APRIL 2017

Florida School of the Arts presents Musical Theatre Vocal Company Concert

students on stage
musical theatre students with flags

The Florida School of the Arts will present one showing of its Musical Theatre Vocal Company (MTVCC) concert on Sunday, April 23 at 2:30 p.m. on the School’s main stage located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. The concert is free to the public.

According to Professor Kandie Smith, who is directing the concert with Assistant Music Director Libby Rodriguez, "As always, Musical Theater Vocal Company is first and foremost a class, and this concert serves as a final examination, allowing the students to showcase the skills they have developed over the last three months. We have added a new element this semester, student-prepared selections. All second-year students were cast in specific songs, and each group collaborated to prepare the music, staging and choreography. I think they have done a terrific job,” she said.

The Vocal Company, a required course for all musical theatre majors at FloArts, focuses on the development of the skills necessary to function as a member of a musical theatre ensemble at the professional level, with sight-reading, choral harmonization and choreography. At every stage, the students are pushed to assimilate new material as quickly and accurately as possible and then to execute that material at the highest level of which they are capable.  Additional support of their professional development is provided to students who wish to hone their skills as choreographers, assistant musical directors and vocal section leaders. 

Songs that will be performed at the concert include “Magic To Do” from “Pippin,” “And All That Jazz” from “Chicago,” “Big Spender” and “Rhythm of Life” from “Sweet Charity,” “Elegance” from “Hello,

Dolly!,” “Matchmaker” from “Fiddler On The Roof” as well as a choral medley of “In the Heights.”

Vocal Company cast members are Robert Allen, Steven Austin, Julie Barnes, Cameron Bartelt, Kiersten Bartholomew, Olivia Bleak, Mitchel Burns, Yul Carrion, Austin Carroll, Caitlin Charrier, Emely Cuestas, Savannah Faulkner, Brandon French, Christina Goodin, Jalbelly Guzman, Gordia Hayes, Timothy Lake, Crayton McBride, Pascale Molina, Brooke Ponitz, Angelee Ramos, Libby Rodriguez, Carine St. Juste, Emma Stimpson, Mark Anthony Rodriguez Wildman and Kai Wilson. Sound design is by Braden Harrington and videography by Carrington Jeno Tate.

Student choreographers are Carroll, Guzman, Molina, Stimpson and Wildman. “The choreography for Vocal Company’s selections is a combination of original and derivative material,” said Smith. “It is important for our students to experience and perform iconic choreography created by masters, so they have created work inspired by the original Broadway or movie versions of the musicals. In some cases, the movements are the same, while in others they are only similar in style.”

“We have also taken this semester to introduce the students to the very particular choreographic style of the renowned Robert Louis ‘Bob’ Fosse, who would have been 100 this year,” Smith continued. “Fosse was an American dancer, actor, screenwriter, director and choreographer. He won eight Tony awards for choreography, more than anyone else in Broadway's history. Some of his more famous works include ‘Sweet Charity,’ ‘Chicago,’ ‘Pippin,’ and the film version of ‘Damn Yankees.’ We will celebrate his life and work with a tribute to his unique style and enormous contributions to the worlds of musical theater and film,” said Smith. “Our student choreographers have done a fantastic job of choreographing this mini-tribute in Fosse's style. I think the audience will find it illuminating as well as entertaining.”

Fosse was the first choreographer to use light to create further dramatic action in his dances, and one of the first to incorporate multiple styles, such as jazz, ballet and tap, in one sequence. “He frequently incorporated hats and gloves into his choreography, ostensibly because he didn’t like his hands and was embarrassed by his lack of hair,” Smith explained. Fosse was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning for his direction of “Cabaret,” including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for “West Side Story.” He was known for his very particular style of dancing and choreography, which included turned-in knees, jazz hands, and slumped shoulders.

Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the website at

Florida School of the Arts students rehearse for their Musical Theatre Vocal Company Concert set for April 23 at 2:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

From left: Gordia Hayes, Mitchel Burns, Mark Wildman, Emma Stimpson, Bella Guzman, Savannah Faulkner and Olivia Bleak.


Susan Kessler
Director of Public Relations and Publications
(386) 312-4020