With the recent announcement of the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS) asking Genesee Community College to host the annual TANYS Festival again, Genesee’s Theatre Arts program is quietly rising to the top of higher education programs across the state. At last month’s TANYS festival, Genesee’s production of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange, took top honors at the state-wide theatre event.
The performance was awarded in four categories: “Excellence in Acting to the Ladies of Color for their Ensemble Work” to Anjelica Sistrunk, Lady in Brown; Faith Horne, Lady in Green; Crystal Ray, Lady in Orange; Samara Brown, Lady in Blue; Nikole Marone, Lady in Red; and Nikkia A. Travis, Lady in Yellow. The “Excellence in Choreography” went to Madia Cooper; and “Excellence in Acting” went to Nikole Marone for her portrayal of the Lady in Red. “For Colored Girls…” also received the highest honor, “Best Long Play of 2009,” a remarkable achievement for Genesee’s Theatre Arts program.
“I began working on “For Colored Girls…” in the Spring of 2009, and was finally able to recruit the right ensemble,” Maryanne Arena, director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee said. “This performance showcases the importance of ensemble work and the wealth of talent that is cultivated from Genesee’s Theatre program.”
This was the second year Genesee Center of the Arts hosted the TANYS event. The College was proud to provide a top-notch production crew for the weekend long event, utilizing theatre students who were led by Genesee’s Technical Theatre program Director, Ed Hallborg. Throughout the weekend the crew was consistently praised for both their ability and professionalism. The students involved were stage managers: Jessica Francis and Amelia Favata; lighting designers: Adam Wilbur and Sara Leonard; sound designer, Joe Catalano; and run crew: Alex Farley, Jamie Hicks and Tyler Eldred.
In previous years, Genesee’s Forum Players have also been recommended for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (ACTF). The ACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. Genesee’s Forum Players will not be competing this year in ACTF due to funding limitations and being featured in the TANYS festival this year.
Currently, Genesee students have appeared on Broadway, auditioned and gone on to conservatory training, and are working professionally on stage, movies, and television. Genesee graduates have also attended the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Genesee students who have transferred and graduated from other four-year institutions have been featured in films, started theatre companies, served as artistic directors, interned for regional equity theatres, designed costumes for college and equity theatres, and taught acting at professional theatres to elementary and high school students.
Genesee’s theatre facilities are another reason so many students choose Genesee to hone their artistic talents. Genesee students study and perform in the Genesee Center for the Arts, a modern and sophisticated art facility which houses a 328-seat theatre, rehearsal studio, dressing rooms, full scene shop, well-equipped costume shop, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting studio.
Award-wining faculty help Genesee’s Theatre Arts program stand-out among other programs. Maryanne Arena, director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee, was a professional actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, and director before turning to a full-time teaching career. She holds an MFA in Acting/Theatre and has toured the United States with several professional theatre companies. She recently received the 2009 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.
To discover all the opportunities in Genesee’s Fine and Performing Arts programs visit http://www.genesee.edu/index.cfm/program/dspArticle/arts.theatre/default... .
Editor’s Note: A photograph of the cast of ‘For Colored Girls’ is available at: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/ForColoredGirls.jpg