It has been a long-time dream of ours to bridge the gap between the younger students who train and perform with us and the older students who are studying theater at the college level. This summer we are doing just that!
Many of our students-- young artists we’ve known since they were just starting to understand their love of musical theater-- have gone on to study theater throughout the country and abroad. At YMTC, we want to nurture the life cycle of the artist. We encourage our students to come back and not only continue their training but to act as mentors to our younger students who are just coming up through the ranks.
Since our production of Les Miserables several summers ago, we began opening up our auditions to college students and reaping the rewards, not just in the work that was happening on stage, but perhaps even more importantly, in the work that was happening off stage. We found the relationships between the younger cast members and the older ones to be an amazing benefit for everyone involved, and so we decided to formalize the situation. This summer, for our production of West Side Story, we have given six college students -- in our cast of forty-four -- formal, internship positions in which they will be acting as mentors to the younger students in the cast, as well as performing a wide variety of duties related to the production. We would like to introduce them to you now!
Only just left...
Marnina Wirtschafter graduated from high school only a year ago. She graced the YMTC stage in many leading and supporting roles over her years as a young student, including Little Red in Into the Woods, Maggie in A Chorus Line, and most recently Lucille Frank in Parade. This past year, she’s been at UCLA doing all sorts of performing as well as growing roots in her new found home in southern California. Marnina will be joining us this summer in the role of Anita and is thrilled to be taking on the formal role of a YMTC mentor.
Some of you may have seen Michael Hanley, a Freshman at UC Berkeley, in our most recent production of Ragtime in the role of Younger Brother. Michael found YMTC only this past year, and came to audition because he had done Ragtime in High School and said it was one of his favorites. He is so pleased to be in a formal mentorship role this summer, and to be playing the role of Mouthpiece, and most especially because of his experience this past winter with YTMC.
Andrew Humann, who played Jesus in our production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Ashby Stage last summer, is coming back too, this time for a change of pace, to play the role of Riff, the leader of the Jets gang. Andrew, is in school at Diablo Valley College and he is very busy working as a professional actor all over the Bay Area with Shotgun Players, Berkeley Playhouse and most recently with Center Rep in their production of Spring Awakening.
We are so happy to welcome back Derek Luscatoff, a Junior at UC Berkeley who has already done two shows with us since coming to Cal. Most recently, he played J. P. Morgan in our production of Ragtime and almost two years ago now, he set the YMTC stage on fire with his tap dancing expertise in Anything Goes. Derek is not only a stellar dancer, he is also an accomplished pianist, and has played for YMTC workshops in the past. Derek, who will appear in the role of Indio, is delighted to be in a mentorship position with us this summer.
Finding us late........
We are so delighted to welcome YMTC newcomers, Jaron Liclican and Lorenz Gozales—both Theater and Performance Studies majors at UC Berkeley— to our mentorship program this summer.
Jaron (pictured left) who will appear in the role of Bernardo, has an extensive background in both theater and television and has been a first place prize winner, and placed in the final rounds in multiple talent award shows including Show Me Your Talent, Star Quest and the X Factor.
Lorenz, who will play the role of Chino this summer has been working in and around the theater both on stage and off for many of his young years. Not only is he studying acting and voice at Cal but he is busy being a key player in several programs on campus including filming for the Southeast Asian Student Coalition, designing for the Celebration of Asian Pacific American Womyn, and being the Artistic Director of the Pilipino Cultural Night for the past three years.
Coming full circle............
Simone Kertesz first appeared in a YTMC show as a 7th grader in our first production of Les Miserables as Little Cosette. She went on to play in both the ensemble and in many leading roles over the years with us, and came back to YMTC as an alum to play the role of Fantine in our revival of Les Miserables in 2009, and to originate the role of Emma Davis in the world premiere of The Mothers of Ludlow in 2010. This summer, Simone will be graduating from Chico State University with a degree in Musical Theater ; she will join us again at YMTC, this time working as the Assistant Director on West Side Story as well as assistant teaching our Musical Theater Workshops at the end of the summer. We are so excited to have Simone returning to share what she has learned over the years, both and YMTC and elsewhere with the young performers who are now in the same shoes that she grew up in.
Come see these students along side YMTC’s favorite young actors, as well as many new faces, in West Side Story this summer—a show that is bound to be one of our biggest hits yet! Opening at the El Cerrito High Performing Arts Theater, and boasting a live, 30-piece orchestra, the show runs for 6 performances only! Don’t miss it! Tickets on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets.