I just love watching talent develop and grow and with four or five excellent theatre programs locally the opportunity to do so is tremendous. I was talking to my friend Dr. Sandy Osher about this just the other evening (he joined me at PERFECT HARMONY) and we agree that the potential in this city is limitless for some of the talent we’ve been privileged to see over the last few years.
This is especially true at UC-CCM. Last night, I caught the Drama Showcase (and will see the Musical Theatre one today) and am quite hopeful for these students as they head to NYC on Monday. Department head Richard Hess opened the show with a reminder that when thy do their scenes for agents, there’s not a lot of response. He encouraged us to interact with the material and the actors and this audience was great.
First up was “Bop It” featuring Connor Lawrence and Spencer House. House plays dumb jock as well as anyone and Lawrence is excellent at conveying serious, intense, while remaining hilarious. Next was “Tweet” featuring Fabiola Rodriguez and AC Horton. I’ve said it before, Horton is brilliant, and she was at her quirky, strange, and fabulous best. Its hard to take your eyes off of her for fear you’ll miss something. Rodriguez looks like a star and balanced out Horton’s energy quite well.
Anna Stapleton paired with House for “The Coming World,” and told a story of heartbreak and sadness that accentuated both actors strengths. “The Vandal” reunited the leads from THE HEIDI CHRONICLES (Lawrence and Sarah Davenport) for a very smart, sweet scene that highlighted their chemistry together.
“Tigers Be Still” might have been my favorite scene of the night as Horton once again stole the show with the tiniest of choices (dropping her bag on the floor, a single facial reaction, eye roll – she’s excellent). Carli Rhoades, though, was wonderful as a therapist who had the misfortune of meeting Horton’s character. It was great and I want to know more about this scene.
Finally, the showcase ended with “The Way I Like It” featuring a great odd couple of Nathan Wallace and Trey Wright. Wallace is one of my favorites, too, as he can play hilarious (like in this piece but can also do intense like in MACBETH) and Wright has a nice energy about him, as well. I had a great time and enjoyed this forty-five minutes of non-stop talent very much.
I will be looking to see where these amazing performers end up in the near future; the world is theirs and I’m confident we’ll be hearing more about them soon.
The CCM Drama Showcase will appear before industry professionals in NYC on Monday night at The Pershing Square Signature Center,
480 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036 and then again in Los Angeles on April 14th at The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505. For more information, click here.