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).