Boulder Creek High School Choir Stuns Audiences with Broadway-Themed Concert

Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, Boulder Creek High School Choir (in Phoenix, Arizona) accomplished

Men’s Chorus surprising the audience with an amazing Newsies set.

several feats such as performing with Choirs of America at Carnegie Hall, and reaching a record number of students in the program.

Boulder Creek High School currently operates with 6 “during-school” choirs, and one after-school choir. The six during-school include two beginning choirs, two concert choirs, and two show choirs. For those that aren’t familiar with the concept of show choir, it is a type of choir that combines typically musical theatre and pop music to create a 15-20 minute set that is performed with costumes and dancing.

At the end of each school year, Boulder Creek hosts a “pops” concert, where all 6 choirs get to put on a show, just like the two show choirs (Heart and Soul/Broadway Bound) put on during all four concerts.

Each year has a theme that has been well thought out and usually correlates to the overall theme of the year. For last year, it only seemed fitting that with a trip to New York, the theme should be Broadway.

Broadway Bound giving a Tony-worthy performance with Hamilton: An American Musical.

Men’s Chorus, a beginning choir, kicked off the concert with a bang with a strong performance of Newsies, complete with Newsboy hats and the dance break using newspapers from the actual show! Women’s Ensemble, also a beginning choir, brought the heat with Carole King songs such as “It’s Too Late” and songs from the Beautiful: The Carole King Musical such as “Stupid Cupid” and “Poison Ivy”. Dressed in yellow, all of the girls shone bright and put an enormous smile on the face of each audience member. 

Bella Voce, the women’s-only concert choir, stunned the audience with a harmonious rendition of Hairspray and their amazing choreography skills. These girls have the voices of angels when they sing, and brought their own flair to the entire set. 

Heart and Soul, the women’s-only show choir, brought their performance to a new level after simultaneously dancing and singing in three other concerts throughout the year. Dressed in blue and black, they shocked the audience with a set featuring songs from Wicked, including “Popular”, “Defying Gravity”, “What is This Feeling?” and more. As these ladies wove in and out of each other during choreography, their harmonies intertwined beautifully as well. 

Bel Canto Honor Choir, the mixed concert choir, shocked every audience member with a stunning rendition of the Lion King, with laser-precise vocals and choreography. Every note resounded throughout the house and struck a chord with everyone in the house and backstage. Each soloist had immense, contagious energy and stunning vocals.

Broadway Bound, the mixed show choir, brought a different element to the table than usual- hip hop dancing. They accompanied it with music from the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton, and hypnotizing vocals to match. Dressed as specific members from the show as well as several choir members wearing a costume similar to the common ensemble costume of Hamilton, the entire choir had the audience on their feet at the end of their performance, as if they had just watched a portion of the Broadway show.

Honor Choir presenting Simba during their Lion King set.

Show choirs across the nation are starting to introduce more musical theatre repertoire into their sets, and theatre kids across the country are starting to get more involved in their choir programs. As a theatre kid myself, I know that show choir is truly a passion of mine especially since it combines singing, acting, and dancing! I encourage all of you to give it a try, as it might turn out to be a new passion of yours that will strengthen your vocal ability and help you in the world of musical theatre! 

This year in school, try to step out of your comfort zone and try something new- whether it’s choir, theatre, band, art, dance, a new sport, or any activity! All Pictures are credited to SicPicPhotography.

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Seizing The Day With “Newsies”!

Newsies: a Disney classic and a Broadway smash! Not to mention a 2012 Tony Award Winner for best score and best choreography! Notorious for “the Newsie jump” and musical numbers such as “Seize the Day”, this musical swept Pittsburgh off its feet!

James Allen Washington is in the ensemble and plays Sniper and Scab in “Newsies”!

If you have never seen Newsies, it is “based on the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, this new Disney musical tells the story of Jack Kelly, a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life as an artist away from the big city. After publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices at the newsboys’ expense, Kelly and his fellow newsies take action. With help from the beautiful female reporter Katherine Plumber, all of New York City soon recognizes the power of ‘the little man.'” It is an epic David vs. Goliath story that the whole family will enjoy!

