Performing Arts School
Musical Theater Arts Blog by Timothy Maureen Cole | November 2018
Whether you are a wallflower or constantly searching for the spotlight, chances are you’ll have to be in front of an audience at some point. Who hasn’t had to give a presentation? It starts early with book reports and science fairs, and continues well into the workplace. If the prospect of speaking in front of a crowd sounds intimidating, that is completely normal. But what if there was a way you could train to be more comfortable in public speaking situations while still having fun? There is. It’s called Improv!
Improvisation helps students of all ages build confidence, learn to think on their feet, interact with others, project the voice, and speak in front of a group without needing a script in hand. Actors learn to work together and build scenes following these basic rules*:
- Say “Yes” – work together to create something instead of everyone doing their own thing
- Say “Yes, and…” – add to the scene as it happening to help tell the story
- Make Statements – not open ended questions
- There are no mistakes, only opportunities – acting and pretending is fun, and a chance to learn about what feels right and what to change next time
The rules that we follow in improvisation help us build skills in all aspects of life. Our amazing drama instructor, Lilli Markey, teaches an Improv class each semester for students 10+. The course is 12 weeks and packed with fun. If you missed this semester, the spring session begins on March 4 at 5:00 p.m.
If your student has stage fright, needs a confidence boost, or just loves acting, then this is the right class for you. Visit our website or contact the Student Services Office (908) 790-0700 for more information about this class and others. We hope to see you soon!
* Basic rules taken from Bossypants by Tina Fey (Reagan Arthur Books; 2011)
Musical Theater Arts Blog by Timothy Maureen Cole | October 2018
Nothing was more inspiring to me as a young artist than seeing a live performance. I saw the performers on stage giving total energy, creating characters, and a whole new world right in front of me. To this day, my parents enjoy regaling all visiting friends and family with the story of seeing The Phantom of the Opera in New York for the first time. I was four, and apparently so enamored with the performance that I couldn’t stop 1) singing it around the house at full volume and 2) drawing elaborate pictures of the scenes on my chalkboard. They have the photo albums to prove it. I was inspired, and still am.
Today I’m often lucky enough to be the one on stage performing. But the thing that inspires me most is leading a group of talented young actors experiencing performing, sometimes for the first time. I see the spark in their eyes, and know they want to create. That’s one of the most exhilarating things about performing. Young people want to use their imaginations to create performances that represent them. That’s what our Musical Theater Company class is all about.
Being a part of a traditional musical is so much fun, but what if your student could create their own? That’s exactly what we do in Company. Over the course of 27 weeks, students work together as an ensemble of players, writers, choreographers, and directors to build a completely original one act musical from start to finish. Instructors are there to guide them along the way, but the class is a student driven process that allows ensemble members to write and perform material that is their own.
Auditions for the class are being held on Friday, November 9th and Saturday, November 10th at the Performing Arts School. Students can sign up for an audition (for placement purposes) here: Company Auditions Sign Up. There is no cost to sign up, and audition feedback will be provided to students after the audition.
Your student’s inspiration might be something more like Dear Evan Hansen or Hamilton, as opposed to The Phantom of the Opera. But that urge to imagine, create, and perform is timeless.
Company class is for students 10+ and will meet on Tuesday evenings from 5:45–7:45pm starting on November 27th. The class will culminate with two full performances alongside the Company Instrumental Ensemble on June 15th, 2019.
If you have questions about the class or auditions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (908) 790-0700. Stay inspired, and we’ll see you at PAS soon!