Jamar Green ’12 and Onyx Jackson-Preston ’15 will serve as summer interns with KS Stevens Productions, an entertainment company owned by playwright and producer KS Stevens ’94. While interning with Stevens, the students will assist with the company’s newest production, titled “BIG EXCELLENT 20TH REUNION,” an Off-Broadway musical comedy targeted for the LGBT community.
“Jamar and Onyx were professional, open and communicated well right from the beginning of the interview,” says Stevens. “Both have had a few years of working in the theatre or with different forms of art and media to make a social change within their respective communities.”
Coordinated through the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development, the internship will provide Green and Jackson-Preston with the opportunity to pursue their interests.
Green, who will serve as the director’s assistant, will work as the camera operator for the production’s “Behind the Scenes” documentary.
“I am interested in entering into the entertainment industry, mainly in film and music production, and this opportunity will give me experience working with both actors and musicians,” says Green. “This kind of ‘foot in the door’ opportunity is how many big name producers and entertainment executives started their endeavors into the entertainment industry and this is my start.”
Green, a media and society and dance double major with a minor in peer education and human relations, is a member of Arts Collective, HWS Live, Koshare, and the president of Pro Arts: Artist Professional Development Club. He previously held an internship with the HWS Office of Communications, gaining experience in video productions.
Jackson-Preston, who will serve as the stage manager, will be responsible for scheduling and managing props backstage during performances. In addition, she will assist with light and sound board operations.
“I wanted the opportunity to experience theatre on a professional level,” explains Jackson-Preston, a future math major and director of communications for the Campus Activity Board (CAB), who believes she will enroll in the education program and minor in Asian studies. “Interning with KS Stevens really appealed to me because she uses her work to break down stereotypes and prejudices within the LGBT community.”
Stevens offered this internship to HWS students to provide them with real life work experience, and to give back to the Colleges.
“HWS put incredible professors in my life, including Professors of Art Ted Aub and Phillia Yi and Professor of English Jim Crenner,” says Stevens. “They all encouraged me to find my voice through the studio arts and creative writing. These disciplines give me greater perspective in creating characters, scene placement and plot points. Hobart and William Smith is also where I found family during college, and I continue to stay in touch with a lot of my friends today.”
“BIG EXCELLENT 20TH REUNION” is a musical that celebrates diversity. There are anthems for everyone within the play and it is a deeply intimate story for those who have ever loved family and friends who are LBGT, from interracial or adopted families, or have been touched by cancer and HIV.
“One could say I write from a place of living in reality,” explains Stevens. “The play comes from my life experiences and those I observed with friends and family and how cancer and HIV have both have monstrously affected all our lives. Also, being a minority in minority group has shaped my perspective personally and professionally. My experiences in this regard are the primary reason I am so committed to creating rich ethnic characters that aren’t stereotyped. We have so few and I write to create some new molds.”
The show will premier at Theatre 80, located at 80 Saint Mark’s Place, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, on Wednesday, June 6, and will run for 19 shows before the final performance on Saturday, June 23, the night before New York City Pride Sunday 2012.
The play is made in partnership with Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Sylvia’s Place, H.A.L.O (Helping and Loving Orphans), The Catalyst Foundation, Project Renewal, The WOW Cafe Theatre, Queers For Economic Justice, Fourth Arts Block, and HB Studio.
Stevens received her bachelor’s in studio art from William Smith and was awarded the Arthur Dove Memorial Art Prize in 1994. Her previous plays include “Butch Mamas,“ “Yellow Lens,“ and “The Scene.“ She also created, filmed and edited the short film, “Katie & Kaden,” which won the Second Chance Award at the Asian International Film Festival’s 72 Hour Film Shootout and debuted at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. She is member of the WOW Cafe Theatre, the Dramatists Guild, Women’s Initiative 50/50 in 20/20 and the Asian American Film Lab.