But what makes a newsboy a “Newsie”? Jack Kelley might tell you it’s “sellin’ papes”, but James Allen Washington showed me all the answers.

Our masterclass group with James Allen Washington!

Thanks to the Pittsburgh CLO Academy of Musical Theater for offering a “Newsies” dance master class, I was able to work with actor James Allen Washington (Sniper, Scab, Ensemble) and given insight on the extensive and intense dancing in Newsies. With a quick warm, up we were off learning the choreography straight from the stage! James Allan Washington gave every important detail of each number along with stories of his own personal experiences  while he 

My playbill from the phenomenal performance!

taught. Washington is a promising rising star. Believe it or not, this is only his fourth show! I can’t wait to see what he will do next!

During the question-and-answer session he was asked what someone older, who hasn’t been dancing since a young age, could do to to improve their dance, James replied “stretch, definitely take classes, and don’t let anyone tell you no.”  That answer lit the room with confidence and newfound inspiration!

After the question-and-answer session we had a few minutes to primp before we headed to the gorgeous Benedum Center to watch James and the rest of the cast in action. Newsies is a show I have seen and listened to many times. But for the first time, I was able to truly connect with the characters and even cried at the end of the ballad, “Santa Fe”. Each character came to life with phenomenal realness.  

The Pittsburgh CLO is a definite must-do if you are an actor visiting or living in the Pittsburgh area! Located in the cultural district of Pittsburgh, it offers theatre camps, all kinds of classes, master classes, and more. The CLO is a wonderful place to continue your theatrical training! I’m looking forward to my next visit!

 

If you haven’t been able to see the Newsies story for yourself, now is your chance! The filmed musical is returning to select cinemas Aug. 5th and 9th. See if it is coming to a theater near you here.

 

Congratulations to the cast of “Newsies” on a phenomenal run!

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Waitress’ “Sweet-as-Pie” Ella Dane Morgan & Mother Laura Morgan!

Throughout the past year, I have had the amazing opportunity to interview several people, all thanks to the amazing blog team at Camp Broadway. Today, I am even more excited to bring you an interview with Ella Dane Morgan, who currently is one of two young girls playing Lulu in Waitress! I interviewed Ella’s double, Cate Elefante, a few months ago (you can find that interview here).

Ella just finished up kindergarten, and during the school year was simultaneously learning and performing on Broadway! Her favorite type of pie is gluten free strawberry with criss-cross crust and whipped cream on the side!

Ella had an extremely special day on September 8th, 2017. It was her first day of kindergarten, the day of her callback for Waitress, and also the day that she found out she has gotten the role! Ella said, “I couldn’t believe it and I felt so happy!  I was SOOOOO excited that my dream of being on stage was coming true!”

Without further ado, here is my interview with the adorable, sweet, and talented star of Waitress! I started with asking for some of Ella’s favorites!

Favorite treat to get in the city?

“My very favorite treats are the gluten free cupcakes and macaroons from Baked by Melissa. I also love cheesecake and bubble tea with extra bobas!”

Favorite place in the city?

“Bryant Park because I get to ride the carousel!”

Ella on set of Good Morning America with composer and previous leading lady of Waitress, Sara Bareilles

Favorite thing about kindergarten?

“I loved math because you learn a lot and it’s just so much fun!  I also liked recess because you can play different games with your friends.”

Favorite song to sing?

“My current favorite is “Naughty” from Matilda but I also never get tired of singing “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.”

Of course, I didn’t forget to ask Ella about her castmates and her experience being in Waitress. It may be hard to believe, but this tiny superstar performs on Broadway four times per week!

SUTTELL: What did you have to do for your Lulu audition?

ELLA: “I had to say “A lot!!” and I had to say “Hi mama!” and run and jump into someone’s arms. It was so much fun! At my callback I got to play Simon Says with our director, Diane Paulus.”

SUTTELL: Who are some of your favorite cast members to have fun with backstage?

ELLA: “It’s hard to choose!!  Eric (Eric Anderson who plays Cal), Jeremy (Jeremy Morse who is the Ogie understudy) and our Company Manager, Eduardo (Castro) – they’re like having big brothers backstage!”

