JPCatholic’s Summer production of Fiddler on the Roof will gauge the school’s interest in a musical theater program and challenge the cast as they put on the school’s first musical.
Auditions for the musical were held during the spring quarter by Professor Angie Bitsko. Participants were required to perform a one-minute song along with a one-minute monologue. Professor Bitsko, with a strong background in musical theatre herself, found auditions pivotal in order to decide what roles would best fit everyone’s talents.
There will be two previews located at the university’s soundstage and a final performance at the California Center of the Arts. The cast list runs at forty-six members consisting of both acting and non-acting students.
Cast as one of the main characters, Lawrence McDonell plays Tevye, the village dairyman in the musical. Lawrence has performed as a musical lead in the past and currently is planning to attend a vocal study at Northwestern University in Chicago during the upcoming quarter. Lawrence commented, “I’m a musical theatre guy. So, when it came to deciding on colleges and auditioning, I went through a whole process in regards to doing that, along with the encouragement of past directors who saw some vocal talent. Originally, I was planning on going to several musical theatre colleges in New York, but due to money constraints, I ended up here. So, when I heard that there was an idea of a musical program, I thought, ‘Well, this is my forte.’”
In the midst of talk of the development of a music program, actors and singers amongst the student body continue to show increased interest in mastering the craft. Freshman Clare Schmidt will be playing the role of the youngest daughter, Bielke. She shared, “I have been auditing a lot of the acting classes because I kind of just want that experience to be able to work with actors on their level as a director and a filmmaker.” During the summer quarter, an audition-based class, Acting Production Project (I & II), will focus on the preparation of the musical and be offered as a media elective. Clare says, “It’s going to count as an elective for me. Either way it’ll be fun.”
Acting freshman, Anna Welter, who will be seen playing the role of Zissel, also expressed her anticipation for the future classes saying, “Fortunately, I will be able to take a lot of those classes which will help direct me where I want to go, which is more towards the theater side.”
Dr. Robert Giracello also expressed his support of musical theatre classes becoming available to students saying, “We have the facilities and we certainly have the man power to put on a musical production.” Dr. Giracello believes the student body holds the capability of forming a musical theatre program. “Combining music with any kind of theatrical element is really what our liturgy is all about. Music and theatre, as well as music and liturgy, all work together to make one forward motion towards a Christ-centered communications education.”
The new Chair of Theology and Humanities, Steven Kramp, shared his openness to a musical theater program when he introduced himself to the school back in March. Kramp said, “If there is an interest for it, then I am willing to pursue it further.” When asked if an emphasis in musical theater would be an option, Dr. Connolly and Professor Kramp both showed an interest in starting the program. Professor Kramp and Dr. Connolly both encourage students to express their interests in July when these decisions are being made. Dr. Connolly said, “When Steve comes on board, the whole month of July is going to be all these kinds of conversations in terms of what intersections make sense and are of interest to faculty and students at JPCatholic.”
Photo courtesy of Playbill Store