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:

CB’s Featured Players Bring the Heat to Camp This Summer!

At Camp Broadway, there is a long-time tradition, like most summer camps, of having camp counselors lead groups. However, at CB, these group leaders are called “Featured Players” and are involved in the entire process of putting on a performance for family members at the end of camp. This week, I had the opportunity to interview several of this summer’s Featured Players!


DIDI GOMEZ

Our first Featured Player is Didi Gomez, who started her career with CB when she met a friend who had been working as a Featured Player. She was inspired, had an interview with the staff of CB, and got the job!

What are your best tips for future campers?

Like I say to all my campers, CB is a safe space, and the best way to enjoy that short week is to feel free and open to try anything. Fear and judgment stay outside the door.

What is your most memorable moment from Camp Broadway?

There are so many memorable Camp Broadway moments… It’s usually when a camper who’s scared of trying to sing, or dance, or act, and they finally jump into that pool, and they realize how good they actually are. To see those faces of accomplishment and happiness all at once is one of the best feelings as a teacher. And I’m happy to say I have seen many of those faces throughout my 3 years with Camp Broadway.

Didi rehearsing with her group at Camp Broadway Mainstage in NYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


DIEGO RIOS

Diego Rios first worked on the CB staff as an assistant stage manager after graduating from AMDA, and later moved on to being a Featured Player, which he has now been doing for the past four summers!

What is your favorite activity at CB? 

Lunch!!  and not just because I get to eat some very yummy food but for me;  lunch is the time I get to see the kids get out of their shell and I get a sense of who they are and their potential! #We Are Always Watching! 

What is your favorite part of the week at Camp Broadway?

Wednesday’s, because usually Wednesday’s are “special days” in Camp Broadway depending on the city we are in. Sometimes a special guest comes in and talks to all the kids, or if we are in NYC, we go and see a Broadway show, or perhaps there’s a different lunch (we got chipotle once in Vegas), it all depends on where we are. 

Diego performing Once on This Island with campers in Miami, FL


MICHAEL HUGHES

Michael performing with Shining Stars, our youngest campers!

Michael Hughes, who started out as an assistant stage manager for Camp Broadway, became a Featured Player because his goal “has become to inspire them to keep moving forward.  Whether that means helping them to become better performers, or simply helping them get out of their comfort zone and open up more,  I want to instill an inspiration that drives them higher.  I wanted to become a Featured Player to inspire these campers to think bigger, keep faith in their dreams, and most importantly, always have fun”.

What does “Develop Your Character” (the CB Motto) mean to you?

To me, this phrase means that we’re refining our skills and manners of working to ultimately be the best performer, and more importantly, human, that we can be.  Success in this industry doesn’t just come from raw talent.  While it certainly helps, a serious work ethic and gracious personality can help one go much further.  CB aims to instill that in their campers.

What is your favorite summertime activity?

There are so many! I love being outdoors and surrounded by nature.  Whether that means swimming, hiking, biking, tanning, etc.  But of course, as brutal as Manhattan summers can be, there’s nothing like finding a good rooftop to spend a night on in New York City.  Either at a restaurant or a friend’s apartment, a summer night’s breeze is one of the most refreshing sensations there is, made better by the beautiful NYC skyline.


ISAAK OLSON

Featured Player Isaak Olson auditioned to work for CB by chance, but says that his inspiration to return to the camp this year was all of his campers!

What are you looking forward to most this summer at CB?

There is a lot I’m looking forward to, but topping the list would be: singing SHREK all summer (Brian D’arcy James is king, so getting to sing his stuff is the best!); performing with alongside my friend Didi; as well as traveling and working with all the amazing CB staff… and, of COURSE, seeing the shining faces of new and returning campers!!! 

Cindy Fernandez and I, pre-show as Nancy and Fagin in OLIVER

What is your favorite thing to do to keep cool over the summer?

If I have it my way, I definitely love going for a swim in the pool (or better yet, at the beach)–but our schedule is pretty tight with everything this summer, so usually I have to settle for some AC and a strong fan 

Do you have any favorite numbers or roles from previous CB performances? 

Oh man, so many favorites, but gotta shout out to “Gotta Pick A Pocket Or Two” from my days as Fagin in Oliver–the fake beard I wore for that performance was made me look absolutely ridiculous, but I loved it. I also loved my summer of slicking my hair back: I played Chad in ALL SHOOK UP on the west coast, and then went and played Corny Collins in HAIRSPRAY on the east coast.