Ella with fellow cast members during Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade!

Thanks to Ella’s amazing, sweet-as-pie mother, I also got to ask her some questions about Ella’s time in the show.

SUTTELL: “What has it been like balancing Ella’s kindergarten age lifestyle with the aspect of performing in a Broadway show several times a week?”

LAURA: “In theory, she gets to have the best of both worlds – half the week as a normal kindergartner and half the week as a Broadway baby! Once we figured out a basic schedule, it hasn’t been too difficult to balance. Her teachers have been super supportive and flexible.  Whenever Ella has to miss anything at school, we are able to work on it in her dressing room at the theater. Ella performs in 4 shows a week so she had to cut back on other activities. Before starting the show she was involved in gymnastics and dance, plus Tae Kwon Do three times a week. For now, she had to pick just one, so she’s doing gymnastics. She’s also taking voice lessons since she loves the musical theater world so much. Ella’s dad and I have adopted a ‘divide and conquer’ mentality. On the days Ella and I are in the city, he takes care of meals and dropping off/picking up Ella’s little brother at preschool. He holds down the fort at home in addition to his full time job. (He’s kind-of a Super Dad!) As parents we’re just happy we are able to support Ella in doing something she loves so much.”

SUTTELL: “What do you think the best thing she’s gotten out of it has been and what memories/experiences do you think she’ll remember and cherish most when she’s older because of Waitress?”

Ella onstage with Sara Bareilles in the finale of Waitress!

LAURA: “Honestly, I think the best thing she’s gotten out of it is the friendships. She has been so lucky to work with such a great theater family. Just good people! She has also learned so much about the world of theater. Big things and little – even basic things like what terms such as ‘cue’ and ‘understudy’ mean that she hadn’t been exposed to before. She’s also now very confident and comfortable in the physical space of a theater and in front of an audience. She has no fear of speaking in front of a crowd. I think her favorite memories will be her friendships and shenanigans with the cast, but the highlights of her time at Waitress will certainly be performing in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (watch it here) and on Good Morning America (watch it here).”

Ella is an amazing girl who I can already tell has a bright future in theatre, or whatever she chooses to pursue! I had an amazing time hearing about her story, and can’t wait to see where she goes next!

Special thank you to Ella Dane Morgan and Laura Morgan for taking the time to make this possible, as well as the production/media team of Waitress!

 

A Magical Night at the Tonys

What is the biggest night on Broadway? The Tony Awards of course! Usually on Tony Awards night I’m snuggled up on my couch with a bowl of popcorn watching the event on TV, but this year I got to see it live in person! Camp Broadway took me and some other thespians to Radio City to experience the magical Tony Awards. It was an experience I will never forget! Before the awards we went to Sardi’s, an infamous restaurant in the theatre community, where we got caricatures made of ourselves. We also had the privilege of eating dinner with the three Charlie’s in Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! I was able to ask each of them a few questions and get their view on the life of a Broadway performer.

After Sardi’s we made the walk to Radio City for the Tony Awards! As we walked into Radio City, glamorous people flooded the building in gorgeous gowns. Then it hit me. Wow, I am actually at the Tony Awards! I could not believe it; I thought I was dreaming so I had to pinch myself to make sure it was actually happening! I made my way to the first mezzanine to find my seat and the extravagant scenery flooded my senses. It was a magical sight to see the Radio City stage decorated for this special night. I just took it all in.

The perks of going to the Tony Awards broadcast are that you are able to see everything that isn’t put on the air. Before the show aired at eight o’clock, they gave out numerous awards that were not aired on television. It was also cool to see the camera work and finessing they do behind the scenes that you are not able to see at home. It is really fascinating. Finally it was time, 7:59, 60 seconds until the Tony Awards are aired and the magic really begins. The energy in Radio City was a feeling I will never forget. 60 seconds had passed and the awards had gone live! It was incredible. The entire night was like a dream. The show was fantastic and the performances took my breath away.

All of the performances were fantastic, but a few stood out to me. To start, the opening number with the host, Kevin Spacey, was hilarious and was a great kick-off to the night. Next, the Miss Saigon performance was surely a showstopper. Eva Noblezada‘s powerful and moving vocals left the audience speechless and amazed. Also, the entire ensemble of Miss Saigon really amazed me. This performance brought me to tears because it was so incredible. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Miss Saigon and interview a member of the cast, Minami Yusui. Look for a future blog post about this experience!

