by DICK KEREKES
Jacksonville University Theatre Major Lesley Nadwodnik held her Senior Showcase on Friday April 22nd at Swisher Theater on the JU Campus.
Yours truly has done Senior Showcases in previous years for EU reviewing Senior Showcases of theatre students we have seen on the JU stages , who have gone out into the North Florida theatre scene and contributed their talents by performing on community theatre stages.
Lesley transferred to JU in 2009 from Michigan and in addition to her work on the JU stage, appeared with ABET (Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre) in two productions. She turned in fine performances as Regina in Ghosts and as Jo in Little Women.
On campus we saw her as Kate, the mother, in All of My Sons and most recently, in some interesting casting by JU Director Deborah Jordan, as Hamlet’s best friend Horatio.
The previous showcases we wrote about were done by musical theatre majors and featured mostly singing and dancing. Ms. Nadwodnik’s showcase was an interesting mix of some music, some drama & comedy and straight from the heart dialogue.
Her first song, “ A Man’s Gotta Do” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, was unusual and pretty well established Lesley is not a music major but also proved that you don’t have to be a true singer to sell a song. Lesley showed this as she made us laugh. She reminded me of Carol Burnett.
She followed with two non- musical selections. First a monologue from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, then a funny scene from Love Lucy with the help of JU student/guest star Brian Trumble. “Ricky & Lucy” were handcuffed at the wrist and trying to figure out how to get into bed to sleep in positions satisfactory to both of them.
Another song followed titled “Alto’s Lament” with special lyrics explaining briefly how she became (and I quote) a JU Theater Dork, and her journey to this city.
Lesley donned a curly blond wig and a colorfully lounging robe and played a movie star in a scene from “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter” Three JU students, Brian Trumble, Roy Matos and Daniel Prill played the male Hollywood types.
Ms. Nadwodnik closed out the evening with the song “A Way Back to Then”. In all the musical numbers she was accompanied by Robbie Eccels on the piano.
In between the scene we were treated to talking from Lesley. She explained the title of her showcase.” I’m a Girl, Really I am.” At birth Lesley told us she was originally mistaken as a male for a short time. At the age of eight, she wanted to be a boy and was a tomboy of sorts. At 5-9 and with a lower register voice, she can play male roles. (Heck, she was Horatio in Hamlet wasn’t she?) Her stage roles back in Michigan were interesting women’s roles and included; Ida in See How They Run. Mercy Lewis in The Crucible, and Alice Sloan in Squabbles. Yes, she is indeed very much a girl, a lady, and a woman.
The entire show ran less than one hour and was fast paced. She did most of her costume changes on stage, using that time to do her Talking from Lesley chats.
The showcase was lively and well received by the appreciative audience. It indeed, was a Good Friday, in more ways than one for Lesley Nadwodnik. Thanks for showing us your talents in a very candid and humorous way.
I'm A Girl, Really I Am
by DICK KEREKES