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. Ms. Reda begins her senior year in the Musical Theater program at this prestigious college this month with many hopes and dreams for her future.
While at CCM, Angel has impressed both critics and audiences alike. Immediately apparent upon seeing her on stage are her bright smile, a natural grace and beauty, and the feeling that this young lady is meant to be on the stage. While at CCM, this writer has seen Angel in a number of roles, ranging from ensemble work in Song & Dance and Saturday Night to larger parts in Hello Dolly! (as Irene Molloy, pictured) and Nine (Carla). This 21-year old possesses a rich singing voice full of character, is one of CCM's top dancers, and has worked to become a fully competent actress. In addition, the slender blonde has demonstrated the ability to convincingly portray a variety of different characters and emotions, from na´ve innocent to sexy vixen; from pouty to prissy.
Like many professionals, training for Angel began at an early age. Enrolled in a school for dance and voice at age three, the Kansas youngster added piano lessons at five years old. When it was apparent that she was gifted in these skills, her parents, whom Angel describes as "the most loving and selfless parents any one could ask for," drove her to her first musical theater audition. At age seven, Ms. Reda won a role in The King and I at Theater in the Park in Overland Park, Kansas, and her life thereafter has never been the same.
That same year, Angel was invited to join the acclaimed Miller-Marley Entertainers, comprised of children ranging in age from 7 - 18. The troupe performed song and dance revues in malls, conventions, sporting events, and parties, often with bookings of one or more a week. Performances at Disney World and the World's Fair in Seville, Spain were highlights for the hard working entertainer. Though acrobatics, softball, and modeling were also part of the daily routine for a number of years, a decision to concentrate her efforts on the "arts" was on easy one. Angel was cast in close to twenty productions in Kansas, including 42nd Street, West Side Story, The Music Man, and Little Shop of Horrors. As a sixteen-year old Catholic high school girl, she even won the provocative role of Lola in Damn Yankees.
Her love of dance also led to her involvement in Drill Team. Angel made the All-American Dance and Kick Company and was named the All-American Dance/Drill Team 5A soloist winner, the ultimate prize in the Drill Team world. Ms. Reda continued with the Miller-Marley Entertainers all the way through high school and graduated with thirteen years of voice study, fourteen years of tap/jazz/ballet, and four years on pointe under her belt. While also earning top grades that put her into the National Honor Society and graduating Summa Cum Laude, Angel knew that a career as a performer was her heart's true desire.
Having accomplished much in her first three years at CCM, Ms. Reda has a great deal on her plate in her final year of college. Auditions for roles in the two mainstage productions at CCM this year (The Boys of Syracuse and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party), preparation for the Senior Showcase, and decisions about her future plans are just a few of the many challenges facing this very talented young woman.
Part 2 of this series will look at these specific challenges facing Angel during her senior year, as well as detailing her experiences while at CCM. Be looking for the next installment of The Journey Begins in January 2003.