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From the Director’s Desk [11/09/12]

November 9, 2012

From the Director’s Desk letter for the newsletter

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes – How do you measure, measure a year?”

 So much happens in a year.  And it passes so quickly.  How much do we really savor?  That’s the question on my mind today.  We’re barely into this season, and my mind is already on the next.  My son is in 5th grade and I’m worrying about middle school.  The election just happened and pundits are talking about 2016. How do we savor a moment when we’re living at warp speed?


 RENT opens tonight at DUPAC.  And if ever there was a glorious reminder of the value of time and the importance of fully embracing life moment by moment it is RENT. The message is bold – NO DAY BUT TODAY – sung by a joyful cast of young people who have poured their passion into honoring that message.

In the space of a year we will greet new friends and bid farewell to others on their journey. We are better for the moments we share and we must be mindful that they are always too few.  We at DUPAC are grateful for your friendship and we look forward to sharing, and savoring, the all-too-brief minutes of RENT with you.

Measure your life in love – 


Leslie Rodriguez, Managing Director

Dominican University Performing Arts Center


The Wall

October 19, 2012

RENT ran for 12 years on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre. The theatre had a wall–just a basic wall–concrete and mortar, yellowing paint, faded and cracked from time and traffic. Nothing special. Until the actors and audiences of RENT transformed it into a canvas of expression.

As people came through, they would write on the wall–thank yous for the RENT experience; scribblings of love; remembrances of a lost friend; notes of inspiration and hope. The wall began to represent a community, a community of people from different cities, different countries, with different backgrounds, ages, experiences, ideas–all of whom came together through RENT.

The story of RENT itself is about a community coming together in compassion. I’ve always loved the show for that reason. And the wall. So, as we prepare to perform Jonathan Larson’s transformative musical in November, I thought it would be meaningful for our community to create our own RENT wall.

Our RENT wall is up and the cast and crew have started their individual contributions through sayings, drawings, wishes, names… We will also be touring the RENT wall around campus and in Oak Park/River Forest so that the community can express their thoughts, thanks, grief, love and hope as well.

If you see the wall, I welcome you to grab a pen and add to it, to join our community of compassion; and I hope you’ll join us for the show as well.

– Krista Hansen, Director

From the Director’s Desk [E-Newsletter 01/2012]

July 17, 2012

It’s been just over a week since I returned from the annual Arts Presenters conference (APAP) in New York.  I don’t make the trip every year (expensive!) so it’s a real treat when I do.  It’s a grueling 3 or 4 days but energizing at the same time. Sort of like being shot from a cannon (I imagine…) stressful and exhilarating all at once.  I hit the ground running and blast from meeting to meeting, showcase to showcase, living on Starbucks and the occasional mint picked up at an agency booth.

The thrill comes from discovery.  While sitting in an uncomfortable folding chair in a darkened dance studio, watching JUNK, a dance company I’ve never heard of, put their heart and soul into 15 minutes of their best work for a tiny audience they hoped might choose them for their season, I was suddenly, profoundly, happy.  And I realized it came from the unexpected discovery of something new. Maybe not new to others, but new to me.
During the madhouse that is APAP I have literally hundreds of opportunities to discover new things.  I won’t like it all. I certainly can’t present it all. But love it or not-so-much, the joy is in the discovery.  I hope that you see DUPAC as the place where you can experience such joy.  Come see something you’ve never heard of before.  Maybe it will be a one time thing, maybe you’ll discover something special.   Either way it could be exhilarating.

Let’s find out together.  See you at the theatre.

Leslie Rodriguez, Managing Director
Dominican University Performing Arts Center

AUDITIONS Saturday, September 10th 10:00

July 17, 2012

Saturday, September 10th 10:00am-1:00pm
Please email to sign up for an audition

Auditions are open to ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF!

are required to attend the Theatre Arts department audition/meeting
on Friday, September 9th 6:00-10:00pm
(Plan to stay the entire time. A separate audition slot on September 10th is not necessary.)

CALL BACKS for both shows will be Sunday, Sept. 11th.
(Specific times TBA–it is recommended to keep the entire afternoon open.)

32 bars of a song and one 90-second monologue.
All actors should bring a picture and a resume (if available).
Auditions will be held in
Martin Recital Hall / Fine Arts Building.
For more information please email or call 708-524-6530.

From the Director’s Desk [from our E-newsletter]

July 17, 2012

Unintentionally, I sat down to write this note on February 14th which led me to think about endorphins and the arts. (I’ll spare you the convoluted thought process that got me there.) While it may not be altogether strange to ponder endorphins on Valentine’s Day, it is admittedly, an unusual topic for an arts-centric newsletter. But stick with me…

Not only do endorphins make us feel happy, but they also boost our immune system, making us healthier. Endorphins come from a variety of sources – exercise, certain foods (think chocolate…), sunlight, AND new experiences.

The connection between endorphins and the arts makes sense to me.  Working in the arts means no two days are quite the same. New experiences are part of my job.  And I also get the thrill of seeing an audience connect with an artist or an event. On a regular basis, I see people changed by what they see on stage – whether uplifted by dance, empowered by a musician, or profoundly moved by a piece theatre.

