Farewell to A BRONX TALE: Parting Advice from the Show’s Original Cast Members

PHOTO CREDIT: Joan Marcus. 

Listen up, Camp Broadway readers! A BRONX TALE is set to conclude its nearly two-year run at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre on Sunday, August 5th.

This powerful musical about growing up in the Bronx, written and inspired by the life of legendary writer, actor, and director Chazz Palminteri, features direction by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks, songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

In honor of this dynamic show’s closing performance, Camp Broadway is excited to present an interview with three of the original Broadway cast members of A BRONX TALE, as well as with a young actor who made his Broadway debut in the show.

So, check out the wisdom of Bobby Conte Thornton (Calogero), Nick Cordero (Sonny), Richard H. Blake (Lorenzo), and Jonah Mussolino (Young Calogero) about Broadway role models, the daily lives of Broadway stars, and doing what you love!

CB: Theater students are told: ‘follow your passion’ and ‘do what you love,’ and yet are also encouraged to make a good living to afford rent and food, etc. What is your advice to teens about how to balance those two realities and those two conflicting messages?

Bobby Conte Thornton (Calogero): Yeah. If you go down this path, that’s what you’re signing up for: those two realities. But I believe everyone’s path can lead to something remarkable. It’s like when you audition: the healthiest mentality to have going into an audition is: you’re not auditioning to get the job. You’re auditioning just to work with amazing people in a room for ten minutes, and engage with the material, and be open to change and notes and spontaneity and inspiration. Then leave and think: ‘my job here is done.’ And if you get that job, that’s the cherry on top! Now, it’s harder to maintain that mentality when a year has gone by and you haven’t gotten an acting job and you need money to pay rent. It’s not solely about artistry then, it’s about a finding a job.

CB: And so, what’s the next step? Is there a trick to finding a job? Is it luck?

Mr. Thornton: If you’re putting out positive energy, and ‘kind energy,’ and ‘non-complacent energy,’ opportunities tend to arise. It’s not a guarantee. It’s not a “do this and you’ll get it” formula. If it were, everyone would be doing it! But sometimes, magic happens. Keep yourself open to it. I was lucky because there was a track on Broadway where they needed someone who looks 17 and could sing doo-wop and was Italian and didn’t have to be famous. That combination certainly doesn’t happen all the time! But I worked hard, kept a positive attitude, things aligned, and I got it. So, show up for auditions, keep improving your craft, and keep your positivity!

CB: What line in the show do you consider a key inspiration for performing arts students?

Mr. Thornton: Something that Chazz talks about, when he says: “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” What that means is that you need to think of your talent as a ‘given’…You have to work it and engage it and help it evolve, but you need to have faith that the answers you need to solve any problem are actually within you. So, believe in yourself, try to make the right choices, and surround yourself with people who support and love you and are giving you tools to succeed. Don’t get distracted by easy emotions like envy and anger and frustration. You just have to have faith that the right thing is gonna happen…. It’s the law of attraction: you put out a certain energy, and suddenly opportunities will come about for you. I’m not saying that roles will be handed to you all the time—but opportunities will happen, chances will come up, so position yourself to get your foot in the door!

CB: What is your advice for teens in regional theater productions who feel like they just need that extra boost to achieve their Broadway dreams?

Nick Cordero (Sonny): I’d say do something just to shake it up! Whatever sort of plateau you feel like you’ve hit in your career… take a risk, do something that is out of your comfort zone a little bit. Essentially, just amp it up a little bit, and think outside of the box, and try not to be in a position where you’re waiting for the phone to ring. Fill your time with creating.

CB: Any specific suggestions on how to do this?

Mr. Cordero: Start writing. Like in a journal. That gives you good ideas about what you really want to achieve and insights about where you need to go in your career. Or, if you come up unsatisfied with the amount of work you’re getting or what kind of work you’re getting, try and create your own—it’s the oldest trick in the book! Write a play. Do a performance piece. Start an improv group. You’ve got to try to empower yourself in your career, so just take a risk!

CB: Who is your Broadway mentor, who inspired you to become a performer?

