by Dick Kerekes
Three years ago, I reviewed my first Senior Showcase at Jacksonville University (JU), which are recitals given by university seniors who are completing a degree in one of the performance arts. As the name implies, the students are showcasing the skills they have acquired during their education in their chosen field of study. This is the third showcase I’ve covered and my reason for choosing to write about the achievements of the students is that I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure of seeing them perform both on stage at JU and at community theatres.
The showcase of Vincent Teschel, a theatre major, will be presented March 28, 2010 in Terry Hall. As a theatre critic for Entertaining U for almost thirty years, I’ve written a number of after the fact reviews out of necessity, but rarely written about a performance almost three weeks in advance of the opening. In this case, I made arrangements to view the initial dress rehearsal with just three professors and myself in attendance, because I knew I would be in Louisville, Kentucky at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the end of March.
A bit of background on Vincent is in order. He received an Associate of Arts Degree in Theatre from Pensacola Junior College in 2004 and then began work on a certificate in Music Theatre from the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City. He then entered JU, and will graduate in May with a BFA in Music Theatre and a minor in Dance.
I’ve enjoyed Vincent’s considerable talents in such shows as Hair, Oklahoma, and Hello, Dolly! to name a few of the musicals in which he’s performed, in addition to dramatic roles in several JU productions. His performance of Berger in Hair, at Players by the Sea, was a show stopper I won’t soon forget.
Vincent’s showcase was about an hour long, and in that time I heard and saw him perform nineteen different songs, most with a few bars, and others in their entirety. Selections included music from Broadway musicals like La Cage Aux Folles, Tick Tick Boom, Hair, Avenue Q, 110 in the Shade, and Snoopy to name just a few. Teschel sings opera with a rich baritone voice and included selections from Cosi fan Tutte, Don Pasquale and Aida.
The setting was the entire Terry Hall stage. On the far left was the piano expertly played by Bonita Sonsini Wyke, with Aaron Plotz on percussion. On the right side of the stage, Vincent had a suitcase that contained various props and clothing that he dipped into on occasion to give his performance novelty and color.
In the course of the show, he was accompanied by James Ellis on guitar for several numbers as well as being joined in vocals by fellow students, Nina Waters, mezzo-soprano and Erick Crow, tenor. The duet between Mr. Teschel and Ms. Waters performing “I Honestly Love Your” was well staged, well sung and very moving. The duet with Mr. Crow was a very humorous and novel number, with somewhat of a surprise that I promised not to reveal in this advance review.
This delightful showcase ran for one hour, but should you choose to see it, it may run a bit longer since you will be able to do what I was not able to do, that is applaud. Since three evaluators were busy making notes and grading his performance, I chose to refrain from influencing their observations by clapping but rest assured I really wanted to, and at length, it was that good.
I don’t know what Vincent’s plans are for the future, but most likely they will include pursuit of a professional career in theater. Wherever life’s journey takes him, it has been a pleasure to observe and enjoy Vincent Teschel’s considerable talents on local stages. Good Luck, my friend, in all your endeavors.
The Jacksonville University Division of Music will present Vincent Teschel’s Cages or Wings Senior Showcase on Sunday March 28 at 7 pm and it is open to the public free of charge. If you have never been to JU, there is plenty of free parking just a short walk from Terry Concert Hall. Never seen a Senior Showcase? Try it, you’ll like it–especially this one.
JU Senior Showcase – Vincent Teschel
by Dick Kerekes