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Open Jar Institute

MrJNLong
Stand-by
joined:6/20/08
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 3/21/11 at 11:23pm
Hey everyone---
I just had a student get "accepted" into the Open Jar Institute summer thing.
Does anyone have any familiarity with this? Is this a scam? Is it worth the money? I'm a little suspicious about it, but I want to advise her correctly.
Thanks for any help.
Mandi Moo Profile Photo
Mandi Moo
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/05
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 3/21/11 at 11:36pm
My cousin did it a few years ago and seemed to really enjoy himself. He took some good classes, saw a few shows and made some friends. I think it cost something like $1500 though, which I thought seemed a bit steep for 4 days. However, he paid for it with a scholarship from a local newspaper, so he wasn't complaining about the price.

If you have any specific questions though I can ask him. Unless there's someone else on the board involved with the program?
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supportivemom
Broadway Legend
joined:5/23/07
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 3/22/11 at 12:00am
My daughter had a workshop with them at her school. She thought it was just a workshop but they asked her to sing something. She went through the accompanist's book and chose "Momma Who Bore Me" just because she knew all the words but she had never performed it before. She just found out last week that she was accepted. However, I have had some major reservations about this because I have seen some kids from her school get accepted who cannot sing or dance even though they go to a performing arts school. The tuition is about $1800 and that does not include room (an extra $400) or airfare. That is really steep! When I asked about this 1 week camp on BWW last year- I received no responses. They promise that all of these Broadway stars will teach but I think that is a list from throughout the years. They do get to see shows and I do think the kids really enjoy themselves. I just wonder how selective it really is. There are also videos on youtube to check out. Hope this helps! My daughter probably won't attend because of this steep price and the fact that she will be doing other travelling this summer. Also, I kinda thought it was a big money maker for the company and I'm not sure what you can learn in one week. Maybe someone will post to give us a more positive argument.
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Mandi Moo
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/05
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 3/22/11 at 12:18am
Just scanned through some of my cousin's pictures and it seems like he took a handful of classes with legit Broadway performers, but it's chorus boys, not Patti LuPone. Not that that's a bad thing at all - learning about the biz from them is probably better than learning from starts anyway, but don't expect Tony winners.
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reyn4122
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 11:34am
Hey guys. So I can understand your reserves about Open Jar but it is the real deal. I went this last summer and i had the best time of my life. The reason why the price is a little steep is because it covers every meal except breakfast and tickets to four broadway shows. Last year we went to see Priscilla! Queen of the Dessert, Anything Goes, Sister Act, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Also some of us were chosen to go backstage based on best resumes or best headshot or being the first 5 to get to the show on time. But aside from that you spend your whole day in classes which was awesome. We got to learn dances from shows currently on Broadway from cast members and we also received voice classes with other cast members. The big huge names listed on the list come in and talk with everyone for about and hour. For example last year Stephanie J Block came in and talked to the group about her journey and experiences. You also get to audition for a couple agents and get their feed back which is priceless information. Jeff Whiting is also the best instructor ever. He's really trying hard to help people understand how auditions and the real world works. I highly recommend this program for anyone. I honestly learned so much in this one week than i have in some of my classes at school for a year lol. But Open Jar is NOT a scam! and it is worth every penny. Here's their website
Open Jar Productions
arusse817
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 12:29pm
Okay. Lets clear the air about Open Jar Institute.

Its amazing.

- From... me

Seriously, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 1 week intensive camp last summer and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I currently live in Colorado and am studying Musical Theatre. To be able to fly out to New York for a week and see a Broadway show a night, rehearse, sing, dance, act all with people who are ON BROADWAY at the time during the day was probably the greatest thing for someone like myself to be a part of. No, the Guest Artist's aren't "Patti LuPone" but they are actors who are very successful and they all have a reason to be where they are. Stephanie J Block who is currently belting her face all up and down Broadway came to talk with us so I think most people will be just fine talking to her. She was just one example of all of the great people that they had this summer. We also didn't just do talk backs, but actually got a chance to do dance workshops, acting workshops, vocal workshops for EVERY individual, and we also got to audition for a few talent scouts. This week was worth it.