Richard H. Blake (Lorenzo): You know, I’ve been fortunate to be doing this a long time, and have had the privilege of working with so many Broadway legends. But the first one that comes to mind is Len Cariou… My very first Broadway show was a show called TEDDY AND ALICE, and he played Teddy Roosevelt, and I played his son Archie. And he just was so brilliant, such an amazing actor, and then also such a giving performer… He was so courteous to the fellow actors and also he was not a selfish actor onstage, and I always just wanted to grow up and be like that. 

CB: It sounds like Mr. Cariou was not only a mentor, but a role model.

 Mr. Blake: Yes. He is my role model. Absolutely, absolutely!

CB: What’s it like to be a kid balancing family and school and friends—and also being on Broadway?

Jonah Mussolino (Young Calogero): Well it’s very exciting, but also very tiring, because you have to do school, and you have to do Broadway at the same time! So you sometimes have to leave school early, and sometimes you have to get tutors.

CB: What’s your advice for kids your age who want to be on Broadway, too?

Jonah Mussolino: You have to work your hardest, and always practice. And yes, you have to go to lots of auditions. Lots!

And Jonah’s father and agent, Anthony Mussolino, gave this advice for kids wanting to be on Broadway:

Mr. Mussolino: Two things: I’d say surround yourself with the talented people in your field—just be near the most talented people in your chosen field, to learn from them. And never give up! Just keep trying!

Take these tips from the pros, Camp Broadway readers: surround yourself with excellent mentors, work hard, and stay positive.

And above all: remember to “Look to Your Heart!”

Camp Broadway wishes the current cast and crew of A BRONX TALE a wonderful closing performance!

Many thanks to Bobby Conte Thornton, Nick Cordero, Richard H. Blake, and Anthony and Jonah Mussolino, from Anna Allport and Camp Broadway, for this thrilling interview opportunity! Special thank-you to Michael Lederman and Roxane Ashe for arranging everything!

Camp Broadway Exclusive Interview: Cast Members of DEAR EVAN HANSEN on Grief, Parenting, and Navigating Emotions On Stage

CREDIT: Matthew Murphy

Dear Camp Broadway Readers,

Broadway’s Tony-winning, deeply moving musical sensation DEAR EVAN HANSEN has created a base of countless fans—teens and adults alike—around the globe.

The show follows socially awkward teen Evan Hansen as he navigates his way through complex and emotional themes of love, suicide, loss, and self-acceptance. It is hailed by many teen audience members as a musical that feels most relatable to their own social issues and personal experiences.

And now, “Anybody Have a Map?” Because this fall, the show is launching its National Tour, and will be playing at a city near you!

I had the pleasure of speaking with a few members of the Broadway cast of DEAR EVAN HANSEN about the lessons that they’ve learned from this show, and the messages they hope to convey through their performances.

Check out the advice of Rachel Bay Jones (Heidi Hansen), Jennifer Laura Thompson (Cynthia Murphy), and Michael Park (Larry Murphy) about pursuing theater, dealing with grief, and finding love among family and friends:

CB: DEAR EVAN HANSEN deals with very emotional themes. What is your advice for teens who want to pursue musical theater, and may have to navigate such complex emotions onstage?

Mr. Park: What I can tell teens is this: if you want to act, act. If you want to write, write. If you want to sing, sing. There are plenty of avenues for you out there. I’m a product of community theater. Community theater is one of the best outlets for teens if you want to get into this business. Your school theater is a great place to start, too. Try it out. Go to productions. Volunteer. Go for auditions, access the real emotions that you’re feeling and bring them out onstage, and see what happens!

CB: What is your message to parent survivors of teen suicide?

Ms. Thompson: In DEAR EVAN HANSEN, I had to find a way to justify my character getting over the loss of such a huge part of her life onstage. Forgiveness is the main thing. Forgiving yourself for what mistakes you think you’ve made along the way. It’s a common theme when someone experiences a loss: parents have to find a way to forgive that person—as well as themselves— in order to move on, and discover that there’s still meaning in life. And it’s been a rough road for my character, believe me. It takes her a long time to determine that forgiveness is necessary. She also needs to remember that she’s still the mom of a single child, and has to continue parenting that child to her fullest ability, through her grief. I believe that she and the rest of her family impacted Evan’s life and health by the way they handled their grief. And so, on stage—and in real life—we all need to try to be kind, forgive ourselves, forgive one another, and use loss for greater good, to help others.