 

 

Special Thank You to Hallie Williams, Kerry Dineen, and all of my interviewees for making this possible.

Carnegie Hall, Groundhog Day, and More!

The view of the city as we crossed the bridge via bus

A group trip to New York City may seem stressful- especially when it’s a trip meticulously composed of 113 choir kids from the West Coast, all high school students. The trip that I went on this spring break can’t compare to any other trip I’ve been on in my entire life. I truly had an amazing experience with 113 of my best friends, taking part in some amazing experiences that I’ll never forget throughout my life. 

Our journey to the city began with a red-eye flight on March 21st, on which I got no sleep at all. As the plane began to descend, I peered out the window and gawked at the bright lights of the city, which I had never before seen from the sky.

It was my third visit to the city, but my first arrival by plane, I had usually ridden an Amtrak train with fellow family members from a small town in Upstate New York. Once we had landed, my entire group was loaded onto a bus at 5am to take us to a small storage room where we were able to drop all of our luggage. This storage

The beautiful new World Trade Center, built in memory of the 9/11 victims.

room did happen to be by our hotel, however, we weren’t allowed to go to our rooms until later that night.

We started by splitting up our large party of 113 into slightly smaller groups. My group first toured the 9/11 Memorial, which was very emotional for myself and mostly everyone in my group. The whole tour moved me completely and made me feel so grateful that I have such a safe everyday life. As I moved through the museum, it became clearer to me that in past trips to New York, I had missed one of the best parts of the city, and that I had to return again to continue paying my respects to everyone involved in the event.

As we exited the museum and finished up a quick lunch, subway passes were quickly passed around as we jumped on the Q train to reach the Winter Garden Theatre, which is the current home of School of Rock! We arrived just in time for the show, and took our seats up in the mezzanine.

Here I am at intermission of School of Rock, an Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical!

The theatre was absolutely beautiful and all of the cast members, especially the children and those who played instruments, were talented beyond belief. I was in awe the entire show and on the edge of my seat. After the show, we had a talk back with all of the kids in the cast alongside several other schools, in which we learned more of the behind-the-scenes info about being a kid on Broadway. 

The bright and bold marquee of Winter Garden Theatre!

The next morning, we all rode a subway to the New York Public Library and were set free by our chaperones to view the area before meeting back at a small park to set off on our next adventure. We hustled down the street to a tall building, which held Ripley Grier Studios– home to master classes and Broadway auditions galore. I participated in a master class with my own choir with one of the dance captains of Wicked! The class flew by as we headed down to dinner and then to the August Wilson Theater to see a preview of Groundhog Day: The Musical!

Here is the marquee of the brand new Groundhog Day the Musical!

I had no idea what to expect walking into see a show that had only began it’s Broadway previews about a week prior. I had seen the news on social media about the show, but had no expectations whatsoever.

The show was absolutely spectacular, and one of my favorites that I’ve ever seen. The female lead, Barrett Doss, was absolutely breathtaking (click here to hear her sing)! I turned to my best friend, Alexis, who was watching alongside me, and whispered, “I could listen to her voice forever”. The actress had a strong voice that carried throughout the entire auditorium and still sounded light and airy. She was amazing and as soon as I arrived home to the West coast, I preordered the cast album right away.

One of the best highlights of my trip was our night at the “Cotton Club” in Harlem. The entire choir rode buses over to the famous jazz club and when we entered, we got to select as much food as we wanted from a large potluck style buffet. The food was some of the fanciest selections I’d ever seen, and was paired with great drinks and dessert. We all got to dance on a small floor, supported by the loud sounds of a great jazz band.

Our last major stop on the trip was the night we had all been waiting for since last July. Our debut at the famous Carnegie Hall, which was even more beautiful in person than any of the pictures I had been shown in the months prior to the performance. Prior to going onstage, my choir and I sat on the fifth-floor balcony and watched the several other choirs sing their hearts out onstage. When it was our turn to take the stage I couldn’t take my eyes off the ocean of people in the audience, it was an experience that still hasn’t completely hit me almost two weeks later.

To end our trip on a high note, we had our last day’s breakfast at “Ellen’s Stardust Diner“.

Here I am in Times Square in front of the sign for Waitress, my absolute favorite Broadway show.

All of our waiters were insanely talented and I can’t wait to come back and see them all on Broadway one day.
New York was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to go back one day! Thank you to Camp Broadway for letting me share my experiences and I hope that I can visit “the greatest city in the world” again soon!

