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Brockport Students Take Part in Geva Theatre Center Productions
Recently seven talented students from the Department of Theatre at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, have lived the lives of working actor. First in Amadeus, and then in Geva Theatre Center’s production of A Christmas Carol, these students have appeared on stage as part of casts of actors that are traditionally cast out of New York City.
For more than ten years, the theatre department and Geva have had an official alliance in which Geva supplies course instructors, a directing fellow who stages one of the Mainstage productions at Brockport, speakers who populate the College’s “Stage Directions: Conversations with Theatre Professionals” series and other support, including advertising and marketing opportunities. In return, Geva is able to tap into a pool of theatre majors as interns. Some of these interns have gone on to full- or part-time positions with Geva as technical or administrative staff.
Skip Greer, Geva’s director of education, has helped nurture the Brockport interns through the years. For the most part, these interns have been behind the scenes, but with both Amadeus and A Christmas Carol, he has had, or will have, the opportunity to see Brockport students on stage. "What a joy it is to see them up there!," he exclaimed, when asked about the students’ work in Amadeus. "They helped bring Mozart’s world alive so compellingly with each performance. Director Paul Barnes told me that he couldn’t imagine working with a more professional or creative group of interns. We’re proud to have them on our stage."
Yoder, Ellison, Bleier
Thomas, Carbone, MeKee
The students — Royce Bleier, Rochester, NY; Vinnie Carbone, Southampton, NY; Kate Dylan, Albany, NY; Timothy Ellison, Rochester, NY; Stephanie McKee, Penfield, NY; Ricky Thomas, Caledonia, NY and Rachael Yoder, Niskayuna, NY — functioned as the ensemble in Amadeus, which allowed them to be courtiers in the court of Emperor Joseph II, opera and symphony attendees, valets to Salieri and, in Dylan’s case, Salieri’s prize singing pupil, Katherina Cavalieri.
Michael Sheehan, a recent Brockport graduate, joined the seven other students as they functioned the same way in A Christmas Carol: as the scurrying citizens of London in the throes of the holidays, guests at Fezziwig’s party, ghosts from Scrooge’s past, and various other supernumeraries.
A Christmas Carol
Ellison has nothing but wonderful things to say about his experience. "While working at Geva," he reflects, "I get this great sense that the other interns and I have all arrived at a new height in our learning, thanks in no small part to Brockport’s relationship with Geva." Being on stage with professional actors could have been daunting, but he feels that both the administration and the actors were "very open, and answered any questions we had about the business very thoughtfully, frankly, and happily." Ellison happily related his favorite moment of the Amadeus run, which was "walking across stage for the opening night curtain call. It was that 'I’ve made it' kind of feeling."
A Christmas Carol, featuring Brockport students in the ensemble, ran at Geva Theatre Center from November to December 2010 and again in 2011.