Another wonderful performance was Dear Evan Hansen. Ben Platt is really something special and when he’s onstage your eyes are drawn to him. Another showstopping number was when the Rockettes performed to the iconic Frank Sinatra song, “New York, New York”. Their costumes sparkled and the backdrop had “ROCKETTES” written in gold sparkles. Suddenly, just as you thought this performance couldn’t get any better, Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr. came out and sang the epic ending of the song. I was starstruck. It was one of the greatest things I have ever witnessed. Definitely one of the top performances of the night! The cast of The Great Comet’s performance was also very spectacular! With Josh Groban‘s voice, the incredible dancers in the ensemble, and the extraordinary set, it was an amazing sight to see. Out of all of the performances of the night, my top two favorites were the Miss Saigon performance and the Rockettes with Cynthia and Leslie. Overall, the whole show was incredible!

The theme for this years Tony Awards is “Theatre Inspires”, which can be followed at #theatreinspires. In between noshing at Sardis and getting our caricature’s done… I was able to sit down with the three young men who play Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway to chat about their life as a Broadway performer. Thank you to Ryan Sell, Jake Ryan Flynn and Ryan Foust for chatting with me. Hope you are inspired by what they had to share!

When did you begin doing theatre?

(RS) Three years ago I did a high school production of Shrek, I played Young Shrek and that’s how I got started. I was also in Mame. I played young Patrick and I got to perform with Leslie Uggams.

(JRF) I did theatre when I was five years old, community theatre. Then I did North Shore Music Theatre; I did a lot of shows there.

(RF) I began doing theatre six years ago when I was in first grade.

What is your favorite part about being on Broadway?

(RS) It’s a very small community and we all have fun and it’s a great experience to be a part of this great cast and crew. It’s an honor to work with Christian Borle, John Rubinstein, Jackie Hoffman, and Emily Padgett. It’s a great experience and I am enjoying every bit of it.

(JRF) You get a lot of Legos! I like to perform because I’ve always wanted to be on Broadway, so its just great!

(RF) My favorite part about being on Broadway is getting to work with Christian Borle, and all those amazing people you hear about and living the dream everybody loves if they have something to do with theatre, they’d love to be on Broadway. Before I went on everyone asked how do you feel and I was like my dream is just about to come true! My very first line is “what is this place?” and I can act that out like crazy!

What’s your favorite candy?

(JRF) Charleston Chew
(RF) Airheads Sugar Belts
(RS) Airheads Sour Strips

What are your dreams for when you grow up?

(JRF) I really want to be the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera!

(RF) My dreams are to be an actor of course, and I’d like to be a director, music writer or film writer.

What was it like performing on a Broadway stage for the first time?

(JRF) I was freaking out! I was so nervous, so nervous. But it was fun though, because I got into it; really fun!

Along with insight from the three Charlie’s, the Camp Broadway kids also shared how theatre inspires them. After all, they are Broadway’s future! May we find inspiration in their answers!

Theatre inspires me because…. 

Anything can happen! – Rachel

I can’t imagine doing anything else!!! – Luke

It allows me to express myself in ways I can’t in real life. I also get to do my favorite activities like singing and dancing while performing. – Scott

It is socially acceptable to spontaneously break into song 🙂 – Jessica

It makes the impossible, possible! – Dorothy

One could argue about the theatre’s power to effect change. However, that is not unique to the art form itself. What give theatre a greater power is that no other art form has as intimate a connection between artist and audience, and cultivated intimacy evokes stronger, more powerful emotions than anything else I have ever experienced. – Katie

It opens up new possibilities for everyone. – Shannon

It inspires me to tell my story. – Lindsay

I get to do what I love and bring joy to people’s lives! – Amber

In the Ancient Greek era plays were extremely important and impactful, so impactful that prisoners were able to go free after seeing a show. I want to be able to impact people through stories and find emotions through experience, and spread my experience to others. – Gigi

