Alumni flock to extravaganza
An eclectic show packed with talent kicks off September performances at the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Maharishi Age of Enlightenment School alumni, including graduates from the ‘80s to 2011, will showcase dancing, singing and comedy on stage in the second Annual Alumni Extravaganza.
Last year’s event rocked the house and this year’s will be even better, according to organizers.
Produced by Celeste Siemsen and hosted by David Murphy and Meredith Hirsch, this just-for-fun celebration includes everything from the comedic to the sublime, from classic to mind-bending, said Annalisa Miller, co-director of Maharishi School alumni relations.
“It’s exciting — it’s terrific to have all these performers share their talents with family and friends,” said Miller.
“The Class of 2003 is holding its 10-year reunion this weekend, too. A number of alumni are traveling here just to watch the show. We have a family coming from Minnesota.
“A Class of 2001 graduate is having an engagement party and flying his future in-laws to Fairfield to attend the Extravaganza, tour Fairfield and the campus,” said Miller. “It’s a big celebration. We plan to continue it each year on Sunday of Labor Day weekend.”
Performers traveling to Fairfield include dancer Jenna Riegel from New York City, musician Ali Sperry from Nashville, Tenn., and soap opera star Elsa Navarrete from Mexico.
Iowa-based performers include Sarah Brooks, Katie Dinkel, Ben Estey, Adrien Daller, David Hurlin, Heather Miller, Penelope Makeig and more.
Cevin Churchill, technical director at the Sondheim, also is an alumnus.
Alumni Eli Lieb’s most recent music video, “Young Love,” which involved no fewer than 17 alumni will be shown Sunday night. This latest music video has had more than 500,000 views since its release in early July. Lieb’s YouTube channel has more than 12 million viewer hits.
Alumni are still being added to this year’s Extravaganza, including dancer Kate Vigmostad. She earned a bachelor’s in fine arts and master’s dance and was awarded the prestigious Iowa Arts Fellowship.
Now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vigmostad has worked with Becca Rozzell and The Riley Project in San Francisco and has produced her own work at home in Iowa.
Vigmostad is a certified yoga teacher and instructed at-risk San Francisco youth in both yoga and meditation for three years. She teaches children to adults contemporary dance in Marin County, Calif., and works as a freelance video-editor and photographer.
Singer-songwriter Daller was Fairfield’s winner of the AMC television reality talent show, “Showville” filmed in February and broadcast in June.
She grew up in Fairfield, singing the blues with her dad, a pianist from 13-mile road in Detroit.
Daller began writing her own music with friend Philip Rabalais. Both worked for the David Lynch Foundation for several years. Daller wrote for the foundation’s online TV channel DLF.TV and conducted interviews with Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Katy Perry, Daphne Guinness and Russell Brand at events.
Daller and Rabalais formed the band Trouble Lights. They’ve opened for Girl Talk and Pictureplane and played their album release show at Maximum Ames Music Festival headlined by Jeff Mangum and Wanda Jackson.
Riegel is a New York-based dancer, performer and teacher and as well as a company member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
She has performed with Michel Kouakou’s Daara Dance, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Tania Isaac Dance and Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Company.
Riegel has toured nationally and internationally as a company member of David Dorfman Dance, Alexandra/ Beller Dances and Johannes Weiland.
She has accepted a position teaching dance at Juilliard this fall.
Riegel is offering a one-time, 90-minute contemporary dance technique class in Fairfield, from 7:30-9 p.m. Friday in the Argiro Dance Studio at Maharishi University of Management. Class fee is $8; class size is limited and open to anyone. To reserve a spot in the class email email@example.com.
Navarrete performed in various plays with Prairie Moon Company, including Shakespeare, Moliere and Dirty Works at the Crossroads while a student at the university.
She returned to Mexico and was picked up by Televisa, the biggest television consortium in Latin America, which launched her as their new talent of the year on “El Premio Mayor.”
Navarrete started a production company, En Llama” which means On Fire. En Llamas currently has three plays in production.
Navarrte’s acting credits include the leading role in “Molly Sweeney” with Brian Friel Theater, the leading role in “Entre Palabras” with Carlos Mugica Film, and starring roles in the soap operas, “Apuesta por Un Amor,” “Esmeralda,” “El Premio Mayor,” “Acalupco Bay” and “Crystal Empire.”
Her production credits include “Razones para ser Bonita” by Neil LaBute, “Menage a Trois,” “Julio Cesar” and “Mujeres Soñaron Caballos.”
She’s also translated and adapted the scripts, “Reasons to be Pretty,” “Efectos Secundarios,” “Fachon Models” and “Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf?”
Hurlin is known for his ruthless energy, gnashing of teeth and mind-numbing dynamic range, according to Extravaganza organizers.
He has toured the Midwest with his free-funk jazz trio The Apocalypso Tantric Boys Choir of Memphis.
After graduating from M.U.M. with a bachelor’s of fine arts in photography and a minor in the Indian classical music known as Gandharva Veda, Hurlin moved to New Delhi, where he continued his studies of tabla with guru Anup Ghoshji.
Hurlin joined the Jefferson County Green Band and toured the Midwest again, playing biker rallies, casinos, racetracks, riverside bars and festivals, including several local appearances.
Makeig, an operatic soprano, has covered the role of Flora in “The Turn of the Screw” and was in the chorus of “La Clemenza di Tito” at the University of Iowa. She also has appeared in scenes as Susanna in “Le nozze di Figaro,” Virtu in “L’incoronazione di Poppea” and as Destino in “La Calisto.”
This summer, she was engaged in the Emerging Artist Program at OperaWorks, and last year, she participated in Oberlin Conservatory’s Oberlin in Italy where she appeared in “Suor Angelica.”
Estey is an actor, artist, theater teacher and carpenter.
He has worked in film, television, video and print media. He is MSAE’s speech team coach. In his first year as coach, two of his teams were deemed outstanding in their category and invited to perform at the All-State Festival in Ames.
“This is a celebratory event to showcase alumni talent and creativity in the spirit of reunion and merry-making,” said Miller. “It’s not a fundraiser, nor is it for profit.”
Advance purchase tickets are $11 general and $8 student, available online at www.fairfieldacc.com or at the box office.
Advance tickets still can be purchased for those traveling from out of town. Tickets can be purchased online and held at the ticket window for pick up at the show.
Tickets purchased at the door are $13 and $9 student.
MSAE’s Class of 2014 is holding a fundraiser for its senior class trip, prior to the Extravaganza. The seniors are serving a tapas-style dinner starting at 6:15 p.m. Sunday in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Dinner tickets are $10, available at Thymely Solutions, the M.U.M. Bookstore, Golden Dome Market and from any MSAE senior.
À la carte desserts also will be available before, during, and after the show from the Class of 2014.