Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Paley Center for Media Salutes the Donna Reed Show

The Donna Reed Show Reunion
Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 7:00 pm PT, Los Angeles

Forty-five years after airing its last episode of the Donna Reed Show, and on the occasion of its official Season Four - The Lost Episodes DVD release, the Paley Center welcomes members of the iconic series cast and creative team for a fond look back at this true TV classic, including the screening of highlights and rare footage from unsyndicated episodes not seen anywhere in decades.

Appearing In Person
Shelley Fabares, "Mary Stone"
Paul Petersen, "Jeff Stone"
Patti Petersen, "Trisha Stone"
Jimmy Hawkins, "Scotty"
Ann McCrea Borden, "Midge Kelsey"
Stu Phillips, Music Producer, "Johnny Angel," "My Dad"
Eddie Foy III, Screen Gems Casting Director
Read a follow-up commentary.

Free screenings of "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Donna Reed Theatre, December 18

See It's a Wonderful Life as it was meant to be viewed – on the big screen. 
On Sunday, December 18, 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, for several years, was displayed 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. 
The expanded exhibit features 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.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life: The Making of a Film Classic to be presented in New York City, December 12

An encore presentation of a program that will be presented in Los Angeles on December 9 by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council.

It's a fresh take on a familiar film! Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt reveal the unique photographic and sound effects used in creating Frank Capra’s quintessential holiday favorite "It’s a Wonderful Life." The program will examine classic studio production methods, the use of matte paintings in key scenes, and the origins of the film’s sound effects. The event will feature an introduction by Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu Bailey) with a big-screen showing of a newly struck print of the film from the Academy Film Archive.  Read more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2004 Scholarship Recipient to Perform at National Christmas Tree Lighting, December 1

Preston Boyd, 2nd from right
Preston Truman Boyd, along with JERSEY BOYS First National Tour cast members , Joseph Leo Bwarie, John Gardiner, and Michael Lomenda will perform a special holiday selection during the pre-show of the 89th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on Thursday, December 1, beginning at 4:30 p.m ET. Presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the ceremony will take place on the Ellipse in President’s Park in Washington, D.C., and will be streamed live at The event will also be broadcast throughout December on PBS stations nationwide. Check local listings for full broadcast schedule.

The cast members will perform “Little Drummer Boy” from Seasons Greetings: A JERSEY BOYS Christmas, a new holiday CD featuring international cast members from JERSEY BOYS, produced by Bob Gaudio (Rhino Records).

Boyd was the recipient of both the 2004 Donna Reed Vocal Scholarship and the Musical Theatre Scholarship.   Read more.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Local Actors Bring Back Old-Time Radio For The Holiday Season In Denison, IA

Clarence needs his wings and George Bailey needs… well George needs Clarence. Live out a holiday classic as a part of our "live studio audience" as The Donna Reed Foundation brings It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play to the stage, December 2 and 3. Written by Joe Landry and set in 1947 as a radio broadcast, this heartwarming tale will remind you and yours of the important things in life and send you home laughing, loving and living the magic of Christmas.

An ensemble of eight local actors brings more than three dozen characters to life, and employs an array of radio sound effects from on-stage. Audience members step back in time and experience what it might have been like as part of a live studio audience, as the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds, and he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.

The production is part of the American Icon Series and features Troy Gehlsen, Al Hazelton, Steven Holt, Braeden Irvine, David Loeschen, Mell Malkey, Kerri Miller and Donna Walker, with Steven Fitzgerald and Darly Philipp doing sound effects. Pat Fleshner is the director.

Each performance will begin at 7 p.m., December 2 and 3 at the historic Donna Reed Theatre, 1305 Broadway, in downtown Denison, Iowa, home of The Donna Reed Foundation and Museum. Tickets are $10 for Adults and $5 for Students (K - 12th grade) and can be obtained by calling The Donna Reed Foundation at 712-263-3334, by e-mail at or by downloading and mailing the ticket order form.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Donna Reed Show (Lost Episodes): Season 4 DVD Set To Be Released December 13, 2011

THE DONNA REED SHOW: SEASON 4 makes its DVD debut with all 39 digitally remastered episodes that have not been seen anywhere in thirty years. Among the guest stars are Cloris Leachman, John Astin, Gale Gordon, Don Drysdale, William Windom, James Darren, Patricia Barry, Johnny Crawford, Roberta Sherwood, Jimmy Hawkins and Swoosie Kurtz.