SO – if endorphins are good for your health, new experiences fire up your endorphins, and attending arts events provides new experiences, it stands to follow that the arts are good for your health. Ta da!

The best part is that everyone can share in the endorphic (is that a word?) benefits of the arts.  We live in an area rife with arts offerings. Some free, some not.  Some you’ll love, some you won’t.  But deals and discounts abound and the opportunity for new experiences – and their related endorphins –  is right outside your door.

Happy Valentines Day!

Leslie Rodriguez, Managing Director

Dominican University Performing Arts Center

There’s No Place Like Home…

July 17, 2012

L. Frank Baum wrote in 1900 of a young girl who longed for adventure and found herself in a magical land called Oz. Oddly enough, throughout the adventure, her goal is to get back home, and with the help of friends, she does. While the first theatrical version of the instantly successful story appeared in 1903, it is the 1939 MGM film version that most of us know. This amazing fete of film (eclipsed in the Oscars only by Gone with the Wind), turned Dorothy and her friends into American icons. They’ve been explored in music, novels, visual art, novelty toys…you know, everything. They’ve been adopted by cultures of kids, graphic artists, gay communities…you know, everywhere. I think it’s not just because of their sweetness and fantasy; there’s a fundamental longing for home— somewhere to belong with some people. To have a place to return, to stay, to live, to love and be loved. A place to be ourselves.

Who doesn’t find Judy Garland and Billie Burke repeating “There’s no place like home” a moment of intense emotion? We wish, we hope, we pray, we remember, we repeat it with her, breath held…just like we clap when Peter Pan asks us to save Tinkerbell. We need Dorothy to find home because it means we can find home, that our dream of that special place can exist. Home is a great place we save in our hearts, even if our realities may not be idyllic. There too, Dorothy helps us. For heaven’s sake, she wanted to go back to a flat, Kansas cornfield that was destroyed by a tornado, with almost elderly relatives, a nasty teacher/dogcatcher paying housecalls, no kids around for miles…and was in cepia and white! Dorothy’s home wasn’t idyllic, but it was home, and there’s no place like it.

For some people that’s a literal, not an idiomatic statement: there is no place like home. Homelessness is one of our nation’s most disturbing issues. What used to be primarily an urban blight, is now apparent in the suburbs. What we might associate first with substance abusers and people with mental disorders, also affects clean-cut, educated families. Sometimes it’s through mistakes made, other times it’s through uncontrollable forces of economics or illness—surprises that compound upon one another. Some people might choose to be alone or separate, others really are alone and separate; they may not have personal “safety nets” of relatives and friends. They have no building, no space to which they can return to recover. That’s where the rest of us come in. Through efforts like Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS), communities find ways to help homeless neighbors with relatively low overhead—it’s more people power. West Suburban PADS (coordinating Chicago’s near-west communities since 1992) works on the model that is used throughout PADS. Several community organizations with space, usually places of worship, coordinate together to each host shelter one night per week. The group supplies volunteers to set up, cook and serve dinner, breakfast and clean up. The rotation of spaces is consistent, so people in need of shelter know the schedule. Actually, a large group of students at Dominican volunteer with PADS through the Center for Service Learning.

PADS also helps with supportive services, supportive housing options, employment readiness and special one-time assistance for those in imminent danger of losing a home. If you are interested in finding out more, talk to someone who is involved. Students should contact MaDonna Thelen; community members could check with their houses of worship or contact West Suburban PADS directly. Their shelter manager is Emily Aker at 708-338-1724 ext. 228, or visit their website at For our friends online, search for Public Action to Deliver Shelter in your community.

The Talents of Two Sara(h)s

July 17, 2012

Sara Evans came from a large family and now has her own large family; she grew up in the country and has moved back to it. Throughout the cycles has been her voice and music, and staying in touch with its roots.  She “Could Not Ask for More” when she hit number one, and is now “A Little Bit Stronger” with a quickly rising new release.  There’s a lot of reality in the songs she sings, celebrations of love, relief at being strong enough to work through the unforeseen and difficult.

That’s also something the nation focuses on in October with Domestic Violence Awareness Month (the purple ribbon campaign).  While anyone can find her- or himself in a violent relationship, it is more prevalent for women.  That’s where Sarah’s Inn of Oak Park helps focus on family and working through the difficulties.  Formed in 1981 by a group of concerned villagers who identified a lack of services to battered women, Sarah’s Inn “stand[s] with women and their families to ensure freedom from domestic violence in every community.”  The organization, which will celebrate 30 years of service in 2011, supports women in Chicago’s west side and near-west suburbs by advocating, educating and assisting transitions.

As part of Dominican University Performing Arts Center’s mission to help realize social change through the arts, Sarah’s Inn will be represented during Sara Evans’ concert on October 9 at 7:30 p.m. Experience the talents of two Sara(h)s; it will be a great way to enjoy a beautiful, down-to-earth vocalist and learn more about helping individuals in our community.