Heather has been a student at Parkside Academy since she was 2 years old beginning in our Dance With Mommy class. This summer she had an incredible experience in New York City. Here is a personal letter and photos from Heather all about her Broadway Experience. Thank you to all of the friends that helped & supported Heather this past year so she could attend this wonderful summer program.

This summer I had the opportunity to attend a musical theater intensive called The Broadway Experience in Brooklyn, New York. The program was split into two weeks and is designed to show the students what life is like as a Broadway professional. Week 1 was made up of different classes, workshops, and lectures, all from people who have worked on Broadway as performers, choreographers, stage managers, casting directors, etc. My schedule was different every day, but each day was full of classes in voice, theater, and dance that were different from anything I’ve ever experienced. The dance classes consisted of a wide variety of styles, including classic theater dance, hip hop, tap, and so much more, and we got to learn real Broadway choreography every day! One day, during week one, we got to have a Musical Workshop with John Cariani and Ryan VanDenBoom, who are both currently in a very successful show on Broadway called Something Rotten. John taught us scenes directly out of the script of the show, and Ryan taught us the full opening number. Then, later that week, we got to see the show and even had a Q&A with the cast when the show was over!

On the last day of Week 1, we were given the experience of a Broadway audition. My level was auditioning for the show A Chorus Line, which we would be putting on at the end of the two weeks. So, we all went in to the studio and learned a dance combination from the show very quickly and did it in groups of four, then went in again one at a time to sing a song we were taught earlier in the week, and finally went in once more to cold read a scene from the show. After the audition was over, the director of the program, Ben Hartley, and the other teachers, gave us individual feedback on how we can improve our auditions. On Monday of Week 2, the cast list went up and the rehearsal process began. I was cast as Judy Turner; a clumsy, kind of ditzy, dancer from Texas. The whole second week consisted of only rehearsals. It was very fast-paced, because we had only one week to put the entire show together. So, we would learn a whole song, and be putting choreography to it an hour later. We only usually got one session per scene or number, and we only got a few full run-throughs of the show. On our last day, we had a cue-to-cue, a dress rehearsal, and then our final performance for friends and family. Although it was a bit stressful at times to learn a whole show in so little time, it really showed me how hard I’ll have to work if this is what I want to do with my life. All in all, it was wonderful and eye-opening experience. I got to work with so many incredibly talented people, teachers and students alike, and I feel that I am now a much more well-rounded performer, and I have a better understanding of what the Broadway world is like. I am very grateful to have had this experience and I will definitely never forget it!

Photos from Heather’s experience