It has no labels!!! – Claire

Of all the different stories played both on and off the stage they teach me I can do anything. The stories are so important, and it’s incredible that, as actors, we have the ability to affect others in such a positive way. – Olivia

It’s one of the few places everyone is free to be and express themselves. – Cate

It inspires me because of all the work that is put into every show, whether it is Broadway or a school production. It always gives me goose bumps after an amazing performance. – Julia

It helps me explore different emotions and it helps me find my true self. – Jack

It lets me express myself in a special way. – Lexi

You can be who you want to be while being someone else. – Bo

It transports and transforms people. – Luke

Since the beginning of its history, Broadway has been a platform to give a voice to the voiceless. – Katie

It will change the world! – Lauren

It brings people together and brings them hope and a break from life’s troubles. – Abby

It gives me opportunities to express myself doing what I love! – Carter

It gives us a glimpse into the lives of others while sharing a little bit of ourselves. Theatre unites us, and that’s really special. – Mae

I don’t get bullied for being my true self. – Mya

Theatre let’s me explore my more creative side. Even though I spend my time on a catwalk in pitch dark with a spotlight, theatre let’s me explore less STEM based aspects of my life. – Wiley

… and a few shout outs to inspirational artists…

Ben Platt is incredible! – Olivia

Jeremy Jordan is amazing! – Emily

What an inspirational night! From Sardi’s, the caricatures, meeting the three Charlie’s, and going to the Tony Awards!!! What a truly magical night!

5 Tricks for Seeing Shows on a Budget!

With the 2016-2017 season coming to an end, a sparkling new season of theatre is quickly approaching. With this comes the fact that buying several theatre tickets can add up in cost throughout the season, but there are several ways to lower the cost and save money this coming season!

For those that live far from the city and are looking for deals on local theatre, there are two apps that I use and definitely recommend.

Goldstar/TodayTix

Both of these apps are wonderful for finding discounted theatre tickets! Goldstar finds tickets for you based on your location and the type of event you are looking for. Not only does Goldstar have amazing discounts on theatre tickets, but you can also find tickets to improv shows, sporting events, masterclasses, and much more. Goldstar works for several different locations and features spectacular discounts, some which vary on the number of tickets you buy or which section you would like to sit in.
TodayTix currently features discounted, last minute show tickets for 9 major cities in the U.S., and in London as well! It is a free app, and features deals available a few days before the show date, to just moments before the curtain rises.

Invest in Season Tickets

Season tickets can be pricey, but they are an amazing investment for the season. Several cities around the U.S. have a large theatre that houses national tour casts for weeks at a time. Often, these venues have great prices for season ticket packages, where you can see up to 10 touring Broadway shows in a year! The more shows you see, the more you save!

Student/Cast Discounts

At some local theatres, student IDs can mean BIG savings! Be sure to ask before you buy a ticket if any discounts are offered for high school or college-age students with a valid ID. If you know someone in the cast, you can also be sure to ask if there is a “cast-reference” coupon code, meaning that if they refer you to the ticketing website, you can sometimes save a few dollars since you know someone in the cast.

Rush Tickets

For those of you that are willing to wait, rush tickets are always an option. Rush tickets are tickets that are bought by waiting outside the box office the day of the show. These tickets sometimes sell out quickly, so if you want to try and get them, you might have to wait by the box office for several hours, depending on the popularity of the show. You can find more information about rush policies on individual show’s websites.

 

Standing Room Tickets

If you are willing to stand throughout the duration of the show, this option can save you lots of money. This option is usually only offered in big-time theatre cities, such as New York or Chicago. Tickets usually range from $20-40 and can be obtained for sold out shows at the box office.

BONUS: You can always enter a ticket lottery, in an attempt to win either free or heavily discounted tickets. Although this is a longshot depending on how well-known the show is, it can be worth a try!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any ticket tips or tricks that you swear by!

The 71st Tony Awards with Camp Broadway!

CAMP BROADWAY TONY AWARDS Party at Sardi’s in New York City on June 11, 2017. Photo by Henry McGee

The 71st annual Tony Awards was a spectacular way to kick off the summer! Whether you watched it at home, on the go, at rehearsal, or maybe even alone in your bedroom the Tony’s did not disappoint!

