Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cincinnati

The Journey Begins......
(Part 2 of a 5 Part Series - January 2003)

See parts One, Three and Four and Five in the series

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 is University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music (CCM) student Angel Reda. In this installment, her training and experiences at CCM will be the focus.

In her first three years at the University, Angel has performed in mainstage productions (My One and Only, Grand Hotel), workshops (Saturday Night, Song & Dance, Nine), and several seasons of summer stock in CCM's Hot Summer Nights (A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly!, Violet, and others). When asked what were the most important things she has learned while enrolled in the program, Ms. Reda cites a long list of helpful lessons, in addition to the techniques and educational knowledge on which the school has built its wonderful reputation. Among these, she includes the importance of being yourself in an audition, learning from both successes and failures, the sometimes unfair and harsh realities of the business, the value of confidence, and the significance of taking risks in order to realize her full potential.

This college senior also emphasizes the value of Audition Techniques, a class she took as a junior. "This class helps to minimize a lot of the anxiety associated with auditioning by teaching how to control the variables associated with each opportunity and to react with spontaneity when things are thrown your way," says Ms. Reda. "The class was very beneficial and built up my confidence. There will be a lot more at stake with auditions in New York. Here, musical theatre is my passion; there, it will also be my career and I will be dependent on the strength of my auditions to support myself."

Betsy Wolfe, Ashley Brown,
and Angel Reda
The Fall 2002 Mainstage musical at CCM was The Boys From Syracuse. Angel auditioned and was cast in the role of Luciana. She describes the role as the typical definition of an ingenue. Ms. Reda also states that she characterizes herself as an ingenue to a certain extent in everyday life. "I find that playing roles like 'me' are harder than roles that are further from my type. I often find myself being 'me and only me' in rehearsal. For The Boys From Syracuse, I struggled to find the character at first. I kept worrying about my performance being too much like me and it wasn't until I let go of that anxiety that I found the character."

Apparently she was successful, as she received numerous glowing reviews for her performance in the musical. When asked what she learned from her experience in the show, Angel states that "it's always a challenge as an actor to find freedom in the role within the restrictions of the specific blocking and movement. Also, even though this show is musical comedy and farce, I had to find the realism and not 'play the joke' in order for the role to work."

Since the first installment of this series, Angel has also auditioned for the Spring 2003 mainstage production of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. Despite competition from the many talented young actresses at CCM, Ms. Reda won the lead part of Queenie, a role that is very different from that of Luciana in The Boys From Syracuse. "Queenie is a multi-layered role. At first she's a game player, but as the show progresses, she lets her guard down and shows her heart. Also, the role of Queenie is much more physically and emotionally demanding and more dramatic than Luciana was," says Ms. Reda. Rehearsals are now under way for The Wild Party for its run from February 27 through March 9, 2003.

As Angel prepares for The Wild Party, she and her fellow classmates also are putting together their Senior Showcase. This revue, created by the students (using mostly existing material), is presented at CCM in early April, followed by performances in New York City for casting directors, agents, managers, and many other theater professionals later that month. "Our showcase this year is entitled Mars and Venus and deals with the uniqueness of men and women," reports Ms. Reda. "It's fun and fresh and will hopefully show off each person's talents. I believe that my senior class is filled with so many very talented young men and women who are each individuals in our craft. We are each truly different physically, emotionally, and even in our work mentality. With the perfectionism of my class, I am sure the senior showcase will be a great success."

Following graduation, Angel doesn't have concrete plans, but would love to move to New York City by the end of summer. "I don't want to make the big move until I feel it is right. I want to build a foundation that is positive and strong. Then again, anything can happen and I am open to whatever opportunities come my way. I can't wait! It is overwhelming and scary, but more exciting than anything I can imagine."

Part 3 of this series will take a look at the outcome of Angel's participation in The Wild Party and CCM's Senior Showcase, along with her move from student to musical theater professional. Be looking for the next installment of The Journey Begins in August/September 2003.

Photo: Mark Lyons

-- Scott Cain

Also see the current Cincinnati Area Theatre Schedule

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