Working in the Arts: MTD Alumni News, March 2017

Working in the Arts: MTD Alumni News, March 2017
Launch party for the car share service Maven at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Robert Glowacki of TLSP designed, programmed and rigged the lighting. Photo by Robert Glowacki.

Our alumni are working in many fields, not just performance. Theatre alumnus Robert Glowacki (BFA ‘10) is a staff lighting designer and production manager for TLS Productions, which is based in Ann Arbor. The company is a full service sales, rental and production company with many automotive clients. According to their website, they have produced special events for the automotive and trade show industries for nearly sixty years. But they offer consultation, design and rigging for any kind of event, including outdoor festivals, tent events, ballroom shows, tradeshow booths and arena rock shows. Glowacki was a theatre design major at OU. Before joining TLSP he worked in cities around the country, including both New York City and Los Angeles, and Glowacki continues to travel on assignments for TLSP. He was recently in Chicago where he designed the lighting for the Fiat Chrysler display at the city’s auto show, and he also scored tickets for Hamilton! You can read more about the company and Glowacki on their website.

Last summer music alumnus Oliver Thompson (BM ‘05) released his first feature film, Welcome to Happiness, which stars Kyle Gallner (American Sniper); Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation); Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele); and Molly C. Quinn (Castle). Thompson, who both wrote and directed the film, recently told us that the film now has a Hulu deal, and should begin streaming on the service very soon. A DVD release is also on the horizon, with details still to come. Find out more on the film’s website.

Music alumna Stephanie Perlaki (BM ‘14) is working as a sales associate at Luck’s Music in Madison Heights. The company is the world's largest distributor of orchestral sheet music, offering more than twenty thousand orchestral titles from publishers around the world to schools, universities and orchestras. According to a feature about Perlaki in the company‘s newsletter, she spends the majority of her day on the phone and also handles school district bids. At OU, Perlaki not only played with a multitude of ensembles, she also worked as the administrator of the Oakland University Cooperative Orchestral Library, where she managed the collection which is owned and shared by ten area orchestras. Professor Emeritus David Daniels was her mentor in this role, as she worked directly with the orchestra libraries to make sure they received their music in a timely fashion.

Alex Ruthmann (MM ‘02, PhD ‘06), who is associate professor of music education and music technology at New York University Steinhardt School, announced that his new book, The Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education, which he co-edited with Roger Mantie of Arizona State University, will be available in early 2017. We’ll keep you posted on the official release date.

Corey Collins (BFA '01) whose costume design work is regularly seen at theatres around the area, including Meadow Brook Theatre and Purple Rose, was a finalist at the Chicago Broadway Awards in the category of Best Costume Design (Resident Equity) for his work on the show Picasso at the Lapin Agile at the Williams Street Rep. Making the announcement on social media, Collins wrote that he was working on three shows, Any Other Name, Altar Boyz, and I Love a Piano, and that he was  “Sketching, sketching, sketching...and loving every second of it. I am blessed that I love my job.”

Berry Gordy and Devin Price
Nicolette Book, photo by SFS

Many alumni are working in performance. In December, Cáitlín Burke (BM ‘01) took a break from The Sound of Music tour to head back to New York City to play Katisha in NYGASP's new production of The Mikado. Back on tour, she met up with the OU theatre students who attended the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Indianapolis. You can read more in this OU News story. Burke is a member of the ensemble and also understudy for the role of Mother Abbess. On February 9 Burke sang “Climb Every Mountain” at the Omaha Statehouse for the representatives. You can see the report of that event on Des Moines ABC Channel 5 TV News. On February 22 theatre goers in Grand Rapids were lucky enough to see her go on as Mother Abbess. We hope some of her Michigan friends made the trip.

Musical theatre alumnus Devin Price (BFA '15) was just cast in Motown the Musical, and is enjoying his first national tour. You can catch the show in Detroit from April 18-30 at the Fisher Theatre. Ticket information is available on the show’s website.

Former musical theatre student Garrett Clayton appeared in NBC's Hairspray Live! in December, playing Link Larkin, a part previously played by both Matthew Morrison and Zac Efron. The show drew a big audience and a lot of publicity for Clayton, including from local media, like this interview in the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit native and OU music alumnus Darien Martus (BA ‘73) was under consideration for two Grammy awards this year, including Best Pop Vocal Album for Side Trip. He didn’t make the final round, but Martus did receive an invitation to attend the ceremony and is now a voting member of the Recording Academy. Martus is a longtime California resident and was the choir director at Palm Springs High School in Palm Springs for many years. Before that, he lived in Los Angeles and worked in theatre, film and television as a composer, arranger, musical director and pianist. You can read more on his website.

In October 2016, voice alumna Nicolette Book (BM ‘14) was the winner of the Ohio District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. And on January 27, 2017 she was one of eight singers who advanced to the Eleanor McCollum Competition finals at Houston Grand Opera. Book was awarded second placed. “Is this real life?” she wrote on social media. “I’m so thrilled and honored. There was some incredible singing on that stage and I'm so grateful to have gotten to know such amazing, talented people!”

Theatre alumna Rachel (Hull) Constantino (BFA ‘14) choreographed the Encore Musical Theatre Company’s 2016 holiday show, Mary Poppins. Her work was especially noted by David Kiley, who reviewed for Encore. “A shout-out to choreographer Rachel Constantino for creating enough energy on stage that we never missed the flying.” Theatre alumna Luciana Piazza (BFA ‘15) was in the Mary Poppins cast.

During the same period Constantino was performing in A Christmas Carol with the Wild Swan Theater in Ann Arbor. The company produced a special family-friendly version, suitable for children as young as third grade.

Theatre alumnus David Vogel (BFA ‘13), who is the swing with the national tour of Annie, made his debut on November 5 in Oklahoma City, when he went on as Bert Healy at the 8 pm show. He’s made several appearances since then.

Theatre alumna Alexandra Zorn (‘09) played the leading role of Bathsheba Everdene in staged readings of the new musical Far From the Madding Crowd which was directed by Hunter Foster in New York City last November. The musical is still in development and the performances were invitation only. Zorn made clear on her social media posts that she was inspired by the experience. “This creative team and cast are all so honest and talented and supportive and collaborative and beautiful. I feel so lucky just to be in the room with them. I think my heart's gonna explode from gratitude.”

On February 1, theatre alumna Anna Wyatt (BFA ‘13) appeared on television's Lifetime Movie Network. She had a lead role in the series “My Crazy Ex.” Wyatt, who lives in Los Angeles, has another role in the same series coming up soon.

On April 27 Jayne Houdyshell, Tony-Award winner and alumna of OU’s Academy of Dramatic Art (‘74), will open in a new play, her tenth Broadway role. She will play Anne-Marie in the new play A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, which is set 15 years after the Henrik Ibsen classic. In the original, Houdyshell’s character plays a minor role, but in this new play she is one of only four characters. The others are Nora (Laurie Metcalf), Torvald (Chris Cooper) and Nora’s daughter, Emmy (Condola Rashad). Tickets are on sale now.