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Cincinnati by Scott Cain


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

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

Angel in Ragtime
Angel in Ragtime at the Fulton Opera House
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 fifth and final installment, we examine the events of the last two years and this talented performer's thoughts on the transition from student to professional actress.

When this series began, Angel Reda was about to begin her senior year at CCM. She had auditions for the college's mainstage shows, as well as preparation for her senior showcase in New York. As it turned out, Angel won a featured role in The Boys From Syracuse and the leading role of Queenie in CCM's production of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. Angel wowed the critics in this show with her singing, dancing, and acting and was awarded the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. Following her graduation and showcase, she was in several shows at Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera summer season and earned her equity card. Participation in workshops such as Green Gables and Monica: The Musical followed. She danced in the film The Stepford Wives. Finally, Angel received her big break and was cast as June in the national tour of Chicago. When we last left Angel, she had just finished her run of the musical, as it went on a summer hiatus.

The Fall of 2004 finds Angel back in the national tour of Chicago, now portraying Go-To-Hell Kitty, and covering all of the Cell Block Tango tracks. This summer during the hiatus from Chicago, she performed the role of Evelyn Nesbitt in Ragtime at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA. As for Chicago, "I love this company and this show, and it's wonderful to get to perform this part every night", states Ms. Reda. The tour has stopped both in Kansas City, her hometown, and Cincinnati, her home-away-from-home college town. Angel has been treated like a celebrity in both cities. "I have so greatly appreciated the support of friends and family in these places." In Kansas City, her proud parents brought friends to every show. In Cincinnati, all of the major media outlets had features of Angel, which included appearances on local news programs and stories in several newspapers. "My boyfriend still lives in Cincinnati, so it's also been great to spend some time with him".

When asked what had changed the most during her transition from student to working professional, Angel carefully considered the question. "I think that CCM prepared me wonderfully for the performance aspects of being a professional. However, I feel like I'm still a student, as I'm still learning so much about my craft and especially the business side of this profession. And, like any recent college grad, I'm learning what it's like to be an adult out on my own. As a performer, I've tried to keep a positive attitude, even when things get tough. I just go for it in all my auditions, and try to be myself, which I think is very important. I see so many people trying to fit into what they think someone expects or wants, but I think you need to be true to yourself as an individual in order to truly succeed."

Angel doesn't really know what the future will hold for her. "I don't really have any expectations. Hopefully, when I feel I'm ready to take certain steps in my life and career, those opportunities will be available. I think you have to let life choose your path to some extent. For now, I am happy to be with Chicago. I do hope to do a variety of things though, and would love to do some recording work."

Does Angel have any advice for musical theater students? "I would suggest doing as much as you can in school and taking advantage of the opportunities you have for stage time. That is more valuable than you can know."

As for Angel's future, she is trying not to stress about it. "I try to remember to take it one day at a time. I really feel like I have my own little angel guiding me, and feel like I've been blessed in many ways. I am very contented work-wise. I am heart-happy and fulfilled. The things I do stress about are more about life in general." Ms. Reda is contracted to stay with the national tour of Chicago through May 2005.

Even as this five-part series ends, we know that the professional and life journey for Angel Reda has really just begun. She has demonstrated talent, humility, and a refreshingly positive attitude, and whatever happens, there is little doubt that she will handle those challenges in the same manner. Break a leg, kid!!!


Photos: Daniel G. Walczyk


-- Scott Cain


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