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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Actress Mekia Cox talks about Once Upon a Time

Mekia Cox as Tiana/Sabine

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.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Donna Reed Scholar De’Lon Grant makes Broadway debut in ‘Come from Away’

De'Lon Grant

2002 scholarship finalist in acting from Duluth, Minnesota

A funny thing happened when De'Lon Grant went to his seventh callback for "Hamilton." The Duluth-bred actor landed his first role on Broadway — but in a different Tony Award-winning musical.
Grant plays Bob and others in "Come from Away," a contemporary piece based on real events in Gander, Newfoundland, in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He replaces original cast member Rodney Hicks, who was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia — a neurological disorder that has made it impossible for the performer to continue as a professional stage singer.

Grant spent the past few years in a touring production of "Jersey Boys," and last fall settled into Boston for a production of "The Scottsboro Boys," where he played leader Haywood Patterson.

Monday, February 26, 2018

‘Hamilton’ Alum Brandon Victor Dixon Joins NBC’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar Live’

Brandon Victor Dixon

1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist in musical theater is cast as Judas

Brandon Victor Dixon has been cast as Judas in NBC’s upcoming live staging of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” The production will air Easter Sunday, 7:00 p.m. CST.

Dixon won a Tony in 2014 as a producer of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” which won for Best Revival of a Musical. In 2006 Dixon was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as Harpo in “The Color Purple,” and again in 2016 for his role as Eubie Blake in “Shuffle Along.”

In addition to his Tony nominations, Dixon is known for taking over the role of Aaron Burr in the hit musical “Hamilton” from original star Leslie Odom Jr. Dixon played Burr for nearly a year at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. He currently co-stars on the Starz series “Power” as Terry Silver. His previous screen credits include “The Good Wife” and “The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors” in December.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Santino Fontana to Step Into Hello, Dolly! on Broadway

Santino Fontana steps into "Hello, Dolly" role.
The Tony Award nominee will temporarily replace Gavin Creel in the role of Cornelius Hackl beginning March 13.

Santino Fontana (2000 Donna Reed Festival acting scholarship finalist) is set to step into Hello, Dolly! on Broadway. The Tony Award nominee will take on the role of Cornelius Hackl beginning March 13, taking over for Tony winner Gavin Creel while he recovers from back surgery.

“Santino’s an amazing performer,” Creel said. “He'll be absolutely wonderful in the part.” An end date for his engagement has not yet been announced.

Fontana was last seen on Broadway in 2014 in Act One. His other Broadway credits include Cinderella, The Importance of Being Earnest, A View From the Bridge, Billy Elliot: The Musical, and Sunday in the Park With George.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

“Once Upon a Time” fairytale drama is ending with season seven.

Mekia Cox

Cast includes 1999 Donna Reed Scholarship finalist

Mekia Cox, a Florida State University graduate and Donna Reed scholar, plays Princess Tiana, the character from the Disney feature The Princess and The Frog. Her role is notable because she is the first black Disney Princess on television. She was initially cast as a recurring role in July amid several new cast additions for the rebooted Season 7. 

Cox burst onto the scene in 2009 as one of the lead dancers on Michael Jackson's concert tour This Is It and the subsequent movie This Is It. Not long after, she was cast as the vivacious DJ Sasha on CW's hit series 90210. From there she worked as a series regular on NBC's Undercovers, as well as TNT's Mob City. Most recently she starred in three primetime shows: TV Land's Impastor, ABC's Secrets and Lies and the NBC hit drama Chicago Med, in which she currently has a recurring role.

Read her interview

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A musical adaptation of the 1982 comedy Tootsie premiers in Chicago this fall before heading to Broadway in spring 2019

Santino Fontana

Musical features 2000 Donna Reed scholarship finalist Santino Fontana

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Santino Fontana will star as struggling actor Michael Dorsey, who auditions for a soap opera as the brassy middle-aged Dorothy Michaels and gets the part. Dustin Hoffman played the part in the 1982 film version of Tootsie, which earned Jessica Lange a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as his love interest, Julie Nichols.

In addition to playing Greg on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend from 2016 to 2017, Fontana provided the voice for Prince Hans in Frozen and has graced the Broadway stage numerous times. He was nominated for a Tony for his role as Prince Topher in the 2013 revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and appeared in Billy Elliot, Sunday in the Park with George, The Importance of Being Earnest and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

Read the article

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Santino Fontana doing something new

Santino Fontana

2000 Donna Reed Festival acting scholarship finalist adds audio books.

You may know actor Santino Fontana from his performances in My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, or as the voice of Hans in the blockbuster Frozen, or from his many starring roles on Broadway, but he has also become the indelible voice of many a beloved character for audio books.

Since his appearance as a Donna Reed Scholarship finalist in acting, Santino has continued to reinvent himself. His newest adventure is doing voiceover for audio books. Learn more in an interview for Audibile, Inc. Read it here.