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Tulsa, OK, United States
This blog is a record of the Senior Class from the University of Tulsa's Musical Theatre Program as we develop a Showcase to perform in New York. For more information, including how to donate, click on 'Who We Are' under the Pages sidebar!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We did it!

The trip was absolutely amazing. We all learned so much from the workshops and made vital new York theatre contacts. We saw some truly amazing theatre. I didn't think it was possible to learn as much as I did in less than a week.
Our first day started bright and early with a 6am flight out of Tulsa. We arrived in New York hungry and ready to see some theatre! Spreading out around the theatre district, we had students at Rock of Ages, Newsical, and Priscilla.
The next day was a full day of workshops with some fabulous CDs. We starting with a musical theatre audition workshop with Patrick Goodwin from Telsey and Co. He was fabulous and very helpful. Then we did a commerical audition workshop with Barry Shapiro. It was tons of fun and so informative. As theatre majors, film and tv can seem a little bit mystical and far away from our college training, but this workshop opened up a whole new world of work. Our last workshop of the day was with Meghan Rafferty from Ellen Lewis Casting. It was another really awesome workshop into a new field. Auditioning for on camera work is so different. We dipped on toes in a little bit, and it was amazing how people flew!
The next day we had a business workshop with the everhelpful Tony Pastor. As president of Actor's Connection, he gave us so much on the business of the business. After two hours, our brains were about to explode with all of the useful information he gave us! After lunch we went through a private coaching with diretor Gary John LaRossa. He is amazing and was so sweet to all of us. His insights and tweakings brought our showcase numbers to a higher level.
Then it was time for the showcase. We started with the closed one, took a dinner break, and performed the open one. All of the agents and managers that came were really cool. We made some good connections and got some interviews for the next few days!
We had several full day of interviews after the showcase. There was also a whole lot of theatre hopping. between the various groups of intrepid ticket hunters, students saw The Normal Heart, Catch Me If You Can, Anything Goes, Billy Elliot, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Born Yesterday, and House of Blue Leaves. We enjoyed the amazing theatre that the city had to offer, met up with some TU alums, and then it was back on a plane to Tulsa just in time to graduate!
 Thanks to everyone at Actors Connection, especially Shorey Walker. She made our showcase move seamlessly and was a fabulous hostess. Thanks to everyone at the TU theatre department. Jim Gregory, Machele Dill, Erin Maclaine, Lisa Wilson, Susan Barrett, Dr. Cook, the fabulous Sandy Plaster, and our fellow theatre students who helped support us. Many, many, many thanks to Dean Benedicktson at TU. Without him, this trip would never have happened. Thanks also to the communities and our familes that supported us with this. To the class of 2012, it's your turn now! Go make us proud. We will see in New York next May! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Hi everyone! My name is Jonathan W. Gilland and I am a musical theatre major at the University of Tulsa…or at least I am for the next week! The rest of the seniors and I graduate this coming Saturday and are excited to be moving forward to bigger and better things. While we of course will miss our TU Family that we will leave behind, we look forward to what is to come! But before we can graduate, we have to go to NYC and perform our Senior Musical Theatre Showcase!

The past few weeks of showcase have been filled with making sure we had everything ready for our showcase. From fixing our audition notebooks with some final touches to actually packing our bags, we have been running nonstop to keep up with the end of this crazy semester. Our showcase with Actors Connection is only 3 days way! On Tuesday we will finally perform our songs that we have thinking about and preparing to perform for at least a year now! I just can’t believe it is all about to happen.

I know that while we are excited to do the showcase, not everyone is dependant on finding immediate work from this. I know Kirsten has an internship with a company in New York that starts two days after graduation and I have to been in Dallas three days after graduation to start rehearsals for Next to Normal with Uptown Players. We are still very excited to see what the showcase has in store for us and hope that the casting agents and directors love us! J

No matter what happens in NYC and who gets callbacks from whatever agents, I am so proud of my class. Four years together have finally come down to this trip. It is a culmination of a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and at lot of alcohol. But seriously, I can’t imagine going on this trip without my 7 best friends, my fellow senior musical theatre majors. Are we all perfect? No. Are we all going to get jobs from this? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not excited to spend our last few days together making great memories. I have watched each and every one of them struggle and overcome challenges during their four years that have made them stronger and better performers and people. There have been good times and bad. There has been a lot of drama but we have always made it through it. Sometimes we have to go through rough patches in order to truly enjoy what is to come. We have betrayed and hurt each other but we have always praised and loved each other through it all. A true family like this knows how to help and how to hurt. With all of this, I like to quote the following from Wicked:

“I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore

Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good..."

(yes I know how cheesy that is but it truly is how I feel.)