The five-DVD set includes: all-new digitally restored masters; teen idols Shelley Fabares, Paul Petersen and guest star James Darren singing their hit records Johnny Angel, She Can‘t Find Her Keys and Goodbye Cruel World; new video interviews with stars Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen; original DONNA REED SHOW ABC-TV promotional spots; original cast commercials plus sponsor opening & closing credits; special extended episode; new featurette: THE DONNA REED SHOW ROCKS! with music composer, and producer Stu Phillips; Donna Reed public service spot; and a photo gallery. Read more and pre-order the set.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1997 Scholarship Recipient Appearing in Off-Broadway Production of "Love, Loss and What I Wore"

TV fans know Zuzanna Szadkowski best as Dorota, the devoted maid on the scandalous CW hit Gossip Girl. While Szadkowski may spend her Gossip days in a uniform, she's currently discussing more fashionable outfits during her second engagement in off-Broadway's Love, Loss and What I Wore. This intimate collection of stories uses clothing and accessories and the memories they trigger to tell funny and often poignant stories that all women can relate to, creating one of the most enduring theatergoing experiences in New York. Szadkowski is a 1997 Donna Reed Foundation National Scholar (Acting) from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Former Scholarship Recipient wins Opera Birmingham’s 33rd Annual Vocal Competition

Soprano Melissa Shippen Burrows of Nashville, Tenn. was awarded first prize in the 33rd Annual OperaBirmingham Vocal Competition on Sunday evening, May 23, 2011. Melissa finished first among 74 contestants with performances of “Si, mi chiamano Mimi” from Puccini’s La bohème and “I want magic” from Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire. She received the Martha Dick McClung Award of $3,500 and will be presented in OperaBirmingham’s “Catch a Rising Star Recital” which will open the 2011-2012 performance season on November 6, 2011. She is a 1997 Donna Reed Foundation National Scholar (Vocal).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

65 Years Later and It's Still a Wonderful Life...

We celebrate the 65th anniversary of this iconic movie with It's a Wonderful Life for Kids Coloring - Activity Book. Jimmy Hawkins, who played the role of Tommy Bailey in the original movie when he was four and a half years old, and the Really Big Coloring Book Company (RBCB) created this interactive book which brings the timeless classic to new generations.

This new story is told from the point of view of Tommy Bailey, the youngest son of George and Mary Bailey. Tommy learns, like his father, that "No man is a failure who has friends." This life-affirming book is perfect for movie buffs and readers of all ages. In honor of the film’s special anniversary, he wrote this story, inspired by the original. “I wanted to show young readers that everyone’s life, no matter how old he or she may be, makes a difference,” says Hawkins.

Hawkins is an actor and producer with numerous television and movie credits. He has authored a total of five books about "It’s a Wonderful Life" and also served on the board of directors of the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts and the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Read more.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2001 Scholarship Recipient Cast In Upcoming Duke Ellington Tribute at New York City Center

Jared Grimes, along with Carla Cook, Brandon Victor Dixon and Adriane Lenox have been cast in Duke Ellington's Cotton Club Parade, opening November 18 at New York City Center. Cotton Club Parade is a celebration of Ellington's years at the famed Harlem nightclub in the 1920s and early ‘30s. With Ellington's music as the centerpiece, Cotton Club Parade reimagines one of the composer's Cotton Club floor shows when the joint was jumping with revues featuring big bands, swing and blues, dancers, singers and novelty acts. Read more.

Jared Grimes is a 2001 Donna Reed Foundation National Scholar (Dance) from High Point, North Carolina.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1995 Scholarship Recipient Has Role In New Nickelodeon Series.

Kari Wahlgren will voice "Tigress" as Nickelodeon premieres the highly anticipated computer generated animated comedy series, Kung Fu Panda:  Legends of Awesomeness on Monday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m. (ET/PT).  The series is a co-production with DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.

Kari has provided voices for dozens of anime titles and video games, as well as commercials, jingles and promos. She is a University of Kansas graduate and a 1995 Donna Reed Foundation National Scholar from Hoisington, KS.

