Saturday, December 8, 2018

Blumhouse Finally Hires a Woman Director: Sophia Takal’s All-Female Horror Movie

Sophia Takal

Addition to Hulu's "Into the Dark" series brings a new all-female horror movie to a national audience.

With all the horror movies Blumhouse has released, they’ve never had a female director for a horror film. Until now. Sophia Takal, director of the amazing indie horror film Always Shine, will become the first female Blumhouse director with New Year New You, a feature-length entry in the Blumhouse/Hulu anthology series, Into the Dark. The 85-minute feature will premiere on Hulu on December 28.

The plot centers on a group of old high school friends who reunite in a house for New Year’s Eve, where they’re forced to confront traumas from their past.

Takal’s previous features have followed the traditional route of arriving on the festival circuit and searching for distribution. “Green,” in which Takal starred opposite her husband Lawrence Michael Levine, premiered at SXSW in 2011; “Always Shine,” a tense thriller starring Mackenzie Davis and Catlin FitzGerald premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016.

Takal was a Donna Reed National Scholarship finalist in acting in 2003.

Close Shave! Check Out Santino Fontana as Dorothy Michaels in Tootsie

Santino Fontana

New Dorothy has Donna Reed Foundation connection

Tootsie, the new musical based on the acclaimed 1982 film comedy classic starring Dustin Hoffman, is heading to the Great White Way this spring. The story follows talented but difficult actor Michael Dorsey, played by Tony nominee Santino Fontana, who struggles to find work until an audacious, desperate stunt lands him the role of a lifetime. Enjoy the fun shot above. The production is scheduled to open on Broadway on April 23, 2019, at the Marquis Theatre.

Best known for his role as (original) Greg on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Fontana is a Tony-nominated theater actor, for his performance in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Fontana was a Donna Reed Scholarship national finalist in 2000.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Memorial service for casting director Eddie Foy III

Eddie Foy III

Set for December 13 at Donna Reed Theatre

A celebration of the life of Eddie Foy III will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 13, at the Donna Reed Theater in Denison. Foy’s life will be celebrated through videos and photo montages set to music. Everyone is invited.

Foy, an award-winning Hollywood casting director, who worked on such classic series as Happy Days, Cheers, M*A*S*H and The Monkees, and was a third-generation member of the legendary Foy show business clan, died November 3 from a fall at his home in Denison, IA. He was 83.

We loved him because of his connection with “The Donna Reed Show,” which starred the Denison native by the same name. His work for the Donna Reed Foundation will be sorely missed.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” to be screened with Spanish subtitles

Sunday, December 16 at 3 p.m. at Donna Reed Theatre

Every December for the last 20 years or so, the Donna Reed Center for Performing Arts in Denison has hosted a free screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the 1946 holiday classic that features the theater’s famous namesake.

Over those same 20 years, Denison has changed. Hispanic immigrants have arrived, initially drawn to jobs at the meatpacking plants, and now make up almost half of the western Iowa town’s population of 8,500.

So this year, for the first time, the theater is hosting a screening of the Christmas movie with Spanish subtitles at 3 p.m.on Dec. 16. The movie will be screened at 7 p.m. without subtitles. Folks can see “Que bello es vivir” or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Read the entire Des Moines Register article.

From Kansas to Los Angeles - Talking with Voice Actress Kari Wahlgren

Kari Wahlgren

An interview by Taimur Dar, Digital Media Producer and Marketing Expert for the Beat.

One of the most prolific talents in the animation industry, Kari Wahlgren has worked on some of the biggest properties not only dubbing anime but Western animation as well such as Marvel and DC Comics animation, Ricky and Morty on Adult Swim, and so much more. Much like Clark Kent, Wahlgren has certainly come a long way from her humble town in Kansas. Read about her voiceover journey and delve into some of her past projects and roles in this interview. Plus learn about her decidedly unique take on the classic character Tinker Bell in possibly one of the craziest interpretations of the Peter Pan story.

Walgren is a University of Kansas graduate and a 1995 Donna Reed Foundation National Scholar (acting/vocal) from Hoisington, KS.
Read the entire interview.

King Kong Stomps onto Broadway

Kristen Faith Oei

Kristen Faith Oei is part of cast

The highly anticipated Broadway premiere of King Kong opened November 8 at the Broadway Theatre. Kristen Faith Oei, is a swing for the production. A swing is a member of the company who understudies several chorus and/or dancing roles.

King Kong follows a young actress (Pitts) and a maverick filmmaker (Morris) as they voyage from the bustling streets of 1930s New York to an uncharted island to capture the greatest wonder the world has ever seen. At the center of the stage show is a 20-foot high, 2,000-pound gorilla brought to life by a team of seamlessly integrated artists and technicians.
Watch highlights from King Kong

Jared Grimes to star in Swing Kids

Jared Grimes

Film to be released on December 19, 2018

Jared Grimes will star in an upcoming South Korean film based on the Korean musical Rho Ki-soo, directed by Kang Hyeong-cheol. Joining him will be Do Kyung-soo, Park Hye-su, Oh Jung-se and Kim Min-Ho.

The film takes place in Geoje prison camp during the Korean War in 1951. Ro Ki-soo (Do Kyung-soo), a rebellious North Korean soldier, falls in love with tap dancing after meeting Jackson (Jared Grimes), an officer from Broadway. Roh Ki-soo then joins Jackson's produced dance group. Kang Byung-sam (Oh Jung-se) dances with the wind in hopes of finding his wife, Xiao Fang (Kim Min-Ho), a Chinese soldier who was born with a talent in dancing but cannot dance for more than a minute due to Angina. Yang Pan-rae (Park Hye-su) completes the group who makes money through dancing.
Watch the trailer.

