by Howard Clemens
Theater arts, dance and music students are fascinated with Broadway Theater in New York City. Many take class trips to New York City to experience the theater district, take in a Broadway Musical or two, and eat in New York City restaurants and delicatessens. How many student groups on a NYC tour have also considered a Broadway Workshop? These workshops are designed to enhance acting skills and help students develop a greater understanding of one of the highest and most demanding levels achieved in the acting profession – Broadway acting.
Not too long ago, High School Musical was all the rage for students with acting aspirations. Once it was Wicked and The Lion King, drawing large audiences. Now it is Hamilton that is hot – and tickets hard to obtain. Behind the scenes Broadway Workshops keep up with what is trending on Broadway in some fun and extraordinary ways. The workshops are applicable to theater arts and inspire students to probe deeper into Broadway Musicals. At the same time these learning experiences show the hard and constant daily effort that goes into making sure all parts of the Broadway show work in concert.
Many trip leaders opt for the Broadway Rehearsal or Choir Workshop. The score from the musical the student group will attend is used, making the experience of seeing a Broadway musical more familiar. Students learn about choreography, staging and music from a cast member and a musical director. Choir Workshops focus on learning the vocal score of the musical.
There are other workshops to engage the young actor or actress, including a useful one for every aspiring actor – The Audition Workshop. Then there’s the Improv Workshop, Stage Combat and the Make Up Workshop for students who want to jump right into the action.
For teachers who want student groups to meet real Broadway Actors, Meet the Artist Q & A will be an excellent workshop to do so. Students meet the Broadway actor or actress in a rehearsal studio. Here the group can ask questions about life on Broadway in a private session with the artist, at a show which they may attend later. This is a great way for students to gain insights about life in New York City and the day-to-day demands and scheduling of a Broadway actor or actress.
For the student who already knows how hectic it can be backstage, the Broadway Quick Change workshop may be a great way to learn some tips from the experts. Student tour groups will see how the professionals change costumes quickly and effortlessly. A real Broadway actor will demonstrate a quick change and students will be invited to try it. Students will learn the importance of this skill for the acting profession – where space is often tight and several actors must change in a short period.
As mentioned earlier, Hamilton is now the hit Broadway Musical most theater art students will be familiar with already. The star of the show is loosely based on the historical Alexander Hamilton, a Cuban orphan who came to New York City penniless and emerged as a top writer and revolutionary of his day. The story is told in hip-hop style so students can relate if this is their preference in music. Trip leaders can either select a Hamilton Meet the Artist workshop, where students meet a real actor in his or her rehearsal studio, or the Hamilton Dance workshop, where students are introduced to the choreography behind Hamilton.
As a whole, participating in one or several Broadway Workshops is an active learning experience students will remember for some time. For more information on booking class trip to New York City that includes a Broadway Musical and participating in a workshop, Request a quote.