Actors Collaborative Toledo Casts TSA Students in 4,000 Miles

Posted Mar 3rd, 2016 by Lindsay Williams  Category: Arts & Entertainment, Community Interest, General News,


TOLEDO, OH – As a Toledo-based actress, director, and teacher, there was nothing Jennifer Rockwood loved more than mentoring young artists. “Well there was one thing…” joked Actors Collaborative Toledo (ACT) director John Duvall, “Jennifer did love getting her way!”

So, true to Rockwood’s way and wishes – for a love of theatre to be nurtured in young people – a Toledo theatre company is pairing mature professionals with up-and-coming young thespians to foster that love, all while presenting 4,000 Miles* to the community.

ACT premieres the play next month, and shares the play’s synopsis: “When Leo Joseph-Connell suffers a major loss while he was on a cross-country bike trip, he seeks solace from his feisty grandmother Vera Joseph in her West Village apartment. As they get to know each other through love and anger, they learn more than they expect about life, love, and loss.”

Duvall was a dear friend of Rockwood’s, and learned not only about life, love, and loss from her, but much about theatre along the way. “This play brings together three of my favorite things–Actors Collaborative Toledo, Toledo School for the Arts, and the legacy of Jennifer Rockwood. It also offers a wonderful opportunity for young actors to work with a Toledo theatre legend – Madge Levinson. It is a joyous experience to watch them on stage together!”

Levinson plays said feisty grandmother, while TSA Class of 2015’s Roan Martin-Hayden plays her grandson. Current TSA student Ava Rendina and Wonhee Kim, a University of Toledo student, round out the cast. 4,000 Miles will be presented as a theatrical reading at the Collingwood Arts Center on March 18th and 19th. Both performances will take place at 8:00pm in the Center’s Children’s Theatre Workshop space. Tickets are $10each, available at the door, or in advance at Proceeds from the show will benefit ‘The Jennifer Rockwood Experience’ scholarship.

Titled ‘The Jennifer Rockwood Experience, TSA’s newest scholarship in honor of Rockwood will be used to expose current theatre students to contemporary theatre, and the actors who perform it. The Experience scholarship will offer the TSA Theatre department $1,000 per school year to pay for expenses to take students to see contemporary live theatre. Many TSA families find that ticket prices and transportation become barriers to these important opportunities, and thus the scholarship was created to subsidize these theatre experiences for students.

Rockwood realized that actors learn by watching and having the opportunity to work with other actors. By providing TSA theatre students the opportunity to see quality contemporary live theatre in their community, it will inspire them to continue to grow as actors. This scholarship will provide additional reinforcement to her belief that theatre provides insight to identities, points of view, and cultures, and that it is on the shoulders of actors to bring these diverse ideas into the spotlight. “Jennifer was never into traditional theatre presentations. Her work always was about pushing the envelope and creating change. Through this scholarship, she will continue bring that to young people,” explained Dave Gierke, TSA Development Director and a friend to both Jennifer and husband John Rockwood.

*Audiences are advised that 4,000 Miles contains some mature language and situations.

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