Summer break started a little later for some theatre students, but they didn’t mind, since their May term classroom included 10 days on Broadway. The New York City trip was the culmination of a special May class, which included studying plays and preparing professional audition monologues, resumes and headshots.
After nine class days on IWU’s campus, eleven students and theatre professor Dr. Katie Wampler loaded up and took at 15-hour train trip to Penn Station in The Big Apple.
Once in the city, the class met up with Dr. Greg Fiebig, professor of communication and theatre, and began their adventure, which included seeing twelve professional theatrical productions – Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off Off-Broadway.
Choosing productions was part of the educational plan. “All of the tickets were included in the trip costs we paid before we left,” said Braden Hunt (Sr), “so on the days that we could choose our own shows, we were handed cash and told to go find tickets for ourselves,” he said.
Students saw eminent Broadway productions such as Newsies, Wicked, Kinky Boots and The Phantom of the Opera, and had the opportunity to experience the talents of famed actors such as Denzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, Idina Menzel and Tony Shaloub.
Aside from seeing productions, the class was also able to participate in a number of workshops planned by Fiebig. “During my sabbatical, I was able to connect with a number of theatre professionals in New York City. I was able to ask them, and many of them agreed, to meet with our students while on site in New York,” Fiebig said.
The workshops included meeting with Merri Sugarmam, a Broadway casting director, and Melissa Harlow, a former student of Fiebig’s who is in New York trying to break into show business. Students found the experience to be both fun and educational, from exploring stores, Times Square and Central Park to the daily debriefs and discussions as a class.
“Going to New York City was like coming full circle for me as a theatre student,” said Rebecca Roy (Graduate, ’13). “Seeing so many wonderful actors, breathtaking sets and stories was not a class, it was a dream come true!”