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Guest Blog: Passport to China Day #5

Guest Blog: Passport to China Day #5 Perspective of the Music Director - Seth Weinstein

Blog #5- June 25, 2017

Today, the day of our performance, we delayed our start time by ninety minutes, and the extra sleep was nothing short of heaven.

And Amy, our director, woke up with food poisoning and a cold.

But that didn't hinder our progress. We reported to the theatre at 10:00 for a 4:00 performance, which gave us time to do two run-throughs: the first a traditional give-it-your-all run-through, and the second a somewhat less demanding hour that still featured the prescribed singing and blocking but allowed for some exploration of character: improvisatory moments between sung lines, for instance. Keeping the momentum going during the unsung beats had been one of our challenges, and filling it with some voiced interjections helped.

We broke for lunch, the cast got into makeup, and we performed to a very receptive audience, who vigorously applauded the cast's heart and hard effort.

Following the performance, the audience was invited to have a dialogue with our cast. One parent remarked that our show, an hour's compilation of Broadway song excerpts telling the story of a woman who left the love of her life in China to pursue her dreams in the United States, hit home: Her family, including three of our cast members, were facing a similar situation.

But this was perhaps the most thought-provoking question posed to our students: "What's the most important piece of advice you would take from the past ten days?"

"Don't think too much. Just be yourself."


"It's not so important to get everything right. It's important to put your heart in it."

"Listen to your director!"

Another question was "What was the hardest part of the past ten days?"

The first answer given was "Everything."

We broke it down after that, but a quote from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three came to mind. "What's more specific than 'everything'?"

These students have worked incredibly hard, and none of it was easy. They've shown amazing changes over ten days-not just as actors but as human beings. We've all grown and learned, and the messages won't be forgotten.

Perspective of the Head of Visual and Performing Arts at AISG - Betty Lin

Blog #5- June 24, 2017

Wow! I am blown away with the performance! The kids did themselves proud! The commitment, the power, and the story came through loud and strong. What I love most was when the kids talked about their experiences at the question and answer time. They were able to articulate why they love being in the program and what they learned. When asked what they remember most, one of them said, "Don't try! Just do it!": one of Amy's mantra for the students.

Passport to Broadway not only gave authentic theater experience to the students but more importantly gave them the permission to open their hearts and express their feelings via musical theater. Thank you so much for bringing growth, joy and musical theater to our students! I can't wait until the next time we do this again!

Betty Lin

Head of Visual and Performing Arts

AISGZ faculty

Perspective of the Student Assistant Director - Gloria Huang

Blog #5- June 25, 2017

Today was the final performance! These kids have worked so hard for the past 10 days and it is unbelievable how far they've come. In the beginning, they were kids who weren't confident, had no theatre experience, shy, closed-off. Now, thanks to this program of Passport to Broadway, these kids have become confident, experienced with the expectations of a professional Broadway performer, open and expressive. Today, the kids have been filmed live on and off during rehearsals for Instagram Live and Facebook Live during the performance, thanks to Broadway World kindly granting us access to their account.

Today, the students' performance was magical. It was moving and made many audiences, including Amy, our director, herself, feel goosebumps. No doubt, these kids have put their heart and soul into their performance tonight. Everyone should be very proud of their progress and I feel very proud that I had the chance to work with these wonderful, talented students and watch them grow into better people and performers. Congratulations on a successful and magical show!!

Perspective of a Student - Zoe Cheng

Blog #5- June 25, 2017

We did it.

Oh my god, we did it!

Holy crap.

We are tired, sweaty, but oh my glob that was so worth it.

The performance was worth every single moment.

I don't know what to say, I just don't know, we are still running high on adrenaline. Wait, hold up, I don't know if they are high on adrenaline, but I definitely am.

We poured our heart and soul, every song became meaningful, just... oh my glob, words cannot describe how ecstatic I felt.

Now I am going to sleep though summer instead of animating or finishing my graphic novel scripts.

Ha ha. I wish could, but that's physically impossible for me.

I am going to miss everyone so much, we might have just been together for ten days, but these ten days felt like years.

Because how the heck else would you put a show together like that?

Well, quoting my friend, it's because of "determination, balance and strong calves"

And because we listened to Ms. Amy.

It was amazing. I just wish it doesn't have to end, I wish I can stick with these amazing people that I terrorized in Trunchbull's monologue. They who I held hands with like a family. These are the first bunch of people that I am not afraid to cry in front of, they are the first who I didn't hide from when I bawled my eyes out, but instead, I cried with them unapologetically.

Plus, they've got too much blackmail of me, can't let that slip, can I?

It going to be another month till I see some of them again. It's going to be another year or more until I see Mr. Seth, Ms. Amy and Mr. Jeff again in person. These people I've connected with in ten days felt like family, and you know what Lilo and Stitch said about family: "ohana means family, and family means no one is left behind or forgotten."

This experience is life changing, I doubt that I will forget it, I can't wait to see them again soon.

This is not the end of our story, the end of the story will always be a sad departure, while I may not have a very exciting start, I have a very happy middle.

The show must go on, whether you dropped your prop or tripped on stage. Till we meet again, my dearest readers.

- Zoe (Or Raven, or Trunchbull. Whatever.)

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