Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cincinnati

The Journey Begins......
(Part 3 of a 5 Part Series -September 2003)

See parts One, Two, 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.

During her semester at CCM, Angel Reda certainly had her hands full. When we last met with this triple-threat performer, she was in rehearsals as Queenie, the lead in Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. The entire senior musical theater class was also preparing for their Senior Showcase, as well as making the move from student to professional performer.

The Wild Party
As it turned out, CCM's The Wild Party was one of the most critically praised theater events of last season in Cincinnati. Angel describes playing Queenie as a once in a lifetime opportunity. "There aren't many leading lady roles where one gets to explore emotions that are so raw and exposed. I knew that I had to put my heart and soul into the character to make her believable. It was the most wear and tear I have encountered with any role so far, but I have never been more satisfied with the outcome."

Ms. Reda should be satisfied. Local critics described her performance with accolades such as "fabulous", "sexy", "smart", "powerful", "ravishing", "hot but cool", "splendid", and "flawless". Local critic Jackie Demaline honored Angel for her outstanding performance in the annual Jackie Awards, and Reda is likely to find her name listed when nominations for the prestigious Cincinnati Entertainment Awards are announced in October.

At the same time, Angel and her fellow classmates were creating and rehearsing for their Senior Showcase. This revue was presented at CCM and New York in April 2003. "We spent the entire year preparing for that show. I thought I would be scared, but instead, it was a rush of pure excitement. I was closing a huge chapter in my life and opening a new one. The twelve seniors in my class are all very talented and unique performers, and I know that we all will be successful in the professional world." Included in the songs Angel performed in the show were "Running" (Steel Pier), "Isn't It Kind of Fun" (State Fair), and "In His Eyes" (Jekyll & Hyde). At the conclusion of one of the Cincinnati performances, Ms. Reda was presented with one of the two "Friends of CCM" Awards recognizing two seniors for their outstanding performance in a mainstage production.

Funny Girl
Photo: Matt Polk

Upon leaving CCM as a magna cum laude graduate, one of Angel's first priorities was earning her equity card. This goal was met by getting cast in three shows in Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera summer season. This statuesque blonde performed in Annie, My Fair Lady, and Funny Girl. "I had a blast working with each cast and learned some very valuable lessons in the business of professional theater. It is great to have my equity card now, as it gives me the chance to go to open auditions, in addition to appointments set up by my agent".

After CLO, it was time for the big move to New York City. Angel had numerous callbacks from agents as a result of the showcase, and she ended up signing with DGRW. One of her first gigs in the city will be as a principal dancer in a ballroom scene in the upcoming film The Stepford Wives. Like most recent performance graduates, Reda is now busy auditioning for Broadway and regional shows.

"There are so many decisions to make living in the city. First it was regarding representation. So far, I couldn't be more pleased with my agency. I am also making choices with every audition and each job I take."

Part 4 of this series will follow Angel as she attempts to make it big in the city that never sleeps. Look for the next installment of The Journey Begins in April 2004.

-- Scott Cain

Also see the current Cincinnati Area Theatre Schedule

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