Learn from homegrown heavy hitters

Online classes with theatre experts give fledgling artists Zoom to improve

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With a theatre-free summer on the horizon, Winnipeg Studio Theatre is kicking off a series of musical theatre masterclasses that might help you get your theatre fix.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/06/2020 (837 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

With a theatre-free summer on the horizon, Winnipeg Studio Theatre is kicking off a series of musical theatre masterclasses that might help you get your theatre fix.

Made in Manitoba is a new masterclass series featuring instruction by homegrown artists who have made it big on stages across the world, and it’s all available on Zoom right from the comfort of your home.

“We have a wonderful talent of skilled, brilliantly trained and active members of our artistic community, specifically in the theatre world,” says Made in Manitoba director Brenda Gorlick, “but we have a tendency to not celebrate ourselves beyond our borders.

“I want to celebrate our very own artists who are born, raised and trained here, and at the same time expose to the world that we have such a gifted and prolific number of artists coming out of our province.”

Gorlick, a choreographer and performer, is also a longtime educator, working with Winnipeg Studio Theatre on their youth training programs, many of which take place during the summer. So when COVID-19 hit, she knew she had to get creative.

“I always run a summer studio intensive and I wondered how I could emulate that on a computer screen,” she says. “We’ve all been charged with the reality that we have to reinvent ourselves and I think that’s something that artists are really good at.

“We’re giving artists a chance to share what they already know and what they have worked so hard to achieve. I want that to be an inspiration for those people who are in the process of developing.”

Starting June 16 and running Tuesdays and Thursdays until July 30, the 12-session series will touch on topics including auditions, choreography, dance technique, self-tapes, text analysis and more.

Instructors include nationally and internationally recognized artists such as Shaw Festival associate artistic director Kimberley Rampersad, Nyk Bielak (The Book of Mormon on Broadway), Samantha Hill (The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables on Broadway) and Andrea Macasaet, who was planning to make her Broadway debut March 12 in the musical Six.

Mere hours before the show was set to begin, Broadway was shut down in response to COVID-19, and Macasaet’s big night remains indefinitely on hold. In the meantime, the Winnipeg Studio Theatre alum will be contributing her expertise to Made in Manitoba.

Brenda Gorlick

“I kind of grew up with Winnipeg Studio Theatre,” says Macasaet, 26. “I was a part of their youth program, StudioWorks, at one point and then I was Christmas Eve in Avenue Q (2014) and Heather Duke in Heathers the Musical (2015).

“I’ll be teaching song interpretation for contemporary pop styles,” she says. “Not your typical musical-theatre voice masterclass. It’s going to be geared towards what you’re seeing and hearing in musical theatre now in terms of contemporary pop.”

(If you’re not sure what that entails, a quick listen to Bring it On, Legally Blonde and Waitress can get you up to speed… and don’t confuse that genre with contemporary rock musicals like American Idiot and Spring Awakening.)

Made is Manitoba is open to all members of the performing and creative community,” adds Gorlick. “It’s really about brushing up on your skill set and being introduced to things that are right for the here and now.”

Gorlick also has high hopes that the Made in Manitoba series can continue on past the COVID-19 pandemic and offer training opportunities year-round in a variety of artistic disciplines beyond musical theatre.

“We want to blow our own horn. We want to show Canada, the rest of North America and the world that the people that come out of this province are so skilled, well-equipped and creative.”

Andrea Macasaet

To register for Made in Manitoba, or to view a complete list of classes and faculty, visit winnipegstudiotheatre.com. Enrolment in the one-hour to 75-minute classes is limited to 24 participants per session. Fees for the 12-session program are $18 per session; a drop-in rate of $25 is offered if space is available.

frances.koncan@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @franceskoncan

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