CCPA stages first freshmen showcase

By Kristin McKee, Staff Reporter

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Students Performing “Show Me the Way”

On the weekend of Sept. 22-24, the Chicago College of Performing Arts’ theatre conservatory celebrated their 20 anniversary season with its annual fall freshman showcase. Directed by CCPA professors Sean Kelley, Jane Lanier, and Ray Frewen, the showcase executed the triple threat of the theatre conservatory: acting, singing, and dancing.

This year, the freshman class had the opportunity to present their showcase at the Studebaker Theater, a 120-year-old theater located in the Fine Arts Building. The theater is notable for being the first art colony in Chicago and, from showrooms to musical halls, holds quite a history of renovations.

Families, friends and fellow Roosevelt University students filled the seats each night with excitement and praise for these artistic individuals. The audience received a warm welcome from director Sean Kelley.

“Tonight is what it means to be young,” Kelley voiced in his welcome. “It’s a pretty special night for these people. We get to welcome the Class of 2021 to our families.” He then proceeds to introduce the accompanist and musical director for the show, Ryan Brewster.

The conservatory opened the show as a whole performing “Show Me the Way” by the band Styx, establishing this performance as their own while, at the same time, embracing the presence of those who came to see them.

The night consisted of brief vocal and monologue performances with big breaks of dance-concentrated performances (choreographed by Janie Lanier) and sketches consisting of two or three people.

The crowd favorite was a recurring sketch called “Lights, Camera, Action,” which involved Ethan Scott and Keaton Rhamn being ordered to perform comical scenes from various movies, including “Harry Potter” and “Napoleon Dynamite.”

All the students closed the show with “One More Time,” from the “Sarafina! The Sound of Freedom” soundtrack and “Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young,” from the “Streets of Fire” soundtrack. Students who performed that come from the States affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma also collected donations to give to those in need.

A lot of preparation is needed to for performers to get ready for the stage. According to Benjamin Musec, a freshman musical theatre major, the students had rehearsals every weekday night since the first day of school up until the night before the performance. “Individually, the steps taken vary widely,” Musec said. “Each person takes different methods and steps to prepare for a performance. That’s one of the things that makes live theatre very unique.”

Ethan Puisto, freshman musical theatre major, said, “It was electrifying to perform on the Studebaker stage. Performing with my classmates is an honor and a dream come true. I come from a small town, so having peers with similar interests as me is amazing.”

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