Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2004 Donna Reed Scholarship Alumnus opens in Broadway revival of “Fiddler On The Roof”

Ben Rappaport as Perchik

Ben Rappaport to appear as Perchik

The much-loved and much-revived 1964 musical comedy “Fiddler On The Roof” opened at The Broadway Theater on December 17. Ben Rappaport ("Mr. Robot," "The Good Wife," "Outsourced") portrays the young student radical Perchik, the man Hodel comes to cherish and follows into exile. 

It has been said the revival, with its story of the gradual disintegration of a family and a community, strikes home with unusual force in light of events taking place in the world today. 

The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. The show won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical in addition to eight other Tony Awards that year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Donna Reed Scholarship alumna returns to Broadway

Saycon Sengbloh
College Park, GA native has starring role in Eclipsed
Saycon Sengbloh, a 1996 Donna Reed Foundation national scholarship winner in acting, is currently starring in Eclipsed. After rave reviews and a sold-out preview run at The Public Theater in New York, the production opens on Broadway at John Golden Theatre starting in February.

Eclipsed is the brutal story of the atrocities the Liberian civil war inflicted on its women. Amid the chaos of the Liberian Civil War, the captive wives of a rebel officer band together to form a fragile community – until the balance of their lives is upset by the arrival of a new girl. Sengbloh plays Helena a.k.a. "Wife Number One" of the commanding officer who abducted the women now confined to his compound. She is the den mother-like force of nature within an ensemble that includes three other "wives" (one, a runaway rebel with a penchant for machine guns and knock-off designer duds) and a female peace warrior. 

For the past decade, Sengbloh has starred in a string of glitzy Broadway musicals, including Holler If Ya Hear Me, Motown The Musical, Hair, Fela, The Color Purple, Wicked and AIDA.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Donna Reed Scholarship alumna joins cast of “"The Fairly OddParents" Season 10

Kari Wahlgren
Kari Wahlgren To Voice Chloe Carmichael

Butch Hartman, the creator of Nick's Emmy Award-winning original animated series (Nicktoon) "The Fairly OddParents", has announced  that voice actress Kari Wahlgren will be providing the voice of Chloe Carmichael, a brand-new character who'll be appearing in "The Fairly OddParents" season 10.

Kari has a very impressive and ever-growing voice-acting resume, which includes voicing characters in a raft of popular animated Nickelodeon series, including "Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Harvey Beaks", "Breadwinners", "Winx Club", "Monsters vs. Aliens", "The Penguins of Madagascar", "Back at the Barnyard" and "Tak & the Power of Juju".

Kari, originally from Hoisington, KS, was a 1995 Donna Reed Foundation National Scholar in acting/vocal.

Learn more about Kari

Saturday, October 24, 2015

2000 Donna Reed Festival Alumnus opening in Off-Broadway production

Adam Daveline

Adam Daveline will lead cast as Scrooge

Adam Daveline will lead the cast as Scrooge in a new adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, with performances beginning on Wednesday, December 16th at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row on West 42nd Street in New York City. This limited holiday engagement runs through Wednesday, December 23, 2015. 

Seven performers bring 57 classic characters to life (or death) in this imaginative production. With clever action and creative staging, this ghostly retelling delivers a fresh look at this beloved traditional tale.

Daveline, a native of Jacksonville, FL, holds an MFA in Acting from the University of San Diego/Old Globe and a BFA in Musical Theater from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, writer, and director who has created productions both on film and on stage. Some notable credits include: Into the Woods (Roundabout/Fiasco), Unlock'd (Duke 42-Prospect), My Life is a Musical (Bay Street), Sita/Sati(New Ohio/Terra Nova), Emma (Old Globe), As You Like It/Inherit the Wind/Richard III (Old Globe). 

Daveline was a 2000 Donna Reed National Scholarship recipient in musical theatre.
Visit him at www.adamdaveline.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Donna Reed Festival alumnus adds the small screen to his credits

Rachel Bloom and Santino Fontana in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Santino Fontana has his hands full

Santino Fontana, a 2000 Donna Reed Festival acting scholarship finalist, currently has two shows airing on television. He is playing a sarcastic, slightly bitter bartender in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a quirky new CW comedy/musical featuring Fontana as Greg Serrano, a guy who gets dragged into the topsy-turvey world of young lawyer Rebecca Bunch (played by Rachel Bloom), who dropped everything to follow an ex-boyfriend from New York to West Covina, Calif.

