Improv games, full-day rehearsals, meals with your castmates, living and breathing theatre—it’s not just for kids anymore. For the first time this past March, musical theatre lovers in New York City had the opportunity to escape to Broadway Weekends, what founders Jeanna de Waal (Kinky Boots), Alysha Umphress (On the Town), Cody Williams (Memphis), and Isaac Alter (The Great Comet) call musical theatre camp for adults.
Over the course of one weekend (sans sleepovers), these four Broadway professionals will teach participants an excerpt of a popular musical to be revealed. From ensemble vocal work to dance work to rehearsals solos and speaking parts to sitzprobe, the weekend culminates in the performance of a fully staged performance for family and friends.
“As a teenager all I wanted to do was rehearse shows,” says de Waal. “The collective energy was transporting. A group leaving a rehearsal room together is a team and the connection they share has nothing to do with being employed or compensated. It stems from trust, from a shared experience, and from watching each other work. That ‘cast’ feeling is what we want to create at Broadway Weekends.”
Each of the four founders brings their own expertise, with Umphress as vocal coach, de Waal as acting coach, Williams as choreographer, and Alter as music director. Rather than re-stage staging of a scene and musical number from a previous production, the quartet created their own arrangements, direction, and choreography for the Weekend.
Still, it may come as a surprise that these professional actors—in between auditions, rehearsals, voice lessons, eight-show weeks—dedicate their time to rehearsing amateur theatre. “It is no secret that being an actor is an extremely cutthroat profession and constant rejection can easily get disheartening,” says de Waal. “I think leading an event for lovers of musical theatre, where the only goal is celebrating working and performing together (as opposed to booking a job), will be extremely cathartic for all involved.”
The world’s theatre hub, New York City naturally attracts people who love the arts but pursue other passions in their 9 to 5; there are limited options for fans who may have grown up in drama class to create theatre in a town booming with aspiring professionals. Broadway Weekends could fill that gap. “It’s a weekend event that celebrates the fun and joy of performing as part of an ensemble,” says de Waal, “Sing, dance, and let it all go!”
Broadway Weekends has announced their full schedule of events for 2018, including weekends in March, May, August, September, and November 2018. For more information and to register visit BroadwayWeekends.com.