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North Salt Lake • It was lights, cameras, action for eight high school students from Legacy Preparatory Academy. The students traveled to the Broadway stage in New York City as part of the three day Broadway Next Program.
The drama students were part of a select group given the opportunity to attend workshops with choreographers, casting directors, producers and agents in an effort to improve their skills and give them increased insight into Broadway acting.
The students performed in the Gershwin Theatre lobby for patrons attending the Broadway play Wicked where two Legacy Preparatory Academy students, Abby Watts and Morgan Hyndman, performed solos.
"It was really cool to see Wicked. I've heard so much about it and before watching we had the opportunity to open. It defied gravity. It was so exciting, Wicked was amazing," said 16-year-old senior Morgan Hyndman.
At the end of the three days, students performed on the Gershwin stage. Students auditioned online for their roles in the play Rocket Science. Tenth grader Dallin Dorius received the lead role.
Eight grader Abby Watts has been singing since the time she could talk. She was the youngest Legacy student to make the trip. At only 13 Abby's high school classmates describe her as the most talented among them. Abby said that during her solo at the Gershwin Theatre she looked up in the lobby and saw members of the Wicked cast watching her. "I was really scared, but at the same time, it was so awesome," she said.
Abby also appreciated the global aspect of the Broadway Next Program. "There were people there from all over the world. We got to hear about theater and acting from other people's perspectives," she said.
The students met with casting agents to find out exactly what it is like to audition for Broadway. "I think a real Broadway audition would be hard and there would probably be lots of crying involved, but if it evolves your skills, it would be totally worth it," said 10th grader Gabee Snarr, 15.
McKylim Rowe, a 17-year-old senior, wasn't really surprised by how hard it is to break into Broadway but was a little taken back. He heard about one girl who auditioned 150 times for the same show. "I love musicals and I really want to write my own show," he said. "I talked to a couple of writers and they liked my ideas."
It wasn't all hard work for the students. After attending Wicked students were given backstage passes and met the cast and crew of the musical.
The kids also spent time on the streets of New York City, visited Time Square, the Empire State Building and shopped.
"The people of New York are so different than the people of Utah. I like New York because it's constantly moving and there is always something to do," said senior Kyle Dunshee.
Rick Kimball, director of theater, felt the trip was an amazing experience for the students because they were able to go to the hub of theater and learn. "I really feel that more than just getting some inside training, this trip is important to really give the our students a broader sense of what theater really is. The students really got to not only participate, but see some theater they would not have seen around Utah," Kimball said.
Next on tap for the Legacy theater group is their production of Sweeney Todd Feb. 13 to 16 at the Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City. In the audience will be a major casting director from New York City. The director was so impressed with the students performances in New York that he is flying to Salt Lake City to watch their school production. While visiting Utah, the director will teach an Equity audition master class to the students.