Category: Theatre

Rozsa Center Listed Among Best in US

Rozsa Center exterior in the summerMichigan Tech’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts has been named one of the best university performing arts centers in America.

The 1,067-seat venue was among “The 35 Best University Performing Arts Centers in the US” as chosen by the website ClickitTicket.com.

The centers were listed alphabetically and not ranked in any particular order.

In listing the Rozsa, the website said, “This awe-inspiring facility schedules performances by both national and University performers in the mediums of dance, theatre, music and film.“

The venue’s ability to withstand harsh Keweenaw winters did not escape notice. “This 80,000 square-foot facility might be the toughest building on our list. Its roof can hold 450 pounds of snow per square foot.”

The listing also includes a photograph of a “Backstage at the Rozsa” performance. The Rozsa Center was the only university performing arts center in Michigan to make the ClickitTicket list.


Scrap Arts Music Presents “Children of Metropolis” at the Rozsa

Musicians standing in a circle beating drumsScrap Arts Music, Canadian-born and globally enjoyed, has performed in more than fifteen countries on five continents for audiences of all backgrounds, with a family-friendly presentation of music and movement. Innovation. Energy. Rhythm.

If you’re looking for a feel-good, adrenaline-packed experience—look no further. Take some scrap, transform it through the arts with welding, sculpture and choreography, and then—with five extraordinary and athletic percussionists—create beautiful music. The result? Musical works that are intricate, playful and powerful, and that delight the eyes and the ears.

The Rozsa Center is proud to present the US debut of their latest production, new in 2018, “Children of Metropolis,” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28.

Scrap Arts Music is deeply rooted in an eco-friendly sensibility: all their instruments are hand- made from industrial scraps. Often compared to STOMP and Blue Man Group, Scrap Arts Music’s philosophy is a bit different—they insist on building full-blown artistic instruments from literal pieces of scrap. Each instrument is a one-of-a-kind creation that doubles as both music-maker and artistic sculpture.

High energy original choreography makes artistic director and instrument maker Gregory Kozak’s nuanced compositions powerfully come to life—performed with passion by Scrap Arts Music’s five award-winning multi-instrumentalists. Each production is a rich blend of serious, sophisticated ensemble percussion music paired with humorous moments that fill theaters with laughter.

Tickets for Scrap Arts: “Children of Metropolis” at the Rozsa Center are on sale now, $22 for adults, $10 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee.

Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa box office the night of the show. Please note that the Rozsa box office opens only two hours before performances.


Acoustics and Noise Control Workshop on Rozsa Center Stage

Lily WangLily Wang will lead a workshop on “Designing a Modular Stage Shell Ceiling” on the Rozsa Center Stage. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, March 1. In the afternoon, students will form teams and come up with design ideas for the modular ceiling. The workshop will continue from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, March 2, when student teams will present their design ideas. Students, faculty and community members are invited to attend the workshop.

Wang will also present a lecture on “Theater Design Considerations.” Her visit is co-sponsored by the Visiting Women & Minority Lecturer Scholar Series (VWMLSS) which is funded by a grant to the Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative, and the departments of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Visual and Performing Arts.

Wang is a professor in the, and associate dean for graduate programs and faculty development in the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. Her primary research interests are in room acoustics and noise control. Wang’s research group’s work on human perception and performance in noise, classroom acoustics, uncertainty in acoustic measurements and room acoustics computer modeling has been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, among others.


Legendary Ailey II Dance Company Coming to the Rozsa Center

Dancer in the center of the stage with other dancers surroundingThe Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts will present the legendary Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 27), as a part of its 32-city US tour.

The Alvin Ailey dance spirit shines in Ailey II, known for its exhilarating and timeless performances nationally and internationally. Ailey II has been hailed as “second to none” by Dance Magazine, and noted for its “off the charts energy” by The New Yorker.

The acclaimed 12-member ensemble will inspire audiences in cities across the U.S. and also reach international audiences in France and Spain. The troupe will return home for its annual New York season, taking place at the Ailey Citigroup Theater March 14 – 25.

Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. One of the most popular dance companies in the country, Ailey II combines a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.

The program at the Rozsa will include the iconic “Revelations,” first premiered by Alvin Ailey in 1960. Judith Jamison, artistic director emerita of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, says, “Alvin was making a statement about African-American cultural experience, saying, ‘Hey, this is who we are, we live here, we were born here,’ It was a brave action. Civil rights were roaring, and our protest was our performance.”

For more information on the tour, visit alvinailey.org.

Tickets are on sale now: $22.00 – Adult, $10.00 – Youth, no charge for students with the experience tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. The Rozsa Box Office opens two hours prior to performances.


Tech Theatre Presents “When You Comin Back, Red Ryder?”

Old fashioned cafe sign graphicThe Tech Theatre Company presents Mark Medoff’s Obie Award-winning play “When You Comin Back, Red Ryder?”

The action involves the employees and customers of Foster’s Diner in Hope, New Mexico, in the 1970s. Their daily grind is disrupted with the arrival of two couples, the upscale Richard and Clarisse, and the younger and wilder Teddy, an unbalanced Vietnam War vet and Cheryl, his hippie girlfriend. Complications arise when illegal drugs and guns enter the picture, and Teddy resorts to inflicting physical, mental and emotional torment. Emotionally charged and unpredictably brutal, the play plunges from the mundane to frightening.

Performances of “When You Comin Back, Red Ryder?” are Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Feb. 22-24), and March 1-3 in the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. each evening.

Tickets at $13 for adults, $5 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech Students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 7-2073, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the SDC and at the McArdle Theatre prior to the show.


