Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Prestigious Black Hills Playhouse selects KCKCC actress


For a budding actress, there are few opportunities better than a summer performing as a member of The Black Hills Playhouse acting company – which is what Danielle Swatzell has to look forward to this summer.

A Kansas City Kansas Community College graduate and adjunct instructor, Swatzell has been selected to perform in three plays in the famed Playhouse in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

“People in the theatre world know what a great opportunity it is to work at the Black Hills Playhouse,” says Dr. Charles Leader, Director of Theatre at KCKCC. “They audition all over the country to choose a company of some 30 performers, technicians and designers for each summer’s season. Danielle is a wonderful performer and an excellent addition to our teaching core here at the college andwill do herself and the college proud.”

“I’m kind of over the moon right now,” says Swatzell, who auditioned for the Playhouse at KCKCC in February. “I really didn’t expect them to get back to me so I was kind of in shock when I found out. It’s pretty special to go to an acting camp and also get paid.”

Swatzell is the third to be selected from KCKCC, following in the footsteps of Dr. Leader and Ashley Kings, a KCKCC alum. As an adjunct instructor, Swatzell teaches Introduction to Acting at KCKCC and a Theatre Appreciation course at Washington High School.

In addition, she’s written a play, “A Bit Like Daydreaming,” for the annual KCKCC Original One-Act Play Festival April 18-21, and will direct another, ”The Elephant in the Room.”

Growing up in a military family, Swatzell holds a degree from the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London, England.

“It was very intense,” she remembers. “I was not only in an acting conservatory but I was working on my master’s degree.”

She also holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth after earning an AA at KCKCC.

Swatzell will perform in three of the Black Hills Playhouse’s five plays this summer –  “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Boeing Boeing” and “Children of Eden.”

Each production will run about 10 days.

“The turnover time is very different,” says Swatzell. “We rehearse for the next production during the day and perform at night and when we’re not in production, we work backstage, lighting, sets, the box office – the business side.”

While she has not performed in any of the three productions, she has several Kansas City acting credits including “Oliver,” “Happy Days the Musical,” “The 39 Steps,” “Design for Murder,” “ The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “Hairspray” and “Nun Crackers: the Musical.”

The Black Hills Playhouse gig, says Swatzell, is the perfect vehicle for her goals in the theatrical industry.

“I definitely want to do more professional acting on the stage and in film and would like to own my own theatre.”