BWW Interview: Tony Galde of Orbit Arts Academy talks COREY COTT AND LAURA OSNES SHOWCASE
It is rare that Atlanta musical theatre students have the opportunity to train and perform alongside Broadway veterans. But Orbit Arts Academy in Sandy Springs is making the dreams of students a reality with an October Masterclass and performance led by Corey Cott (NEWSIES, BANDSTAND) and Laura Osnes (BANDSTAND, CINDERELLA).
Over the last four years, Orbit Arts Academy has become the place in Atlanta for committed young actors to train and Broadway stars to teach. The connections that co-founders Anthony "Tony" Galde and Chris Hall, and the other seasoned instructors made during their time in New York have been an invaluable resource to the studio. These connections have had a hand in the caliber of work ethic and training that has been gained from once-in-a-lifetime Masterclass experiences with Tony-Award-winning or nominated actors like Laura Osnes, Laura Bell Bundy, Nancy Opel, and more. Tony explained that Orbit's students "get to actually sit with these people, and because they're my friends, it's a different energy. It's not an academic, kind of, come in, sit down thing. I still expect them to respect the people who are coming, but they still get to kind of hang. They get the realization that the jobs are there and someone's got to get them. So why not you?"
On October 21, Corey Cott will return to teach this Masterclass, and Laura Osnes' name will be added to the growing list of Broadway stars who have taught at Orbit. This all-star list of instructors includes Lisa Howard, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Shoshana Bean, and Alice Ripley (more names can be found on Orbit's website along with upcoming Masterclass instructors).
The pair, along with the Jr. Company and Orbit Company, will perform in Orbit's 160-seat theater. Tony hopes this showcase will dazzle and bring a bit of Broadway's magic to Atlanta, as well as highlight the passion and hard work the students have put into the material they will be performing. Of the students' performance Tony said, "They have been working the last few weeks, since we started the semester. First we work on solo material. We give them like 5 numbers each and tell them, you've got to go pick one. So, they pick one, and we start working on song interpretation. Then we start working on group numbers. So that's what we're launching into now, so they'll be a couple, two to three weeks, into these numbers [when they perform with Cott and Osnes]."
Corey Cott is no stranger to Orbit Arts, having performed in their 2016 Broadway Unplugged concert and recorded a video with the kids acting out the song "Time Warp" from THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. Since he has taught previous Masterclasses at Orbit, Cott is going into this experience with a connection to the kids he met in previous years and a relationship with the staff. Cott will also provide an interesting perspective, in terms of his career path, because his first Broadway show was relatively recent when he starred as Jack Kelly NEWSIES in 2012. Cott also will bring to this class knowledge from his experiences in television and film. Joining Cott is Laura Osnes who starred opposite him this past season in BANDSTAND. Osnes is an amazing addition to Orbit's Masterclass instructors because she has been nominated for two Tony Awards for her roles as Bonnie Parker in BONNIE & CLYDE and Cinderella in ROGERS AND HAMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA. She has also been nominated for several Drama Desk Awards for her work in BANDSTAND, CINDERELLA, and ANYTHING GOES.
Orbit Arts Academy is continuously bringing in top talent to teach and perform, but it's not all fun and games. Tony holds Orbit's mission of fostering commitment and work ethic close to his heart, "The expectations are high and I know that when you challenge young people and show them that you're as just committed and your expectations are high, they rise to that. They just do. And it's awesome, and I tell them that that's the key: the work ethic is your calling card; your commitment is your calling card." And Tony hopes that more people will find Orbit, in their own time through the Masterclasses and performances, "The exposure to our mission and our studio and the potential for expansion is invaluable to us. And I want the energy to stay the way it is. And I love when we hear that from people, 'We didn't know anything about it.' Exactly! Perfect, that's just what we wanted. You found out about us exactly when you were supposed to."
Information on the Masterclass with Corey Cott and Laura Osnes can be found here, and tickets for the October 21 performance are available to the public. To find tickets and more information about Orbit's mission and expansion, click here.
Photo Credit: Orbit Arts Academy