Theater experience gives students unique learning opportunities
KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 18, 2016) — Two new off-Broadway shows opening next year will have major support from Kennesaw State’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Department Chair Rick Lombardo, who is directing the plays Albatross and Ring Twice for Miranda, will be assisted by theater majors Ashton Nicole Montgomery and Danny Crowe.
Montgomery will work on Albatross, which was presented at Kennesaw State in September after its performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland in August. It will debut at the 59E59 Theatres from Jan. 12 to Feb. 12.
Crowe will assist with the world premiere of a new play, Ring Twice for Miranda, when it opens its run at the New York City Center Stage 2 from Jan. 24 to April 16.
An award-winning stage director, Lombardo says providing a hands-on opportunity to Kennesaw State students to work among professional actors and stage technicians will help them in the long run.
“These two students are going to experience the New York theater scene,” said Lombardo. “They will get to help me rehearse and direct a New York premiere and work with some of the country’s top actors, writers and designers. This is a unique opportunity to experience working outside our region in the crucible of New York theater.”
Montgomery, an actress and singer who has appeared in several big Kennesaw State productions over the past two years, including most recently the role of Mrs. Patrick in the musical A Man of No Importance, will be the assistant to the director on Albatross.
“She will take notes during rehearsals and will sit in the back of the theater with me during performances as we continue to work on the show during previews, and decide what to fix after each night’s performance,” Lombardo said.
Montgomery, who will graduate this summer, views her upcoming New York experience as providing a major thrust for her future career plans.
“I believe the best thing about this experience will be having the ability to be fully immersed in the professional world of New York City theater,” she said. “As an individual who wants to pursue a career in the city, in both acting and directing, this will not only give me an insight on how the behind-the-scenes work functions, but also possibly open doors for me as an performer.”
Fellow Kennesaw State senior Crowe also has built an impressive acting resume, having worked on a dozen Kennesaw State productions. Among his credits, he played the lead role of Melchior in the musical Spring Awakening in March and as Hugh Dorsey in Parade, which was performed at the Strand Theatre in the Marietta Square.
Crowe worked over the summer with the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival and completed the National Theatre School of Ireland-Gaiety School of Acting study abroad program through Kennesaw State.
Working on the tragicomedy Ring Twice for Miranda will provide him with his first internship and allow him to go on auditions during the day.
“It will give me a feel of what a real intensive rehearsal process up there consists of, so that I can be more prepared to enter the arts field professionally once I make my eventual move to Manhattan,” Crowe said. “This trip serves as massive networking opportunity for me in New York City.
“To be making new theater in New York, right in the trenches on 42nd Street – that's about as close to the big leagues as you can get.”
After he returns, Crowe will head into rehearsals of Lombardo's March production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, in which he will play the lead role of Vershinin.
As Kennesaw State’s theater department celebrates its 20th year, many of the department’s faculty are deeply involved in the Atlanta theater community, and more students are landing internships and jobs with local theater companies.
-- Robert S. Godlewski
Photos by Lauren Lopez de Azua
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.