So, there was a contest being run before the holidays through Broadway Space.com with the program Making it On Broadway. Basically if you friended Making it on Broadway, you would be entered to win a free master class during one of their winter intensive programs. Well, I was the lucky winner, and believe me when I say I was lucky. At first I thought that I would only be able to attend one class but once I got to the first class, Jodie Langel, the co-founder and teacher at Making it on Broadway, informed me that I would be able to sit in on all of the master classes for the week.
I attended two of the master classes during this week's intensive one with Roger Bart (who had only finished performing in Young Frankenstein two days before) and one with Andrea Burns, one of the current stars of In The Heights. They were two of the best classes I have ever had the privilege of attending. I absolutely loved observing their two different approaches to working with the actors in the class. Both were very hands-on with the students and answered every question as truthfully as they possibly could. When I asked Roger Bart how he finds the balance between taking a job because it's a paycheck or doing something because of his feelings toward it as an artist, he told us to find the artistry in every role. But if you've been in the chorus making a steady paycheck and you're ready for something more, know when its okay to say "No." And Andrea Burns was also honest about what being an actor feels like. Of recently performing on the Tony's, she was very frank. She knew that the opportunity may never come again so she relished every minute of it, especially when she knew others who got their turn before her.
As for watching them actually work with students they both had very different approaches but both very helpful. Roger Bart was mainly going on his first impressions of a lot of the pieces because he admitted that he's not super savvy on a lot of musical theatre. And his gut reactions were still very honest and very wonderful. You can tell that what he said was appreciated and the kids were not just taking it at face value. I mean, obviously the man knows what he's talking about; he has a Tony. And he's absolutely wonderful as an actor and as a person. I kinda want to be his best friend. Andrea Burns wasn't starkly different but different enough. She asked a lot more questions about the motivation behind the choices that each student made. Watching her work with the students made me feel like I was in college again and that was kind of enjoyable for the moment.
I didn't get the chance to thank Roger because he had his knee drained earlier that afternoon and was in a lot of pain so they kind of rushed him out but I got to thank Andrea and tell her what a treat it was to see her work. Only last night I was singing along with her on my computer and then poof! there she was in front of me! It was kind of epic. I've never gotten to have that kind of experience with a Broadway actor before. Well except for when I met Laura Benanti, but I didn't get to watch her work; I just got to take a picture with her and have her tell me that I was beautiful.
But both classes were absolutely awesome. The intensive is a bit pricey, but from the little sneak peek I got, definitely worth the money you'd be spending! I'm definitely going to save my pennies and sign up for the next one! For more information and to see a list of past professionals that have worked with the program, check out their website here I want to thank Broadway Space and Jodie from Making it on Broadway for giving me such a great opportunity.