Thanks to Camp Broadway I was able to attend the Tony Awards as part of the live audience. This unique experience was truly a night of inspiration for me and theatre lovers everywhere. I am so thankful to have been able to able to attend the Tony Awards and make new friends! It will always be a special memory! 

The Tony Award night for me began at Sardi’s where special guests Ryan Sell, Jake Ryan Flynn, and Ryan Foust, who each play Charlie in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on Broadway, joined us for a delicious dinner. I had the pleasure of sitting by Ryan Sell, who originated the Broadway role of Charlie, at dinner and he shared some personal and hilarious insight on his show. He was an absolute pleasure to talk to and was one of the sweetest kids you could ever meet. While at Sardi’s we each had an opportunity to get our caricature done. (Can I just say that I crossed off so many items from my bucket list this day!) After dessert it was off to the Tony Awards!

The performances and the awards were hosted in New York’s iconic Radio City Music Hall. When in New York I’d pass Radio City but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be attending the Tony Awards there! The anticipation to get inside and experience this moment was incredible!

The Tony Awards opened with a hilarious parody of this years Broadway Musicals as well as a few stand-outs performed by this years host, Kevin Spacey. This performance made me give an unladylike belly laugh, but the audience was laughing hard too so I’m sure it was covered.

With such amazing live performances from “Dear Evan Hansen”, “Bandstand”, “Come From Away”, “Miss Saigon”, “Hello Dolly”, “Groundhog Day”, “Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”, “Falsettos” and a rendition of New York, New York by the Rockettes, Cynthia Erivo, and Leslie Odom Jr. they all carried the night’s theme of Theatre Inspires to new heights.

A stand out performance for me was that of “Miss Saigon”. This chilling performance had many of us in tears as well as on the edge of our seats. Tony Nominee, Eva Noblezada, who also had played Kim in the West End revival, gave a completely exhilarating performance of “I’d Give My Life For You”.

What everyone was really waiting for were the awards. Some of my favorite moments were when Best Direction of a play went to director Rebecca Taichman for Indecent, whose family was present in full support. It was heart-warming to watch as they stood up and hugged and shouted when she won.  Seeing Ben Platt win Best Actor in a Musical made my heart melt. His excitement, nervousness, and honesty as a person made me love him as an actor even more! Even more exciting to me was when Lin Manuel-Miranda presented the Tony Award for Best musical and “Dear Evan Hansen” won! Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have always wrote gorgeous and relatable music and have become a huge influence to me personally.

Attending the Tony Awards has encouraged me to continue working hard on what I love and to strive to be an inspiration to others. So to all you theatre loving people out there, find what inspires you and stay motivated to pursue your dreams and passions!

My Induction Into The International Thespian Society

“Act well your part; there all the honor lies.”

 

That is the infamous motto of the International Thespian Society. Founded in 1929, ITS started with the aim of achieving student recognition in the arts. The program’s founders were a group of teachers in Fairmont, West Virginia. Named after Thespis, the supposed first actor, the international thespian society was founded. The first troupe was started in Casper, Wyoming and now there are thousands of troupes all over the world!

 

I was inducted into Thespian Troupe 7184 at my performing arts high school on May 23rd. At the ceremony we received our acceptance certificate and rose to say the pledge in front of our families.

 

I promise to uphold the aims and ideals of the International Thespian Society. I am a student of theatre and excellence is my ideal. I promise to perform my part as well as I can; to accept praise and criticism with grace; to cooperate with my fellow thespians and work for the good of the troupe; and to share my love of theatre.”

 

The following Friday, I attended the troupe’s annual Thespian Dinner. The Thespian Dinner is an event my Troupe hosts to welcome the new honorees and send a happy farewell to our Seniors. The night began with the potluck dinner which was put together by all the students and their families. After the dinner, the new honor members are called one-by-one in front of the dining hall in which we say the oath and pledge as a troupe. The awards are presented next and every member is honored with their achievements. The highest rank is International Thespian. In order to achieve this ranking you must spend over 1800 hours working in theatrics. My chapter’s charter advisor, alongside the other acting teachers, present each award with charm, recognizing each individual’s gifts and theatre roles, both on and off stage. I am fortunate enough to belong to a school where the arts are a major part of our education, however, acceptance into the program is still not that easy. In order to be inducted you must have at least a 3.0 GPA as well as 100 hours of excellent work in theatre. ITS wants students who achieve honor and success, as well as have a love for theatre.

