Jessica Vosk Will Join Orange County School of the Arts for PERFORMING WITH THE PROS
Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Musical Theatre Conservatory welcomes Broadway actress and recording artist Jessica Vosk to be the artist-in-residence for this year's "Performing with the Pros" event, taking place Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. During the three-week residency, Vosk has been involved in the casting, directing and designing of the show along with Creator and Director Karen Rymar. Each year, the cabaret-style performance takes the audience on a journey through the life experiences of the guest artist. Together, the students and Vosk perform a medley of music that has influenced Vosk, ranging from Broadway pieces to rock and pop.
Vosk's career has had a unique and inspiring path. She chose to leave a lucrative career on Wall Street to pursue her passion for singing, a story that gathered the attention of both ABC News and Entrepreneur. The risk led to a highly acclaimed performance as Elphaba in "Wicked" on both Broadway (2018-19) and the National Tour (2016-17).
In a review of "Wicked," the South Bend Tribune wrote, "Vosk is particularly inspiring as Elphaba, especially during... 'Defying Gravity,' where she literally takes flight. Her vocals rival the original Broadway cast recording, a compliment not given lightly. Goosebumps and chills ran through the audience."
Vosk has also performed on Broadway in "Fiddler on the Roof," "Finding Neverland" and "The Bridges of Madison County." She has appeared in many staged concerts, including "West Side Story" with the San Francisco Symphony, "Company" with Neil Patrick Harris and the New York Philharmonic, and "Kristina: The Musical" at Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall. Her solo album "Wild and Free" was released in 2018.
OCSA musical theater students learn from Vosk's experience by participating in an intensive rehearsal process, where they receive coaching on their acting and vocal techniques. Vosk said that she likes to incorporate all of the students into the learning process, even while focusing on one person's part.
Rymar, who is also the assistant director of OCSA's Musical Theatre Conservatory, said, "The auditions and rehearsals become a master class when the students are guided properly. Some kids may not even know how resilient they are and that's the discovery that Jessica helps them to find."
Rymar added that each year, artists offer different teaching methods and advice, as well as personalized concepts for the show. Vosk said it is important to her that this year's show offers the audience an honest and emotional performance.
"I don't shy away from storytelling and utter honesty," she said. "It makes audience members leave either with a cathartic experience or having changed their opinion on something. I'm looking for depth."
Vosk added that she encourages students to take the songs they are singing outside of the context of the show and to connect them to their own lives. This exercise can be incredibly transformative for an aspiring musical theater professional.
"The reason I love teaching so much is because of the moments when I am working with a student, and I can find the one area of vulnerability to tap into with them. This changes everything. It's an utter surprise to each and every one of them when they discover their - in a positive way - Achilles heel. They are able to connect to the truth of the song and lyrics and bring that to their performance," she said.
As for the show, Vosk said, "I'm not just a musical theater girl. I'm very atypical that way. I'm a rocker chick who grew up with Crosby Stills Nash, Joni Mitchell and you know, so that's all coming into play as far as choices of music."
Professionals featured in previous "Performing with the Pros" include Ali Stroker ("Spring Awakening"), Jared Gertner ("Book of Morman") and OCSA alumnae Lindsay Mendez ("Carousel," "Wicked," "Godspell"), Krysta Rodriguez ("The Addams Family," "Spring Awakening") and Susan Egan ("Beauty and the Beast," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Cabaret").
"Performing with the Pros" runs Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Margaret A. Webb Theatre on OCSA's campus. Tickets are $26-$28, and are available for purchase at www.ocsarts.net/boxoffice.