Find Your Voice with the New Movie Speech & Debate

Darren Criss

with Darren Criss

Are you a theatre lover trying to find your voice? Then there’s a new film that’s perfect for you called Speech & Debate!

Based on the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play, SPEECH & DEBATE follows three teenagers brought together by a series of mishaps. Frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and the entire school board, the unlikely trio set out to find a common truth and make their voices heard as they revive a defunct school club and take on the world. Blogging, blackmail and Broadway belting drive the trio’s bond in this wickedly funny comedy.

Diwata is a girl who is passionate about theatre, but is not thrilled with the casting of the school’s production of Once Upon a Mattress and she wants to do something about it! Solomon wants to start writing about subjects that will spark discussion and controversy in the school newspaper, rather than topics that no one will talk about. Howie wants to form a gay-straight alliance at school, but the school board turns down his proposal. These three teenagers from different backgrounds band together to form a speech and debate club in order to make their voices heard! On their journey together they learn about themselves and make an impact on their community. This film inspires teens to let their voice be heard!

The movie premiere of Speech & Debate was held at the American Airlines Theatre in New York City. I represented Camp Broadway and gathered the scoop directly from the stars! Cast members from the movie including Sarah Steele, Austin P. McKenzie, Liam James, and Roger Bart, as well as numerous Broadway stars stopped to chat with me about their exciting lives and offer up some great advice on how to let your voice be heard as a young person today. It was an experience I will never forget. After interviewing the stars, it was a real treat to watch the premiere on a special big screen on a Broadway stage! The film was hilarious and had the audience laughing the entire time. It was very motivational and inspiring as well! Attendees were encouraged to support the arts by using #FINDYOURVOICE, and sending postcards pledging support for the arts to Washington, D.C.

Lilla Crawford

with Lilla Crawford

Speaking with the stars of the movie and Broadway was invaluable–they offered up some amazing advice for our Camp Broadway kids. The most important takeaway is to find YOUR voice…you never know, YOU could change the WORLD!

Here are some of the interesting stories, and advice given to me from the stars. I loved getting to hear about their experiences and realize they have been through some of the same things many of us go through. I hope you are as inspired by their stories as I am and decide to always let your voice and heart be heard!

What advice do you have for kids who have dreams to be on Broadway someday?

Courtney Reed (Princess Jasmine from Aladdin): “I would have told my younger self when I was a teenager to have more confidence. Confidence, but not being cocky or self-centered. If you believe in yourself, then you can be fearless, and people are very attracted to that.”

Laura Osnes (Bandstand, Grease, South Pacific, Anything Goes): “There are three things. First is beyourself. It sounds so cliché, but only you can be you. Everyone has something special to offer and the minute you try to be what they want you to be or be someone else, it’s fake, and it’s artificial. At the end of the day, being truthful to who you are is going to get you far. And then be patient. Know that you are young and you have your whole life ahead of you and tons of opportunities. And the third one is to work hard. You do have to work hard for it; you can’t take rejection personally. Keep training, keep studying, keep learning, and get a lot of experience, but always go for the dream if it’s in your heart.”

Laura Osnes

with Laura Osnes

with Courtney Reed

Will Roland (Dear Evan Hansen): “You should work hard and be nice to everyone because both of those things will pay off in ways that you can’t even understand!”

Lucy DeVito (Speech & Debate): “Work on the things you are driven to and really love. Show your passion and the stories you want to tell.”

How did you get started in show business?

Kate Wetherhead (Legally Blonde the Musical): “I saw a community theatreproduction of West Side

with Will Roland and Michael Faist

Story in my hometown in Burlington, Vermont and that was it, I was hooked.”

Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Tuck Everlasting, Newsies): “I grew up with older siblings who acted and it was just easier for my parents rather than carpool to just drop all the kids off at whatever show my two older sisters were doing.”

Ben Cook (Billy Elliot, Tuck Everlasting): I got started when I was

about 9 years old. I was a dancer first, my dance teacher said you should take up performing and acting so I started doing community theatre and regional theatre and I then slowly just made my way.”

Amitoz Singh (Speech & Debate): When I was a child I always wanted to act so my mom enlisted me in local theatre, then I did my first play, then I did professional, then signed with a talent agency. This movie really speaks to me. I did

with Kate Wetherhead and Andrew Keenan-Bolger

debate in high school and had some troubles with nervousness but speech and debate really helped me get over it.”

