From the page to the stage: The Utica College Theatre Department

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Picture of the cast for “Something Rotten!” as it begins rehearsal.

Charles Buckley, Staff Writer

There are many places where people can go on campus to enjoy extracurriculars. One of these places is the theater. The UC Theatre Department has put on many shows for people to enjoy over the years, the latest one, “Something Rotten!” has begun its rehearsal phase even while the pandemic is going on.

The department is run by Professor of Theater Laura Salvaggio. With the help of directors, stagehands and loyal actors she has successfully put on many plays and musicals over the last few years.

“I love the ability to shake everyone’s emotional response in the room and have everyone feeling the same way while watching a scene be performed,” Salvaggio said.

Many people, especially the actors, also enjoy the theater because it gives them a chance to be creative and let their imagination run wild as they recreate scenes either fictional or historical.

“My favorite thing about the theater is being able to play another character and see things through their point of view,” Justin Jones said, a senior business major who acted for the theater during his time at Utica College. “It’s very exciting.” 

One of the most recent productions was the radio play “War Of The Worlds,” which was performed over the campus radio station, WPNR, last semester. 

Along with the actors, A lot of people who do crew enjoy working on sets. Especially when it comes to making a set that helps enhance the performance.

“A lot of time and consideration goes into building the sets,” Salvaggio said. “The crew usually has to work on creating a full-scale set from a not-to-scale model.”

Musicals have seen some success for the department as well, such as “Urinetown,” which was the last live musical performed in the Strebel Auditorium before the COVID pandemic began. However, one musical that many actors and viewers enjoyed the most and still talk about was “Cabaret,” which the department did back in 2018.

“That musical was one of the biggest ones we had ever done,” Salvaggio said. “It was fun and very engaging for everyone who was a part of it.”

For something like “Cabaret” or any type of play, there is a process that truly helps take it from the page to on the stage in terms of performing.

“What truly brings a piece of theatre from page to stage is a collaborative art,” said Hannah DeStefano, a junior and communications and media major. “Of course, you have the most visible part, the actors playing their roles, but you also have a working collaboration of artists in every facet. From set to costumes to orchestrations to lights and so much more. This transformation happens as each part of the working body comes alive and plays its role well.”

Another major element brought from the page to stage in terms of a theater performance is everyone coming together.

“The magic of the musicals here is thanks to the collaborative spirit of the cast and crew,” said Jason Francey, the assistant director for college engagement and the director of this year’s musical “Something Rotten!”. There are so many moving pieces and so many people involved that it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing. It is truly thanks to the efforts of everyone that the show comes together and wows the audience.”

The theater is always looking for people to help out in many different ways. If interested, send an email to Laura Salvaggio at [email protected].