He is also appearing with Jennifer Lopez in Shades of Blue, an NBC drama that follows a tight-knit crew of police officers who are effective at keeping the streets safe but also corrupt when it come to lining their pockets and protecting their own.

Fontana got his first taste of working for television while on Broadway in the stage version of Moss Hart's theater memoir, Act One. Lincoln Center filmed the performance for a PBS special that is set to air in November.

Fontana's film credits include Disney's 2013 hit musical film, “Frozen,” voicing Prince Hans, and the upcoming Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy, The Nest.   

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fifth Annual "AMERICAN ICON SERIES" Returns to the Donna Reed Theater

Chautauqua-style events

"Politics As Usual ... Historically Speaking"

Political campaigning is in full swing in Iowa and The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts is framing politics with a historical perspective during its fifth annual American Icon Series.

And who better to comment on politics than some of the foremost authorities of their day – Will Rogers, Mark Twain, and U. S. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lincoln - you know, the guys on Mount Rushmore!

Join us in a series of "Chautauqua-style" events from October, 2015 to March, 2016. The performances include live performances of 
scholarly "living history" actors, a panel, and screenings of American classics.

October 24, 2015 - Will Rogers interpreted by Doug Watson, Rogers County, OK
December 13, 2015 - It's A Wonderful Life screenings of Frank Capra's Holiday Classic (free event)
January 25, 2016 - This is Your Life®, Donna Reed on the big screen in celebration of her birthday (free event)
January 30, 2016 - Living Rushmore featuring four presidential impersonators on one stage
February 20, 2016 - The 2016 Iowa Caucuses: What just happened? featuring a panel of Iowa journalist and political analysts
March 12, 2016 - An Evening with Mark Twain interpreted by Jim Waddel, Hannibal, MO

Performances begin at 7 p.m. at the Donna Reed Theater, 1305 Broadway, in downtown Denison, Iowa, home of The Donna Reed Foundation and Museum.

Tickets for each event are $20 and can be obtained by calling The Donna Reed Foundation at 712-263-3334 or by e-mail at info@donnareed.org.

Download - The American Icon Series 2015-2016 Brochure - Adobe PDF

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Donna Reed Foundation to present Mutant Martian Movie Madness

Denison filmmaker's short films, others to be presented on Halloween

  If scary movies are your thing, then you may want to make plans to attend “Mutant Martian Movie Madness” at the Donna Reed Theater on Halloween night.
  The one-hour program will feature a selection of short independent films with a horror theme that have been screened at various festivals around the country. The films will range in length from seven to 29 minutes.
  Two of the short films will be by Denison filmmaker Dan Mundt. Mundt describes his film, “Damaged,” as an idea for an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” 
  He wrote and directed the film in 2002, while an adjunct faculty member at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University.
  Mutant Martian Movie Madness will begin at 8 pm at the Donna Reed Theater in uptown Denison, Ia on Saturday, October 31.
  The screening is free to the public. The program will be a fundraiser for the Donna Reed Foundation. Free-will donations will be accepted. (Gordon Wolf, Denison Review)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Come to Dension and meet Donna Reed

The 1958 television show, This is Your Life, featuring a surprised Donna Reed, will be shown twice on Saturday, September 19 on the big screen at The Donna Reed Theater during the Tri-City BBQ Fest in Denison. Screenings are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Watch family, long-time friends and industry colleagues as they join her on stage to recall events from her life. It is a wonderful look back. Stop in if you want to relive some great memories or even if you have never see it before. You can also see the bound script that Donna received after the show.

For more information call the Foundation at 263-3334 or email info@donnareed.org.

Donna Reed Foundation Sponsors Tri-City BBQ Costume Contest

Want to win $250 and have a blast in the process? Show up to the Tri-City BBQ Fest in your cute, clever or ridiculous BBQ themed costume. Then on September 19, Saturday at noon, head into the Donna Reed Theatre to strut your stuff. Kids and adults welcome. First prize will win $250 in BBQ Bucks to spend at the Fest! Talk about living large–you could buy food, pop, beer, rides, merchandise and more all day long for you AND your friends or family. Get creative and dress like a cut of meat, sauce, a farm animal, BBQ chef… whatever! Even if you don't dress up, you should come to watch the silliness.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Memorial marker installed at Donna Reed's childhood home

Boulder marks the location south of Denison, IA

It's now easier to find the rural birthplace and childhood home of film and television actress, Donna Reed. The farmhouse where she grew up was lost to fire in 1983. 

