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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"TAG" Directed By Former Donna Reed Scholarship recipient

Jeff Tomsic

Jeff Tomsic was 1995 Iowa Scholarship recipient in film

Every summer, there is no shortage of new films to blow audiences away at theaters -- and blow away records at the box office. This year, director Jeff Tomsic has a new Warner Bros. movie in the mix.

Tag is based on a true story that was featured in The Wall Street Journal about a group of friends who have been playing a no-holds-barred version of the children’s game Tag for the last 30 years.

Mark Steilen and Rob McKittrick penned the script.

See more of his work.

Jared Grimes featured in video for Joey Alexander's Take on "Moment's Notice,"

Jared Grimes

Grimes is 2001 Donna Reed scholarship recipient in dance

If you happened to be wandering the streets of upper Manhattan one night this winter, you could have stumbled onto a video shoot for pianist Joey Alexander.

The video — for a version of “Moment’s Notice,” by John Coltrane — features an interpretive performance by dancer Jared Grimes, with Joey and a boombox on the sidelines.

The director is Yas Rowan, who has worked on several of Joey’s previous videos. He came up with the premise for the shoot after considering a suggestion from Joey’s father and manager, Denny Sila. “I knew all we needed was the right dancer, and the right location, after that everything would come together, and it did,” Rowan says. “Jared was a no-brainer. He had the right style, the right look, and he had the talent. He was perfect. He liked the piece, he wasn't intimidated by the idea of improvising, and he was very excited about the whole project.”

Grimes has choreographed the musical Holler If You Hear Me with Kenny Leon, 42nd Street at Drury Lane Chicago with Michael Heitzman, and The Scottsboro Boys with Joe Calarco at the Signature Theater in DC.

Read the WBGO article and watch the video

The Play That Goes Wrong to close on Broadway

Preston Truman Boyd

Donna Reed Scholar in production


The Play That Goes Wrong, a comedy about an amateur production of a murder mystery that goes hopelessly awry, will end its run at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre August 26. The Olivier-winning comedy, which began in a pub as a U.K. fringe production, currently stars Preston Truman Boyd, a 2004 Donna Reed Scholarship recipient in both Vocal Music and Musical Theatre.

The production officially opened on Broadway April 2, 2017, following previews that began March 9. At the time of its closing, the play will have played 27 preview performances and 585 regular performances.

A national tour will launch in September in Pittsburgh. Casting and a full itinerary, which will also include a five-week stint at Center Theatre Group's Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, will be announced at a later time.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Actress Mekia Cox talks about Once Upon a Time

Mekia Cox as Tiana/Sabine
 in  ONCE UPON A TIME

1999 Donna Reed Scholarship finalist in musical theatre

In ONCE UPON A TIME, now in its seventh and final season on ABC Friday nights, the action has moved from the enchanted town of Storybrooke, Maine, to the somewhat more modern environs of Seattle, Washington State. Mekia Cox has joined the cast for this last year as aspiring food truck entrepreneur Sabine. Due to a curse, Sabine doesn’t realize that she is really Princess Tiana (the first African-American Disney princess, originally introduced in the animated film THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG), nor that her best friend and business partner Jacinda is really the likewise bewitched Cinderella.

Cox is also a regular on NBC’s CHICAGO MED. Her character Robin Charles was in a coma at the beginning of the season, which helped allow her to schedule her ONCE UPON A TIME work.

The actress, born in the U.S. Virgin Islands and raised in Florida, has also been in stage tours of the musicals FAME and SMOKY JOE’S CAFÉ. Cox’s other TV and film credits include 90210, UNDERCOVERS, MOB CITY, KEY & PEELE, CRAZY STUPID LOVE, GOTHAM and SECRETS AND LIES.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Watch Brandon Victor Dixon Sing 'Superstar' from Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert

1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist in musical theater


We're less than a week away from NBC's epic presentation of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. The Easter Sunday concert staging of the Broadway hit will feature a star-packed cast led by John Legend, Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper. Two-time Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon will lend his strong vocals to the powerful role of Judas, singing Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's showstopping "Superstar." NBC has offered up a sneak peek of Dixon's take on the rollicking number, backed by the super-talented Choir! Choir! Choir! Watch below and don't forget to tune in on April 1.



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Popular Children's Musical Theatre Workshop Returns to Denison, Iowa

Workshop runs June 11-15, 2018 with production for public on Saturday, June 16.


It's a fun-filled week designed to teach the basics of musical theater to kids in grades K-8 who love singing, dancing and challenges. All events will take place at the high school, 819 North 16th St in Denison, IA. This year's production is the popular The Jungle Book KIDS. 

Since its meager beginning in 2004, the workshop has developed a strong tradition of educational fun for all involved. This year’s workshop will be under the direction of Laurel Olsen, a language arts instruction at Denison Community High School. She has been producing/directing plays and musicals in Denison for the past 15 years, including the community musicals AnnieShrek, and The Wizard of Oz. She has also taught dance, judged speech and theatre competitions, and served as technical director and choreographer for past Children’s Musical Theatre Workshops sponsored by The Donna Reed Foundation.

Even local grandparents have discovered a wonderful benefit of the workshop. It’s an opportunity to spend a week of quality time with their grandchildren by inviting them for a visit and enrolling them in the workshop.

Grades K-2 (With parent/guardian)
June 11-15, 9:30-11:30
Tuition: $60 (Fee increases to $70 after June 1)
Includes free production t-shirt and two performance tickets

Grades 3-8
June 11-15, 9:30-12:30
Tuition: $100 (Fee increases to $110 after June 1)
Includes free production t-shirt and two performance tickets

Additional workshop information can be found by downloading and saving our fillable registration form (English)fillable registration form (Spanish), by calling 712.263.3334 or by stopping at the Donna Reed Foundation office, 1305 Broadway, Denison, Iowa.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"For the People" with Ben Rappaport premieres Tuesday, March 13 on ABC

2004 Donna Reed Scholarship national finalist in acting

Ben Rappaport
Set in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (a.k.a. "The Mother Court"), the new Shondaland series For The People follows six talented young lawyers working on opposite sides of the law and handling the most high-profile and high-stakes federal cases in the country.

These young lawyers will be put to the test both personally and professionally as their lives intersect in and out of America's most prestigious trial court.

Rappaport previously played the role of Todd Dempsy in the NBC sitcom Outsourced, which aired during the 2010–11 television season. The series marked Rappaport's debut acting role on screen.