CB: Onstage, you portray such a powerful performance of a struggling single mom. What is your advice for teen children of single moms dealing with life in the real world?

Ms. Jones: Wow, that’s a great question! My advice is to just understand that your mother—all of us mothers, really, are always trying our best, that we’re human, and that we love you and we’re trying to be the best mother that we can be for you. This is true for single moms as well as moms with partners. It’s always true: we may not know how to do everything, but we’re trying our best. I’ve been a single mom, and I know how challenging it can be. But all mothers are trying so, so hard. So, remember: we’re trying our best, we’re imperfect, but we love you!

Remember, Camp Broadway readers: you are loved, you matter, and “You Will Be Found.”

And if you ever feel like you need someone to listen when you’re going through a tough time, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) are always here to help.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN tour dates are out now: more information can be found here!

A huge thank-you to Rachel Bay Jones, Jennifer Laura Thompson, and Michael Park, from Anna Allport and Camp Broadway, for this meaningful interview opportunity!

“This is Life:” 3 Real-World Lessons I Learned from Watching the Live Recording of BANDSTAND in Movie Theaters

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel.

This week, on June 25th and 28th, Broadway’s delightful and endearing musical BANDSTAND danced into movie theaters across the nation.

The film, sponsored by Fathom Events, was a live recording of one of the show’s performances at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway from 2017, and featured Laura Osnes as Julia Trojan and Corey Cott as Donny Novitski.

A story of love, music, and the meaning of success set in post-WWII America, BANDSTAND has the honor of being the first ever theater production to receive certification by Got Your 6, an organization advocating authentic portrayals of military veterans in the entertainment industry.

BANDSTAND is a rousing musical filled with 1940s-inspired catchy tunes and lively dancing. But beyond this, 3 important life lessons resonate in the heartfelt plotline—lessons that can serve to remind us how to be our best selves. Check them out!

  1. Honor Veterans

The show, set in 1945, follows Donny Novitski—a Private First Class of the 37th Army Division—as he tries to return to normal life after experiencing the horrors of war.

The first song in the show, “Just Like It Was Before,” perfectly sets up his desire for normalcy that is a recurring theme throughout the rest of the show. In it, Donny is searching for work as a musician after he returns home from the military, but is turned down by employers favoring younger performers.

This was a genuine plight among some returning WWII vets: their former jobs were now occupied by others, or they were in competition with younger candidates for new jobs. Many were unemployed after serving our country, and their hard times continued for years. Ironically, while everyone else in our country was seemingly celebrating America’s victory in the war, some of the veterans who had won America’s freedom were in despair.

BANDSTAND reminds us of this: our American heroes gave so much for our country. They deserve to be repaid with kindness and admiration and respect by each and every one of us.

  1. Stay Motivated

At the beginning of the show, as Donny Novitski searches for work, he sings a self-titled anthem expressing his desire for success. He laments that it’s tough for an ‘unknown’ to find work in the entertainment industry. After a spell of hopelessness and self-doubt, he creates a plan to “rise” to the top.

There’s a lesson here: however hopeless things may seem, there are always opportunities that can arise and give you a chance to succeed. It is very easy to give up in the face of challenges, but doing so robs you of the opportunity to learn and grow. If you stay motivated and make a plan to accomplish your goals, you will reach them.

So, stay motivated! Dedication and perseverance are key, no matter whether you’re auditioning for a role, learning a new dance step, or pursuing a career in music!

  1. Forgive

One of the characters in BANDSTAND faces a big decision: does she forgive someone who caused her a great deal of pain, or live with the grudge and lose a friend?

