Meeting Broadway’s demands in Eagle County
Vail, CO, Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado ” The two dozen or so students gathered in the music room on Monday at Vail Christian High School are being very loud and not staying seated. They’re not breaking any rules with such behavior, in fact, they are being encouraged by their teachers.
That’s because they are all theater students preparing for the school’s next big musical production, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” Singing and dancing are just part of the lesson plan, and they have very special guest teachers on this particular day: Broadway star Jodie Langel and Broadway music supervisor Kim Douglas Steiner. The husband and wife team of Langel (“Les Miserables,” “CATS”) and Steiner (“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”) started their company “Making It On Broadway” to teach students how to sharpen their stage talent.
For two hours on Monday Langel and Steiner gave pointers and direction to students on how to make their individual parts in the play stronger. Sophomore Eric Gallagher, who plays Potifer in the upcoming production of “Joseph,” explained what he learned from the Broadway duo’s instruction.
“I’m not a very angry person. I learned how to show anger through my facial expressions and audio,” Gallagher said.
Throughout much of the session, Langel could be heard telling the kids to sing louder and let their voices be heard.
“I have to understand what you’re saying,” Langel said.
The students, after all, were battling to be heard over the piano and each other.
This workshop is just a bonus for the kids at VCHS ” a sample of what the real “Making It On Broadway” workshops are all about. Langel and Steiner will be back in June to teach a four-day intensive workshop specifically designed to take aspiring Broadway actors to the next career tier. That could mean learning how to strengthen an audition or even how to go from a chorus part to a lead part.
“The kids really get a taste of what it is ” what Broadway is, what Broadway demands,” Langel said.
The classes offered in the program range from acting and dance to vocal technique and monologues. Langel still has to make time for her own acting career in between teaching the “Making It On Broadway” classes, but passing on the knowledge of what she’s learned in the business is something she really enjoys.
“I just think it’s always important to give back because this business can be very self-serving and self-involved,” Langel said.
Don’t come to Langel’s classes expecting to hide out in the back and watch. The classes are purposely kept small to maximize the amount of one-on-one time Langel, Steiner and other guest teachers (all Broadway veterans) spend with each student.
It’s called intensive for a reason.
“If they choose to go all the way to Broadway or whether they want … a lead in a high school musical, we give them all the tools to do that,” Steiner said.
Everything they teach, the couple said, is valuable to their students.
“I think the most important thing that we tell kids is, and it’s so hard, is how to present the best version of yourself because that’s really what people want to see,” Langel said.
The realities of Broadway can be brutal, something that she wants her students to understand when they leave her class.
“You might star in a show on Broadway and then three months later you could possibly be working as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle at a kids bar mitzvah party and you better be OK with that because that’s probably what your career is going to be.”
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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