Andover college student is cast in Minnesota Fringe play

There’s still time to see an Andover teen who scored an acting role in the Minnesota Fringe Festival’s 2013 lineup.

Jake Sullivan, 19, a 2012 Anoka High School graduate, plays Lee in the Fringe’s “Shine,” a musical about anti-bullying.

The cast of “Shine” has performed for 32 elementary schools. The show is now playing in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Cast members are: left to right, Chris Jimmy, Sophia Jones, Jake Sullivan of Andover, Maria Camila Perez, Rachel Howard, Ian Lah and Dillion Swanson.

The cast of “Shine” has performed for 32 elementary schools. The show is now playing in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Cast members are: left to right, Chris Jimmy, Sophia Jones, Jake Sullivan of Andover, Maria Camila Perez, Rachel Howard, Ian Lah and Dillion Swanson.

“Shine” is a story about a new girl at school who arrives in an outfit of bright and bold colors. The other students dressed in drab, gray attire make fun of her. But Shine stands up to the bullies. One by one, her positive attitude catches on with the other students. Still, one character, Lee, played by Sullivan, erupts into an act of violence that turns his former friends against him. Find out if Shine can bridge the anger and build friendships among the group.

“For me, it’s been theater forever,” said Jake, who has acted in a slew of plays. That would include performing at Anoka Community Theatre, Lyric Arts Main Street Stage and at Mankato State University, where he is an incoming sophomore, pursuing a bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theater, with a minor in film studies.

Jake was part of a cast of seven who toured “Shine” last spring in about 32 elementary schools. The show, written by Shelley Whitehead for the Minnesota State University, Mankato, Department of Theatre and Dance, was seen by about 8,500 students.

After a brief hiatus, “Shine” was selected for the Fringe. Rehearsals resumed the week of July 29.

“It’s like riding a bike, hopping on something we have done for so long, so many times,” Jake said.

Jake Sullivan of Andover

Jake Sullivan of Andover

This is Jake’s second show with the Fringe. (The shows are selected by lottery.) In 2006, he was student director for “Honk, Jr.,” alongside theater teacher Jefferson Fietek, who directed the show at Anoka Middle School for the Arts, Fred Moore Campus. The musical was later selected to run at the Fringe.

“That was a really great experience for young actors to have,” Jake said.

For Jake the best part of acting is to “feed off of what I’m giving the audience,” he said, so they can take away a powerful experience from the theater.

“Shine” plays well to adults as well as children and offers tips on how to deal with intimidation.

The play is an important piece because many have experienced bullying, Jake said.

“Being who you are is not a bad thing,” he said. If people would stand up and be themselves and learn more from each other, they could live together in a more harmonious situation, he said.

“It’s a vibrant musical that children are going to enjoy,” Jake said. Parents will enjoy it as well.

Minnesota Fringe Festival presents “Shine,” written and directed by Shelley Whitehead of 3rd Year Productions. Robb Krueger is composer/lyricist. Shows are Friday, Aug. 2, 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m.; Monday, Aug. 5, 10 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 7, 8:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m. Minneapolis Theatre Garage, 711 W. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For more information, visit www.fringefestival.org.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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