The New York City skyline welcomed four Minarets students and drama teacher Kayla West in the early morning on Feb. 14, 2020.
The trip to New York City is the first of its kind for the Minarets Drama program. Seniors Maddie Wristen, Lindsay Martin, Emma Lynch, and junior Johanna Ziegler were fortunate enough to attend with their trip leader and drama teacher Kayla West. The purpose of the trip, explains West, was to attend a Broadway Student Summit, a two-day workshop located in NYC, which happened to take place over Presidents’ Day Weekend. “Since that went right into our break, it seemed like a great opportunity to meet some Broadway actors, directors, and just a really cool opportunity to see some shows we don’t have access to locally,” says West.
These workshops, though only two days long, totaled in 6 sessions for the students to attend. These sessions, including dancing, singing, acting, and auditioning techniques, gave students the chance to work with current Broadway actors and get a taste of the acting life. These workshops were unique in that students from all parts of the country came to participate, and the workshops took place in the same studios that Broadway shows audition and rehearse in. “It was really awesome,” said West. “We had someone who was the accompanist for Hamilton and Moulin Rouge! who came in and taught the kids a song and gave advice on auditions, on how to interact with the pianist.”
Camping out in the Crown Plaza Hotel by Times Square for five days, students did more than just attend the Broadway-sponsored workshops. Throughout the week, the group was able to attend Broadway shows including Frozen, Moulin Rouge!, Dear Evan Hansen, and Aladdin. Seeing a Broadway show is every theatre enthusiast dream and for senior Lindsay Martin, it truly was a dream brought to life. “They paid so much attention to detail. When we went and saw [Moulin Rouge!], they didn’t just decorate the stage. The entire room was decorated. All the walls were covered with red felt, and they had lights strung up everywhere.”
New York City offers more than just shows, and the students took full advantage of all the tourist attractions available. During their downtime, West and the students made stops by Times Square, Central Park, the Natural History Museum, Rockefeller Plaza, and, of course, the infamous subway system that runs beneath the heart of Manhattan. “It’s definitely kind of gross,” Martin says with a laugh. “The subway smelled, and I felt like I had to wash my hands every twenty seconds...it was an interesting experience.” As is true with all cities, homelessness, litter, and blaring taxi horns can taint the reputation of a town. But for everything that detracts from the city, the glamour of Broadway lights still wins over in NYC.
Overall, the trip was a memorable one, leaving a lasting impact on the students who went. “It was a little bit of a culture shock,” admits West. “but [we] got to see pretty incredible shows, see some famous actors like the guy who plays Ned from Spiderman, and Jordan Fisher...experiences you can’t necessarily have over here.” The grandeur of NYC theatre may be almost 3,000 miles away, but the desire to perform is closer to the drama students’ hearts than ever before.
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