 Watch The Premiere Of “Kung Fu Panda: Legends Of Awesomeness” Online Now

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Third Annual Night on the Red Carpet Promises a Night of Mystery

    It’s a night of intrigue as The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts presents its Third Annual Night on the Red Carpet, Saturday, October 29, 2011. Be in the middle of the action as two separate mysteries unfold during the evening.
    It begins with a Mystery Dinner Theater at 6 pm at the Boulders Conference Center. Start gathering clues the moment you enter the door. Hear from the major suspects and prepare for a shocking arrest. All take place during the buffet style meal.
    The action shifts to the Donna Reed Theatre for an 8 pm film screening of “Scandal Sheet” starring Donna Reed, Broderick Crawford and John Derek. This black-and-white film noir is entertaining and tightly plotted with the requisite twists and turns. It is followed by a dessert buffet in the theatre lobby courtesy of REINEYS.
    Tickets are $35 each, $60 for two and $200 for a table of eight. For tickets or Information, call The Donna Reed Foundation, 712-263-3334. Advanced reservations are recommended.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2004 Scholarship Recipient Joins Cast of Jersey Boys

Preston Truman Boyd
Preston Truman Boyd is now appearing in the Tony Award winning production of Jersey Boys as Bob Gaudio. He joined the first national tour during their run in Omaha in September. Originally from Moorhead, MN, Boyd was the recipient of both the 2004 Donna Reed Vocal Scholarship and the Musical Theatre Scholarship.

He played the role of the Monster in the first national tour of Young Frankenstein the Musical by Mel Brooks. He replaced Shuler Hensley after understudying the role and performing in the ensemble. Check out the video clip.

Boyd is a member of the Actors Equity Association and a graduate of the College Conservatory of Music (CCM), University of Cincinnati. At CCM he was seen in the Pajama Game (Sid Sorokin), The Pirates of Penzance (Pirate King), Wonderful Town (Wreck), Cabaret (Ernst Lugwig), Little Women (John Brooke), Crazy for You (Moose), Brigadoon (Angus MacGuffie) and SideShow (Roustabout).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Donna Reed Theatre Hosts Another Wedding

The Donna Reed Theatre had the pleasure of hosting its second wedding on August 13, as Kayla Sorenson and Andy Thelen were united in marriage on a stage transformed with rich colored fabric. Billboard cases greeted guests with specially designed movie posters featuring the couple. The theatre marquee enhanced the theme as it flashed the message, “Tonight Only. Private Showing. The Marriage: A Deal's a Deal.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

American Icon Series Comes To Donna Reed Theatre in Denison, IA

Imagine spending an evening with American Icons Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Roosevelt, Barbra Streisand, and Abraham Lincoln – and seeing a live version of It’s A Wonderful Life.

The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts in Denison, Iowa, is creating that kind of exciting opportunity. The newly created “American Icon Series” features five “Chautauqua-style” events and runs from July, 2011 to February, 2012. The performances include two concerts, two historical re-enactments, and a live radio play.

Each performance will begin at 7 p.m. at the Donna Reed Theatre, 1305 Broadway, in downtown Denison, Iowa, home of The Donna Reed Foundation and Museum.

July 16, 2011 -The Life and Times of Sinatra” 
September 10, 2011 - “Eleanor Roosevelt – In War and In Peace” 
October 1, 2011 - “Then and Now . . . The Artistry of Barbra Streisand” 
December 2 & 3, 2011 -It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play” 
February 3, 2012 - "An Evening With President Lincoln"

Tickets can be obtained by calling The Donna Reed Foundation at 712-263-3334, by e-mail at or by downloading and mailing the ticket order form.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

1998 Scholarship Winner Is New Traffic Reporter

KCCI TV launched its new morning "Beat the Traffic" report with former Sioux City television personality Jackie Schmillen anchoring the segment alongside a new interactive high-definition traffic map.

The former actress "has the perfect blend of passion, personality and enthusiasm to go with a great understanding of Central Iowa's traffic flow," said KCCI general manager Paul Fredericksen in a statement announcing her hiring.

Schmillen, a Cherokee native, received a Donna Reed Foundation scholarship in 1998. She appeared in regional theater productions in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and North Carolina, until five years ago when she joined Pappas Telecasting stations KMEG and KPTH in Sioux City, where she promoted local events.

Area Seniors Awarded Performance Scholarships

The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts has awarded four scholarships to graduating seniors who have participated in the performing arts during their high school careers. 

Awarded $1,000 scholarships are:
Shannon Barondeau of Denison, a graduate of Denison-Schleswig High School, who will be majoring in Theater at Simpson College starting this fall.
Andrew Berger of Westside, a graduate of Ar-We-Va High School, who will be majoring in Theater Arts at the University of Iowa beginning this fall.