The whole week, even the workshops all took place in a wonderful location right off Broadway. After a long day of intensive workshops in everything Musical Theatre, we got to go see a Broadway show. Some of the shows we even got a chance to go backstage of. I was fortunate enough to go backstage of Priscilla! Queen of the Dessert and it was amazing.

Now your wondering about the price of OpenJar? Yes, it does cost money, however when you take in to account how much you do in just ONE Week... the price is very cheap. This isn't JUST paying for one thing; this is paying for Location, Workshops, Professional Help, Accompanists, Broadway Shows, and ALOT Of Food for the week and that's just on the surface. Needless to say that this was one of the best experiences I have ever gotten to be a part of, I learned a lot about New York, a lot about the business, and a lot about how Open Jar was and still is Amazing.
iluvtheatertrash Profile Photo
iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 12:33pm
The fact that the only two solidly good reviews come from members who joined the boards TODAY probably answers your questions.

You WENT to Open Jar? Or do you WORK for Open Jar?
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
kef17
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 12:46pm
I did Open Jar last year. It was an incredible experience. It teaches you anything and everything you need to know about auditioning in NYC. You also get to work with amazing people who have been there and done that in the world of Broadway. You're paying for food, hotel room, tickets to shows, and for the workshop. The price is a steal and totally worth it. Open Jar is the perfect place for any passionate actor who is serious about their craft.
kef17
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 12:50pm
My advice would be to encourage your student to go to Open Jar. You're robbing her of one of the greatest weeks of her life, if you convince her not to go.
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givesmevoice
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/07
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 12:52pm
Can you meet Bernatte Peters at Open Jar?
When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 12:56pm
Wow. THREE new users all on the same day went to Open Jar?!?! What a co-inky-dink!
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
arusse817
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 12:57pm
Nope, I am a 22 year old Musical Theatre student from Colorado. No we don't work for OpenJar. We are all previous students that see this thread talking down on OpenJar and its very upsetting to see such a great program looked down upon by people who haven't the slightest idea what the program is about.

Also, ilovetheatretrash... Maybe instead of just trying to start argument for no reason look at where your quote came from

"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman

Obviously you like Susan Stroman, it just so happens that Jeff Whiting (Artistic Director of OpenJar) has worked aside Susan Stroman for quite a while, in productions such as The Scottsboro boys, Hairspray, and Young Frankenstein.

It seems your just trying to start "trash" which isn't necessary

iluvtheatertrash Profile Photo
iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 01:00pm
arusse, I guarantee you I am not the only poster on BWW suspicious of your post. And your "peers"' posts.

It's awfully suspicious. If you are a 22 Musical Theatre student, let me ask: did Open Jar e-mail its alumni and ask them to post today?

You all just happened to join the same day? Gimme a break.