This dilemma—whether or not to forgive someone—is a familiar one. Whether it’s a silly disagreement about a TV show, or a painful fallout because of cruel gossip, many of us know what it feels like to experience conflict with a friend. Do we forgive them, or choose to drop the friendship?

This decision is personal and individualized. It’s important that you take a step back so you can analyze the situation with fresh eyes. Sometimes, disagreements seem much more problematic when they’re first experienced, and then fade away in a few days’ time.

So, if you’re faced with a friendship problem, try looking at it with an attitude of forgiveness. Ask yourself: How would I feel if I was my friend in this situation? How would I want to be treated? How is this problem understandable, from both of our sides? Is it possible for us to talk about it, resolve it, and move on?

Forgiving someone and moving on with the relationship can build it back stronger, making the friendship more resilient and more cherished than ever.

Whether you saw it on Broadway or in the movie theaters, these 3 important lessons from Broadway’s BANDSTAND are ones to learn and live by.

Remember, Camp Broadway: “Breathe,” and take “First Steps First.” Respect, motivation, and forgiveness go a long way!

Can’t get enough of Laura Osnes, Corey Cott, and the musicians of BANDSTAND? You’re in luck! On July 2nd, they will be performing at the Academy of Theatre Arts Performing Arts Center in New York to celebrate the 4th of July and the Academy’s brand-new Broadway Concert series! Part of the proceeds will be donated to The Telling Project, an awesome veteran-centered theater nonprofit. More info about the concert here!

Did you find positive messages in BANDSTAND? Share them in the comments below!

3 Lessons for the Whole World from the 2018 Tony Awards

On Sunday, June 10th, New York City’s Radio City Music Hall was abuzz with the glamour and thrill of Broadway’s brightest stars, all gathered together for one magical night: the 72nd Annual Tony Awards.

Hosted by Broadway music luminaries Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban—self-proclaimed “losers” of the Academy Awards—the ceremony focused not only on the Tony-winning artists themselves, but on artists and actors across the nation who haven’t yet been recognized, and are patiently awaiting their time in the spotlight.

This was a particularly great message for teen performing arts students:

You haven’t lost, you just have not been recognized—yet.

Showing retro photos of the Tony Awards presenters in their first theater productions as young children, Bareilles and Groban urged Tony viewers at home to do the same: tweet photos of their first performances with the #TonyDreaming. These photos were featured on a scrolling screen throughout the night, a la DEAR EVAN HANSEN style. This interactive campaign celebrated the joy of participating in live theater, and encouraged everyone at home to keep reaching for their theater goals, whatever they may be.

This was a second great message for performing arts students:

Celebrate your first role and every role thereafter. If theater is your passion, stick with it!

Presenters and nominees also made impactful global and political statements to spur positive change in the world. Here are three powerful life lessons to unite us all:

  1. Ask for Help:

    In his powerful acceptance speech for Direction of a Musical, THE BAND’S VISIT Director David Cromer urged people struggling with mental illnesses to reach out to those around them for support and help. He stated,

“One of the things THE BAND’S VISIT concerns itself with is people who, due to loneliness [or] isolation, may have started to lose hope. And I wish that I had the words or the wisdom to say [something] to the people out there… whose despair is overwhelming their hope. I wish I had a way to convince them to continue looking, to have the patience and the courage to keep trying to find hope…. If you are suffering, please, please call out. And for those of us who are fortunate enough not to be suffering so deeply, let’s make sure that we answer them.”

  1. Be the Change:

    Both Ari’el Stachel (Tony Award Winner for Featured Actor in a Musical) and Orin Wolf (Producer of the Tony Award Winner for Best Musical) of THE BAND’S VISIT focused their speeches on messages of unity across cultural borders in their acceptance speeches, encouraging citizens to be agents of positive change despite divisive political atmospheres. Ari’el Stachel passionately stated:

“Both of my parents are here tonight, and I have avoided so many events with them, because for so many years of my life, I pretended that I was not a Middle Eastern person…. I’m just so thankful to Orin Wolf, John, and John for being courageous…. [and] for telling the small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along at a time where we need that more than ever.