Anthony Rosenthal (Falsettos, Newsies): “I was doing theatre because of my sister, she was doing it and she really inspired me a lot and I saw Newsies on Broadway and that really got me really passionate about it and two years later I was in the tour!”

Luca Padovan (School of Rock): My first job was the Wizard of Oz, it was a community theatre show. I played a munchkin in every performance. I knew I wanted to be an actor by that feeling I had on stage, even though I didn’t have any lines, just being up there with all my friends, getting to sing all those songs, that’s when I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Carley Gendell (School of Rock): “I did what my sister did, because I’m a copycat! My sister did theatre. I went to Broadway auditions for the fun of it and I did School of Rock and got pretty far! It happens just like that!”

with Luca Padovan, Isabella Russo, and Ethan

Isabella Russo (School of Rock): “Both my parents are actors, my dad was in the touring company of Wicked. I was singing a lot of Broadway tunes. School of Rock was my first professional job on Broadway.”

Ethan Khusidman (School of Rock, Soul Doctor, Chaplain): “My first production was the tour of Les Miserables. I had acting coaches before that, but that was when I really decided I wanted to be an actor.”

What advice do you have for kids who want to go into show business?

interviewing Roger Bart

Sarah Steele (Speech & Debate): “Be yourself, I felt like I spent a long time trying to be somebody else and I should have just tried to have more confidence in who I was than trying to be other girls who weren’t me.”

Roger Bart (Speech & Debate): “Study, study, train, train, and practice!”

Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Tuck Everlasting, Newsies): “Try to stay as true to yourself as possible as a performer. I think the things that make you special are the things that make you different, or rather the things that make you different are the things that make you special!”

Kate Wetherhead (Legally Blonde): “Keep a sense of humor, be fearless, and be nice!”

Ben Cook (Billy Elliot, Tuck Everlasting): “If you really want to do it, and it’s something you are truly passionate about, do it no matter what,

with Ben Cook

create!”

What’s your favorite part about performing on Broadway?

Diego Lucano (School of Rock): “I just love the audience and how they make us feel so special. Every time they applaud it’s like they are saying a job well done.”

Carly Gendell (School of Rock): “I like the people! I like meeting people backstage, showing people backstage, and seeing friends and family when they come to see the show!”

What was your favorite part about filming Speech and Debate?

Austin P. McKenzie (Speech & Debate): “It was the first film I had ever been in and I think my favorite part was learning all of the technical aspects of it, as well as learning the material. I think it’s very timely! It’s a cute, nice, lovely film, and it’s very timely too.”

with Alex Brightman

What advice do you have for kids who want to become actors someday?

Austin P. McKenzie (Speech & Debate): “Do what you love, and what you love is going to find you!”

Ronnie Cho (VP Public Affairs MTV Networks, Candidate for NYC Council, former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement under President Obama): “Start at a young age, get in front of your theatre class, your music class, I think it’s so important that we continue to fund our schools programs, music education, arts education. It’s so important for American culture. It’s one of the most familiar things people have of the entire world our music, our art, our literature, performances and so important for kids to have access to that. Just get started, get involved, don’t be shy, and have fun – most important!”


You can purchase Speech & Debate right now on iTunes by CLICKING HERE.

“BUZZ, Son of a Bee”- A New Show as Sweet as Honey!

Spring is here! With this new season, comes a special new announcement: To help keep our environment healthy, Camp Broadway is excited to be teaming up with the Broadway Green Alliance in order to encourage theater-loving kids to be more green. Read more about our partnership here!

Soon, the grass will be greener than ever, the birds will be singing, and the bees will be buzzing… hopefully.

In recent years, the population of honeybees has been quickly declining– to the point where environmentalists fear extinction.Not only do bees provide us with honey, but they (along with many other pollinators) also pollinate the plants around us. This means that they help our ecosystem thrive! With the concerns surrounding this current epidemic, a new musical with an exciting mission has emerged:

BUZZ, Son of a Bee: An Actor’s Life For Me!

This original show has been in production in New York City, and aims to knit social change with theater. ​”BUZZ is a new musical comedy that joyfully weaves together the lives of eight individuals. As they quest to find their home in the Theatre,  they stumble upon an unusual catalyst…bees! A story full of heart, perfect for audiences of all ages, BUZZ, Son of a Bee gently reminds us that a life in the theatre can sting you, but can also be as sweet as honey.” In addition to educating others on the importance of pollinators,  BUZZ will also donate money to a different apiary / bee advocacy organization after each performance.

