Kent State student auditions for the Glee Project

Marissa Eisenbrei

After a 13-hour train ride and waiting in line for five hours in the cold winter weather with 6,000 other aspiring performers, it was finally time for Chelsea Boyd, senior communications and theater major, to go after her dream.

She entered the building in the theater district of New York City, welcomed by a sign-in table with a 15-page question-and-answer packet waiting to be filled out. This was only the first step in auditioning for “The Glee Project.”

“The Glee Project” is one of many performing arts reality shows. Unlike American Idol, where the goal is to get a recording contract, the goal of “The Glee Project” is to find a young competitor to be a guest star on Fox’s television sitcom “Glee.”

The second season of “The Glee Project” premiered June 5 on Oxygen. More than 10,000 people auditioned in Nashville, Chicago and New York. Chelsea Boyd was one of them.

“I thought I was going to die,” Boyd said. “I was so nervous.”

There were multiple steps to the audition process. For preliminaries, Boyd made a video of herself answering questions and singing a song. From there, people voted for the videos they liked the most.

“I sang ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz, and I really wasn’t expecting anything of it,” Boyd said. “Then I got, like, 6,000 votes, and I decided to really go for it.”

When Boyd arrived in New York, she waited outside Roy Arias Studios from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. before entering the building.

After Boyd filled out the 15-page packet, she had a taped, in-person interview. Contestants then moved on to the singing level, performing “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga.

Boyd didn’t make it past the signing round, but she said that didn’t ruin her spirit.

“Even though right now it didn’t work out, that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my dream,” Boyd said.

Boyd had the support of her family, friends and professors. Brian Newberg, head of the theater department at Kent State Stark Campus, was one of them.

“My first reaction is to encourage when students want to do anything,” Newberg said.

With hundreds of theater majors and minors at Kent, it’s necessary to prepare them for the real world of auditioning, Newberg said.

“When you have a real focus on something, like with acting or film, sometimes there’s a real desire just to go for it, and that’s fine,” Newberg said. “But I would never recommend anyone to do this without being fully ready.”

Newberg said the diversity of Kent’s faculty and staff also helps prepare students for future opportunities.

“I feel very good that we have a very strong school of theater and dance here at Kent,” Newberg said. “We’ve got a lot of talented students that make the program.”

Contact Marissa Eisenbrei at [email protected].