I am part of a cast of actors who never believed that they’d be able to portray their own races, and we are doing that. And not only that, we’re getting messages from kids all over the Middle East thanking us, and telling us how transformative our representation is for them….

 I want any kid who’s watching to know that your biggest obstacle may turn into your purpose.”

Orin Wolf echoed this heartfelt sentiment:

“Although the characters are strangers to each other, with great political divides, our show offers a message of unity in a world that, more and more, seems bent on amplifying our differences…. In the end, we are all far more alike than different. And I’m so proud to be a part of a community that chooses to support that message.”

  1. Cure Hate with Love:

    In the middle of the Tony Awards ceremony, Drama teacher Melody Herzfeld of Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gave an eloquent and empowering acceptance speech for her Special Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education. She spoke about the responsibilities of being a theater educator: not just to instruct students in performance techniques, but to teach them to cultivate creativity and resilience and compassion. She continued:

“We all have a common energy. We all want the same thing. We cannot deny it. To be heard. To hit our mark. To tell our truth. To make a difference. And to be loyally respected. We teach this every day in every arts class…. And ours is only one small part, but it is the most important part of a child’s education.”

Following her speech, a group of her students—drama student survivors from the Parkland high school shooting on February 14, 2018—took to the stage to sing “Seasons of Love” from RENT.

The undying message of these high school students—that love is more powerful than hate—serves as a reminder to us all.

As you look forward to the upcoming Broadway season, remember the lessons of this year’s Tony Awards nominees: reaching out for help when you need it, stepping up to provide positive leadership, and choosing love over divisiveness every time.

Remember, Camp Broadway readers: every one of us has the power to change the world for the better.

 

Were you inspired by the positive messages of unity from the 2018 Tony Awards? Share your positive messages in the comments below!

Carnegie Hall…What an Experience!!!

The New York Pops Birthday Gala at Carnegie Hall occurs once a year. At this event, New York’s most talented performers gather to put on a breathtaking show with the magnificent New York Pops orchestra! Some notable performers from past years include: Sutton Foster, Jeremy Jordan, Queen Latifah, Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, Harvey Fierstein, Lea Salonga, Angela Lansbury, Alan Menken, and the Camp Broadway Kids Ensemble! For the past four years I have been a part of the kids ensemble that Camp Broadway trains to perform at Carnegie Hall with Broadway stars! In one weekend, the Camp Broadway Kids Ensemble learns routines that will be performed at the gala, works with Broadway professionals, takes workshops with Broadway actors, and makes friends that will last a lifetime!
This year was the New York Pops 35th Birthday Gala! Every year the Pops honor an inspiring individual at their event, and this year the honoree was Alan Menken! As a member of the Camp Broadway Kids Ensemble, I was able to work alongside Alan Menken and perform his works on the Carnegie Hall stage! Performing at Carnegie Hall was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I am going to share these three exciting days with all of you!

Day One (Friday April 27):
* Reunited with friends from last year and met some new friends!
* Learned Seize the Day from Newsies and Be our Guest from Beauty and the Beast- the highlight of the day!
* Got my Newsies costume- I loved it!

Day Two:
* Did a fun body warm-up to start off the day!
* Met the New York Pops conductor, Steven Reinke, and rehearsed our songs and dances with him!
* Met Laura Osnes, my idol, and had a Q&A with her! This was definitely a highlight of my day!

Day Three (Show Day!):
* Had a rehearsal on the Carnegie Hall Stage! Corey Cott took a video of us and put it on his instagram story!
* We all got to watch the stars rehearse on the stage- This was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life!
* Met Alan Menken and watched him observe the rehearsal!
Show time!
* Angela Lansbury smiled at me!!! I was in shock!
* Waited by the stage door with my Camp Broadway friends and got the star’s signatures!

****One of the greatest nights of my life! Thank you Camp Broadway! *****

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Rocktopia on Broadway

With a name like Rocktopia you know you’re in for a good time! There were so many super talented Rocktopians including Co-founders of Rocktopia, Rob Evan and Randall Craig Fleischer, Alyson Cambridge, Chloe Lowery, Tony Vincent, Kimberly Nicole, Máiréad Nesbitt, Tony Bruno, Henry Aronson, Mat Fieldes, and Alex Alexander to name a few, plus an amazing choir and orchestra, what more could you want? There is no way anyone can walk away from that show without having so much fun! My favorite part? It was my Broadway debut!