The site is now marked by a huge boulder from the property and a bronze plaque. The site is located 6.5 miles south of the junction of U.S. Highway 30 and Donna Reed Drive. 

The marker was made possible through the efforts of Pat Houston, Chris Petersen and the Donna Reed Foundation.

gps coordinates, 41.934879, -95.305642

1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist cast in ABC's crime drama, "Secrets and Lies"

Mekia Cox

Mekia Cox to appear in role of Amanda Warner

Mekia Cox (90210 and One Tree Hill) has been cast opposite Michael Ealy and Juliette Lewis in Season 2 of ABC’s anthology crime drama series Secrets & Lies, which will feature an all-new crime story that follows Eric Warner (Ealy), a newly married heir apparent who is under suspicion when his wife is murdered. Cox has been cast as Amanda Warner, Eric’s sister, and wife of a prominent Charlotte surgeon, who works as a criminal attorney for the Public Defender’s office. She idolizes her older brother Eric and is fiercely protective of him, immediately coming to his aid when he is targeted by Detective Cornell (Lewis) as the prime suspect in the murder of his wife. Cox was a 1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist from Orlando, Florida.

Donna Reed Foundation national scholar invited to perform in Spain

Grimes on cover of Dance Teacher

Jared Grimes celebrates July 4th in Madrid

Jared Grimes, a 2001 Donna Reed Foundation scholarship recipient in dance, joined fellow Broadway stars in Spain to celebrate July 4th a bit early with over 3,000 ex-pats and Spaniards. The U.S. State Department invited Grimes (Radio City's NEW YORK SPRING SPECTACULAR), Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti (GYPSY), and Norm Lewis (PHANTOM, PORGY AND BESS), for an evening "Celebrating New York City".

The trio performed a medley of songs for the one-night-only concert at the invitation of U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costos. Performances included classic show tunes from "Broadway Baby" to "Being Alive" and a showstopping re-visioning of MY FAIR LADY's "I Could Have Danced All Night", sung a cappella by Benanti with tap-dancing percussion from Grimes.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Donna Reed Scholarship alumna finishes run at Center Stage Baltimore

Saycon Sengbloh

Saycon Sengbloh in Bob Marley musical

Saycon Sengbloh, a 1996 Donna Reed Foundation national scholarship winner, landed the role of Rita Marley in the world premiere production of Marley, a musical with music and lyrics by Bob Marley, and written and directed by Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. The production ran May 7 -14 at Center Stage in Baltimore.

Telling the story of a pivotal moment in Bob Marley's life in the late 1970s, when he spent two years of self-imposed exile in London after surviving an assassination attempt in his home in Jamaica, the musical marks the first time Marley's legendary music has been featured in a biographical context on the stage. 

Sengbloh has appeared in Broadway productions of Motown The Musical, Fela!, Hair, The Color Purple, Wicked and Aida.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

2004 Donna Reed Scholarship Alumnus cast in USA Network drama series.

Ben Rappaport

Ben Rappaport to appear in Mr. Robot

Ben Rappaport, a 2004 Donna Reed Scholarship national finalist in acting, will play the part of Ollie in the new USA Network television series, Mr.Robot. The series follows a mysterious anarchist who recruits a young computer programmer who suffers from an anti-social disorder and connects to people by hacking them.

The series is scheduled to begin airing on USA Network on June 24, 2015. The pilot premiered on a variety of online and VOD services on May 27, 2015.

Rapport played the the recurring role of a fourth-year attorney, Carey Zapps on the CBS drama series, TheGood Wife. Viewers may also recognize him from his 2010 lead role as Todd Dempsy in the short-lived NBC series, Outsourced. 

Rappaport, born in Arlington, Texas, was a 2004 Donna Reed Scholarship national finalist in acting.

Brandon Victor Dixon to open in The Wild Party at New York City Center on July 15

Brandon Victor Dixon

Another Donna Reed scholarship alumnus making his mark in show business

   Brandon Victor Dixon, a 1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist in musical theater, will join the cast of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, running July 15 - 18, 2015 at New York City Center.  
   The Wild Party is the final production of New York City Center's acclaimed Encores! Off-Center series, which is returning for a third season of landmark Off-Broadway musicals.
   Dixon is known for creating the roles of Harpo in The Color Purple (2005), for which he was nominated for a Tony Award, and Berry Gordy Jr. in Motown: The Musical (2013). In London's West End, he played the role of Hayward Patterson in The Scottsboro Boys.
    His television credits include "The Good Wife," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and "One Life to Live." 
    His producing credits include Of Mice and Men (2014) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Read more. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Entry Deadline is June 30 for Donna Reed Foundation 2015 Iowa Drama Merit Awards

The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts announces the 2015 Iowa Merit Awards. The awards recognize talented Iowa high school students interested in pursuing further enrichment and education in the performing arts. 

