I sadly said good bye to my sweet coastal California group today. They spent most of their time in the Big A attending theatre and taking workshops, the deets of which I wanted to share with you. If you’re planning a trip to New York with your drama program or theatre department or theatrically-inclined group, Craig Divino’s Stage Combat Workshop is a must-do! And let’s face it, it’s good for all of our blood pressure to safely smack the @#?* out of friends and colleagues every now and again. I’ve noticed that group leaders, directors in particular, have found this workshop especially valuable—many have taken Craig’s techniques back to their own stages. Thinking about Macbeth?? Have your group take this workshop. Seriously.
Second day for the Liebo group featured a musical workshop with the dynamic duo (seriously, I’ve seen Sandy scale a building) of Ed Linderman and Sandy Levitt, who have a pile of Broadway credits between them—add a generous helping of theatre business savvy and original score musicals like SOMETHING’S AFOOT, a murder mystery musical that I have been a fan of since my teens, additional music by Ed. The workshop was a full two hours; the group was taught an entire musical number from opening A flat to raucous applause, from the choreography to the dialogue to the vocals. Afterwards, Ed and Sandy had a few of the students perform a song and worked with them to improve and polish their pieces.
Holy time machine, Batman! Kapow! I was transported back to my own tween days on the third day. The group participated in three simultaneous improvisational workshops with cast members of the now-New York long-running improv troupe, Chicago City Limits. There are a handful of superior improv troupes in New York—the ones where SNL goes fishing for new talent. Chicago City Limits, Upright Citizens Brigade, and People’s Improv Theatre come to mind immediately. An improv foundation is essential for any stage performer in order to strengthen spontaneous choices, enforce the forever YES, and to build a tool box to keep handy during a theatrical lifetime. The perfect cap to the day was a live evening performance, where the students were able to see some of those same teachers perform the skills they learned in a duly refined performance context. I was about the same age when I saw my first CCL show. It changed everything.
On the final day of their trip, the Liebo Group participated in workshops lead by two of the ALADDIN cast members, who they watched in the Broadway production two nights prior. They were able to learn some of the original Broadway choreography they witnessed live on the stage. I think these kinds of experiences are invaluable for any student who is interested in possibly pursuing theatre as a career—or even as a hobby. There’s nothing like doing Broadway level work with the people who do it eight times a week. I snapped some pictures (above) of both the adorable Daisy Hobbs and the charming Andrew Cao in action. If you’re interested in some killer workshops to pair with a Broadway experience, look no further… stage combat, theatrical make-up, Broadway stage management, Broadway lighting, set design, stunts, on-camera, commercial, improvisation, Q&As with Broadway cast members, costume design, dance, mime and anything else you could wish-upon-a-star about. Nice.