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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ben Giroux Goes 'Back to the '80s' in Viral Video Sequel

Ben Giroux and Jensen Reed

Phoenix native was 2003 Donna Reed Foundation National Acting Award Recipient

Ben Giroux and Jensen Reed took the internet by storm with their music video “Back to the '90s” in 2017.

Now the duo has gone back even farther. Their sequel, “Back to the '80s,” takes viewers on a trip to the decade of tight pants and crazy hairstyles. The video involves numerous movie sets and took nearly two years to complete. It was released last week.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Jared Grimes puts a spin on the classic ’42nd Street’

Jared Grimes

Choreographer is Donna Reed scholarship alumnus

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minn. is staging a reinvented version of the Broadway classic “42nd Street.” This Ordway Original production with choreography by Jared Grimes was previously produced at Chicago's Drury Lane Theatre and garnered rave reviews. Performances begin on July 23 and continue for 24 performances through Aug. 11.

Grimes was a 2001 Donna Reed national scholarship recipient in dance. He went on to become an Astaire Award-winning dancer and tap and hip-hop/street jazz choreographer, performing alongside legends such as Wynton Marsalis and Gregory Hines.

Grimes has extensive stage experience including such Broadway productions as “After Midnight” and “Holler If You Hear Me” and the Radio City Music Hall production of “The New York Spring Spectacular.”

Friday, June 28, 2019

Zachary Levi, Jeff Tomsic, Teaming On New Line’s ‘Spy Guys’

Jeff Tomsic, Cedar Rapids, Ia.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa native to direct

New Line Cinema has lined up Zachary Levi to star in Spy Guys, and it has just set Jeff Tomsic to direct the script by Adam Sztykiel. That puts the action comedy on a fast track to get the movie made before Levi reprises in the Shazam! sequel, which New Line is also percolating.

Tomsic made his directorial debut last year on the New Line comedy Tag, and cut his teeth on the Comedy Central series Broad City and Idiotsitter, on which he is executive producer.

Tomsic was a 1995 Iowa Donna Reed Scholarship recipient in film.

Ben Gunderson appearing in “Blackbeard”

Ben Gunderson, Moorhead, MN

World premiere commissioned by Signature Theatre

Ben Gunderson, a 2005 Donna Reed Foundation National Award Recipient in Musical Theater, is part of a hilarious, wildly original, and immersively staged production of a fresh musical salute to the Seven Seas.

Gunderson, who plays the role of Gerrick/Maynard, is one of ten people in the cast who play about 60 roles between them.

Gunderson's previous productions include Grand Hotel (Signature), Anything Goes (Arena Stage), Camelot (Shakespeare Theatre Company), The Pajama Game (Arena Stage), Still Life with Rocket (Theater Alliance), Les Miserables (Broadway), Les Miserables (25th Anniversary Tour), A Time For Singing (York Theatre) and Fiddler on the Roof (Engman Theater).
Read the Washington Post review

Donna Reed Scholarship alumnus appearing in Regional Production

Jose Luaces

Jose Luaces as Emilio Estefan in ON YOUR FEET!

“On Your Feet!,” a musical based on the life and music of the seven-time Grammy-winning Latin pop sensation Gloria Estefan and her producer-musician husband Emilio Estefan, opened May 30 at Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford, NY. 

Luaces was most recently seen nationally in A Christmas Story Live. His New York City credits include: A Christmas Story (Broadway), Bliss (workshop), Big Fish (Workshop), All That Glitters (Workshop), Plaid Tidings (York Theatre), Venus Flytrap, and I Am Harvey Milk. Tours include 101 Dalmatians, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Fiddler on the Roof, Reel to Real (China, Edinburgh). Luaces' favorite regional appearances include: Rudy in Cuba Libre (A.R.T.) Sparky in Forever Plaid (New Theatre), Seussical (The Muny), Chino in West Side Story (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Jacob in La Cage Aux Folles (Forestburgh Playhouse) and Spamalot and Altar Boyz (Actors Playhouse).

Luaces was a 2003 Donna Reed National Scholarship finalist in musical theatre from Miami, FL.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“Saving Brinton” to play at the Donna Reed Theatre

Mike Zahs, Washington, Iowa

Film is an endearing, affectionate documentary

When an eccentric small-town collector discovers the showreels of the man who brought moving pictures to the Heartland, he begins a journey to restore the legacy of America’s greatest barnstorming movieman and save these irreplaceable cinematic treasures from turning to dust.

Director/editor Tommy Haines, director/producer Andrew Sherburne and director of photography John Richard set themselves to chronicling Mike Zah’s discoveries. Their efforts became the film, “Saving Brinton.”

Join Zahs and Sherburne for the screening of “Saving Brinton” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, at the Donna Reed Theatre in Denison. Tickets are $5.

Read the LA Times review

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Donna Reed Scholarship Alumnus accepted to prestigious SITI workshop

Sean Naughton
Sean Naughton, a graduate teaching assistant in the theater department at Ohio State University, has been accepted to the Saratoga International Theater Institute Company Summer Intensive with Anne Bogart and her company.

Sixty artists are invited to take part in an intensive workshop that includes rigorous, physical work, theoretical research, and the generation and performance of new work by each participant. The program’s objective is to develop courageous theater artists who are able to integrate new influences from many disciplines into their work. The curriculum is designed for pre-professional and professional artists.

The Saratoga International Theater Institute (also known as SITI) is an ensemble-based theater company whose three ongoing components are the creation of new work, the training of young theater artists, and a commitment to international collaboration.

Naughton is a 2000 Donna Reed Scholarship Acting Award recipient.