When Broadway musicians come to campus, students not only have the opportunity to attend their performances, but they also learn from them, often one-on-one in a small class setting.
UF theatre students auditioned last month for the chance to perform for visiting guest artists Carolee Carmello and Phil Reno. Carmello is a Tony Award nominee, and Reno is a Grammy-nominated Broadway conductor. Both performed at the University on Jan. 27 as part of the Donnell Guest Artist Series at Findlay.
Carmello and Reno joined students during a theatre master class the morning following their performance on campus. Reno, who accompanied Carmello on piano, also accompanied the students during their in-class performances.
The selected students performed songs that he or she might sing for a professional audition. After each song, Carmello and Reno gave praise for the parts they enjoyed and provided feedback to make each performance even better.
“I learned to focus on certain points during my song,” said Preston Eberlyn, sophomore theatre and political science major. “I also learned that I need to plant my feet when I sing and stand firm.”
Theatre students also had the opportunity to ask questions and gain advice. For example, students asked Carmello about how she preserves her voice.
“I didn’t go to school for voice,” said Carmello. “I try to support my voice all of the time and keep rested.”
The two Broadway stars also gave several bits of advice by sharing experiences from their own careers. Carmello encouraged each student to audition for everything because each individual may present a new idea or concept for a role in a show.
“Working with people who have made their living doing theatre is knowledge I can’t afford to miss,” said Alaina Counts, sophomore theatre major. “Being able to work with Carolee and Phil was a chance of a lifetime, and I truly feel I learned so much from my time with them.”
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