Glad he's worked with Stroman. She's a genius. I'm jealous of him. But what's that got to do with the fact that three BRAND NEW posters joined the boards the same day someone questioned the legitimacy of a very expensive program?
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
DOpr7
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 01:27pm
The method of the debate is throwing you off from the content of debate itself. Us alumni are merely here to defend a program that we have found to help us grow as artists and discover further the magic of musical theater.
I personally will admit that my knowledge of the musical theater canon is less defined than my other colleagues. Before I went to Open Jar, I had only been singing for two years and had only seen 2 shows, only one of them actually on Broadway. I'm a pre medical student who at the beginning of college had no intention of considering work in the arts. I can safely say that Open Jar, with the help of Jeff and other staff, significantly changed this outlook for me in the course of just 5 days. That's pretty difficult to do. And I know dissenters will question the sincerity and validity of this post and label it as mere propaganda, but hear me out.
Jeff came to my university to conduct a workshop in the winter of 2011. One of my professors requested a few students to go sing for him, since he was about to leave. I went over and did what I thought was a shaky A Capella version of "Left Behind" from Spring Awakening. Despite my lack of confidence at the time, Jeff was very kind and encouraging and praised my ability. After that, I forgot about that night until I received an e-mail from Open Jar saying I had been accepted to the program. I quickly read the e-mail and noted Jeff Whiting's name. Knowing that I had met this man face to face and had read up on his credentials (work on Scottsboro Boys, with Susan Stroman), I felt confident on taking the chance. After all, once I go to Medical School, I thought, when will I have this opportunity again? And yes, the price is quite costly, but it's entirely worth it (I'll explain this a bit later). But nonetheless, I was thrilled to go and support my new found passion of singing and theater.
Once I got to New York, I was awestruck. From past trips to the Big Apple, I had learned that Manhattan is not a cheap place to stay. From our hotel, we had a view of Times Square. Ask anyone and they will tell you a bed at such a location costs a fine chunk of change. But just for that view and that aura, it seemed worth it. Someone mentioned earlier that we worked mainly with chorus boys, and to not expect any input from stars. Though it is true that we worked a lot with up and coming actors who were in chorus roles, we also did have conversations and lessons from renowned professors, Tony nominees and memorable leads on Broadway and on National Tours. We got a thorough picture of what it was like to move to, come up in, live in and be successful in New York and on Broadway. For me, it was amazing to see 4 different newly running shows in four consecutive nights. Coming from down South, that never seemed possible. For all this, I'd say the price was incredibly worth it.
Finally, I'd like to express the credibility of my peers at Open Jar. As a neuroscience major, I found myself overwhelmed by the mass of talent in the room with me. There were students who had been singing their entire lives, had performed in so many shows my head spun at thinking about it. There were students who had travelled to perform and had won some pretty impressive awards. To be there face to face and on the same level as them was a true honor. I can honestly say that Open Jar gave me a confidence in myself I didn't really have and ensured that I would never leave theater despite my current career path and ambitions. Theater would always be a part of that.
That's a pretty strong statement to fake, don't you think? I honestly don't care whether you maintain suspicion about all this defense for Open Jar; frankly, those who know know it's amazing, and it's only unfortunate that you do not. I hope you are able to open yourself up to some of these statements, look beyond your skepticism to your earliest convenience, and consider the more than valid effects of the Open Jar Institute.
Thank you for your time.
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 01:32pm
I'm getting shillblains from this thread.
litttletiff
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 01:43pm
First, I’d like to start by asking, does it really matter that those of us who are posting today have never posted on BWW before? I don’t work for Open Jar either, I attended this past summer, and since such great friendships were made, we all heard from one another that Open Jar was being questioned and would like to share the correct information on something that we know to be an extraordinary program. That being said, I’d also like to share my Open Jar experience for those who were originally asking because of their curiosity for the program.

Like my fellow Open Jar friends posting above me, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Open Jar Institute this past summer as well. I am 25 years old and I’ve been living in New York City auditioning for Broadway shows and National Tours for the past two years. I know what the real audition scene holds and the kind of talent and courage it takes to survive in this city, and the Open Jar Institute was STILL one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. The dance workshops and vocal coaching were so incredible, and the instructors who came from various Broadway backgrounds to teach them brought out a confidence in me that I never knew I had. They really take the time to focus on you and what you personally need to work on, because they truly want to see you succeed. Being able to ask questions and speak with amazing talent such as Stephanie J. Block, Lisa Brescia, and Forrest McClendon, was obviously an insane experience, but even getting the opportunity to work with the ensemble members and understudies that came from Priscilla! Queen of the Desert, Book of Mormon, etc. was just as amazing. Sure, these performers don’t hold a Tony in their hand (YET!), but I found that they come from the same background as a lot of us who were attending Open Jar … small town, big dream kind of kids, who I personally think have a lot to offer as far as teaching those of us who want to be professional performers. Not only were the instructors and special guests amazing, but the Open Jar staff is beyond awesome. Jeff Whiting’s passion for this industry is so real and so inspiring, and he reaches out to as many as he can to make this experience valuable for those who attend. Yes, the price may seem a little steep, but in New York City the price of living here is ten times more expensive than any other place in the country…so naturally, food, the price of renting studios, show tickets, etc. is obviously going to be pricey. However, the amount of confidence that I gained, and on top of that, the amount of amazing friendships that I made through the Open Jar Institute, couldn’t possibly be stamped with a price. Those of us who attended Open Jar last summer are such great friends now. We encourage each other when a big showcase or audition is coming up, and some of us have even traveled just to visit each other. The community that is built through Open Jar is tremendous.
HannahGreen18
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 04:06pm
Hi! Just to add on what all my fellow alumni have outlined above, I'm from Toronto, Ontario and it is very rare that a Canadian such as myself is given such an opportunity as Open Jar. I was also reluctant at first because everyone I knew in the Toronto broadway scene hadn't heard of Open Jar but after seeing the website (www.openjarproductions.com) AND their wonderful Facebook page (just search Open Jar Institute) I was convinced through photos and videos that this program was something not to be missed, and I was correct. I got to spend an entire week in NYC walking from my hotel, through Times Square, and to the conveniently located studio on 54th street. I wish I could explain in words what a dream come true this opportunity was, I got to not only meet so many talented young people but I also got to discover how much talent I was hiding myself (and I say that in the humblest way possible). I think all of my fellow alumni have appropriate defended this program above and to anyone who thinks that Open Jar has a questionable selection process? That is utterly ridiculous, the people I met at Open Jar are the faces I will be looking out for the next time I am in NYC watching a Broadway musical. I was rightly envious and humbled by the amount of talent that Jeff Whiting had gathered in one place.

