Bridge to Broadway

UMW Students Learn You Can Get There From Here

By Kristin Davis They had just watched Wayne Brady sing his heart out in a pair of blazing-red, thigh-high boots on Broadway. Now, somehow, they were unfurling themselves from the seats and the spell of the century-old Al Hirschfeld Theatre and sidling onto a sidewalk where patrons and frosty breaths lingered. But the night wasn’t over for 15 University of Mary Washington students who months ago had signed up for a one-of-a-kind class that culminated in a spring break trip to the theatre capital of the world. While fans pressed themselves against a barricade, hoping one of the red-booted cast members might peek out and speak to them, the backstage door opened and the students were swept in. Kinky Boots, five years running, had lived up its Tony Award-winning hype – especially with Brady in the role of Lola, the indomitable, show-stealing drag queen who helps save a family’s shoe business. The students had watched the stage from the faraway darkness. But now they stood on it, in … [Read more...]

Ctrl + Alt + Create

Grad’s Hit Show Captures Genesis of ’80s Personal Computing

By Edie Gross Chris Rogers ’05 and his writing partner, Christopher Cantwell, had already pitched their TV show to HBO and Showtime. In each case, an executive had politely offered them bottled water and listened to their spiel before ushering them out with a handshake and a halfhearted pledge to keep in touch. But the meeting at AMC felt decidedly different. For starters, they weren’t perched on a couch in someone’s office, but rather ushered into a conference room. There, a team of executives gathered, each with a copy of the script Rogers and Cantwell had spent months fine-tuning. As the meeting ended, AMC asked the writers to return with a “bible,” an industry term for a document that establishes the characters, setting, and story arc for a fictional universe. “We kind of exchanged a glance: ‘This is good, right?’ ” recalled Rogers of that meeting in 2013. Quite good, in fact. The pair’s creation, Halt and Catch Fire, wrapped up a four-season run on AMC in October 2017 after … [Read more...]

Historic Melodies

Philharmonic Reveals Beauty in Found Manuscripts

As Arturo Sandoval blew new life into the Concerto for Kent Bugle with the UMW Philharmonic one March night, the Dodd Auditorium crowd knew they were experiencing something remarkable – an auditory treat almost no one had heard before. The piece was one of four worthy but forgotten masterpieces publicly performed for just the first, second, or third time during the philharmonic’s March 17 Unearthing America’s Musical Treasures concert. They were rediscovered in the Library of Congress collection thanks to a project of UMW Philharmonic Conductor Kevin Bartram in collaboration with collegiate orchestra directors from around the country. As president of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) and with the group’s 2017 national conference set to be held in Washington, D.C., Bartram conceived the Library of Congress project as a way to promote intercollegiate scholarship and take advantage of the unique offerings of the nation’s capital. Teams of scholars pored through the … [Read more...]