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Baylor Players Travel to NYC for Workshops and Broadway
Sophie Wisenbaker

Over winter break, a group of actors, singers, and dancers travelled to New York City to get a taste of the Broadway experience.

Led by faculty members Beth Gumnick, Allison Lamb, Elizabeth Roemer, and Karen Smith, the group had the opportunity to meet and work with influential performers, watch some of the hottest current shows, and to see the sights.

The group left Chattanooga early on the morning of Friday, Feb. 15, landing just in time for the first workshop: “Enter Acting,” taught by Tony-nominated actor Lou Liberatore (Burn ThisSex and the City, Law & Order). The students were separated into pairs to work on developing scenes within a short time period. Each pair then presented their interpretation of their scene to the rest of the group and received feedback from Liberatore on how to improve their performance.

Later that evening, the group went to see Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen, featuring 16-year-old Andrew Barth Feldman as the show’s titular protagonist.

On Saturday morning, students attended their second workshop, “A Broadway Rehearsal.” Mean Girls’ current dance captain Brendan Stimson (Newsies, Something Rotten) taught the group a dance combination from the show’s finale. Following the workshop, Stimson hosted a brief Q&A to provide more insight into everything from his personal journey as a dancer to the audition process and the experience of performing full-time.

The group attended a matinee performance of Mean Girls. Afterwards, they split into for dinner and the next shows: dancers saw The Sleeping Beauty at the NYC Ballet, and actors attended the Broadway production To Kill a Mockingbird, with acclaimed actor Jeff Daniels playing Atticus Finch.

Sunday morning’s main attraction was another dance workshop, this one called “A 5, 6, 7, 8,” and taught by Steve Caresco (Kinky Boots, Fiddler on the Roof), who is the current dance captain for Wicked. Caresco taught the students a combination from Kinky Boots, walking them through a Broadway dance audition.

After a brief lunch break, the group saw a matinee performance of a new musical production of King Kong. Following the show, a smaller group of students went to see Be More Chill, a show which began previews on Feb. 13 and is planned to officially open in early March. Those who didn’t go see the show enjoyed a few hours of shopping and walking around Times Square.

Though Monday was the last day of the trip, there were still many exciting things to do and see in the city. The dancers headed to Steps on Broadway, a renowned dance school, for a workshop. Meanwhile, a group of actors did some sight-seeing, including a trip down to the Battery to see the Statue of Liberty, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and the One World Trade Center, and a few other stops along the way.

Overall, the trip was not only fun, but also an incredible opportunity for some of Baylor’s performing arts students to work personally with highly talented professional actors and dancers. The group of students included Kendyl Baker, Sarah Dougherty, Zach Elias, Loren Floyd, Lily Fridl, Riley Grove, Lizzie Hill, Katherine Jefferson, Kristopher Kennedy, Macie Lane, Liz Li, Max Montague, Morgen Newton, Sarah Kathryn Oliver, Peyton Randolph, Halle Smith, Sara Grace Snead, Elizabeth Van Deusen, Sophie Wisenbaker, and Lily Zabel.

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