Awarded $500 scholarships are:
Alison Ranniger of Manning, a graduate of IKM-Manning High School, who will be majoring in Art at Central College beginning this fall.
Taylor Schillerberg of Denison, a graduate of Denison-Schleswig High School, who will be majoring in engineering at Iowa State University in the fall.

To qualify for these scholarships, a student must be a graduate of a Crawford County high school and have acted in or have been a part of the tech crew for at least two drama productions during their high school career. Preference is given to students who plan to pursue a degree in the dramatic performing arts, however, this is not required in order to be considered for the scholarships.

The Foundation’s scholarship program is co-sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, Crawford County Trust and Savings Bank, and Bank Iowa.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Disney’s "Sleeping Beauty, Kids" Comes to Denison, IA, June 20-25

It’s official. The Children’s Musical Theatre Workshop is back for its fifth Disney production, June 20-25 . A performance of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Kids will culminate the week-long workshop which is designed to teach the basics of musical theatre to kids ages 6-13 who love singing, dancing and challenges.

Additional workshop information and tuition rates can be found by downloading our registration form or by calling 712.263.3334 or by stopping at the Donna Reed Foundation office, 1305 Broadway, Denison, IA.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Annual Wine & Beer Tasting Fundraiser, May 6

Don't miss our annual Wine & Beer Tasting Fundraiser at the Donna Reed Theatre on May 6 starting at 6 p.m. There will be wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres by Hy-Vee, sweet desserts by Reiney's and music by Paul & Joe. Door prizes will be announced at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 and may be reserved by calling the Donna Reed Foundation at 712-263-3334.

Donna Reed Foundation Offers Scholarships For Crawford County Students

The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts, with the generous support of Wells Fargo Bank, Crawford County Bank, Bank Iowa, and a private donor, is again offering three $1,000 college scholarships to high school seniors graduating in 2011 who reside in or attend high school in Crawford County, Iowa.

In order to qualify for these scholarships, a student must have acted in or have been a part of the tech crew for at least two drama productions during their high school career. Preference will be given to a student who plans to pursue a degree in the dramatic performing arts, however, this is not required in order to be considered for the scholarships.

Application forms are available through the guidance offices at the Denison-Schleswig, Charter Oak-Ute, Ar-We-Va, and IKM-Manning high schools. You may also download a pdf copy of the form.

Deadline for the applications is May 6, 2011.

Spring Issue Of Our Newsletter Is Now Online

We've put the Spring issue of our Foundation newsletter online. You'll find information about our weekend workshops, museum expansion, the latest Benefactor Award recipient, and upcoming events. You can download a pdf copy at

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Exhibit at Smithsonian American Art Museum will include showing of “It's a Wonderful Life”

Mary Owen will introduce a special screening of “It's a Wonderful Life” for the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Thursday, April 14. It is one of three movies chosen to accompany the exhibit, “To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America,” showing March 11 - September 5, 2011.

During the turbulent 1940s, artist George Ault (1891-1948) created precise yet eerie pictures—works of art that have come to be seen, following his death, as some of the most original paintings made in America in those years. The beautiful geometries of Ault’s paintings make personal worlds of clarity and composure to offset a real world he felt was in crisis.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ComedySportz Tickets On Sale

ComedySportz "actletes" prepare for battle.
The Donna Reed Foundation brings the popular ComedySportz team from the Quad Cities back to Denison on Friday, February 11. ComedySportz is competitive team improvisational comedy, played just like a sport. It's complete with a referee, uniforms, artificial turf, peanuts, pennants, and even the National Anthem! Because everything is improvised, no two matches are alike.

Two teams of improv comedy "actletes" battle for laughs and points as they make up scenes, games and songs on the spot. A zebra-striped referee keeps the action moving and gets suggestions from the audience as to what they'd like to see on the playing field. The audience calls fouls and ultimately decides which team is the evening's winner. 

The audience of a typical ComedySportz match has everyone from kids to grandparents and from grade schoolers to college students.  Everyone has a good time and no one gets offended. It's the only entertainment that's funny enough for bachelor parties and clean enough for a church or business group. If you missed them the last time they were in Denison, here's your chance to see what everyone was talking about.

Tickets ($10) for the 7:00 pm performance on February 11 at the Donna Reed Theatre are available by contacting the Foundation office at 712-263-3334 or Tickets will also be available at the door.