Machele: We love you and are thankful for all that you have done for us in the past 4 years. We will never truly be able to express our gratitude. Thank you for seeing us through. Thank you for never giving up on us and believing in us.
Jim: Thank you for always being there. Thank you for always loving us even when you could have killed us.
To the Senior MT Class of 2011: Thank you for an incredible 4 years! Now lets go kick but in NYC!

I love every single one of them and will miss them dearly.

This is my TU family. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Beginning of the End

Hello everyone! My name is Natalie Sullivan, and I am a musical theatre senior at The University of Tulsa. It has been a while since anybody posted on here, so I wanted to update you all because so much has been going on! Since Kirsten has posted, Jonathan has gone to NYC for a callback for the Asian Tour of "Legally Blonde," Kirsten and I went to Boston for the NETC auditions, Courtney attended a casting call for the national tour of "Cats," the advanced rep dance class went to the ACDFA dance convention and performed an original piece choreographed by Chet Walker, and we have all been working hard to put up our final show of the season. This past weekend we opened and closed RENT, our final musical as students at TU. It was a very exciting but emotional weekend to say the very least. We were fortunate enough to team up with a local professional theatre company (Tulsa Project Theatre), so we could perform our show at The Joint which is a very new rock concert venue at the Tulsa Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. We hired in three professional actors to perform the roles of Joanne, Collins, and Angel, however the rest of the cast was made up of TU musical theatre students. Because The Joint serves alcohol at all of their events, students under the age of 21 could not attend, so we held a special performance on Wednesday night where the student understudies of Joanne, Collins, and Angel were able to perform. While this performance was technically an invited dress rehearsal, it ran flawlessly and was a fantastic way to open the show! The three understudies did extremely well, and I could not have been more proud. Wednesday night was also senior night. So immediately after the show ended, our director, Machele, walked up on stage and introduced each of the seniors and handed out flowers. The show officially opened on Thursday night to rave reviews and ran through Saturday. Here is the Tulsa World review of RENT. It wasn't until "Finale B" on Saturday night that it really started to sink in that we are graduating in three weeks! It was extremely sad, but I could not have imagined a better way to relinquish our reign as the TU musical theatre seniors and pass it on to the juniors! However, just because the show is over does not mean we are done! We still have one full week of classes, finals the following week, and then we are off to NYC for the showcase! It's the beginning of the end.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Searching for Work in the Big Apple

Greetings all! My name is Kirsten Johnson, and as I'm sure you can already tell the trend, I am a senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Tulsa. As with most schools across the US this week, TU is out for Spring Break, so there really is nothing new to update with regards to the Showcase project. However, I have chosen to spend my Spring Break in NYC in search of jobs after graduation, and since that is the overall purpose of the Showcase project, I thought it would be worthwhile for me to keep our readers updated on my progress so far in the city. 
First of all, I would like to reiterate that you should ALWAYS show up to the airport AT LEAST 90 MINUTES PRIOR to the allotted take-off time, even if it is the po-dunk Tulsa airport that usually takes less than 10 minutes to get through to your gate. I was silly and decided I could just get there 45 minutes ahead of time, and I would have plenty of time to make it through security and onto my gate. My flight left Tulsa at 7:00 in the morning, so I thought it would be fairly scarce on crowds of people to fight through in lines. However, as we all know, assuming makes an ass out of you and me, but in this case, it just really made an ass out of me. I got in line to check-in, and the attendant there to check people in had found one of her high school friends checking in with her family for a Spring Break trip and decided to waste 20 minutes of company time talking about how their lives had been since last they saw each other. I was the unfortunate next person in line. By the time she did turn to me to help me, after long hugs to all five members of this friendly family, I had missed the 30 minute cut-off for check-in and was put on stand-by for the next flight out. (Just FYI, NEVER get put on stand-by for a flight during Spring Break, or at any point during the month of March PERIOD!) I was, again, naive and stupid, and thought that this meant that I was guaranteed a seat on the next flight out, and would still have time to make my connecting flight in Dallas to Laguardia. Silly me. No, there were 10 other people ahead of me, who had also missed the 7:00 flight for the morning and were now in the same unfortunate state of stand-by as I was. After sitting at the airport through 7 different flights out of Tulsa to Dallas, during the weekend of Spring Break, which means full flights and no one being as stupid as I was and showing up late for their boarding, I was lucky enough to take advantage of the fact that some unfortunate soul was still stuck at airport security 15 minutes before the flight took off, and I was able to snag their seat. You may find this harsh, and judge me for taking this poor person's seat on the flight, but understand that I have now been at the Tulsa airport for over 12 hours, after spending nearly 800 dollars on this ticket, and this just happened to be the last flight out of Tulsa to Dallas for the day. Put yourself in my shoes. If you had been experiencing the small, persona hell that is the Tulsa airport for 12 hours and facing the prospect of having to spend the night and the entire next day there as well, you would have done the SAME THING! 

