ACADEMICS | For the last ten years, the Department of Theatre Arts has hosted fundraisers to remember Sam Wasson, a beloved theatre arts major who died in a car accident during his sophomore year. Next week, the department will host “Crosswords,” a series of romantic, funny and poignant one-act plays starring LMU alumni and professional actors. All proceeds collected through ticket sales will go to benefit the Sam Wasson Theatre Arts Scholarship. The scholarship is given each spring to a student who is involved in both the performance and technical side of theatre, and who also embodies Sam’s warm, funny and openhearted spirit.
Losing Sam was a blow to the Theatre Arts Department, particularly because he passed away while running an errand for a production. “Sam was a truly special student who made a huge impression on everyone in the department, even in the short time he was here at LMU,” said Jason Sheppard, technical director for the Department of Theatre Arts. “Every year, it is so gratifying to watch our students participate in events that honor his memory and provide for a generous scholarship, while having a fun learning experience. It has been truly amazing to witness Sam’s spirit continue to have a positive effect on our students.” An annual concert, BTLS4SAM, is also held in his memory.
For many years, “Crosswords” has been produced by Theatre Arts alumna Gloria Calderón Kellett ’97, a former writer and producer on the CBS show “How I Met Your Mother,” a producer on the CBS show “Rules of Engagement,” and currently the co-creator, executive producer and co-showrunner of Netflix’s TV series “One Day at a Time.” This year she’s passing on the producing duties to her own LMU former students who now work with her at “One Day at a Time.” This year’s production is written and directed by Michelle Badillo ’13 and Caroline Levich ’14, Bernard Badion ’15, Mara de la Rosa ’14, Suehee Chang ’15, Ariana Quiñónez ’12 and Daniel Martinez ’18.
While “Crosswords” is written, produced and acted by LMU alums and professional actors, Theatre Arts students work with the group, doing set design, lighting, costuming and other production tasks to support the performance. The one-act plays are short and fun, covering a range of scenarios that are romantic, touching, completely hilarious, and even occasionally a little shocking. This year, all of the plays are set at the same hotel on the same night where a wedding is taking place.
“Crosswords” will run for three nights, Nov. 10 and 11 at 8:00 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Barnelle Theatre in Foley. Tickets are available at https://crosswordsbenefit2017.brownpapertickets.com/. All proceeds will benefit the Sam Wasson Theatre Arts Scholarship.