Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spotlight: Students Pounce on Opportunity to Learn With The Lion King

If our education students took nothing else away from the Broadway 101 master class with The Lion King we hope it was this: "Anything you do is uniquely you -- there's no right or wrong."

Amyia Burrell and Selena Moshell, members of the immensely talented Lion King ensemble, spent the afternoon on February 12 working with a group of more than 40 students from grades 7 to 12. By the end of the session, the students had learned a song and dance combination from "Lioness Chant." 

After a warmup, Selena and Amyia began teaching dance steps before passing the baton to Jamie Schmidt, the show's associate music director, to help the students learn the vocals for the piece, followed by one last dance lesson.

Amyia and Selena were quick to assure the students that perfection isn't necessary. 

"Once you get into character, the steps come easier," Amyia said.

Our students embraced the challenge enthusiastically -- check out our video above to see how it all came together.

The students also had a chance to talk with Amyia, Selena and James about their time with the show and how they got involved with theatre. They all agreed -- "try everything." 

Selena and Amyia both started as performers at Disney World before joining The Lion King and had great advice on the audition process. 
  • Ballet experience is always needed for dance auditions. Casting agents usually begin with a ballet combination, then cut some performers from the field. A modern dance combination follows, then another cut, then a piece from the show itself and a song that you've prepared.
  • Have several different song genres in your arsenal for vocal auditions. Start with what really showcases you, but make sure you have variety in your repertoire -- 4 or 5 songs -- in case a casting agent asks for an example of a different style or range.
  • Treat auditions like a free dance or vocal class, where you can learn new techniques alongside your peers.
  • Always keep your resume and headshot with you. You never know when an opportunity may find you.
  • Remember that all auditions are different, and that casting agents may make cuts without seeing everyone. If you are cut, the most important thing to remember is that it's not a direct reflection of your skill -- casting agents take several factors into account when making their decisions. By no means should you give up! 
We'll have more amazing Broadway 101 Master Classes to share with you in our 2015-16 Broadway season. Stay tuned for the announcement about our new series -- it's gonna be a great one!  

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