Somi Makes an Impact

This post is by Lisa Driscoll, a Junior Vocal Performance and Broadcast Journalism double major. You can read more of her writing on her blog.



The clink of wine glasses and choruses of muffled chatter echoed throughout the Kogod Theatre as audience members mingled. Multi-colored lights revealed a stage bedecked with instruments and a single microphone waited patiently, front and center.

All the clinking and chattering was stifled when Somi began to sing into that microphone, filling the room with the richness of her voice.

As a music major and vocalist, I walked away from the performance feeling inspired to allow experiences to be more of the lifeline for the music I perform.

Organic and collaborative: UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies presents Spring Awakening

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.

Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening photo by Blinkofaneye/BrightestYoungThings


Spring Awakening proves that the tumultuous experience of adolescence transcends place and time. Based on a 19th century play by Frank Wedekind, the rock musical follows a group of adolescents in a provincial village, balancing angst with optimism, and naiveté with curiosity, struggling to reconcile society’s agenda with nature’s desires. The UMD School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies’ production, directed by five-time Tony Award-winner Brian MacDevitt and acclaimed choreographers Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, explores this dichotomy between institution and nature.

Dressed in neutral-colored, flowing, loose dresses and tunics, their hair swept up into disheveled hairstyles, the Elementals were more than conventional backup dancers; they told the undercurrents of the story.

At the Intersection of Twitter and Art

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.

Photo courtesy of Erica Bondarev

On January 31, I was selected to participate in a unique arts engagement initiative here at the Clarice Smith Center – live-tweeting the world premiere of David Roussève/REALITY’s Stardust.

Art and Twitter form a curious blend of the nostalgic and millennial, the very blend that Roussève cultivates in Stardust.

A Casual Collaboration of Legends

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.

Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea

Left: Bobby McFerrin photo by Carol Friedman; Right: Chick Corea photo courtesy of Chick Corea Productions

The lights dimmed, and I settled into my seat – front and center in the Dekelboum Concert Hall. Executive director Marty Wollesen took the stage to welcome guests to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. A curly-haired man in jeans and a hooded jacket walked down the aisle next to me. He’s late, I thought. Who would be late to a big-name concert like this? A second glance — He looks like Chick Corea. The man crossed in front of the stage and casually took a seat at the piano next to Bobby McFerrin. Wait. He IS Chick Corea.

Musicians this virtuosic don’t need to put on a show to engage an audience. When done right, the music speaks for itself.

Three women, three centuries, three continents, one room

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.

The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room photo by Dylan Singleton

Forgiveness from Heaven, an 18th-century Chinese woman, suffers after years of foot binding. Victoria, from 19th-century England, has hysteria. Contemporary Jersey girl Wanda has trouble with her silicone breasts. They all come together in a modern doctor’s waiting room.

Lisa Loomer’s 1994 play The Waiting Room takes place in “the past, and the present, and often both at once. New York City, England and China.” This transcendence of time and space creates a formidable challenge for set designers – how can they create a believable, authentic and versatile design?

Cohen said he hoped the set would highlight the play’s juxtaposition of the clinical and the beautiful.

Choreographers’ Showcase highlights work of emerging local choreographers

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.

Stephanie Miracle

Stephanie Miracle photo by Steven Schreiber

Seven choreographers – showcasing many styles of dance -- will present their work this Saturday at the 31st Annual Choreographers’ Showcase in collaboration with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The showcase features solos, duets and small ensembles.

This year, five of the seven choreographers selected are current students or alums from the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS). I spoke with one choreographer, third-year MFA Dance student Stephanie Miracle, about the inspiration for her work and how the showcase is important to her.

A Timeless Message of Peace: Reflections on Benjamin Britten's War Requiem

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.

UMD Concert Choir and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Photo by Bill Hulseman

As a member of the UMD Concert Choir, I had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Benjamin Britten’s centennial with a performance of his War Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Peabody Children’s Chorus. Two and a half months of long rehearsals culminated in two performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and one at the Music Center at Strathmore. I knew that this would be the apex of my musical career so far, but I had no idea how valuable this experience would be.

Performing the War Requiem the week of Veterans Day made me realize the work’s universality; Britten’s message of peace is especially resonant today.

Mavis Staples Brings Soul and Good Vibrations to the Center

This post is by Lisa Driscoll, a Junior Vocal Performance and Broadcast Journalism double major. You can read more of her writing on her blog.

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples photo by Chris Strong

It seemed for a moment as if everyone was holding their breath. Several minutes of silence passed until a woman slowly walked out onto the stage with her cane tapping next to her and a big smile on her face. “We’ve come this evening to bring you joy, happiness and positive vibrations,” she said.

Staples’ musical journey started 63 years ago, launching her career with the family group The Staple Sisters. The music of the Staple Sisters and her solo music have shaped American culture and had particular impact during the Civil Rights Movement.

Behind the Masks

This post is by Lauren Burns, a sophomore Multiplatform Journalism and History double major.

Photo by Stan Barouh

The audience of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Perfomance Studies’ production of Molière Impromptu will not only be exposed to the classic comedic works of Molière, but also the Commedia dell'arte style of masked theatre. Kara Waala, an MFA Design student crafted all of the masks worn by the performers in the play. Kara talks to me about the history of Commedia dell’arte and also shares a bit about the work that goes into bringing such beautiful, communicative masks to life.

The mask design for Molière Impromptu was inspired by marrying traditional Commedia dell'arte masks with the powdered courtly facade of Versailles through makeup and paint.

Passing down the craft: Linda Mabbs Remembers Britten

This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.

Linda Mabbs

Linda Mabbs photo by Mike Ciesielski

November 22 marks the centennial of one of the 20th century’s finest composers, Benjamin Britten. While most of his vocal work was written for his lifelong partner, the tenor Sir Peter Pears, Britten wrote a variety of songs for the female voice. School of Music Professor of Voice Linda Mabbs had the opportunity to work with Sir Peter Pears at the Aldeburgh Festival in the United Kingdom and to perform some of these songs for Britten himself shortly before he died. This Thursday, she will perform Britten’s songs for soprano at Linda Mabbs Remembers Britten, a recital to celebrate the legendary composer’s 100th birthday.

That is why our craft is so unique. It’s handed down one person to the next, and the same thing with Britten. His teacher was very influential upon him, and then Peter and Ben were influential on my interpretation and my teaching, and I’m passing that on to my students.


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