University of Rochester

EVENT: Unique Performance Culminates Semester of Intense Learning

November 16, 2000

Imagine a musical theater performance as a final exam. Twenty students from the University of Rochester will have that experience 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, and Thursday, Dec. 14, in Lower Strong Auditorium on the River Campus of the University as they perform "Ships of Dreams."

Students in the Musical Theater Workshop course have spent the semester in intensive performances where they were coached and critiqued by Kim Kowalke, professor of music and chairman of the Department of Music, and David Runzo, visiting lecturer. Admitted by audition, the students have learned how to sing theater songs, how to act a song, and the basics of musical theater performance, all in preparation for their revue, "Ships of Dreams."

Students attended class twice a week for six hours while also rehearsing and receiving extra coaching from Kowalke and Runzo on their own time. The group included an advanced level workshop, with six students, and a regular workshop. The advanced group has utilized exercises Kowalke observed in the musical theater program at the Hochschule der Kuenste in Berlin. Students learned the art of singing while performing a task like counting the people in the audience, improvised songs, directed scenes, and made an original musical using three unrelated songs.

"Ships of Dreams" is excerpted from a lyric in Titanic, the musical by Maury Yeston. Most of the material in the performance references the images of ships-personal voyages of self-discovery- or dreams-wants, needs, fears, and longings. The show features numbers from Titanic and highlights from work done by the students this semester. Jonette Lancos, associate professor of theater and dance at SUNY Geneseo, will choreograph some numbers for the production. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information contact the Department of Music (585) 275-2828.