Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Theatre students showcase performances in New York


By Caroline Smith | Staff Reporter 

As odd as it is to think that a student you pass on the Quad could be the next star of a Broadway hit, that might be just the case. During spring break, a group of graduating theatre and musical theatre students flew to New York City with hopes of landing roles in professional productions by way of the Bama on Broadway showcase.

The annual Bama on Broadway showcase consisted of four shows spread over two days that took place in New York City at the Studio Theatre at Theatre Row. Each student performed two pieces – either a song and a scene for musical theatre majors or the option of a scene and a monologue or two scenes for theatre majors – in front of casting directors and agents. 

“The point of the showcase is to get our fresh new faces and talent in front of possible agents who may want to sign us or just lead us in the direction of more work,” said LaBorn Brown, a senior musical theatre major who participated in the showcase. “So, most of the time it’s very short scenes, very short songs, and just making sure that we show the best of us – our personality, not necessarily our talent because if you’re in New York, mostly everybody’s talented. So, they’re mostly looking for specifically what about you can make them money.”

The scenes are short – no longer than a minute and a half. So, actors and actresses try their best to convey their personalities and abilities in as brief a time as possible.

“Most agents, they know within the first 10, maybe five seconds of you standing on stage whether they want you or not,” Brown said. “So, you get in, you do your spiel, and then you get out. It’s very quick.”

Though the brevity of the performances and the pressure surrounding them seems intimidating, students said they felt prepared for the situation. Essentially their entire education up to that point sought to equip them for success.

“They are essentially preparing for the showcase from the moment they begin their education in the Department of Theatre and Dance because they are building a repertoire, guided by the people in their particular discipline,” said Stacy Alley, director of musical theatre and associate professor of musical theatre and dance. “We then help guide them in choosing material with which to best represent themselves as individuals.”

Brown delved into the thought process behind choosing scenes, songs and monologues to perform.

“It depends on the person,” Brown said. “It really depends on your brand. Like, what is your brand? What makes you, you? For me, that was charming and comedic with a side of the dramatic.”

Besides the education students have received during their time at the University they also do a great deal of preparation specifically leading up to the showcase.

“Planning is a long process that culminates in individual and group rehearsals both here and once we get to the city the day before the showcase,” Alley said. “Musical theatre students, for example, work on their material in their voice lessons, rep lessons, coaching sessions with me, and then in an ‘unofficial’ class where Seth, the director of the showcase, puts everything together.”

In the past, the showcase has been successful in landing students jobs within the realm of performing arts. Currently, the University has two alumni performing on Broadway, five on national tours and at least 10 on professional contracts at reputable professional theaters.

Though the week was spent in the bustling city of New York, not much time was spent sight-seeing. However, those involved with the showcase enjoyed their time nonetheless. Many found their enjoyment in the performances themselves.

“This is what we train our entire lives to do, so for me and a lot of other people the fun is our craft and being able to do it whenever we can,” Brown said. “So, there’s always a bit of fun in what we do.”

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