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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Donna Reed Scholarship alumna opens in West Coast production of "Merrily We Roll Along"

Saycon Sengbloh

College Park, GA native has starring role in Stephen Sodheim musical

Broadway veteran Saycon Sengbloh, a 1996 Donna Reed Foundation national scholarship winner, is now in Los Angeles, starring in the Michael Arden-directed production of Stephen Sodheim’s masterwork Merrily We Roll Along. It runs November 23 - December 18 in the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Calif.

This rarely staged Stephen Sondheim musical travels backwards in time to navigate the bumpy history among three friends - Franklin, Charlie and Mary - who begin their careers in show business together. The powerful and moving story, based on the Kaufman and Hart play, features some of Sondheim’s most beautiful songs including "Good Thing Going," "Our Time" and "Not a Day Goes By"

Sengbloh is an award-winning actress whose performance as Wife Number One in Eclipsed earned her an Obie Award and Drama Desk Award, and Tony nomination on Broadway. Sengbloh plays Nora in the upcoming feature film Double Play by Ernest Dickerson. Sengbloh also has starred in the Broadway productions of Holler If Ya Hear Me, Motown the Musical, Fela!, Wicked, Aida, The Color Purple, Hair and the RENT tour. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Free screenings of "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Donna Reed Theater, December 11

See It's a Wonderful Life as it was meant to be viewed – on the big screen.
On Sunday, December 11, the classic holiday movie, starring Denison native Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart, will be shown twice – at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Donna Reed Theatre. Free admission.


Bedford Falls display returns.

A miniature replica of Bedford Falls returns to the front window of the Donna Reed Heritage Museum for a winter showing. The HO scale replica was built by model building enthusiast from the Quad Cities area and was displayed for several years by the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center in Davenport, Ia. before being donated to the Donna Reed Foundation.

Expanded museum exhibit on the making of It's a Wonderful Life opens. 
Stepping inside the museum, you will find an expanded exhibit featuring a variety of items from the Donna Reed Collection relating to the making of the movie. It includes a letter to pen pal Violet Lindsey mentioning the upcoming filming of the movie; daily call sheets detailing the daily shoot schedule; daily production reports tracking expenses and progress of the filming of a various scenes; Donna Reed's invitation to a screening of the movie from director Frank Capra; and the review of the movie which appeared in Variety. Of particular interest are photos of the new snow-making process developed especially for this film that replaced the practice of using painted cornflakes for falling snow.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jared Grimes touring with “Carefree - Dancin’ With Fred & Ginger”

Hayley Podschun and Jared Grimes

2001 Donna Reed Foundation national scholarship recipient in dance.


"Carefree — Dancin' With Fred & Ginger" is a musical revue paying tribute to songs and style of Astaire and his co-star in a host of classic Hollywood musicals, Ginger Rogers. It includes such Gershwin classics as "Slap That Bass," but also songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others.

"We pay homage to Fred and Ginger," explains the show's leading man, Jared Grimes. "My character is a reflection of characters Fred would play in his movies — a guy who's looking to dance, release his frustrations and partner with a beautiful lady. We reinvent what he did and replicate what he did. We say 'Fred would have done this,' then try to do it. It's a wild ride down Memory Lane."

Grimes has toured with Mariah Carey and worked with Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen and Jerry Lewis. He was the associate choreographer for the Tupac Shakur musical "Holler if Ya Hear Me" and did an acclaimed "Singing in the Rain" routine in the 2015 "New York Spring Spectacular" at Radio City Music Hall. Before stepping into the shoes of Fred Astaire in "Carefree," Grimes won a 2014 Fred and Adele Astaire Award for outstanding male dancer.

Read BroadwayWorld.com story

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Donna Reed Festival alumnus to star in forthcoming independent film

Santino Fontana

Santino Fontana was acting finalist in 2000

Santino Fontana, the Tony-nominated Broadway actor who can currently be seen in The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, stars in the forthcoming independent film Galileo, according to Deadline.com.

Galileo, according to the industry website, “follows an arrogant heir to a Mexican fast-food franchise that goes hunting for the next culinary big thing. He soon finds himself in a small New Mexican town, where foodies come from all over to salivate over the culinary treats of a local and feisty female chef."

Fontana has been seen on Broadway in Sunday in the Park with George, Billy Elliot: the Musical, Brighton Beach Memoirs, A View from the Bridge, The Importance of Being Earnest, Cinderella (Tony nomination) and Act One.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Donna Reed scholarship finalist now appearing in two hit shows

Mekia Cox

Mekia Cox plays roles of a strong, independent woman

Mekia Cox is becoming one of the best known actresses in Hollywood. She currently stars in two hit shows—ABC’s Secrets and Lies and NBC’s Chicago Med—and rocks each role like a pro. Although the roles are pretty different, it allows us to see Mekia in a different light each time. She has a great depth of talent and it is a pleasure to see her in different roles each week. Read the complete TVGrapline article.

Cox was a 1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist in musical theater from Orlando, Florida.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Donna Reed Scholarship Alumnus To Recur In Season 3 Of TV Land Comedy Series

Ben Rappaport    -Associated Press

Ben Rappaport, 2004 Donna Reed Scholarship national finalist in acting


Ben Rappaport (Mr. Robot) has been cast in a recurring role opposite Molly Bernard on Season 3 of Darren Star’s TV Land comedy series Younger.
He’ll play medical intern Max Horowitz, a new love interest for Lauren Heller (Molly Bernard). Max and Lauren went to camp together as kids, and when they run into each other in a bar, they start to rekindle their friendship and develop into something more. Ben will first appear in the third episode of the season, “Last Days of Books”, which airs Wednesday, October 12. Season 3 premieres on September 28.
Rappaport can currently be seen in the second season of USA’s breakout series Mr. Robot recurring as Ollie Parker. He previously recurred for two seasons on The Good Wife and starred in the NBC comedy Outsourced. He is co-starring on Broadway inFiddler on the Roof and will soon appear in Landing Up, a film he also co-produced.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Donna Reed Scholarship alumna joins cast of 'Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 8 - Journey's End'

Kari Wahlgren

Kari Wahlgren, popular voiceover artist

If you are a “Minecraft: Story Mode” gamer, watch for Mevia, the enforcer. You will be hearing the voice of Kari Wahlgren, a 1995 Donna Reed Foundation National Scholar (acting/vocal) from Hoisington, KS.

Journey's End” is the eighth “Story Mode” episode, and the final announced episode thus far. It follows 'Access Denied' (review here), but this time out, Jesse and party seem to be on the cusp of finding their way home.

In Episode 8: 'A Journey's End', with Harper leading them to the world of the Old Builders, Jesse and crew finally have their chance to return home... but it won't be easy, and the stakes are high. You'll need to take on opponents in a series of gladiatorial games to win your freedom, save your friends, and maybe, just maybe, make it back to your own world!

The September 13th launch date included PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon, and even Windows Store.