 

Overall I had an outstanding experience and I look forward to the bonds that will be made with my fellow thespians at my school and around the world. The International Thespian Society is something every young performer should join if there is a chapter available in your school. Not only is it an honor but it is also a great opportunity. You can click here to find out more about the International Thespian Society.  As William Shakespeare once said, “The object of art is to give life a shape.”

High School Musical Theatre Honored At The 2017 Henry Mancini Awards

Awards season is in full swing! With the excitement of the just-premiered  Tony Awards there are also many awards of recognition for achievement in high school theatre. I had the honor of attending The Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards on  May 20th! The Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards celebrated its 23rd anniversary and were hosted for the fourth year in a row at the beautiful Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center!  The Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards recognize outstanding performance in high school musical theatre in the Beaver County area. With approximately 33 schools participating and local working professionals as their judges, the nominees were honored to be a part of The Henry Mancini Awards.

 

From Best Student Orchestrations to Best Actor and Actress, The Henry Mancini Awards was a highly anticipated night! The opening musical number was spectacular as the 10 hosts from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School took the stage and each of the Best Supporting Actresses, Actors, Best Actresses and Actors gradually took the stage with them. Each nominated show also performed a musical number. The entire night lead up to the final performances of all the nominees for lead actress and actor. They were featured in a unique medley, showcasing all their roles in each of the musicals they performed in. It was wonderful to see each taking their turn as the lead, and then the ensemble, as they supported and cheered each other on. The best actor and best actress would be heading to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, otherwise known as the Jimmy Awards. The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) is a national celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theatre that recognizes individual artistry in vocal, dance, and acting performance, and honors teachers and their schools’ commitment to performing arts education. NHSMTA focuses much-needed attention on the meaningful work being done by dedicated teachers and students with wide ranging talents on and off the stage, engages families in the activities of their children, ignites new partnerships between theatres and the schools in their area, and contributes to the development of future audiences for live performing arts in communities across America.

 

Kiesha Lalama, Education Director of the Pittsburgh CLO and choreographer of the Jimmy Awards, presented the award for Best Actor to Jacob (Beaver Falls High School) and Best Actress to Addison (Knoch High School). Jacob was recognized for his outstanding interpretation of The Baker in Into The Woods. After being nominated twice he was thrilled to finally win and was elated to go on The National High School Musical Theatre Awards.  Addison handled herself with grace as she accepted her award. Recognized for her dazzling performance as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street. “I can say from the bottom of my heart I was not expecting this at all,” Addison stated, “So everything that I did, I did it like it was my last time. I did it with a smile on my face, and loving people around me.”

 

The Keynote speaker for the night was none other than five-time Tony nominee and two-time Tony winner,  Michael Cerveris.  He won his first Tony in 2004 for his portrayal of John Wilkes Booth in Assassins and his second in 2015 for his role as Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home. He was also the host of the 2016 Jimmy Awards.  “I think the theme here tonight is ‘Who wins, who loses, and who tells your story?’ The quick answer is everyone, no one, and you.” Cerveris said in his Keynote speech, discussing exactly what his thoughts of the night were.  The audience was thoroughly entertained and inspired by his words.

 

Later in his speech he pointed out, “I think it’s important to challenge yourself, push yourself and to find out that you are capable of things that you don’t necessarily know you’re capable of until you refuse to let yourself rest and keep trying to expand your own boundaries. But the thing is, it’s not about the prize at the end that you actually get out of that. It’s all of the experience along the way and all the things you learn about yourself and other people because you pushed yourself that far.”

 

As the night came to an end, all the performers said their goodbyes and congratulated one another. Many were upset the night was over– not because they hadn’t won but because of how close everyone had bonded. “Everyone was like family. After the second day we started a group chat for all of us,” finale performer Ian Skal replied when asked about the performance.  