Thirty kids (all making our Broadway debuts!) gathered Sunday morning for one of the most thrilling experiences of our lives! We started the day out with a master class in rock singing with the fantastic Brandon Ethridge! Throughout the day we learned our choreography and music at a professional level pace. Then the moment came for our rehearsal on the stage of the Broadway Theatre! Chloe Lowry was a gem and an inspiration! She was so supportive of each of us! We counted down the minutes until we hit the stage again. This time in front of a live audience. Each of us was ecstatic to sing Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” on stage with Chloe Lowery and share the wings with the other very talented vocalists. As soon as we walked on stage there was a fantastic cheer from the audience and we ended our song with a standing ovation. And just like that, it was over. I had made my Broadway debut. We returned to our seats and the energy from each of us was overwhelming. We couldn’t help but sing along and enjoy the rest of Rocktopia.  Rocktopia had everyone on their feet by the end of the night!

I still can not quite put into words my thoughts and emotions from my performance in Rocktopia. I have been blessed with so many opportunities and have rehearsed on numerous Broadway stages (thanks to Camp Broadway), but this felt totally different. The exhilaration of walking out onto the Broadway Theatre stage and singing and dancing with everything I had for a full house was a feeling I will never forget! And it solidified one thing, I can’t wait to do it again! I can’t thank Camp Broadway enough for the opportunity to perform with Rocktopia and thank you to Rocktopia for making my dream come true. It was an amazing, absolutely unforgettable night! Rock on!

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Rocktopia: The Road To Broadway

Rocktopia is everything the name sounds like and more! As their website says, it is “A rule-busting multimedia extravaganza, Rocktopia fuses the most iconic 20th-Century Rock with the most world-renowned classical compositions. Five world-class vocalists – backed by a full symphony orchestra, an electrifying rock band, and a powerhouse choir – take the very concept of music to electrifying heights”.

Joshua William Green is an incredible Actor/Singer/Dancer and he was honored to make his Broadway debut in the powerhouse choir of Rocktopia! Interviewing Green was an awesome privilege for me. I first met Joshua William Green four years ago when I went to see Ragtime at Top Hat Productions, a local community theatre. He was playing Coalhouse Walker and his performance was mesmerizing. I had only just begun my musical theatre journey, but I knew that I was witnessing something special. I was right because in just a couple years Green went on to perform in the National Tour of Ragtime. To this day, that production has had a huge influence on my theatre career and Ragtime remains one of my most favorite musicals.

Joshua William Green is one choir member with a special connection to Rocktopia. He’s seen the show progress from the beginning. “I was a sophomore or junior in college,” he replied when asked when he first did the show. A Youngstown native, Green had the unique experience of doing a trial run of the show while it was in the early stages. The show ran at Powers Auditorium in Youngstown, Ohio with The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, under Randall Craig Fleischer, the conductor/music director who also happens to be a co-creator of Rocktopia with Rob Evan.  After the show ended in Youngstown, however, it would be a while before Green would hear about the show again. Green had been performing in Lancaster at Sight & Sound Theatre when he found out that Rocktopia was getting ready to head to Broadway.  “It’s a place I didn’t expect myself to be,” he confessed humbly when asked about performing on Broadway.  I think he is right where he belongs!

When asked what he is most looking forward to after the close of Rocktopia, he replied “Sleep, sleep and more sleep!” and laughed. I doubt he will take too much time though because it won’t be long before he finds his amazing voice back on the Broadway stage! He is definitely one performer to look out for!

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5 Reasons to Attend Camp Broadway, As Told By Camper Emma Suttell

Hi all! It’s Emma again, one of your Camp Broadway bloggers. Today, I’m bringing you something that you might’ve not seen before- my experience at Camp Broadway. In 2016, I went to Camp Broadway ON TOUR in Tempe, Arizona, at ASU Gammage and I had the best week of my summer, by far! I’m going to be sharing with you my Top 5 Reasons to attend Camp Broadway this summer, because let’s be clear, if you go to CB, you won’t regret it!

