Musical theater fans from the Valley are rooting for the Selma connection
UPDATE 04/14: The results are in for the Musical Theatre Initiative scholarship at the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center. Dom writes from D.C.:
Hey Donald! So, as a surprise to all of us, they ended up giving away the awards last night. I did not end up winning the full scholarship, but I had an amazing time participating in the showcase. I plan to do whatever I can to attend the Open Jar program, especially after getting a taste of it this week. It was such a motivating and special experience. I also now know what it feels like to perform on one of the nation’s most prestigious stages, and I’ll cherish that forever.
Congrats, Dom, for making the West Coast (and College of the Sequoias!) proud. Now, in your short time remaining in our nation’s capital, are you going to be able to at least squeeze in that visit to Congress?
ORIGINAL POST 04/13: Those of you who follow musical theater in the central San Joaquin Valley probably already know that Dominic Grijalva of Selma, one of our great talents, is in Washington, D.C., this week competing for national honors in the American College Theatre Festival. Dom, a Fresno State graphic design major, is representing the College of the Sequoias and one-eighth of the entire country in the Musical Theatre Initiative. He and seven other regional winners, plus two recipients of other musical theater-related awards, are singing at the Kennedy Center tonight. He will find out Saturday afternoon if he gets the big prize: a full scholarship to the Open Jar Institute, which is a week-long Broadway training program in New York this summer. Plus bragging rights, of course.
Provocative production offers a fresh and inspired take on the 2006 Broadway musical
Are these the days of “Purple Summer” for the Selma Arts Center?
They very well could be. The company’s current production of “Spring Awakening” is inspired. It crackles with a sense of creative energy and cohesion that suggests art at the highest level. Even in those occasional moments when the sense of assuredness falters — whether by individual performances, creative decisions that don’t quite work or technical flaws — the overriding feeling is one of focus and intensity that gives the provocative material an added sizzle.
I opened the doors of the theater after the opening-weekend performance I attended and marveled to myself: I can’t believe a production this edgy and this good is happening on sleepy High Street in downtown Selma.
With “Spring Awakening,” this might be director Dominic Grijalva’s final opening weekend at the Selma Arts Center. Which is a sad thing for Selma, but a great opportunity for wherever his new adventures might take him. Over the last few years, the talented Grijalva has done much to raise the profile and level of productions in Selma. He’s even gotten some big-name help from a friend of his — none other than “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda — to help make “Spring Awakening” happen.
In my main preview piece about the show, I talk with Grijalva and actor Kindle Cowger about a specific theme: how the provocative sexual storyline fits in with the current #MeToo movement. But I also want to share with you some of the other interesting topics I covered with Grijalva about “Spring Awakening,” including getting down to the bottom of the story of that very famous sponsor.
Q: Books and knowledge play a fascinating role in your concept for the show. Tell me how they fit in.
A: A lot of the misfortunes that come to each character in the play steam from a lack of exposure, and some from the overwhelming presence and dictatorship-like control the grownups have over the children. In developing a concept for this production, the one image that kept coming to mind was that of a huge library where the kids felt prisoner to the rules and regulations that the adults force upon them.