 

 

Congratulations to all the high schools that participated and break a leg, Jacob and Addison, at The National High School Musical Theatre Awards!

CAMP BROADWAY® ANNOUNCES 2017 SEASON FAVORITE AWARDS

With thanks to everyone on Broadway for another great year of entertainment and inspiration, Camp Broadway is pleased to announce our annual Season Favorites for the 2016-2017 season:

Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen
Best Revival Miss Saigon
Best Play Present Laughter
Best Show for Audiences of All Ages Come From Away
Best Show for a First-Time Theatergoer Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
Best Show for Parents’ Night Out Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Best Show for Theater-Going Teens Dear Evan Hansen
Favorite Long Running Show Wicked
Favorite Feline Cats
Favorite Shows for School Groups Anastasia & Miss Saigon
Favorite Hustler Jon Jon Briones, Miss Saigon
Ingénue of the Year Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon
Leading Lady of the Year Laura Osnes, Bandstand
Leading Man of the Year Christian Borle, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
Legend of the Year Patti LuPone, War Paint
Matinee Idol of the Year Andy Karl, Groundhog Day
Role Model of the Year Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Showstopper of the Year Bette Midler, Hello Dolly
Young Performers of the Year Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust, Ryan Sell,
               Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Camp Broadway is Broadway’s original camp for theater-loving kids.

For more information on Camp Broadway, visit:

www.CampBroadway.com                      www.Facebook.com/CampBroadway

www.Twitter.com/CampBroadway       www.Instagram.com/Camp_Broadway

Music, Campers, and Snacks…Oh My!

When summer rolls around, it’s time to kick back, listen to our favorite show tunes, and enjoy a fun summer treat! This summer’s Camp Broadway NYC music directors (Christine Riley, Alan Schmuckler, and Stephen Purdy) agree. Let’s check in with them to learn how they acquired a love for music, what their favorite thing about working with our Camp Broadway campers is, and what their go-to treat in the summer is! YUM!

Christine Riley

 “How did you become interested in music?”
RILEY: “I started piano lessons when I was five years old because my grandmother gave us her grand piano. I loved it immediately!”

“What is your favorite part about working with kids at Camp Broadway?”

RILEY: “I love when they make a discovery, learn something about themselves and/or have a “brave” moment trying something new.”

“What is your favorite summer treat that cools you down on a sunny day?”
RILEY: “Ice cream, gelato, sorbet – I love it all!”

Alan Schmuckler

“How did you become interested in music?”
SCHMUCKER: “I’ve always been interested in music — as far back as I can remember. I begged my parents for piano lessons when I was five, and always loved singing and performing.”

“What is your favorite part about working with kids at Camp Broadway?”
SCHMCKLER: “I love the moment when an idea ‘clicks.’ We work with the same techniques that professional performers use, and when a vocal line falls into place and sounds right, it’s very satisfying for me as a teacher.”

“What is your favorite summer treat that cools you down on a sunny day?”

SCHMUCKLER: “Strawberry Frozfruit, no question.”

Stephen Purdy

“How did you become interested in music?”

PURDY: “I was actually obsessed with the musical theatre since I was about 11. I was always taking piano and voice lessons for as far back as I can recall, but musical theatre really sealed my wanting to stay in music for life. In college I started as a voice major but there were so many of us and there were far fewer piano players. So I started playing for everyone’s shows and recitals.”

“What is your favorite part about working with kids at Camp Broadway?”
PURDY: “Hands down watching and listening to their enthusiasm and love for the shows. It takes me back to when I was their age. I also love it when a kid who is maybe a little shy or feels a bit uncomfortable socially comes out of his or her shell. These are my favorite moments!”

“What is your favorite summer treat that cools you down on a sunny day?”
PURDY: “The awesome absolutely crazy good lemonade at the lemonade stand at the beach at Asbury Park in New Jersey. It’s to die for!”

So, Camp Broadway, crank up the show tunes and get your summer started right! We look forward to working with Christine, Alan, and Stephen this summer in NYC, and we hope to see YOU there too!

Have any AWESOME summer treats that we should try? Comment them down below!

Category: BlogPost, Interview, Theater Careers · Tags:




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