I was lucky to get the opportunity to interview Ariana Johns, the producer and lyricist of the show, who gave me the inside scoop on the show and its efforts to help raise awareness for our buzzing buddies.

You’ve been an essential role to the production team since the very beginnings of BUZZ, Son of a Bee. What has it been like to see this show from the roots to the stage? How has it been to see your lyrics come to life?

JOHNS: “It’s been absolutely magical. Working with Darryl Curry (the composer) has been a delight. From the very beginning, our energies and musical sensibilities merged seamlessly. I’ve written several plays and musical comedy revues that have been produced, ​but this has been a unique experience, in many ways. And each incarnation throughout the development has been a learning experience, sure, but also a true collaboration–with everyone involved. We have such a wonderful cast, crew and creative team. There’s a strict ‘no-divas’ rule when we bring someone new on board, so there’s been minimal drama and lots of fun–over the three+ years of development, we’ve retained most of our cast, largely, I think, because it is such a joy to work together.”

What has been your favorite part of working on this musical?

JOHNS: “​I want to say all of it, but actually, I would love to pass the ‘Producer’ hat to someone else and just concentrate on the creative aspect…the writing of the songs has been special, and hearing them sung by such talented performers is amazing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that being on stage myself (as Carla)​ wasn’t perhaps my favorite thing…sharing my own words in song with audiences and getting such great response is thrilling. But also, the incredibly special gift of being able to create BUZZ with my parents–we’re all actors and writers, with lots of professional experience, but this is the first time that we’ve all been involved in the same project (my dad is Andrew Johns, the book writer and director, and Evangeline Johns, my mom, practically steals the show as Cora).”

This musical has such a unique theme and morphs social justice into theater. Was there anything in particular about BUZZ, Son of a Bee that initially sparked your interest to work on this progressive show? What is it about BUZZ that sets it apart from other musicals currently onstage?

​JOHNS: “We have bees!! There’s a lot about BUZZ that is rooted in traditional musical theatre (which I love)…but as we progressed, the idea that we could create a piece that has social relevance with its focus on environmental issues–and to do it with laughter and music–that became ​a second heart to the piece itself. I’m not fond of being lectured to–who is? But with BUZZ, I think that the message of how fundamental bees are in the chain of life–as Einstein said, ‘When the bees go, mankind will follow in four years’–we get that message across with a spoonful of honey.”

And OF COURSE, we couldn’t help but discuss some facts about bees!

What would a world without bees be like?

JOHNS: “Actually, all pollinators are crucial–butterflies, bats and hummingbirds being some other notable examples–and BUZZ supports organizations dedicated to their survival as well. My hope is that we can have productions across the country and beyond, and engage in a grass-roots manner with local communities to spread the message that human life is not exclusive to other life–we are absolutely dependent on our fellow living beings to survive. If plants don’t get pollinated, we don’t have food. Bee populations have been declining due to many factors, but a chief one is the use of certain pesticides–ones that are outdated but still widely used, although they’ve been banned in certain countries. There will be lots of information–pamphlets, brochures, and knowledgeable people–at our shows, and I’ll be adding more links on our website.​”

Do you have any interesting bee facts that most people don’t know?

JOHNS: “The variety of honey types is dazzling–depending on what plants the bees pollinate, the pollen in the honey will reflect the character of the plant, and raw honey has long been prized for its medicinal and health benefits. Unfortunately, many of the mass-marketed brands are sourced from China, and the pollen is completely removed, along with the associated health benefits. We make sure that the apiaries that we support are ethical and retain the healthy pollen–and you can taste the difference!​”

Want to help the bees at home? Here’s Ariana’s advice!

JOHNS: “Lately, saving the bees has become a popular cause. There are many resources that can instruct you on planting bee-friendly gardens, and other helpful things you can do. Planet Bee Foundation has a lot on their site, as does Xerces Society, and many others– we list several links on our site, as well as petitions you can sign…many organizations let you virtually adopt a hive, which is helpful for city-dwellers like myself.”

Looking to celebrate the coming of spring? Check out the show! BUZZ, Son of a Bee: An Actor’s Life For Me will be holding performances March 23rd – April 2nd at the Sargent Theatre! Tickets can be bought online. For Camp Broadway readers, BUZZ is offering DISCOUNTED tickets! Use the promo code BEEFRIEND  for a $10 ticket.

Want to learn more about the show and the importance of bees? Be sure to like their Facebook page and check out their website!

A special thank you to Eric Gelb and Ariana Johns for coordinating and participating in this interview! 




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