Amanda Seales Lands Her Own HBO Stand-Up Comedy Special

Amanda Seales

Hour-long special Amanda Seales: I Be Knowin’ to air sometime in 2019

Comedian Amanda Seales (Insecure) will make her stand-up debut in the hour-long special Amanda Seales: I Be Knowin’.

A series regular as Tiffany on Insecure, Amanda Seales is currently touring with Smart Funny & Black, the live comedic competition show she created. A former MTV VJ with a master’s degree in African-American studies from Columbia University, she has guest-starred on Black-ish; written, produced and starred in two seasons of her scripted web comedy series Get Your Life; and hosts her weekly podcast, Small Doses.

Seales was a 1999 recipient of a Donna Reed National Scholarship in acting.

Brandon Victor Dixon cast in Fox's Rent Live

Brandon Victor Dixon

Upcoming live television event will air January 27, 2019

Brandon Victor Dixon, along with Jordan Fisher, Vanessa Hudgens, and RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Valentina are among the names announced for Fox's 2019 live production of Rent.

Set to air January 27, 2019, Rent will feature Kiersey Clemons (Hearts Beat Loud) as Joanne, Dixon (Hamilton, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert) as Tom Collins, Fisher (Hamilton) as Mark, and Hudgens (High School Musical, Gigi, Grease: Live) as Maureen, with Brennin Hunt (Nashville) as Roger, Mario (Empire) as Benjamin, recording artist Tinashe (Dancing With the Stars) as Mimi, and Valentina as Angel. Tony nominee Keala Settle will also be part of the production, singing the solo from "Seasons of Love."

After the success of its live musicals Grease! Live and A Christmas Story, Fox now brings the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Larson musical to television audiences.

Dixon was a 1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist in musical theatre.

Broadway's Kiss Me, Kate Finds Its Complete Cast

Preston Truman Boyd

Ensemble includes 2004 Donna Reed Scholarship winner

Roundabout Theatre Company's 2019 Broadway revival of the musical comedy Kiss Me, Kate has found its complete cast. The 1948 musical comedy from Cole Porter will feature an updated libretto by Tony-nominated composer-lyricist Amanda Green.

Preston Boyd, originally from Moorhead, MN, will be a member of the ensemble. He recently starred in Broadway’s The Play That Goes Wrong, was cast in Jersey Boys as Bob Gaudio on its first national broadway tour, and played the role of the Monster in the first national tour of Young Frankenstein the Musical by Mel Brooks.

Boyd was the recipient of both the Donna Reed National Vocal Scholarship and the Donna Reed National Musical Theatre Scholarship in 2004.

Jose Luaces appearing in Regional Production

Jose Luaces

A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas opened November 29th

Flat Rock Playhouse in Flat Rock North Carolina launched the premiere production of A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas in 2017 and broke box office records for a seasonal production. Featuring favorite holiday songs, spectacular dance numbers, and sublime vocals, A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas had audiences a-ring-ting-tingle-ing for more.

Jose Luaces, a 2003 Donna Reed National Scholarship finalist in musical theatre, appears in this year's production. It will journey through iconic holiday scenes, including the streets of a bustling city and a wintry wonderland. Interspersed with festive musical numbers and jovial scenes, this production will also celebrate the serene beauty of classic songs such as "O Holy Night" and "White Christmas".

A Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas will run on the MainStage from November 29th to December 22nd.

Brandon Victor Dixon, Tina Fey, John Gallagher Jr., and More Tapped for Modern Love Series

Brandon Victor Dixon

A new anthology series from Amazon

A host of Broadway alums are set to appear in Modern Love, the new anthology series from Amazon Studios. Based on the well-known New York Times column and weekly podcast, the eight-episode series will feature Hamilton and Shuffle Along star and Emmy nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, Oscar winner Anne Hathaway (Ocean’s Eight), Mean Girls creator and Emmy winner Tina Fey (30 Rock), Tony Award winner John Gallagher, Jr. (The Newsroom), and Emmy nominee John Slattery, recently seen on Broadway in The Front Page.

Each half-hour episode of Modern Love looks at love in its varied forms. The show is currently in production in New York.

Dixon was a 1999 Donna Reed scholarship finalist in musical theatre.


Saycon Sengbloh

Broadway divas Saycon Sengbloh and LaChanze are teaming up in 2019 for the Off-Broadway musical version of The Secret Life of Bees. Performances will begin May 12, 2019 at the Atlantic Theatre Company before an official opening on June 13.
According to PLAYBILL, Sengbloh (Eclipsed, Hair) will star as Rosaleen, a Black caretaker who embarks on a pursuit with the young Lily, played by Elizabeth Teeter, to uncover the mystery of Lily’s mother’s death against the backdrop of 1960s South Carolina. LaChanze will play beekeeper August Boatwright along with Eisa Davis (Kings) as June, Manoel Felciano as T-Ray, Brett Gray as Zach and Anastacia McCleskey as May.

The Secret Life of Bees is based on the 2001 Sue Monk Kidd’s novel of the same name. It was turned into a major motion picture in 2008 starring Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keyes, Dakota Fanning and Sophie Okonedo.

Sengbloh was the 1966 recipient of a Donna Reed Acting and Musical Theatre scholarship.