American Idol Team to Visit Broadway Theatre Project


Broadway Theatre Project (BTP), which has spent the past two decades helping thousands of young, aspiring actors, singers and dancers to realize their potential in the performing arts, gets a taste of another vehicle with a similar purpose, FOX's American Idol, when the television series' Associate Musical Director, Michael Orland, and Vocal Coach, Peisha McPhee, visit the Tampa-based summer musical theatre intensive this summer.

For one day in July, Orland and McPhee will join BTP's Co-Artistic Directors Ben Vereen and Director Debra McWaters to teach the Project's three-week attendees or "apprentices" how to utilize vocal technique and stage presence to most effectively perform a song, and will give the students a deeper look into the arduous audition process, an aspect of Idol that is highlighted in its first few weeks every season.

Orland and McPhee are partners in the company, Find Your Unique Voice, which presents workshops throughout the country to teach young vocalists how to become better overall performers – for both personal development and in preparation for a career in "the biz."

Orland is a composer, musical director, arranger, musician and vocal coach who has collaborated with music legends such as Elton John, Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, and Diana Ross, among many others. He has also been the musical director for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the holiday-themed show that annually plays New York and on tour in the US and features the world-famous Rockettes .

He has also enjoyed a tenure with American Idol, having been with the show since its inception in 2002, and has worked on numerous stage shows in New York, Los Angeles, and throughout the US, the knowledge of which he will impart upon this summer's BTP apprentices.

"My first love has always been the theatre," says Orland. "I am passionate about encouraging young people to follow their dreams and sing the genre of music that appeals to them. I am very excited about training these kids at Broadway Theatre Project this year! I want to help them be prepared for the auditions, and show them how to bring the best out of themselves."

As a highly accomplished singer and vocal coach, McPhee knows the business from both sides. She has performed her critically acclaimed one-woman show throughout the US and Europe. On Idol, she is responsible for helping contestants deliver their optimum singing performance on stage in front of a Live National audience.

"Coming to the Broadway Theatre Project is very exciting to me because I will be able to help these young people see the importance of having confidence and how to prepare their mindset for an audition. It's hard to make it today. It's very much the style today to be well versed in singing, acting and dancing, to make yourself a triple threat. I look forward to showing them the power of preparing both mentally and vocally for their auditions."

Besides Katharine, McPhee's other daughter, Adriana, an accomplished cabaret and theater performer, was also a graduate of BTP. To start off as a parent of two students of the program and now to have the chance to come back and serve as a coach to the Project's entire student body is an opportunity she had very little difficulty saying 'yes' to.

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