Category Archives: Theatre

VPA Student Receives Honor

A Michigan Tech student was recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). As a result of eight regional festivals held in January and February, theatre students from around the country have been recognized for outstanding works.

Makenzi Jo Wentala received a scholarship to the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas (SILV). Select students were awarded one-week or multi-week scholarships to the SILV. Summer master classes at the SILV include rigging, digital drafting SFX, automation and “Movers, Media and Rock-n-Roll.”


‘Sunday in the Park with George’ Opens Today

Performers on stageThe Rozsa Center, Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Tech Theatre Company present the VPA 25th Anniversary Season theatre finale, “Sunday in the Park with George,” Thursday, Friday and Saturday (April 11-13) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. each evening.

The musical features junior computer science major Jonah Schulte as George One and George Two. Katy Gula, a junior environmental engineering major, plays the role of Dot.

“Sunday in the Park with George” is a fully staged musical with live orchestra. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s lyrical celebration of art, love and children merges image, music and performance to explore the depths of human understanding.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and staged around the world, “Sunday in the Park with George” explains the simple essence of life we can all understand.

When considering what to program as the musical theatre offering this year, ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ kept coming to my mind as a work that represents the department in special ways—a musical about two artists, separated through many years, but intimately connected by their desires to connect through art and to create something new.—Jared Anderson, Chair VPA

Director Roger Held (VPA), describes the play in terms of an intersection and relations between parents, children and art. “Steven Sondheim and James Lapine suggest that, in the end, life comes down to children and art. They mean this, I think, in the broadest sense. In ‘Sunday in the Park …’, you’ll meet two Georges who are artists trying to understand the nature of light in aesthetic experiences.”

Tickets are on sale now, $19 for adults, $6 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, through the date links (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) , in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the night of the show. The box office opens two hours prior to the performance.


Air Play at the Rozsa Center

Described as a “visual poem, using no words,” Air Play will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23 at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

This fun-for-all ages circus-style event includes flying umbrellas, larger-than-life balloons, giant kites floating over the audience and the biggest snow globe you’ve ever seen.

Air Play brings to life the very air we breathe. The circus-style adventure follows two siblings’ journey through a surreal wold, transforming ordinary objects in uncommon beauty. Fabrics dance in the wind, balloons have a mind of their own, confetti turns into the night sky and an enormous canopy of hovering silk forever alters their future.

Tickets for Air Play are on sale now at $16 for adults, $6 for youth and free for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech Fee. Tickets can be purchased online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the SDC, by phone at 487-2073 or at the Rozsa Center Box Office the evening of the performance.

Note: The box office opens two hours prior to the start of the show.


‘Agnes of God’ Opens Thursday

Questions of faith, motherhood and determination arise as three women with vastly different ideologies are faced with a supposed virgin birth.

The investigation of the nun who was found to have given birth, and ensuing controversies and debates over the possible miracle — and subsequent death of the infant — are explored as Tech Theatre presents John Pielmeier’s 1979 play “Agnes of God.”

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts, presents six performances of “Agnes of God,” tomorrow through Saturday (Feb. 21 – 23 ) and Feb. 28 to March 2.  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the McArdle Theatre on the second floor of the Walker Arts and Humanities Center.

Pielmeier’s dramatic script poses challenging questions for its three characters — Dr. Livingstone, an atheistic psychiatrist, the pius Mother Superior and young Sister Agnes, mother of the deceased child she claims to have immaculately conceived.

The cast of three experienced performers is directed by Patricia Helsel (VPA).

Tickets are on sale now, $15 for adults, $5 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee.

Tickets are available by phone at 906-487-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or one hour prior to show time at the McArdle Theatre the night of each performance.


Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo to Perform at the Rozsa

The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts presents Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The all-male comedy ballet company, beloved internationally since 1974, sacrifices comfort to perform en pointe, tutus and all. Confirming why audiences flock to see them year after year. The “trocks” are witty, fun and above all, masterful in the art of ballet.

The Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo is performing at the Rozsa Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16. This event is made possible with support from WGGL Minnesota Public Radio, Keweenaw Pride, and with funding from the Michigan Humanities Council — an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts Midwest Touring fund, a Program of Arts Midwest, generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Crane Group.

Tickets for adults are $28 and  youth $12. Michigan Tech Students are no charge with the Experience Tech Fee.

Tickets are available by phone at 487-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Rozsa box office the night of the show. Note: the Rozsa box office opens two hours before performances.