Competition is open to all Iowa high school students (grades 10-12) who are studying drama and have acted in official school productions during the 2014-2015 school year. 

Awards of up to $1,000 may be awarded by the Foundation at its discretion. Assessment of merit will include application contents, personal statement, qualities and skill demonstrated in video audition sample, personal recommendation, and future potential. 

Complete Merit Award details and entry forms can be found here.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lorie Line and her Fab Five to perform in Denison

Lorie Line

Pianist Lorie Line performs in Denison on Friday, May 8, at the Donna Reed Theatre.

Lorie Line will perform in Denison for the first time as part of her Intimate Series tour. She will play all the favorites and the originals that have placed her among the most well-known pianists in the country. She will also highlight a few songs from her upcoming CD/Music Book, “The Heritage Collection, Volume Seven,” to be released the end of May.

Line has performed on over 2,000 stages in her 25-year career. Known mainly for her holiday extravaganza, she branched out in the past 10 years and has developed her non-seasonal intimate series.

She is accompanied by Fab Five, an ensemble of talented musicians from Minnesota that consists of violin, trombone, drums, guitar and bass.

Line has produced three television specials for PBS. She has recorded 47 CDs and has published 47 books of music of her arrangements and compositions.

The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. on May 8. Tickets are $39 and can be obtained by calling 1.800.801.5463, in person at the box office or at www.lorieline.com.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"Thwacked" Is Coming To Denison, IA

This year's workshop production.

A Fractured Fable of Frogs, Folks and Falling Skies

That's the Children's Musical Theater workshop production for this summer. 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. The workshop runs from June 15-19, 2015 and concludes with a performance for the public on Saturday, June 20. All events will take place at the high school, 819 North 16th St in Denison.

Since its meager beginning in 2004, this popular workshop has blossomed under the direction of Allison Rasmussen, a Manilla native and vocal music instructor at Waverly-Shell Rock Community Schools. This is the ninth year she has volunteered to head this workshop production. She is assisted by a dedicated team, including former students who have aged out of the program. All give a week of their time to help stage the production.

Even local grandparents have discovered a side benefit of the workshop. They enroll their grandchildren in the program and spend quality time with them while they attend the workshop.

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Amy Heidemann Debuts New Video for Single “Along The Road”

Amy Heideman and Nick Noonan of Karmin

2004 Donna Reed Foundation vocal scholarship finalist is half of Karmin

Platinum-selling pop duo, Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan, better known as Karmin, just released the video for their latest single, Along The Road. Complimenting their stripped-down performance is an entrancing backdrop - a sunset mosaic of shoes representing the many roads and paths life can offer. Along The Road is a selection from the band’s upcoming album, Leo Rising.

"We had written the song three years ago, before we even signed with a record label or anything was even happening for Karmin," Heidemann says. "The song has always been really near and dear to our hearts, but when we brought in this guitar player, who happens to have toured with Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys, he just started playing, I started singing and we basically did the thing in one take.” Their musical video was also done in one take.

Jared Grimes Joins Radio City Show

Jared Grimes taps to Singing in the Rain

Donna Reed Foundation national scholar is making a splash

Jared Grimes is dancing in the rain - literally - at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

Grimes, who was a 2001 Donna Reed Foundation scholarship recipient in dance, has joined the cast of The New York Spring Spectacular, a show that features the famed Rockettes.

The production includes a splashy production number with Grimes, Derek Hough of Dancing With the Stars fame and the Rockettes tap-dancing exuberantly as 500 gallons of heated water pour down on them. The production runs through May 3.

Last year at age 30, Grimes was named outstanding male dancer in a Broadway show at the Fred and Adele Astaire Awards in New York. He won for his tap dancing in the Cotton Club-era musical revue, After Midnight. He then performed in the Tony Awards broadcast.

USA Today article and video

Monday, March 16, 2015

University of Iowa Dance Group to Perform in Denison

 Second University of Iowa performance at the Donna Reed Theater for the Performing Arts

The University of Iowa’s premier touring repertory company, Dancers in Company, will perform at the historic Donna Reed Theater in Denison on Friday, March 27 at 7 pm. 

