Rodney Murray, 2017 Recipient
The second recipient of The Friends of Gwen Freeman Lehman is Rodney Murray. Rodney is a freshman at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in the theatre track. His primary interest is in directing, but he is also in interested in scriptwriting, acting, and the production process. As a junior in high school, Rodney was accepted into a summer program at U of Arts. That experience solidified for Rodney his interest in pursuing theatre as his life’s work. He is very excited to be in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts.
Actively involved from his sophomore year in the theatre program at SDHS, he enrolled in Introduction to Theatre and Theatre Production. He appeared in several children’s theatres, including playing the title role in “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” He also appeared in the annual adaptations of Shakespearean plays. As a student, he directed fellow students in several one-acts.
Sammi Schachter, 2016 Recipient
The first recipient of The Friends of Gwen Freeman Lehman Foundation Scholarship is Samantha (Sammi) Schachter. Sammi is a freshman at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Sammi was a student of Mrs. Lehman’s in Introduction to Theatre and Theatre Production. She participated in many productions, including the annual children’s theatre and the annual Shakespeare Under the Stars. One of her strongest performances was in Thornton Wilder’s The Long Christmas Dinner. During her senior year she played Juliet in a production of Romeo and Juliet directed by the new drama instructor Mr. Brandon Cater.
The following is a portion of a letter Mrs. Lehman received from Sammi at the beginning of her first year of college.
Portions of a a letter from Sammi Schacter, first recipient of The Friends of Gwen Freeman Lehman Scholarship
. . . My schedule consists of an intermediate French class, a history class regarding the effects of place and landscape on identity in the Middle East, and my theatre components.
Twice a week I have an Actor’s Workshop with Erica Newhouse. In that class, we’ve started working on monologues, sense memory work, and some movement. Erica went to Sarah Lawrence for her under-graduate, and then went to graduate school at Juilliard. She wants to take us to the Bronx Zoo, so we can observe the animals and work on exploring different aspects of movement.
My other two theatre components each meet once a week. I’m in a Stage Management class taught by Greta Minsky, who has worked professionally as a stage manager on several Broadway productions. The first semester of the class is focused on training and understanding all the roles of a stage manager, but the spring semester doesn’t meet for classes. In the spring, we will be working as stage managers for on campus productions, and meeting with a mentor to track our progress.
My last class is Breathing Coordination and Building a Vocal Technique taught by Sterling Swann. He is teaching us to breathe properly through our diaphragm and how to posture ourselves in order to improve our vocal strength for performance. My professors are all very encouraging and give lots of individual attention to my strengths and weaknesses as a performer.
We had general auditions for the fall season . . . I auditioned for three shows using the Chekov monologue from Ivanov that I submitted as one of my monologues for your scholarship. I received one callback, and I was one of the two first-year students called back for . . .”The Internet is a Myth.” It is about all the cliches of the internet, and how reliant society has become on the internet to think for them. I thought the subject definitely sounded like something you would like! Unfortunately, I did not make it in the final cast (of five actors playing 20 characters each), but I was very pleased with the process and the fact that I had even decided to audition. I’m . . . working with several on campus organizations including the SLC Musical Theatre Collective . . .
I’m so happy in the liberal arts environment at SLC, it has really opened my eyes to many social issues . . . I cannot thank you enough for choosing me as the first recipient of the Friends of Lehman scholarship award. It means so much to me, and I promise I will do everything I can to ensure that I’m getting the most out of my Sarah Lawrence education and New York’s opportunities to explore artistic works.
Thank you so much again!