NORTH SALT LAKE – They may be a little bit star struck, but that’s to be expected after being on Broadway.
Eight students from Legacy Preparatory Academy didn’t just go to Broadway to see plays, though they did that. They went to perform.
“It was so cool to perform on Broadway,” said McKylin Rowe, a 17-year-old senior at Legacy. “It was really eye-opening to see how it is to work with Broadway people. It was really inspiring to see what they had to do to get into the business and to talk to people who have made it.”
The students participated with others from around the nation in Broadway Select.
In three days in New York City, they received insider information on auditioning and dance instruction from dance captains for the production, “Wicked.” They performed before patrons of “Wicked” in the Gershwin lobby, and got backstage passes to the show. They also performed before directors and producers in a new show seeking sponsorship.
“It’s going to be one of the next Broadway hits,” said Gabee Snarr, 15. “We performed it first for directors that will get stars to come” and fill the roles.
Students had auditioned for the opportunity two months earlier. Those accepted were given the music to prepare before heading to New York, where they had just a few days to pull it together with other cast members.
“I love theater” said Savannah Eccles. The 16-year-old senior also said she loved New York City.
“It is so full of energy,” she said. “Everywhere you look is chaos.”
Students toured the Times Square and the Empire State Building and took a boat ride around New York Harbor to see the Statue of Liberty, she said.
Theater “really teaches you everything you need to know in life,” said Eccles. “How to present yourself, how to act. Life is really a stage and you’re just performing all the time. It gives you the training you need.”
Another student performer, Morgan Hyndman, began his career in theater in first grade, playing a “Who down in Whoville” from Dr. Seuss’ story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
“I love that I can just go out on stage and just forget my life and forget myself and become a completely new person,” he said. “It’s so much fun to try the different characters out and brighten people’s lives through theater.
Broadway Select is something larger schools have taken advantage of in the past, said Rick Kimball, head of the theater department at Legacy, a charter school. He said he was excited when this opportunity opened up for his students.
“It’s a really neat thing for the kids,” he said, and allows him to move theater beyond the classroom and let them see it on a bigger scale.
“I was able to see how the best of the best are doing theater,” said Kyle Dunshee, an 18-year-old senior. “I thought it would be a completely different experience, but theater is theater no matter whether you’re doing theater at a prep school in Utah or on the biggest stage in New York City.”
Several students expressed an interest in going into theater as a career, including Gabee Snarr.
“It kind of opened my eyes to what I want to do when I grow up,” said Gabee. “That would seriously be like the best thing you could do with your life, for me personally at least.”
Other students had similar views:
“It’s something I’m going to do the rest of my life no matter what,” said Kyle.
“One of my dreams is to go into theater, so this was like a dream come true,” said McKylin.
The students know it’s not easy.
“It was really a down thing to see how it took them upwards of 10 years to get into where they are and they’re not household names,” he said. “It took them so long and they had to try so hard. It was almost scary to see, but good to hear.”
The students are working to prepare their own production of Sweeney Todd, which will run Feb. 13 to 16 at the Rose Wagner Theater.