Open Jar was one of the best experiences of my life. I would pay the tuition fee 5x over for the amount of love, joy, self-expression and adventure I had during that one week in NYC with the OJP crew.

And yes, I am an alumni. If you are really considering spending the money for Open Jar, and not just being unnecessarily negative in an online forum, please email me at hannahgreen102@hotmail.com or look me up on facebook (facebook.com/HannahAlexandraWilliams) and I will be more than happy you explain to you in depth my experience and why I think Open Jar is an opportunity that CANNOT be missed.
trickster
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 04:59pm
Well put DOpr7. The Open Jar Institute was a fantastic program that I had the honor of being a part of as a student this past summer. True, it may be a little pricy, but it is well worth the money. Not only do you get to see shows, but you get to work with incredibly talented people, not just in how well they act but in how well they can make you become a better actor. I learned so many things in the one short week, and got to make some new great friends from all over. You can be suspicious all you want, but I would trust the multiple people singing the Institute's praises over one person who has not taken part in the program itself. I myself was skeptical when I first paid for the program, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made.
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Starringsky
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 05:07pm
We, who have participated in the Open Jar Institute together, have become like a family, and we do not appreciate having our family spoken badly of, so do expect many more to also comment when they hear of such things being said.

I too was an Open Jar participant this past summer and it was one of THE BEST opportunities that I have ever had the chance to experience! I would not be taking the time to write this post if I did not feel as strongly as I do about the program. At Open Jar we had the opportunity to work with current Broadway performers in the triple threat categories, watch a Broadway performance each night, eat at some of the best spots in NYC, expand our professional network, and so much more! I'm very sorry that you know so little about Open Jar, yet are so critical of the program's legitimacy. Obviously you are ignorant of what an honor it really is to be accepted into the Open Jar Institute. This program is no joke- you really are singing, acting, and dancing ALL DAY, and learning from the people who know Broadway best: including Susan Stroman(who you appear to be a fan of), John Tartaglia, John Kander, Beth Leavel, Will Swenson, Stacia Fernandez, and our director Jeff Whiting just to name a few, as well as Top Casting Directors like Merri Sugarman and Bob Cline!
I understand that there are a lot of programs out there that really are scams but I assure anyone reading this that Open Jar is NOT one of those! This is a legitimate professional learning experience and if you are looking to grow as a performing artist in the Broadway world, I definitely recommend auditioning and applying for the Open Jar Institute. You WILL get your moneys worth, and probably more than that, taking away more than you will know until you have had the opportunity to participate.

Side note, please do not make such negative comments if you are not sure of the validity of the information that you may be polluting people's minds with. You could be holding them back from an opportunity that will change their life!