1. Perform in a spectacular showcase!

One of my favorite parts of camp was getting to perform at the end of the week for the Family Finale. Not only did my group get to perform selections from one of my favorite musicals, Legally Blonde, but we got to perform at the Galvin Playhouse, a college theatre. I’ve heard that if you attend CB in New York City, you get to perform in an off-Broadway theatre- what’s cooler than that?

2. See a professional show!

During your time at Camp Broadway, you’ll get to see your talent in the real world onstage! You’ll get the amazing opportunity to go see a show with professional actors, and trust me, there’s nothing quite like watching your dream play out onstage.

 

3. Experience exclusive opportunities you won’t find anywhere else!

 

When I attended Camp Broadway, I had the amazing opportunity to eat lunch with the touring cast of Newsies and ask them some questions. In fact, I still use my backpack that is signed by the Newsies themselves! At one year of Camp Broadway, campers got to meet several child actors that are on the Great White Way nightly. Camp Broadway truly gives you experiences that you won’t be able to get anywhere else.

4. Learn from some of the best around!

Not only does Camp Broadway do an amazing job planning unique and exclusive events throughout the week, but the fun doesn’t stop even for a minute. You’re always getting to learn from some of the best professionals in the industry; from vocal coaches to choreographers, you can be sure that you’re in good hands at Camp Broadway.

5. Meet lifelong friends!

Believe it or not, I am still in touch with many of my friends from Camp Broadway! Even though we only got to know each other for a week, Camp Broadway helped us break-the-ice right away. We all got to bond, sing, dance, and play together all week, and the girls that were in my group (Let’s go, Nederlanders!) have become some of my best friends.

If you’re even thinking about going to Camp Broadway this summer, be sure to show this post to your parents to get them thinking about camp! We’d love to have you there with us. Are you going to camp this summer? Comment below, I love hearing when someone is excited to go to Camp Broadway for the first time or even when they’re coming back for a fifth year! Until you go, I promise you’ve never experienced anything like it. Give it a try this summer, and you’ll have the best week of your summer! Until next time Camp Broadway!

 

 

 

TO ENROLL:

Camp Broadway on Tour Nationwide

An Interview with A CHORUS LINE Cast Member Ryan Koerber

When he was only a high-schooler, Ryan Koerber made his Broadway debut- but his mainstage performances didn’t stop there. After taking home the Roger Rees Award, (previously called The Gershwin Award), an award presented to one male and one female high school student each year in New York, Ryan’s life took a turn as he stepped onstage for the 2015 Jimmy Awards. The program gave him the opportunity to participate in an incredible training experience that led him to his current career as a performer, and currently, a cast member in the national touring cast of A Chorus Line. I had the incredible opportunity to interview Ryan about his experience with the cast of A Chorus Line, and some of the other life-changing experiences he’s been able to take part in because of his career.

“Not only did it open up doors for career opportunities, it allowed me to personally confirm that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life” says Ryan, “It was an experience that I will never forget, and I love seeing it continue to impact the lives of others.”

EMMA: What has your experience with A Chorus Line been like so far?

KOERBER: A Chorus Line has made me grow more and more every day as a person and performer. Getting the opportunity to learn the show from Baayork Lee has been a blessing like no other. It is an honor to go onstage every night and carry out the legacy Michael Bennett began in 1975. Touring can be quite the challenge, especially when you are dealing with a show that is this physically demanding. When you are constantly sitting on buses or planes, going from city to city on a tight schedule, it can be challenging to keep your body healthy and prevent injury. It is vitally important to be cautious at all times and be kind to your well being. Some of my favorite moments in A Chorus Line are the iconic “headshot charge line,” dancing the Montage Four sequence in “Hello, Twelve. Hello Thirteen…,” singing “What I Did For Love” with the company, and of course dancing the iconic finale when the starburst walls appear.

