate to be performing in some of the greatest cities in the country. The show, cast, crew, and production are all phenomenal." Angel's tour ends in May 2004, so we will have to wait to hear what the future holds for this talented lady.

Part 5 of this series, the final installment, will provide an update on Angel, and examine the events of the last two years and this talented performer's thoughts on the transition from student to professional actress. Be looking for the final installment of The Journey Begins in October 2004.

Photos: Paul Kolnik

-- Scott Cain

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