BWW Exclusive: National Music Theater Institute Embraced by Broadway
The National Music Theater Institute (NMTI) students have just returned to campus from two weeks training in New York City; scroll down for photos from the visit! NMTI is the newest credit-earning, semester-long intensive from the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Utilizing the O'Neill's 50-year experience in training young theater artists and history of developing new musicals (including Nine, Avenue Q, In The Heights, [title of show], and Violet), NMTI offers broad-based training in all areas of musical theater: acting, singing, directing, writing, dance, composition, and choreography. In addition to the semester's rigorous curriculum-classes 14 hours a day, 7 days a week with emphasis on collaboration and the creation of original work- two weeks of the semester are spent learning in the epicenter of American music theater.
NMTI Artistic Associate Jonathan Bernstein curated two weeks in New York City which included meeting with writers, directors, and performers; taking classes; attending workshops and dress rehearsals; visiting museums; participating in a recording session with Sh-K-Boom Records; as well as seeing 14 shows in 15 days. Here's a look at the classes, cultural experiences, and performances that the students of the National Music Theater Institute had during their two-week residency in NYC.
The National Music Theater Institute has been embraced by the Broadway community. NMTI students had exclusive access to:
- Tech rehearsal for FOUND: A NEW MUSICAL at the Atlantic Theater Company and had a Q&A with book writer Hunter Bell, actor Nick Blaemire, and book writer/director Lee Overtree.
- Discuss how to find success and balance within an artistic life with actors Celia Keenan-Bolger and Gavin Creel over dinner (thanks to actor Steve Pasquale for loaning us his apartment).
- A dress rehearsal for the U.S. premiere of ILLUSIONS at the Baryshnikov Arts Center that was followed by a talkback with the director/translator Cazimir Liske and cast.
- Sound check at 54 Below for the SONGS OF MILLER-TYSEN, featuring the work of Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen sung by Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Barrett Wilbert Weed, and Carolee Carmello, among others as well as a Q&A with Producer Tom Viertel and Theater Historian Jennifer Tepper.
- Backstage tour of MATILDA THE MUSICAL with Resident Director Gena Rattan.
- A post-show visit with the cast of Theater Mitu's JUÁREZ: A DOCUMENTARY MYTHOLOGY at the Rattlestick Theater.
- A Q&A with Alex Brightman, currently playing Michael Wormwood in MATILDA THE MUSICAL on Broadway.
- Learn about the cast album recording process at Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records with founder and NTI alum Kurt Deutsch (NTI '86). In a truly remarkable experience, every student had a chance in the booth to sing their song with live piano accompaniment and a roster of music professionals behind the boards helping to produce an individual recording for each student.
- A Q&A following GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER with composer Steven Lutvak; stars Lauren Worsham, Jefferson Mays, Bryce Pinkham; music director Paul Staroba; and orchestrator Jonathan Tunick.
- A workshop of Todd Almond and Jenny Schwartz's new musical IOWA at Playwrights Horizons with Susan Blackwell, Emily Skeggs, Sophia Gennusa, Christopher Innvar, Maria Elena Ramirez, Cindy Cheung, Annie McNamara, and Marinda Anderson.
- A discussion with dancer Troy Ogilvie, currently appearing in SLEEP NO MORE
NMTI's professional faculty offered students a wealth of experience. Classes included:
- "Permission to Play" song interpretation class with Victoria Clark
- Dance with Deidre Goodwin
- Acting with Susan Misner
- Dance with Leslie McDonel
- Singing with Kelli O'Hara
- Choreography with Al Blackstone
- Songwriting with Mike Errico
- Singing with Aimée Steele
- Acting with Alejandro Rodriguez
- The art of the double-take with Lorenzo Pisoni
- Composition with Mel Marvin
- Dance with Rebecca Naomi Jones
- Fight direction with Tom Schall
- Contemporary dance with Ryan Daniel Beck at Broadway Dance Center
- Clowning with Ryan Kasprzak
- Ballet, Tap, Contemporary, and Jazz classes at Steps on Broadway
- Songwriting with NMTI's Music Director-in-Residence Jess Glover
For some students, this was their first visit to New York. Cultural activities included:
- Visiting the exhibit, "Launchpad of American Theater: The O'Neill Since 1964" at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center
- Learning about artistic outreach with a tour of the 52nd Street Project
- Touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art with actress Margo Seibert (Rocky)
- Walking the Highline and learning about NYC history
- Lunch in Chinatown, hosted by a generous NTI alum from 1973
- Touring the Museum of Modern Art where students created monologues by placing characters within the world of a painting
- Visiting the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Broadway Flea Market
- Exploring new texts at the Drama Bookshop and distilling select plays to a single line of text
From improv to immersion, Broadway to Lincoln Center, NMTI students saw at least 14 performances including:
- A "instant play" created by two of Chicago's most acclaimed long-form improvisers, TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi (TJ and DAVE), at the Barrow Street Theater.
- ILLUSIONS U.S. premiere at Baryshnikov Arts Center
- SONGS OF MILLER-TYSEN at 54 Below
- THE COUNTRY HOUSE at the Manhattan Theater Club
- HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH with Andrew Rannells on Broadway
- JUÁREZ: A DOCUMENTARY MYTHOLOGY by Theater Mitu at the Rattlestick Theater
- MATILDA THE MUSICAL on Broadway
- ASSSSCAT 3000 from Upright Citizen's Brigade
- SLEEP NO MORE from Punchdrunk Theatrical Experiences
- GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER on Broadway
- FOUND: A NEW MUSICAL at the Atlantic Theater Company
- Puccini's LA BOHÈME at the Metropolitan Opera
- IOWA, a workshop of Todd Almond and Jenny Schwartz's new musical at Playwrights Horizons
- THE OLD MAN AND THE OLD MOON from PigPen Theater Co.
- PIPPIN, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, and CABARET are some of the additional shows students saw on their "night off".
Next week: A look at our roots, Artistic Director Rachel Jett explores NTI's family tree as well as the influence the National Theater Institute has had in shaping the theatrical landscape through education.
To learn more and apply, visit www.NationalTheaterInstitute.org and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@NTIRiskFailRisk). Deadline to apply for the spring 2015 semester is October 20. Early applications are encouraged.
Visiting the exhibit, Launchpad of American Theater The ONeill Since 1964 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
NMTI students following a performance of MATILDA THE MUSICAL on Broadway. They later had a Q&A with actor Alex Brightman, currently playing Michael Wormwood
Permission to Play with Victoria Clark
NMTI in dance class with Deidre Goodwin (CHICAGO, A CHORUS LINE, NINE)
A remarkable experience, every student had a turn in the booth and sang with live piano accompaniment.
NMTI students at Punchdrunk's immersive theater experience SLEEP NO MORE. Students later had a Q&A with dance Troy Ogilvie
The Voice Studio's Aimee Steele works with NMTI students individually on their songs.
Some of the shows NMTI saw during the two weekes in NYC
NMTI students on the set of MATILDA THE MUSICAL during a backstage tour with Resident Director Gena Rattan.
From the monitor in the lobby, a peek at NMTI taking a contemporary dance class with Ryan Daniel Beck at Broadway Dance Center
Victoria Clark speaks with students about song interpretation.
NMTI attends Puccini's La BohaÌˆme at the Metropolitan Opera. The opera that inspired the Tony Award-winning musical RENT.
The NMTI Fall 2014 ensemble returned to Connecticut's Eugene O'Neill Theater Center where they have 10 more weeks of intensive music theater training.
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