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Basic Information
Full Name:
UC ID #:
UC Email:
College: Conservatory of Music
Major: Musical Theatre
Title of Project: Summer Stock Theatre Project
Expected Project Start Date: June 9, 2011
Expected Project End Date: August 14, 2011
Project Information
1. Provide a brief overview/abstract of your proposed honors experiential learning project.
Over the summer, I will be participating in what is known as “Summer Stock Theatre”. In a
general sense, summer stock is an intensive theatrical environment in which multiple shows are
rehearsed and performed in a very limited amount of time by a small cast over the course of the
summer. While one show is in rehearsals during the day, another show is performing at night.
This often leads to long days of 7-hour rehearsals, followed by a two-hour dinner break before
returning to the theatre to perform a show that evening. This summer, after extensive auditions
for summer stock opportunities, I was fortunate enough to be employed by a reputable summer
stock theatre called Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw, IN. This theatre puts on a total of six
shows every summer and I am cast in four of these shows, including “Hairspray”, “State Fair”,
“Big River” and “Lend Me A Tenor”. Not only will this opportunity stretch my creative abilities,
but it will also teach me a great deal about time management and how to work efficiently and
effectively in a high-stress environment. In order to turn this endeavor into an experiential
learning project, I would like to incorporate an additional research component into my
preparation for the shows that I will be performing. This research will be beneficial to the creative
process that is necessary to establish characterization for each show and will also give me added
insight to the circumstances of the time period surrounding each work. For instance, in shows
such as “Hairspray” (which takes place during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s) and “Big
River” (which is based off of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), the social and
political movements of the time are pivotal to understanding why these stories were written and
why the message behind them is important. For “State Fair” and “Lend Me A Tenor”, the social
circumstances of the time are not as relevant to the message of the story as in the other two
works. These shows present their own challenges, however, as it will be necessary to develop my
own character as an Ensemble member in the first show and I need to independently master an
Italian accent for my role in “Lend Me A Tenor”. While it would be easy to do the minimum
amount of research for each show since rehearsal time is so limited, I would like to stretch my
creative abilities and obtain as much background information about the shows as possible. This
will be greatly beneficial to the performance of these shows and my growth as an actress.
2. Clearly state how each of the following elements will be exhibited in your work (refer to the first
two pages of this document with the full description of what is expected in each of these areas).
1. Substantial Content and Quality within Creative Arts Theme
This honors experiential learning project will fulfill many of the creative arts learning
objectives that are required for a gratifying honors experience. This project will further
develop competencies in a particular creative domain, specifically musical theatre
performance. By rehearsing and performing a total of four separate shows in the course of
just two months, I will have to quickly develop complex characters and research the time
periods and history of the shows. This will only be accomplished with efficiency and my
personal dedication to completing in-depth character analysis. This project also addresses the
idea of “defining the creative problem and appropriate methodology”. In this situation, the
creative problem is the question of how I can fully understand these characters in the course
of just two short weeks and remain relatable to the audience. The methodology that I will be
using to respond to the creative problem is historical research of the show, keeping a creative
journal, and (during “Lend Me A Tenor”) studying Italian accent work. My project possesses
a well-developed awareness of theories and methods in the field, as I will be working at a
reputable theatre with people who make their living off of musical theatre performance. By
working with such experienced performers and creative team members, I will learn so much
about my craft and become aware of new approaches to this art form. I will be taking risks
and going beyond the original parameters of the assignment with my added research
objectives and will be able to bring historical context and analysis to rehearsals and to the
character development process. Finally, my work this summer will allow me to innovatively
synthesize my current ideas about performance by putting my work at school into practice in
a professional work environment (see #2 for a more detailed description of how this
experience connects to my academic goals). The time commitment for my project will exceed
the 50-60 hour expectation for an honors experiential learning project. Between rehearsals,
performances and all of my research and reflection, I will be dedicating two full months of
my summer to this project and opening myself up to new creative experiences and vast
amounts of learning and personal growth as an actress.
2. Connection to Academic Goals and Theories
This project is directly related to my academic goals. I am studying Musical Theatre in school
and have dedicated my life to the study of this art since high school. As a musical theatre
student, one of the important goals before graduation is to get as many professional theatrical
experiences on my resume as possible so that I will be fully prepared to become a working
actress upon leaving University of Cincinnati. This project is so meaningful to me because it
is my first professional work opportunity and I get to enhance the experience by going
beyond the original parameters of my job at the theatre. Through my research and analysis, I
cannot wait to see all of the knowledge that I can absorb and take back to school with me as I
continue my studies for the next two years. I am also very excited to put the training that I
have been receiving in classes this year to use on stage. In my acting class in particular, we
have been experimenting with atmosphere work and a theory called tonal architecture to be
open and honest during performance. I cannot wait to relate these concepts to my work this
summer when I am not concentrating on training, but on the applicaion of the things that I
have learned to do my job. Some specific theories and readings that I will be using to
complete this honors experience are the concepts that I am currently learning in acting class
(atmosphere work and tonal architecture), Michael Chekhov’s book “On the Technique of
Acting”, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain (in preparation for “Big
River”) and excerpts on the Italian accent from the new edition of Rocco Dal Vera’s voice
and speech text.
3. Initiative, Independence and Creativity
My unique contribution to this project that will make my learning experience different from
others involved will be the research that I plan on completing to enhance my understanding of
each show. I will independently pursue historical research surrounding the time period in
which the show takes place and will complete journal entries including extensive character
analyses. In the case of the final show of my summer, “Lend Me A Tenor”, I will
independently study and do my best to master an Italian accent in the weeks leading up to the
show. While everyone involved in the shows this summer will have to work to meaningfully
contribute to the show, my contributions will be unique in that I will be keeping a journal of
my learning and will be writing papers and having discussions about my in-depth research
with the creative team at the theatre.
4. Reflection & Dissemination
My work throughout the course of this project will be publically disseminated through the
performances for each of the shows. There is an incredibly devoted audience in Warsaw, IN,
where the theatre is located; they look forward to the shows that Wagon Wheel Theatre
develops each summer. They love being a part of our summer and watching our work. If this
happiness is the way in which my honors experience touches other’s lives, I will be
completely fulfilled. In addition, I will be videotaping much of the work that I do in
rehearsals and will post video compilations of my progress during the course of my project on
my e-portfolio. I will be keeping a journal of my accomplishments that will also be posted on
my e-portfolio. These entries will include the research that I do for each of the shows,
incorporating historical analysis and/or character development work.
5. Advisor (list the person’s name, title, and contact information)
My advisor for this project is the artistic director of the theatre and the director for two of the
shows that I am performing in this summer (“Hairspray” and “Big River”). His contact
information is as follows--
6. Budget (if applicable)
There is no budget required for this particular Honors Experiential Learning Project.