Monthly Archives: December 2012

“Hit the Prez and Win a Prize!” with Assassins

Photo from WOUB

Photo from WOUB

When the curtains opens for Assassins, nearly 15 weeks and countless hours’ worth of time is exhibited in this production presented by the Ohio University School of Theater. Produced by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman and directed by Lee Kinney as his M.F.A. Thesis Production, Assassins is the second production to come from the School of Theater for the 2012-2013 season.

An anarchist firearms proprietor, a darkly charismatic John Wilkes Booth, and a cast of aspiring presidential assassins vie to “hit the prez and win a prize!” Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical treks through American history asking: whether for love, money, recognition, or a cause, why not kill the president?

“I think the Assassins story line is fascinating, especially because it’s told in a non-linear way which I find to be very liberating,” said Alycia Kunkle, a 1st year Acting MFA student who portrays Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in Assassins. “Instead of a traditional book musical that moves in a strongly structured way with an intermission, Assassins moves forward in an organic need-based way.”

This production has been in the making since the beginning of the semester when general auditioning for the School of Theater was held. After casting the roles, the first week of rehearsal consisted of ‘table-work’ where the cast went through the script page by page with the help of Kinney, their Music Director Dr. Philip Christiensen and the dramaturges Lorraine Wochna and Sara Swartout. The cast members were required to delve into researching information about each of the assassins and after analyzing the script and gaining a basic understanding of the characters, the cast began rehearsals.

“It’s been interesting to portray a character that is actually a real person but has also been written with some poetic license,” said Kunkle.

The cast has spent a great amount of time working on the tech process which included timing and safety issues. The amount of intricate musical passages in the performance and the technical aspects all required heavy rehearsing in the weeks leading up to the performance. The cast spent 35 solid hours together during the pre-Thanksgiving tech process alone, which brought them closer than ever imaginable.

“This is my first show at OU and the time I’ve spent in the dressing room getting ready for the show and forming friendships has been very dear to my heart,” said Kunkle. “It’s so nice to be spending so much time with funny, thoughtful, smart people.”

There have already been five performances of the production, and three more still to come. The first several have been successful for both the cast and audience alike.

“It’s been very rewarding to share this experience with everybody else involved in the process and to finally share it with an audience,” said Kunkle. “The audience is always the final character.”

If you haven’t made it yet, you still have a chance to see the upcoming performances this Thursday through Saturday.

“I hope that people coming to see the show connect with the assassins and feel the urgency and realness of their needs, hopes, and dreams.”

Assassins will be showing this Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm in the Forum Theater located in the Radio & Television Building on College Street.

For more information visit http://www.finearts.ohio.edu/theater/pages/support-outheater/shows-tickets.htm

-Ashleigh Mavros, Events Publicity Assistant

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Get to Know the Boys of SMO

SMO PictureTheir signature green jackets, heavenly voices and impromptu performances around campus; the Singing Men of Ohio, or SMO, are surely recognizable on campus considering their well-known reputation, but do you truly know the 66 men who comprise the chorale ensemble?

Come Halloween, They’re a Scary Sight

Ever gotten frightened at Halloweekends by the terrifying monsters? The face behind the mask could have been one of our very own of Singing Men of Ohio. Since the group does all of its own fundraising, every year the boys pack up and head to Cedar Point for two entire weekends to work as midway monsters as their biggest fundraiser of the year. Decked out in full costume, the boys spook, dance and entertain park patrons during Halloweekends.

Spring Break Doesn’t Consist of Lounging on the Beach

Every year for spring break the boys pack up and head out on their spring tour. In the past they’ve traveled to Boston, New York City, Pittsburg, Chicago and Nashville to perform. As of now, Hilton Head Island,  Savannah, Georgia and Nashville are all on the radar for potential stops. The boys perform at local churches, schools and community centers.

“I wouldn’t still be at Ohio University if it wasn’t for SMO”

Halfway through freshmen year Singing Men of Ohio President Ray Wolfe had already been accepted and ready to transfer to Ohio State. Being three hours from home, Wolfe didn’t really have a good feel for Ohio University and the students. However, all that changed after he went on tour with SMO and changed his mind, deciding Ohio University was where he truly belonged.

“SMO is the reason I’m still on campus, if it wouldn’t have been for SMO then I can’t imagine me going elsewhere and transferring, especially somewhere like Columbus,” said Wolfe. “I’m glad I started in SMO my freshmen year or else I probably wouldn’t still be here.”

16 Make up Section 8

Apart from regular weekly SMO practices, sixteen guys pack on four hours’ worth of weekly practices as a part of Section 8. The acapela group was formed to go where SMO doesn’t fit; if an event can’t hold all 66 members or if the occasion calls for a different genre Section 8 gets to shine. The group of sixteen guys are auditioned out of SMO and usually performs more contemporary, popular music.

They’re More Than Just Acquaintances

From spending hours on end together on tour to practicing up near four hours per week, the boys become more than just good acquaintances.

“I don’t think people realize how close we all get, especially when we go on tour. When you’re on a bus with fifty guys for hours at a time, the craziest stuff happens,” said Wolfe.  The close connection that is formed definitely shines through at the performances.

“When we go onstage we gel as a group and are able to really make music not just because we’re good musicians but because we know each other well and are able to sing through each other,” said Wolfe.

For more information and upcoming events visit  http://www.ohio.edu/smo/

-Ashleigh Mavros, Events Publicity Assistant