A picture from Ryan’s performance at the Jimmy Awards

While touring the country, Ryan has admired one audience after the next. He says that the energy and responses of each audience in each city is always different, which always adds a fresh, new aspect to each and every performance.

Another unique aspect of the show is that several of the characters are based off of the personalities and personas of the original cast. One of Ryan’s favorite parts of playing Bobby on tour? Ryan has the opportunity to dive into the life of Thommie Walsh, the original Bobby.

EMMA: What was your experience like helping with Camp Broadway’s performance in the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

KOERBER: Assisting Camp Broadway at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was such a joy to see young kids of all ages experience what Camp Broadway has to offer. It is incredible to be part of a program that gave children of military families the opportunity to see New York City (most of them for the first time), learn from Broadway performers, develop relationships with other kids who have the same interests, and be a part of an iconic event that holds tradition in our country. Watching children be inspired and grow over a short period of time is something special that I was proud to be a part of.

EMMA: What is your advice for young, aspiring actors and actresses?

KOERBER: Someone once told me that we have nothing to prove and everything to share. That has always resonated with me. When we have talk backs with students that are aspiring actors asking for advice, one of the most important things we say is that if you are passionate about something, do not be afraid to pursue that passion and share what you have to offer. It is so important to first and foremost be yourself. It is a waste of energy and your own talents to try to be what you think others want you to be. Also, always thank your teachers and your mentors!

Ryan with other members of the cast of A CHORUS LINE

FUN FACT: Not only is Ryan a spectacular performer, but he has a secret talent and conversation-starter up his sleeve. When he was young, Ryan often baked with his grandmother and had a special talent for one aspect of baking in particular. He found that he had a fascination with cake decorating, which developed into a unique and amazing hobby. Ryan mentioned that with this fun fact being present on his resume, he has been asked about it before while in the audition room!

If you’d like to get to know Ryan better, you can visit his website www.ryan-koerber.com or follow him on Instagram @ryan_koerber. It’s no secret that Ryan has a bright future ahead of him on the Great White Way. Remember- even the smallest steps while you’re in high school can lead to something great and life-changing! You can do it, CB’ers!

Thank you to Ryan for the wonderful advice and the spectacular opportunity to interview you!

5 Fun Theatre Resolutions and Goals for 2018!

With January quickly coming to a close, I have to admit, some of my New Year’s Resolutions have not been turning out quite as planned. Let me be honest- I haven’t exactly finished two novels in the first month of 2018, however, I decided that I could focus on other goals, such as those related to theatre. I’m absolutely elated to share my 2018 Theatre Resolutions with you, and I hope that maybe you’ll get some inspiration, or comment some of your own resolutions for 2018 below!

1. Stage-Manage At Least One Show

I love working behind the scenes volunteering at a local community theatre, but I have yet to take on the lead role of being a stage manager. I think that this would be a great learning experience and I am definitely ready to dive into the realm of technical theatre.

2. Find a Go-To Audition Monologue

Each time I go to an audition, I seem to have an endless list of songs that I am ready to sing, but no monologue! This year, I’d like to find a spectacular monologue that I can bring with me to every audition.

3. Invest More Time in Dance Lessons

Even though I already take ballet, I think that it would benefit me greatly this year to put more time and effort into my dance classes. Not only will it help me improve my dance skills for shows, but it is a great way to exercise while having fun at the same time!

4. Take a Leap and Try a Straight Play

I haven’t done a straight play in years. In 2018, I want to push myself out of my comfort zone again and grow in my acting abilities.

5. Host a Tony Awards Viewing Party

I have to admit, the majority of my theatre friends and I always watch the annual Tony Awards, but we’ve never watched them all together! How fun would it be to be the friend that gets to host this star-studded night?

There you have it, 5 of my Theatre Resolutions! I think that 2018 is going to prove to be a wonderful theatre season that has many opportunities. One of those opportunities is attending a Camp Broadway camp this summer! I went to Camp Broadway Tempe in 2016 and it was my favorite week of the summer, by far. I strongly encourage you all to give one of CB’s programs a try this summer! Thank you for reading, and comment your resolutions below!

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