The event is free, open to the public, and the only performance by the group in western Iowa.

Now in its 31st year, the company of University of Iowa graduate and undergraduate dancers tours throughout Iowa and the Midwest each year, performing concerts and conducting outreach through lecture demonstrations for audiences of all ages.

The repertory features a mix of contemporary choreography, including a piece commissioned specifically for Dancers in Company by guest choreographer Melinda Myers, a former member of the renowned Tricia Brown Dance Company, current member of Lucky Plush in Chicago, and choreographer/performer of her own. 

This is the second University of Iowa performance in Denison sponsored by the
Northwest Iowa Regents Resource Center, which provides access to Iowa Regents
academic and cultural opportunities for northwest Iowans.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Donna Reed Festival Alumnus returns to perform with Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Santino Fontana with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Perhaps three really is a magic number. 

Broadway and film actor, Santino Fontana, will perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the American Choral Directors Society (ACDA) concert on February 28, 2015. He will become the first guest artist to perform with the Choir three times in the space of a year. 

Fontana made his debut with the Choir at the 2014 Pioneer Day concert last July and returned a mere five months later for the Christmas concert, which also featured the Sesame Street Muppets

The ACDA concert will be held in the conference center in Salt Lake City. Additional Choir guest artists will be Sylvia McNair, U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants and the combined ACDA National Conference Honor Choirs.

Fontana was a 2000 Donna Reed Festival national scholarship finalist in acting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The University of Iowa’s Latin Jazz Ensemble to perform at the Donna Reed Theater

University of Iowa  Latin Jazz Ensemble

Concert is open to the public and free of charge.

The University of Iowa(UI) Latin Jazz Ensemble will perform a free concert at the Donna Reed Theater in Denison, Iowa on Sunday, February 22 at 1 p.m..

The ensemble is directed by James Dreier, lecturer with the jazz department, and is considered one of the premier jazz ensembles in the UI jazz program. 

Their repertoire focuses on music of the Caribbean and South America.

The event is sponsored by the UI Office of Outreach and Engagement and coordinated through the Northwest Iowa Regents Resource Center in cooperation with The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts.

The performance will begin at 1 p.m. at the Donna Reed Theater, 1305 Broadway, in downtown Denison, Iowa, home of The Donna Reed Foundation and Museum. It is open to the public and free of charge.

For more information, contact The Donna Reed Foundation at 712-263-3334 or email info@donnareed.org.

Award-winning Roosevelt impersonator premiers new show at the Donna Reed Theater

Adam Lindquist as Teddy Roosevelt

Last program in The Donna Reed Foundation's current American Icon Series

Adam Lindquist, a national award winning Theodore Roosevelt look-alike and entertainer, will premier his new show, Roosevelt! on the stage of The Donna Reed Theater in Denison on Friday, February 20.

Linquist plays the charismatic author, U.S. President, war hero, adventurer and conservationist.  His show brings to stage the spirit of the man most called “Teddy”, an American President who faced the same issues that concern people today: opportunity, conservation, judicious diplomacy and the role of government.

This humorous and meaningful one-man performance will leave you with an insight on the importance of leadership in developing the pride of a nation.

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

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students 18 years old and younger. For ticket information, contact The Donna Reed Foundation at 712-263-3334 or email info@donnareed.org.

More about the performer

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy Birthday, Donna

Donna Reed Foundation invites you to help us celebrate

Monday, January 26, 2015 5:00 - 7:00 pm CST
5:30 pm  - Special showing of This Is Your Life

Donna Reed Theater
1305 Broadway
, Denison, IA 51442

Please join us on Monday, January 26, 2015 between 5:00 - 7:00 pm for an open house birthday reception for Donna Reed at the Donna Reed Center for the Performing Arts in Denison, Iowa.

Stop by for light refreshments and a special screening of the half-hour long television show, This Is Your Life which aired March 26, 1958.

The show, hosted by Ralph Edwards, surprised Reed with guests that included her parents and siblings, her best friend from high school, her high school chemistry teacher and her one-room schoolhouse teacher.

For our out-of-town friends and fans, please help grow our birthday card collection for Donna Reed with any favorite memories you have for her, her films/shows, encounters, and experiences with anything Donna (including participation in her Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts workshops, events, scholarships, parades, etc - anything is welcome!)

You can send greetings to the Donna Reed Foundation, 1305 Broadway, Denison, IA 51442 or email contact us at our special birthday email address. Excerpts and cards may be displayed at this or future celebrations.