Column: Interdependence of Art: Excellence Happens When We Work Together | Local entertainment

Imagine you are sitting in the audience of a dark theater. They capture the emotion of the lighting and the brilliance of the simplicity of the set. You’ll be struck by the costume design surrounded by impeccable sound, and you’ll be moved by the live instruments as you observe the honest and believable skills of the performers. Each of these disparate art forms come together on stage at the same moment to create something so excellent that you, the theater godfather, have to stand while clapping and shouting “Bravo!”.

Many of us have had this experience, but few have been on stage in person to know what it takes to get an audience going.

As with any art form, the best way to learn is from a master. What qualifies a master, you might ask? A master is someone who has invested over 10,000 hours in the skills they have learned over time, observing other artists as they work and perform with them. A master performer relishes the tedious process of repetition, learning even through rejection, and showing up no matter what.

My experience working on Broadway has taught me the importance of the mantra “trust on and off the stage”.

There are no “divas” on Broadway; if you dare to be one, you will easily be replaced. They cannot serve and engage the audience without each other. As performers, we depend on all departments hitting their cues at the same time; from the changing chest of drawers to the conductor’s baton, everything is interdependent. Musical theater is the basis for building many famous music, television and film stars. While the artistic medium may vary, collaboration is essential in any performing arts medium.

This summer, I’m honored to share my beloved and respected Broadway friends with the Sheridan community. In addition to appearing on Broadway, these artists have appeared in films, voiceovers, television and more. Together we have sung for presidents and professional sporting events. And at some point we all looked at each other and asked ourselves, “How did I get here?”

The answer? Inspirational instructions, courage to show up and love for the process.

This June, Sheridan College is hosting a two-week Broadway Musical Theater Intensive. The intent behind this opportunity is to teach young performers the craft of musical theater as they progress to their personal best through training and performing alongside industry professionals and Sheridan College’s performing arts department. By learning from masters of the trade, participants learn about the business side of show business and improve their acting, dancing and singing skills. Hoping to improve students’ audition skills, participants will be put to the test during a mock audition (open to the public) on June 17th, where they will receive valuable feedback from our panel of experts.

In my role as creative producer, I put together the production team, from the stage hands to the choreographer. It is my pleasure to bring artists together in their most appropriate positions to create magic. In creating the show, I will build it around the students’ talent to showcase them at their best. There is great talent in Sheridan and the surrounding area and I hope to bring the knowledge and skills of “big cities” right here at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. I can’t think of a better place for a creative retreat!

All of these skills will culminate in my love letter to Broadway, Broadway then and now, when students perform with professionals on the Kinnison Hall stage on June 23rd and 24th. The show will highlight Broadway from the 1940s to the present day, while reflecting on the musical’s impact on the music and film industries.

Gina Feliccia McDermott is Creative Producer for Sheridan College Broadway Musical Theater Intensive and Rachel Bergman is Director of Academic Initiatives and Arts at Sheridan College.


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