New Direction for AMU Drama Productions
Published on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 13:46
Ave Maria University has not lacked for talented actors and performers over the years. Now, the students have stronger professional leadership to help them develop their acting talent with the hiring of Charles Kolmann as AMU's first adjunct professor of drama. (right, Mr. Kolmann with Maureen Bielinski at a recent rehearsal)
Mr. Kolmann currently heads the drama department at nearby Palmetto Ridge High School, arriving there after launching the drama program at Naples High School. Before coming to the Naples area, he had a successful broadcasting career with the CBS organization that was preceded by 14 years as a teacher in his native Philadelphia.
He initially approached AMU several years ago and says he was delighted get a call from Dean of Faculty Michael Dauphinais this year asking if he could start "a more formal theater program" at the university.
“We’re delighted to have Charles Kolmann join our staff as an adjunct director of the theater program," Dr. Dauphinais said. "He brings a wealth of experience and professionalism that will benefit our students and the life of the performing arts on our campus.”
AMU students have staged two productions a year recently, a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. Students and other volunteers have managed all aspects of the performances, including casting and direction.
The tradition of a play in the fall and a musical in the spring is continuing this year. Mr. Kolman's first production this fall is Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, an existential tragi-comedy that elevates two minor characters in Hamlet to center stage while the action in the Shakespearean drama goes on around them. At left, Conor Hennelly (l) as Rosencrantz with Will Hughes as Guildenstern at a recent read-through of the script.
In the spring, the school plans to stage Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, in a joint production between the AMU music department and the drama group. The musical will be staged with a small orchestra, a first for an AMU performance.
Mr. Kolmann has produced or appeared in more than 40 plays, including many with the Naples Players where he directed Lend Me a Tenor and acted in Fiddler on the Roof.
He said rehearsals are going well for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which will be performed Oct. 15-16 at 7 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, Oct. 18.
"I'm very impressed with the talent here," he said.