Theatre grads fill Stratford’s main stage
BY OLIVIA LITTLE
Sheridan grad Colton Curtis, 22, was ecstatic to get the call, telling him that he was cast in Stratford Festival’s main stage show.
“I felt deep down that it would happen, but it’s always surreal when someone is actually saying the words, ‘You got the part!’ ”
Just like Curtis, more than 10 grads will be acting alongside established performers in A Chorus Line in April. Rehearsals start Feb. 15.
Directed by Donna Feore, A Chorus Line follows dancers from all walks of life, each with their own challenges and hurdles to overcome, trying to catch a break on Broadway.
“The show is really cool because it lets the audience in on the entire audition process for a Broadway show,” said Curtis.
Curtis graduated from Sheridan’s Music Theatre Performance program last year. He’ll be playing Mark, the youngest dancer on the line, preparing for his first big audition in New York City.
“(Mark) is super eager and also a little naive about what he’s getting involved with,” said Curtis. “I love that I get to play him because he’s a lot like me, in the sense that I’m this young new face in Canadian theatre, who is really excited and anxious to get out there and be involved in these big productions.”
Established actress, Dayna Tietzen who will be playing one of the lead roles, Cassie, has performed in shows across Canada, the United States and Japan.
“It is an absolute dream role for me and one that I connect to deeply,” said Tietzen. “(Cassie) is fighting for the opportunity to do what she loves as long as she can, in whatever way she can, and she has to lay everything out on the line during the performance.”
It will be Tietzen’s first time performing with Sheridan grads.
“I am so excited to work with this cast. It is a great blend of actors who are up and coming and more established performers,” said Tietzen. “I can’t wait to work together to create our version of this classic piece of theatre.”
Julia McLellan, 25, who graduated from Sheridan in 2012 is excited to get the opportunity to work alongside the bigger performers in the show.
“Sharing the stage with such beautiful performers as Dayna Tietzen is an honour,” said McLellan. “I’ve been lucky to have worked with or know most of (the others) and they’re all such wonderful people onstage and off. It’s going to be an amazing year learning from them.”
McLellan credits her time at Sheridan for helping her get the role as the sweet, small town girl, Val.
“So much from my time at school helped me along the way. Sheridan’s program is incredibly prestigious and the training you get there makes you ready for anything,” said McLellan.
“Particularly in helping you know who you are as a performer and what kind of artist you want to be once you leave. [Sheridan] helps you identify yourself in this crazily vast industry.”
Kimberly-Ann Truong, 22, was cast as the understudy for the role of Connie, a quirky, high-energy character who is trying to break into the theatre industry despite being only 4-foot-10.
“There was a lot of screaming, crying and laughter when I got the phone call from my agent about Stratford,” said Truong. “A lot of my reaction came from the feeling of relief and gratification because of how much literal blood, sweat and tears I put into preparing.”
Truong, who graduated last year, also believes that her time at Sheridan gave her the skillset needed to obtain these roles.
“My entire four years spent at Sheridan got me to where I am today,” said Truong. “Without Sheridan I’m not sure where I would be, but it most definitely would not be the Stratford Festival or any of the other incredible theatre companies I have worked for since training at Sheridan.”
“I’m ready and eager to tackle this new adventure and I’m going to work as hard as I can because if I have learned anything from my time at Sheridan it is that there are absolutely no limits to what you are capable of as long as you work hard and continue to live life in the eyes of a student.”
Tickets to the show can be purchased from the Stratford Festival.