So, made it out of Tulsa eventually, and again, the stars must have been watching over me as I was lucky enough to be the second name on the stand-by list in Dallas for the last flight out of Dallas for the evening to Laguardia. This time, I could actually see the person whose ticket I was taking running for the gate as the gate attendant printed off my ticket and I hurried onto the plane to avoid eye contact with this person. Ok, I was desperate! Missing this flight would have meant spending the night in the Dallas airport and missing my internship convention in NYC in the morning! Neither of which I was willing to sacrifice or risk. So, I entered the 3 hour flight from Dallas to Laguardia with the other stand-by passengers and the poor, unfortunate guy whose ticket I took boring a hole in the back of my head with their glares of hatred. The airport industry is blood-thirsty. So, what have we learned? DON'T EVER FLY STAND-BY DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH and SHOW UP EARLY, EARLY, EARLY for your flight. ALWAYS. 

So, made it to NYC by 1am got my week-long metro-card, and trekked back to my brother's apartment by 2:30. I was out cold by 2:31. 

The next morning, I had RSVP-ed to an email I had gotten from the American Theatre Wing mailing list about the A.R.T./NY Internship Fair 2011. I got up early, made sure I had plenty of copies of my headshot, resume, and non-theatrical resume to hand out and headed into the city. I got to the venue space 20 minutes early (I have learned my lesson for this trip...) and commenced with the onslaught. It was actually a great experience. I got to meet with over 50 representatives from various theatre companies across NYC. Most were small and/or non-profit, and even fewer had any sort of performance internships available. However, the fact that I had technical experience on my resume made me a much more attractive prospective intern, I think. The companies that most appealed to me were the smaller theatres putting on New Works and/or classical theatre. There were only a few theatres even offering anything Musical Theatre. However, I could tell that the majority of the rest of the prospective interns milling about were from colleges in NYC or the New York area and seemed to lack any interest in any of the companies not offering performance internships. I think the fact that I traveled all the way from Tulsa, OK and was willing to take anything any theatre had to offer made me a bit more attractive than everyone else there. 

I would also like to reiterate to our readers the importance of dressing appropriately for these types of things. Firstly, this was clearly NOT an audition of any kind. So, showing up in hooker heels and extremely low-cut dresses is not appropriate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, jeans and your local band's t-shirt are also unacceptable. Do people not understand the term business casual anymore? I am not saying by any means I am the most fashionable person around, but I at least know how to dress appropriately for prospective employers. 

Ok, Kirsten, get onto the meat of the story. So, essentially, from day one - very effective trip. I got to meet with over 50 companies. I have interview and auditions set up with about 10 of them for the remainder of the week I am here. A couple of them look like REALLY go fits for me. Simply from the demeanor of the representatives behind the table, I could tell that we could get along. I even got to put in a plug for Brownie's Hamburgers, as one of the guys at the table makes trips down to Tulsa with his dad for the antique car show every other year. For the rest of the theatres that I found interesting, I have their information and access to their applications from their websites, and need to get on to applying!

Shortly after I got done with the Internship Fair, my brother called me telling me to meet him a few blocks away for the Book of Mormon the Musical lottery drawing that he and his friend had entered into. They did not win, but we ended up finding student rush tickets to Driving Miss Daisy with Vanessa Redgrave, Boyd Gaines, and James Earl Jones. It was spectacular. I am determined before I leave the city this time around to actually see a musical on Broadway. So far, I have seen straight plays on Broadway, but no Musicals. I think we are going to try for Book of Mormon again tomorrow night, or later this week. We are also going to try to see Angels in America at some point before I leave. Tonight, my brother and I are going to Le Poisson Rouge for two seperate performances. my brother is going to see Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, and I am going to see Michael John Lachiusa's Hello Again

As the interviews of the week progress and with NETC's next weekend, I will keep you all abreast of my progress. So, 'til later this week!

-Kirsten L. Johnson

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Work in Progress

So excited it is finally my week to post! I'm Lynden Lewis. Obviously, I am also a Musical Theatre Major at TU. This showcase is going to be an amazing reward at the end of a long and exciting four years. Our class has been through so much and so many transformations together. What an amazing experience to finally be able to put it all together in this showcase and help give each other that last push that each of us needs.