Visual & Performing Arts Students Receive Numerous Awards at Theatre Festival

Sound and Theatre students from the Visual and Performing Arts Department recently attended the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival (Region III) in Madison, Wisconsin. Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.
Visual and Performing Arts students presented their work to a jury of professionals and received a number of awards.  Top award winners in the design competition will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national festival design competition.
The award recipients were as follows:
Jason Bates: Recipient Regional Sound Design Competition top prize
Joseph Styers: Honorable Mention Regional Sound Design Competition
Makenzi Wentela: Honorable Mention Regional Lighting Design Competition, Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Don Childs Award
David Brown: Honorable Mention Allied Design and Technologies Award
Sarah Calvert: Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Don Childs Award, Finalist for the National Award for Theatrical Design Excellence, Honorable mention team for Design Storm for their design of Chicago
Students also participated in the Tech Olympics, team competitions showcasing skills in areas of technical theatre.  Michigan Tech Students took top prizes in a number of categories:
Overall first place: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton
First place Sound: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton
First Place Props: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton
First Place Costumes: Lexa Walker and Zep Elkerton

Auditions for Agnes of God Tonight

Auditions for Agnes of God will be held this evening, Wednesday, November 28th at 7:00 pm. in Walker 210.

The roles are for 3 women:

Mother Miriam Ruth — Actor able to play 40-60 yrs. old.  Devout.  Became a nun after having a family.  Wants to keep peace and (possibly) save face for the religious order.  Sincerely has Agnes’ best interests in mind as she tries to protect her from jail or the asylum.

Dr. Martha Livingstone — Psychiatrist, (Actor able to play 40-60 yrs. old)  She’s seen it all.  While she has a tough exterior, she struggles with personal demons.  Still, she is quite compassionate.  A chain smoker.

Agnes — Novice who denies giving birth.  Innocent.  Sings like an angel.  She was abused by her mother and is forced to face this reality at the show’s climax.

No preparation is necessary, but scripts are available to check out in the office of Visual and Performing Arts. The audition will be cold readings from the script.
Rehearsals will be next semester, with performances February 21-23, Feb 28-Mar 2.

Student Shares Theatre and Electronic Media Performance Experience

Callisto CortezIt’s not typical for a person to study Theatre and Electronic Media Performance at a university more known for engineering. As I thought about my education at Michigan Tech and this unique program, that not many people pursue in the Upper Peninsula, I realized how extraordinary my college adventure would be. I am a fourth-year Theatre and Electronic Media Performance major, minoring in Technical Theatre, and my name is Callisto Cortez.

Over the years I’ve fallen in love with my department and the people that have become some of my closest friends. The tight-knit community that is the Visual and Performing Arts department works as a family and all the students can get one-on-one discussions and attention from each of our professors. Within my first year and a half at Michigan Tech, I was able to complete my Acting Practicums. Each practicum was worth 1 credit, which means I had already acted in 3 productions with the Tech Theatre. It’s been an incredible learning experience, for the fact that I was able to immerse myself in the program right away. By the first semester of my second year, I was cast in my first leading role for the Tech Theatre, Silent Sky.

I have realized how extremely passionate I am about theatre and how fortunate I am to make my dreams into a reality by making my hard work pay off.

The major of Theatre and Electronic Media Performance at Michigan Tech caters to each student individually as artists. At first, my mindset was focused primarily on performance and enhancing my acting abilities. Then, I discovered my love for the technical aspects of theatre as well, which lead me to taking technical theatre courses. My second year, I helped to paint an entire set for The Irresistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and also stage manage the production of Sexual Perversity in Chicago During these two semesters, I was the lead in Silent Sky for the Fall semester and a dancer in West Side Story spring semester.

Now, I want to be able to act in a show, stage manage another, assist in any type of design, and just get to know the people who make an entire production happen.



Magic and Fun: ‘Pinocchio’ at Rozsa Saturday

Featured event photo for Pinocchio

The Rozsa Center welcomes the acclaimed theater troupe Tout à Trac, from Quebec, Canada, with their adaptation of “Pinocchio,” a magical theatrical production which takes us on another amazing journey into the heart of childhood and imagination.

Following their internationally acclaimed “Alice in Wonderland,” Tout à Trac returns with Collodi’s tale about the world’s most famous puppet: Pinocchio.

They will present two shows —2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 10). In addition to the performance, guests at the 2 p.m. matinee will be treated to “KC Bonker’s Gepetto’s Workshop” in the lobby, after the show, co-hosted by Trish Helsel (VPA), KC Bonker’s, the Portage Lake District Library and the Rozsa Center.

“Gepetto’s Workshop” will include an interactive puppet workshop, featuring an on-stage tour of the Pinocchio set, a shadow puppet theatre and a “sock-puppet creation-station” in the Rozsa lobby, complete with refreshments and puppetry-themed fun for all ages.

Calling all parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles! If you haven’t taken the children to see Pinocchio … yet, keep it in mind as a weekend option. Every detail is artfully executed in this disarming retelling of a classic tale. The sets, costumes and, of course, the puppets (including the boy with the nose), have a distinct, folkloric style. Gepetto is adorable. One of Pinocchio’s arms is a flute. The cat gets a laugh by simply singing one word from a famous feline musical. — Pat Donnelly, Reviewer

Tickets are on sale now, $16 for adults, $6 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance.

Note: The Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.