Comedian Josh Blue Headlines Winter Carnival

Josh Blue is tc5124d211b7c56334cb44e5dd81e5e9a3e5cdd12his year’s Winter Carnival Comedian. The Rozsa Center, Student Entertainment Board, Blue Key Honor Society, and the MUB Board have partnered again this year to present the Winter Carnival Comedian.

Perhaps best known as the comedian who puts the cerebral in cerebral palsy, he will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 at the Rozsa Center. Blue centers much of his self-deprecating act around his disability. He exploded onto the national comedy scene by capturing the attention and endearment of the country as the winner of “Last Comic Standing.”

Having already established himself as one of the most sought-after comedians on the college circuit, his weekly appearances on “Last Comic” in the summer of 2006 expanded his fan base exponentially. In 2011, Josh starred in “Comedy Central Presents: Josh Blue,” which received rave reviews from fans and critics alike.

Most recently, Blue debuted a one-hour comedy special on Showtime, “Sticky Change,” where he cracks jokes and tells stories about everything from being a white African-American, to dealing with cabbies who think he’ll pay in sticky change. The special is currently available on Netflix. He has appeared twice on “Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops” on CMT and made his late-night television debut on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Blue was the first comedian to perform stand-up on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” was named Best Winning Reality Show Guest for his appearance on “Live with Regis and Kelly” and made a standout guest appearance on “Comics Unleashed.”

He was a member of the US Paralympic Soccer Team and competed in Athens at the Paralympic Games, the world’s second largest sporting event. Blue is a single father living in Denver, Colorado with his son, Simon and daughter, Seika.

Tickets are on sale now, $15 general admission and no charge for Michigan Tech students. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. The Rozsa Box Office opens two hours prior to performances.


Faculty, Students Win at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

IMG_1272.JPGKent Cyr was recognized at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region III with a faculty service award for Innovative Teaching. The KCACTF Region III festival was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, January 9-14 at the University of Indianapolis. The goal of the festival is to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs.

Also, a number of our Visual and Performing Arts students were recognized. Congratulations!

Design Storm!

Student consults with other designers, dramaturg, and director to create a key scene in a play, prepare initial sketches, basic ground plan/rendering, and discusses how the design illustrates personal ideas and production intention/concept.

  • Hunter Storie (Scene Design) and Ethan Troyer (Dramaturgy) Most Wretched Deathbed Dreams of Edgar Allen Poe

Regional Design Projects

Regional Design Projects are intended to serve Region III student designers with the opportunity to showcase their work for non-realized design projects, and to receive a response to their work that will help them improve their design skills and grow as designers. Seven students presented in Sound Design and two in Costume Design.

  • Sarah Calvert (Winner), His Dark Materials, Sound Design
  • Noah Schumaker (Finalist), Insurrection, Sound Design
  • David Brown (Finalist), Galileo, Sound Design

Realized Design Projects

National-eligible for consideration in all design areas. Winners are invited to present at the Kennedy Center National Festival in April.  Three students participated and two were finalists.

  • Chris Wilson (Finalist), Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Music Composition
  • Alex Weber (Finalist), West Side Story, Lighting Design

Tech Olympics Individual Best Times

Performance is judged on time and/or accuracy in setup, skill, and performance.

  • Kity Williams and Brendan Espinosa, Sound
  • Ryan Nickolas and Hunter Stori, Lighting
  • Alex Weber and Jack Horrigan, Knots
  • Lexa Walker and Jason Scott, Costumes and Props

The Games of The Technological Olympiad Overall

  • Alex Weber and Jack Horrigan, Third Place
  • Ryan Nickolas and Hunter Storie, Second Place
  • Lexa Walker and Jason Scott, First Place

LA Theatre Works Presents “The Mountaintop” at Rozsa

Martin Luther King 50 years of the dreamThis year, in conjunction with Michigan Tech’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, and the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and Michigan Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion present LA Theatre Work’s brand new production of Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated outside room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. What happened inside room 306 the night before the killing is a mystery. In her internationally acclaimed play, Hall imagines what may have transpired in the overnight hours between the legendary civil rights leader and a seemingly inconsequential hotel maid.

“The Mountaintop” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Immediately following the play, there will be a panel discussion and Q & A in the Rozsa lobby with student members of Michigan Tech’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), members of the cast and staff from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Beverages and dessert will be served.

“The Mountaintop,” is directed by award-winner Shirley Jo Finney and stars Gilbert Glenn Brown (CBS TV’s “The Inspectors” and the upcoming feature film “The Best of Enemies”) and Karen Malina White (“The Cosby Show,” “A Different World,” “Malcolm and Eddie”). The production will travel to 38 cities across the United States.

This performance is supported in part through funding from 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. Also sponsored by WGGL, Minnesota Public Radio and Michigan Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Tickets are on sale now: $22.00 for adult, $10.00 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech Students with the Experience Tech Fee. To purchase tickets in advance, call 7-2073, go online at mtu.edu/rozsa, or visit ticketing operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC). Tickets will also be available at the Rozsa Box office the evening of the performance.


Alumnus Appears in Skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Curtis Fortier speakingMichigan Technological University alumnus Curtis Fortier, BSME ’91 and MSME ’94, currently working as an actor and comedian in Los Angeles, was featured on the ABC late night program “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Fortier was in a skit that spoofed a recent incident on the game show “Jeopardy.”

While at Michigan Tech, Fortier was active in theatre productions and was a member of “The Troupe” improvisational comedy group. He was the 1991 winner of the Claire M. Donovan award, the last current student to be so honored.

In the skit, Fortier is seated at the far right and is featured at the very end with rap artist Coolio. Watch the skit here.