Detroit Mercy Theater Company earns prestigious awards

With glamour and showmanship, the Detroit Mercy Theatre Company (DMTC) proudly seized the spotlight at the Wilde Awards upon which they received three prestigious awards from Encore Michigan. A testament to its great work in the last season’s production of “Pride and Prejudice,” these are the awards that were brought home: Best Play (Comedy), Best Director (Play) for Sarah Rusk, and Best Supporting Actor (Play) for the senior Luke Adamkiewicz.

Rusk, the recipient of Best Director (Play) award, happily shared the insights into her vision for “Pride and Prejudice” and the collaborative journey with the cast and crew. 

Being an admirer of Jane Austen’s Work, Rusk expressed her excitement for Kate Hamill’s adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.” Rusk admired how the romance between Lizzy and Darcy was portrayed as well as the antics of the Bennet family and truly valued how the adaptation stayed true to the heart of the story. The adaptation, while honoring the classic tale, introduced modern elements to make the story more modern. 

Rusk said, “The cast, crew, design team and I worked hard to make sure we honored the classic story while also having fun where we could.”

Directing a production as ambitious as “Pride and Prejudice” posed its challenges to Rusk. When asking Rusk what the most rewarding aspect was along with what challenges she faced, she said, “The sheer size of the production — from number of actors, dialects and dances to Regency costumes to the requirements for set, lighting, and other aspects — was a bit daunting at first. Luckily, we have an amazing group of students, faculty, and staff that came together to create a bit of magic on stage.  Watching the collaboration between all aspects of the production is most rewarding for me, as is watching the growth of our student actors in their roles. On opening night, the fight scene between Katherine Mutschler, who played Lizzy, and Gavin Rapuzzi, who played Mr. Darcy, got applause! It warms my heart when the students are able to soar as performers and artists.”

Rusk contributed a large part of the exceptional collaboration towards the technical team and emphasized the creativity that was required for the production. From quick costume changes to the incorporation of modern songs in a more “Regency-style ballroom scene,” the technical team’s creativity played a huge role in the success of the production.

Reflecting on the performance and rehearsal process, Rusk shared her own personal favorite moment. Student actor Mason Modzelewski’s portrayal of Lady Catherine left a lasting impression. Particularly, the way that the actor pronounced “Deeeees-gusting!” left a lasting impression that bleeds into the household of the director.

The Detroit Mercy Theatre Company stands as a testament to the power of artistic collaboration. The vision of Rusk combined with the dedication of the crew, cast and entire DMTC team brought not only “Pride and Prejudice” to life, but also earned them their well-deserved recognition. As the curtains draw to a close on this past season, the Detroit Mercy Theatre Company proves to be a shining star that promises future productions that will captivate their audiences.