Hello alumni of Scotch’n’Soda Theatre,
We have a bunch of information for you about upcoming events and initiatives. We’re going to talk about Carnival, the SnS Endowment, some new alumni group initiatives, and give you some information about alumni projects.
Scotch’n’Soda’s Carnival production this year is Chicago. This dance-heavy musical theatre classic promises to be one of the biggest and most exciting student productions yet!
In addition to the show, we will be hosting a brunch for alumni from 12pm - 2pm on the Saturday, April 21 of in CUC Connan. You can register here.
I’d like to tell you a bit about my vision for this organization for the year. In general, we want to provide more opportunities for students to get involved in low-commitment ways with theatre. This year, for example, Guthrie Scrimgeour (‘20) and the rest of the workshopping team revamped workshopping into “New Works Coffeehouse.” This group’s aim is to create a community of people interested in creating and presenting new theatre, which is a Scotch’n’Soda legacy and we are excited to carry it on.
Michelle Wiedmann (‘19), our Director of Artistic Training, is putting on Almost Maine in order to teach new directors, an exciting new opportunity this year. She is guiding directors through all stages of the show process, creating confident and prepared directors for the future.
TisTroupe, a newly formed subset of Tisbert (our sketch comedy troupe), was created to bring Tisbert sketch comedy to the greater Pittsburgh community. It has just auditioned new members to cultivate a group of students interested in writing, acting, and directing and we’re excited to see how this new initiative develop. No Parking Players (our improv troupe) is hosting a festival March 2nd through 3rd. It is free to attend, and is intended to promote improv comedy on campus. They have also participated in outside festivals, such as Steelstacks this semester.
Lastly, we are working with students in the Masters of Arts Management program to put on a 24 Hour Play, where we will write, direct, and do tech for a show in just 24 hours from start to finish! Scotch’n’Soda has grown over the years, adding more members, more shows, and more events each year, and I am excited to continue to promote new and innovative works and new ways for each student to get involved with theatre, which has always been Scotch’n’Soda’s mission.
Alexandra Halberstadt (‘19), President of Scotch’n’Soda Theatre
In 2014, at Scotch’n’Soda’s 75th anniversary Carnival dinner gala show of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we announced the official establishment of the Scotch’n’Soda Endowment fund. The fund was established by an initial donation from Jared L. Cohon, the former CMU President of 16 years and a loyal Scotch’n’Soda fan, and a completing donation by an anonymous alumni donor, starting the fund at the minimum $50,000 required for an endowment, making Scotch’n’Soda the first undergraduate student activities organization to establish such a fund.
But what is the difference between a standard Gift Fund and an Endowment? Here are some facts that might be interesting when deciding whether to donate to the SnS Gift Fund or Endowment:
- An endowment is a fund that is restricted such that only a small portion of it becomes available each quarter. This amount is based on the CMU Endowment rate which currently stands at about 10% a year. This means that if the fund has $50,000 in it, $1,250 of it becomes available to the student group each quarter for spending.
- This funding structure is intended to increase alumni confidence that donated funds will be used in a responsible way. It also guarantees that the student organization will have a steady stream of alumni funds in the future, regardless of the ebbs and flows of alumni outreach or economic conditions affecting donation rate.
- The fund was also specifically designated by its donors to support show budgets directly. This means that the fund cannot be used for large capital purchases, for which the Gift Fund is more suited. The idea here is that instead of the student organization buying a brand new sound board, for example, they can count on having the funds to rent a really nice one every year instead, without worrying about cutting into normal production resources.
- Many alumni have expressed interest in knowing what the Endowment has been used for thus far, and the Alumni Association is working with the student board to start publishing a transparency report at a regular cadence so that you can get a better sense of the impact you are having with your donations. If you have more questions about the Endowment, feel free to reach out at [email protected].
- The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends, winner of 2017 Premiere Premieres! in Chicago will have a staged reading, with new songs and script, on March 4th at 8pm in the Carnegie Mellon University CUC Black Box Theater. Written by SnS alumnus Alex Petti (‘15) and Annie Pulsipher (CFA ‘17), and featuring performances by SnS alumni Marina Devaux, Andrew Abrahamson, and Alex Petti. Proceeds will be going to CMU School of Drama’s Senior Showcase.
Palto Alto, CA
- Skeleton Crew will run from March 7 to April 1 at the Lucie Stern Theatre. SnS alumnus Katie Dai (‘05) does marketing for TheatreWorks. If you would like to go, you can contact us for a discount code.
- Gillian Hassert (‘11) is performing in The Irish and How They Got Away at the Fulton Theater now through March 18.
Los Angeles, CA
- Keaton Shapiro (‘17) is producing Nice Fish at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles from now to March 25.
- Christy St. John (‘14) is a lead in Duels, a series on the Blackpills app. In addition to acting, she does standup comedy in LA. Check out her website or twitter for future show dates.
- Evan Starkweather (‘15) will be in The Annoyance Bar’s Javier Awards on March 4th starting at 5pm. It’s a fake Oscars Ceremony Show, complete with fake Oscar-nominated film clips. The event will end before the real Oscars begin, for which everyone is welcome to stay and watch at the venue.
- Mark Harvey Levine (‘85) (Book and Lyrics for “Carried Away”, 1983 Spring Musical) is having one of his plays performed at sea! City Theatre of Miami is producing his short play “Oy Vey Maria” as part of “Shorts On Ships”. It will be performed at sea, around the world on a cruise ship of the Azamara Club Line, a division of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Mark has had over 1500 productions of his plays around the world, but this is his first production that’s not on land. He’d love to hear from old CMU friends. Contact him at [email protected].
- SnS alumni Shannon Deep (‘10, ‘11) and Scott Wasserman (‘10) run a podcast called Song and Salad where they write a new song every week in a random style about a random topic and document the process.
Have a project you’d like to share? Email [email protected] with the details.
New Alumni Initiatives
We are looking into starting SnS Alumni gatherings in select cities that are “hubs” for large amounts of SnS alumni. More details will come later this spring, but if you are in one of these cities and are interested in helping, please reach out to [email protected].
If you would like to receive more frequent updates (once a month, max) about SnS alumni projects and progress on initiatives, sign up for the SnS Alumni Monthly, or follow us on social media on Twitter or Facebook.