After the long hall of searching through music for days and days, we are all finally starting to work our pieces. We really worked Kirsten's piece the first day and it is so fun to watch how much progress she made in such a quick class. What seemed to help her the most was recreating her set up. With Kirsten off to such a great start we were all beyond anxious to get our turns. The next go around Sean started. He worked his inciting moment over and over and over until he finally got to a point that it was real for him. Jeffrey worked on finding new approaches to his song. He decided he would go through the song playing all different extreme emotions simply to allow himself to find new discoveries and break any preplanned notions. I also presented my frst run through of my song during our last class. It felt so good to finally get on my feet and go for it. The main aspect of the piece that I worked this time was finding the urgency in it. Making sure there is a constant reason to be speaking and constantly going for it full out. I cannot wait to get to class and go again to see the progress I have made and to further it.

The best part about working our pieces is to see how far we all have come since our freshman year. Everyone who has worked has had an amazing grasp of their song from the beginning. And then in addition to that, each person has understood the exercises and run with the emotions that come through them. Our director has allowed us to really take control of the class. So it's cool to put everything we have learned for ourselves into this class as helping progress, teach, and help each other.

On top of all of iour individual work we have been hard at work putting the final  touches on our next fundraiser: Musical Theatre Bootcamp. We finally got the e-mail blast set up and this coming week will begin contacting all the local highschool to start promoting. Hopefully we get a lot of involvement. So far it seems to be getting really great feedback. We will see what happens!

I'm looking forward to everyone else presenting their work this coming week!!!!!!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

"So Much to Do" at TU!

Courtney's back for another week. :) This has been a particularly busy beginning of spring for all of us! Just yesterday, Sean, Jonathan, and Natalie drove down to Dallas to audition for the southwest premiere production of Next to Normal. This upcoming weekend, we have students heading to NETC auditions, Lyric Theatre auditions, and our production of Hay Fever is opening.
Even around all this business, it is wonderful to see that our showcase is really starting to take shape. We all have material we love, and now it's just down to working and polishing. In other words, it's time for the fun stuff! :)
I've been working on "I Wanna Be a Rockette." As the dancer of our crew, I'm singing a little, and then taking it to town in my ladcucas! I'm having so much fun choreographing this. Not only is it a variety of dance styles I love and adore, I also get to have a dance break whose music is also tailored to my choreography. Jim Gregory, our musical theatre specialist and accompanist extraordinaire, has been helping by arranging the song around what I create. I've always worked with set music or cut recorded music when choreographing, so this is new and so much fun!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prospectives and Our Own Prospectives

Hi! My name is Courtney Chilton, and I am also a senior musical theatre major. Today we had  scholarship auditions for incoming freshman. The prospective students come to TU and bring their headshots, audition packets, design books, and hopeful dreams and lay them out before the faculty as their knees shake with nerves underneath the table. It was weird to think that we wouldn't be there as they started their college journey next year. Their hopeful yet nervous faces were so like younger versions of our own as we think about the future ahead of us.
We get cards signed for our work hours each semester, and as I got my card signed at the end of the day I wrote something on it in jest. "The beginning of the end." But now I look and realize it isn't the beginning of the end. It's the beginning of the beginning.
As we leave TU, we are the next generation of theater artists. It is to up to us to keep our art form going and still relevant. We need to keep theatre more than just relevant; we need to keep it alive in people's lives and hearts. There are so many different things we can do as we leave. The possibilities are beyond endless. And I am ready to go out and do them all.
This showcase is so important to our futures. Not only is it our first step out in the world, but it is also our first step out together. Who knows what will grow from some of these collaboration? Steppenwolf started with a bunch of graduating classmates bonding together in a (cue melodramatic music) seemingly harsh and hostile world. Look at what they've done. Here's to the start of the next generation of theatre!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Beginning!

Hello, I'm Sean Stewart. I am one of the Senior Musical Theatre Majors at the University of Tulsa. If you didn't read the top of the page, we are heading to New York the week of May 1 through May 6 to put on a showcase with the help of Actor's Connection. At our school, in order to be involved in the showcase, we have to enroll in a two-part course of that name, Showcase. The first section is entirely devoted to the research and business aspect of producing a showcase, from fund-raising, to marketing, to finding a venue. The second section is devoted to searching for and developing material for the actual performance. This is the first post of many as we work through the second half of this course.

As I look for material I've discovered something extremely important: you have to please yourself. Our department recently had the privilege of having Chet Walker, the much lauded Broadway choreographer and director, in for a two-week residency. This is something he kept stressing to us, but it only recently hit home for me. If I want to make an impression, I need to consistently connect and open myself up to the material I am performing. Mr. Walker told us something that I am going to make my mantra: If you're not pleasing yourself, then what's the point? At the end of the day, you will be performing for a panel of auditioners with their own opinions of what you are doing. The only way to guarantee success after every audition is making sure you are pleased with what you did. If you are doing something to please others, that won't happen.

Thanks for taking time to read! Stop by next week to hear from another student!