At the start of the summer, we had to say goodbye to some of our 2018-2019 apprentices. Now comes the time where we say farewell to the other half. I had the privilege of being able to work with many of these apprentices over the past summer, and I couldn’t have asked for a better apprentice class to look up to. We said goodbye to Elynora Sapp last week, and now it’s time to say farewell to the rest of her class, and update you on what their future holds next.
For her capstone, Rachel served as the Casting Director for the National Players Tour 71. She traveled with our Associate Artistic Director and Casting Director, Jenna Duncan, to auditions in New York at SETC and UPTAs. After months of auditions and video callbacks, we finalized the 10 artists that would become Tour 71! Rachel has enjoyed watching them come together and grow as a group over the past two months as they opened the first two shows of their rep. After being a part of the OTC family for the past two years, it is time for Rachel to say goodbye. I will miss Rachel’s weekly phone calls on the office phone. (Even though I could see Rachel from across the room, she would always call me to tell me I look great or that I am a star). However, she is the real star.
She will be pursuing a career in Casting and Talent Management, but OTC will always be the theatre she calls home. She is extremely grateful to everyone she has worked with over the past two years at Olney.
As for memorable experiences, this whole year has been pretty memorable for her. She’s met some great friends here, more than just the apprentices too. Some favorite memories include: hanging out with Abby Bender on days off, going to N’urban for happy hour (“not urban” because Urban Bar-B-Que in Sandy Spring is now called “Smoketown BBQ”), the moment when the chalkboard for Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical spun perfectly the first time, getting hit in the face with a couch backstage during Elf the Musical (no worries, she wasn’t hurt it was just hard to muffle her and [Sarah] Splaine’s laughter), and all the send-offs for apprentices past. There’s so much more, but it’s a year she won’t forget!
This past Wednesday, we learned that Kasey will join the Olney production staff as a full time Staff Carpenter starting September 16th! We are so excited to have her back full-time very soon. She’ll be living with apprentices from her class, Elynora Sapp and Katie Ciszek, when her contract ends in about a week and a half!
Their capstone was being the prop master for two shows in the Lab, Mary Stuart and Tiger Style!. On top of building props, which they typically do as the props apprentice, they were also tasked with budgeting, providing rehearsal props and consumables (props that need to be replaced regularly, like food and paper), shopping and ordering materials, leading their team of artisans, and collaborating with the director and designer. After Olney, they are pursuing a career as a freelance props master and artisan in the D.C. area. They’ll be working at American University, Folger Theatre, Constellation Theatre Company, Washington Revels, and various other theatres and universities.
I would like to add that at our last all-staff meeting, they were given a few shout outs about their hours of work on those Tiger Style! Ottomans.
Katie's capstone was serving as assistant director to Natsu Onoda Power on Tiger Style!, which recently closed out our 2018-19 season. A memorable dramaturgy project for her was creating the 8 large panels of historical background that surrounded the in-the-round stage for Mary Stuart. I was able to collaborate with Katie in terms of brainstorming ideas for this very blog. Katie is always willing to jump into any task, and she will be missed in the time she isn’t at Olney.
Next year, she will be freelancing in the DC area. Catch the workshop production she directed of Pillowtalk and Other Parts of Speech by Natalie Ann Valentine tonight and tomorrow! Next up, she is assistant directing The Wolves at Catholic University, Silent Sky at Ford's Theatre, and then she will be back at OTC to assistant direct The Amateurs and Pippin.
And for our summer Apprentices:
For Chenelle, it’s hard to narrow down one major task that was bigger than the other. Everything she’s done has been so different: from working on the build and install of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, Tiger Style!, and Cabaret, to helping make the small set pieces for the National Players Tour 71. It's all been one heck of a ride, and she wouldn't change a second of this summer for anything. As her apprenticeship ends, she is preparing to return to school as a Junior at Regent University and will continue working on sets and running shows. Being at Olney this summer has been incredibly rewarding, she learned so much more than she imagined and made some amazing friends that she will never forget. She is incredibly grateful for this opportunity and for everyone who made this experience what it was.
Cali has been working incredibly hard this summer. She started out helping with the National Players rehearsals when they first arrived, and transitioned into being in the classrooms for our Summer STOCK camp and our musical theatre intensive. Every day, Cali would welcome campers, be a guide and demonstrator for the students in class, and make sure camp was running smoothly. Cali was also my roommate, but we only got to room together for about three weeks as I just started full time this month. I would always see Cali working on something, and her work ethic never fails to impress me. She will be missed when she heads back to school at George Washington University this weekend!
This weekend, we are welcoming the rest of the apprentice class of 2019-2020. We can’t wait to have the full class together!