A series of showcases this spring highlighted the talents of seniors from the undergraduate Music Theatre and Acting programs, as well as the graduate students from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training in Sarasota. In New York City, Los Angeles and online, these talented young actors demonstrated their talents before alums, donors and industry professionals.
From Tallahassee to New York, FSU connections run deep.
Seniors in the Music Theatre and Acting programs performed their New York showcase on May 2 at Florence Gould Hall for theatre professionals. The evening performance was filled with alumni, family and friends.
“Graduation was Saturday morning. Hours after walking across the stage, we were at the Tallahassee Airport waiting to board a flight for New York City,” said Caleb Winstrup (BFA Acting 2022).
After their New York Showcase, the seniors in the BFA Acting program also traveled to California, where they performed their showcase at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank on May 5. The graduates held a short meet and greet following the performance.
Students in these programs maintain strong connections with alumni, a network FSU cultivates through its Big/Little program in which seniors are matched with freshmen in the program for mentorship.
“My Big’s Big was Christiani Pitts. When I visited New York, I saw her on Broadway in King Kong,” said recent alum Ramone Nelson (BFA Music Theatre 2021). “She took me backstage and has stayed in touch with me since, as a mentor. That’s the kind of support FSU provides.”
Tallahassee-based Theatre Patrons Association members traveled as a group to support the seniors. They filled the weekend leading up to the showcase with five Broadway plays, two of which currently feature FSU Alumni. Leslie Donna Flesner-Cruz (BFA Music Theatre 2008) is in the cast of Funny Girl, her 9th Broadway role, while Ramone Nelson is a swing and understudy in MJ the Musical.
“We feel like we watched Ramone grow in his four years at FSU,” said Ellen Berler, Past President of FSU Theatre Patrons Association. “To go from the Fallon Theatre stage as the male lead in Chicago in 2019 to Broadway less than two years later is such a feat. As supporters of FSU Theatre, it meant so much to see him on that stage.”
Taking their talents to the world, with a Digital Showcase
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, students of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training would travel from Sarasota to New York City to demonstrate their acting skills live before casting directors and agents. However, for the past three years, they have done the showcase digitally.
“While it was disappointing at first, we’ve realized that this actually makes the showcase more accessible,” said Andrei Malaev-Babel, Professor and Head of Acting at the Conservatory. “It helps our graduating students reach a larger audience over a longer period of time.”
The actor showcase consists of short scenes which allow actors to show the skills they have developed at the FSU/Asolo. It is the way the conservatory introduces graduating students to the industry, including agents, casting executives, directors and talent reps.
The 2022 digital showcase was directed by Malaev-Babel, with each scene selected from contemporary plays by the students themselves. Each of the 13 graduating students appears in 2 different scenes, allowing them to demonstrate multiple aspects of their talents.
Watch the full FSU/Asolo Conservatory showcase and learn more about this talented ensemble of actors at FSUAsoloConservatory.com.
The graduating seniors in Acting and Music Theatre also created virtual performances that can be viewed online. Learn more about the 2022 Senior Showcase and see virtual performances from each of the at TheatreShowcase.cfa.fsu.edu.
Learn more about FSU’s School of Theatre at theatre.fsu.edu.