Performing Arts Teacher, Lakehill Preparatory School
This past weekend, 34 Upper School students traveled to New York City for the Winter Break. Over their three days in the city, they saw five shows and attended a musical theater workshop. The annual trip led by Tracy Herron and Mark Guerra has become an event to look forward to for performing arts students. It also allows those outside of performing arts to interact with Broadway performers and develop a greater appreciation for theater. The group was comprised of veteran New York travelers and some who had never flown on a plane before. Overall, the trip provided new experiences for all involved.
After their arrival Friday, students were able to explore Times Square before they attended a Valentine’s Day performance of Moulin Rouge. The musical is an update of the popular 2001 movie starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor. While the plot stayed the same, the songs have been updated to more recent hits. “I loved how the musical used songs that we are familiar with. By the end, I was connected to the characters,” said Sydney Rutherford.
The next morning, students attended a Broadway Classroom workshop with a swing/ensemble member of Moulin Rouge. The students learned a section of the Finale Megamix song, “Hey Ya” by Outkast and then were taught the choreography that went with that section of the song. “We learned the job of a swing in theater. Learning the energy and emotion that goes into performing for an audience daily was a great experience,” said Sophia Ganson.”
Later that day, the students had tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This is a two-part show, about six hours long with a dinner break in the middle. Students were blown away by the special effects that were achieved onstage. “All the magic that the movies needed CGI to create was brought to life right before our eyes with some of the greatest acting and live special effects I have ever seen,” said Keegan Clendenin.
On Sunday morning, students attended a mass at the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They were impressed by the sheer size of the church organ and its gorgeous rich sound.
That afternoon, students were given the choice to attend another musical or spend some time exploring the city. “Shopping in SoHo was one my favorite parts of the trip,” said Kira Willis. “All of the stores were beautiful inside.”
Some students selected Wicked, Mean Girls, or Dear Evan Hansen. Those who attended Hadestown were surprised by Mr. G with an opportunity to go backstage after the show to meet Patrick Page who stars as Hades.“Hadestown was fantastic,” said Spencer Neill. “Everything about it was amazing, but meeting Patrick Page was the most wonderful experience ever. Just standing on a Broadway stage was thrilling. The entire experience was almost overwhelming.”
The students’ final show Six: the Musical is an 80-minute pop rock concert about the six wives of Henry VIII, each singing songs about the trials and tribulations of being married to “Old Coppernose.” “The cast was energetic and I already knew the soundtrack by heart, which it made it all the more enjoyable,” said Lindsey Evans. “After the show, I waited by the stage door and the cast was lovely.”
Throughout the trip, students were able to not only see shows that interested them, but were also given free time to experience the city. This independence enabled students to pursue their interests and be engaged in every activity.