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Titans Take Song and Dance Talents to NYC

'Senior Showcase' Sets Stage for Theater Careers

April 1, 2014

Musical theatre student Keaton Williams has played Billy Bigelow in "Carousel," as well as other roles as part of ensemble productions at Cal State Fullerton.

But this week, he takes the stage for a solo of "I'm Not That Guy" from Michael Friedman's "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" in what could be one of the pivotal roles in his college training.

In hopes of landing roles in theater and dance productions after graduation, Williams and 10 classmates will show off their talents before industry professionals in the "NYC Senior Showcase" Thursday, April 3, at New York City's Snapple Theater Center's Jerry Orbach Theater.

"This is their introduction to New York. Our students are seen by major theatrical agencies and casting directors with the hope that they can secure representation and/or employment in this most competitive industry," said Eve Himmelheber, associate professor of theatre and dance.

The spring break performance features opening and closing ensemble numbers, as well as solo and small group numbers, said Himmelheber, director of the showcase. Each student performs at least two songs, plus opening and closing numbers.

In addition to Williams, the musical theatre students performing are Erica Beck, Michael Dashefsky, Devon Hadsell, Stephanie Inglese, Kirk Schuyler Lawson, Dominic Leslie, Charles McCoy, Jack Robert Riordan, Andrew Sattler and Mallory Staley.

"We've been fortunate enough to send our senior musical theatre students to New York each spring break since 2008," said Himmelheber.

The MAMM Alliance for the Performing Arts, a College of the Arts support group, is helping to underwrite the Senior Showcase. This year, for the first time,19 MAMM Alliance members will attend the showcase to show support and also watch a performance of "Cabaret," starring CSUF alumna Linda Emond '82 (B.A. theatre arts). After the show, they will have the opportunity to meet with the two-time, Tony-nominated actress.

"The trip culminates with attendance at the showcase, which attracts hundreds of agents and producers, so our MAMM Alliance members will experience firsthand what their contributions are supporting," said Milly Heaton, the college's director of development.

While in New York City, students can take advantage of audition opportunities, call-back auditions and interviews from agents and casting directors, explained Himmelheber. Following their performance, students will attend a reception with CSUF alumni. "This is invaluable to help build their support network before making the big move to NYC," Himmelheber noted.

The graduating students — all on track to earn a B.F.A. in theatre arts-musical theatre this spring — also will attend a performance of the new Broadway musical "The Bridges of Madison County." The students may also attend a question-and-answer session with the musical's composer.

Others traveling to NYC are Mitchell D. Hanlon, professor of theatre and dance and showcase musical director; William F. Lett, lecturer in theatre and dance, who is the show's choreographer; and Joseph Arnold, dean of the College of the Arts.

Tags:  Arts & Culture