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Fresh Faces to feature first years

Fresh Faces, the annual musical theater production exclusively featuring first-year students, performs this Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in the Lion’s Pause. The show was organized by the student run theater organization Deep End APO, and this year’s directors are Dario Villalobos ’18, Gabrielle Dominique ’17 and Kaitlin Scott ’19.

Fresh Faces, which began in 2009 and has since become a beloved tradition, works to showcase the talents of the first year class through theater cabaret and group and solo performances.

This year’s show features the talents of over 40 students from the class of 2020 and several upperclassmen directors and producers.

“It has been a privilege to work with so many talented singers, dancers and actors,” stage manager Emery Rankin Utevsky ’18 said. “The class of 2020 has blown me away with their skill and hard work. Once again, this will be a show to remember.”

Auditions for Fresh Faces were open to any and all first-year students, regardless of their intended major or experience with theater. In fact, everyone who auditions gets a spot in the cabaret. The show is a great opportunity for the youngest class at St. Olaf to bond with their peers and dip their toe into the world of musical theater.

“Fresh Faces is more than just musical theater,” Cait McCluskie ’20 said. “It’s an exclusive freshman party that we let everybody else watch for one night, and one night only.”

Performers found the cast and rehearsal process to be extremely welcoming and inclusive of all gender identities.

“Being ‘one of the guys’ during Fresh Faces has been incredibly affirming for me,” Dana Smith ’20 said. “No one really cares what your pronouns are here, just know your cues and sing your godd*mn notes right.”

Though Fresh Faces is put on every year, the rotating directors ensure that the show is always a little different and puts a new spin on the time honored tradition.

“We have Dario and Gabby directing again from last year,” Deep End APO Artistic Director Chaz Mayo ’18 said. “But Kaitlin is new to the team after being a performer in last year’s show. It’s really cool because it’s kind of like we’re already setting up the future of Fresh Faces.”

“This year’s show is a little less themed and a little more of a conglomeration,” Rankin-Utevsky said. “I’m hoping the audience will hear a lot of new music and see some awesome new faces both in the singers and in the pit.”

“It took a lot of work to be where we are at, but it’s all thanks to our directors. I hope we make their vision come true and give the audience a great show,” Sabrina Wieczorek ’20 said.

Because Deep End APO is entirely student-run, their overarching mission is to support St. Olaf students in achieving their acting and directing goals.

While performance is free, donations are encouraged and appreciated since Deep End APO relies primarily on donations to fund their productions.