‘Showcase’ raising funds for NYC

Sara Petersen

Opportunity helps theater hopefuls

Students are selling pizza as a fundraiser to showcase their talents in New York City.

Showcase is a course designed to literally “showcase” eight students soon to graduate.

“We call it ‘Showcase’ to showcase our talents, to exhibit our work (and) prepare audition selections,” said Chris Richards, senior musical theater major and Showcase member.

Terri Kent, instructor for the course, said the opportunity to go to New York greatly helps a student wanting to get into the theater business.

“(Agency representation) catapults their career ahead by about five or six years,” Kent said.

If an actor has an agent, the agent can then sit the actor for appropriate auditions.

“(The actor) can go in and audition and it will only take a half hour,” Kent said. “(Without an agent) they could be waiting all day just for one audition.”

And Showcase is successful: A student who was in Showcase two years ago is now opening in “Hair” on Broadway in March.

The course began five years ago and is only offered during the spring semester, but the audition process happens in the fall.

The students audition in front of the entire acting faculty, a voice representative and John Crawford, interim dean of the College of the Arts.

These faculty and staff check students’ track record of performances in the bachelor of fine arts musical theater program and any outside auditions students participated in during summer programs.

The students must also prepare two musical selections and a monologue. Additionally, the faculty and staff review the students’ promotional materials, such as headshots and resumes.

“It isn’t that we say you’re better (or) you’re not good enough,” Kent said. “Basically, is that student ready to enter the market, and do they have the desire to enter the market?”

Every student auditioning for Showcase must be a graduating senior.

“They must be available and willing to accept the work,” Kent said.

The class plans to travel to New York City and perform in front of casting agents in March.

“We have what’s called an agent wrangler,” Richards said. “So we find a stage manager in New York who can call up all the casting agencies that they know.”

The show is open to the public, but the goal is not to perform for just anyone.

“Ideally, we want it packed with agents – just agents,” Richards said.

Showcase will perform a type of cabaret with minimal movement, and each member will perform his or her own song. The students are currently working on two group numbers that are being made into a medley for the showcase.

“We have a group number, we have individual numbers,” said Dana Glaus, senior musical theater major and member of Showcase. “We rehearse for this, but it also costs a lot of money to get to New York.”

According to Glaus, it will cost approximately $2,000 to pay for the agent wrangler and a stage in New York. Each member is paying for his or her own ticket, hotel and other necessities.

Showcase will perform its cabaret for the public March 14 in Wright-Curtis Theatre and will perform in New York on March 16.

“This is basically the culmination of the musical theater academic experience here,” said Rick Coffey, senior musical theater major and Showcase member. “Everything that we do is about how to audition and how to be in shows … and this is our foot in the door to New York.”

Contact performing arts reporter Sara Petersen at [email protected].