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Dec. 1, 2014
By Alexandra Mortallaro, media relations assistant
Two Northwest Missouri State University alumni are helping audiences get into the holiday spirit this season and sharing their theater talents with Kansas City.
Tony Pulford, a 2014 Northwest graduate, has been cast as Rudolph in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which is playing through Jan. 4 at The Coterie in Kansas City, Mo., and Jerry Genochio, a 1991 Northwest graduate, is directing the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” playing through Dec. 26 at Spencer Theatre on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.
Last spring, Pulford auditioned at The Coterie and was cast for three shows: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Cat and the Hat” and “The Dramatic Health Education Project.” He was seen in several Northwest productions, including “Urinetown: The Musical” and “Cinderella, Cinderella!”
“Northwest helped pave the way by providing me with good auditioning and character-building techniques needed for this business and helped me discover further who I am as an actor,” Pulford said. “It's so important to get yourself out there and meet as many theater people as you can and really be a part of that community, it could make the difference of being a working actor.”
Genochio became producing director in 2008 at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre – three years after he was hired at the theatre as an associate artistic director for production. He has directed various plays such as “American Buffalo,” “The Foreigner” and “The Santaland Diaries,” among others.
Before leading the production and artistic teams, mounting all productions, budgets, calendars and planning for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Genochio served as production manager for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Sacramento Theatre Company and at Missouri State University.
He also spent 10 seasons as scenery director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival; served as technical director at Illinois State University, Lafayette College, Illinois Shakespeare Festival; and toured nationally with Minneapolis’ Children's Theatre Company.
“Northwest gave me a very broad experience base that allowed me to explore multiple disciplines within the art of theater such as acting, directing, building sets, making props, painting scenery and designing sets, among other duties,” Genochio said. “All of this has served me well through graduate school and now as producer director where I draw from my broad base of experiences every day in my professional career. That started at Northwest.”
As for advice to individuals interested in theater, Genochio said it is important that students try to experience as much as possible.
“What you find enjoyable, fulfilling and fun just might surprise you,” he said. “The world of professional theater needs many diverse, talented people to make it happen, so use your time at Northwest to discover what part you will play. It’s the best place to find the thing you love to do and develop your skills to do it.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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