Here is a link to some pictures from our actual showcase this past summer, I also suggest visiting the Open Jar Website:
http://www.openjarproductions.com/
Open Jar Showcase Pictures
SpaldingSolitude Profile Photo
SpaldingSolitude
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 06:55pm
Hello all,
I would just like to add a bit to this on-going (non-consequential) argument you all have going here.

I was a fellow open jar'er myself this past summer, and would just like to add, as everyone else has said, that it is in fact, a life changing experience. And to the lovely lady who likes picking a fight, we have not all just joined. I have had this account for years, and just re-activated it when I saw this post on the home page, and became furious and wanted to give you the real facts.

Since everyone ahead of me has beaten me to praise open jar's curriculum, I will instead aid in telling you about what I have gained from my experience there, and how it is applied to real life situations in the business.

Long story short, I was called back a number of times for some upcoming broadway shows, in which one Jeff Whiting (one of the most sweet, and talented men you will ever meet in this industry) is the associate director of. If you think he is a load of crap, there is your reality check.

Get your facts straight before you start judging. Money is money. A normal summer camp is just as expensive. Why would you rob your child of something as fantastic as this? Listen to the testimonials of people (broadway performers who HAVE been there, and HAVE taught us classes, and HAVE cast us in shows) and then make your decision.

This program is worth every penny.


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reyn4122
Swing
joined:2/27/12
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 07:12pm
Why yes Jeff Whiting did contact us to help clear up the air about Open Jar. He just wants to make sure that students get the chance to go and learn. I understand his ask for help since he personally crated this program and doesn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable about applying to attend. It really is a wonderful program. <----Here's a picture of the UNC students with Jeff Whiting. Were all real and you can face book any of us about the program if you are really having reserves about going. My name is Sierra Reynolds, theres Brenna Larsen, Andrew Russell, Anne Terze-Schwartz, Amy Bennett Michael Ochoa, Hayden Stanes, Ian McCaulley, Cashelle Butler, Taylor Recktenwald and Jeff Zicker. We all attended and we are all real people. Not in any part involved in a scam


Updated On: 2/27/12 at 07:12 PM
ReggieonBway Profile Photo
ReggieonBway
Broadway Star
joined:1/29/11
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 07:55pm
I've been here for about a year, so I'm not a shill - I attended the program as well, and beyond the incredible friendships we all made that summer, we were able to make some legitimate contacts currently working on the Great White Way. (facebook came incredibly handy in that regard)

And honestly? Jeff Whiting is a force of nature. Despite being a hardass dance coach, he formed a real connection with a lot of us. It was hands down one of the best weeks of my life, and I'm sure plenty of other performers feel the same way.

<---------- and again, note; not a shill. Not named Jeff Whiting.
BroadwayFuture462 Profile Photo
BroadwayFuture462
Swing
joined:11/4/06
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 09:34pm
Well, I had A LOT to say, but it seems that many of my other peers have already taken care of everything I wanted to say.

I am a longtime member here (don't post often, but occasionally), and Open Jar was by far one of the GREATEST experiences of my life.

I'm at 1:14 in this video if you'd like to hear a quick testimony
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqdTJ2ZF8_4
"Musical Theatre is kind of like pizza and sex, even when it's bad, it's good." -Marc Shaiman
Orangesaretuesdays
Stand-by
joined:10/8/10
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 09:54pm
I do Broadway Artist's Alliance which I highly recommend. But one of my friends did open jar and enjoyed it alot!
Shows in 2014: Jan. 2: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at The Shakespeare Theatre.
dramamama611 Profile Photo
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 10:02pm
It's raining Shills!

I think the big deal is: this thread was nearly a year old when you people dug it out of its grave.

I'm not saying you didn't have a wonderful time -- but that doesn't prove that it is worth the money == and since I'm sure most of you spent mummy and daddy's money, you have little sense of its value. (I have no opinion as to whether the program is valuable -- I have no knowledge of it whatsoever.)
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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aasjb4ever
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/09
Open Jar Institute
Posted: 2/27/12 at 10:17pm
Full disclosure, I thought this was about Futurama.
What a colossal piece of crap! It'll probably run for years.

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