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BWW Blog: An Interview with Classmates Katie and Kailee

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I decided to check in with two of my best friends from my college theatre department.

BWW Blog: An Interview with Classmates Katie and Kailee
Kailee is farthest left in the picture,
Katie is middle, and I am on the right!!

Hello Broadway lovers, theatre students and creators around the world!! Happy end of September! We're a month in, and I hope everyone has started settling into their "new normal" routines. I know that everything probably is beginning to pick up now, like prescreen season (ah!!) and various virtual auditions. Whenever I'm stressed out about all those things happening at once, I like to get advice from people in my life who have BEEN there. So, I decided to check in with two of my best friends from my college theatre department about all the things theatre: advice for current high school seniors, audition hype up songs, and their own theatrical journeys. Their answers were the perfect mix of funny and poignant, and relevant to theatre students of ALL ages. Read on for an interview with Katie and Kailee, two of the smartest and most talented people in my life:

Hey pals!! Okay, let's start off with a bit of background for the readers. Tell me a little bit about your theatre journey. How'd you get to where you are today?

KAILEE: Well, I started performing when I was really little. I actually started singing before I started talking!! I continued doing school and community theatre throughout middle and high school, and I dabbled in writing and tech as well. Coming to college, I actually wanted to be a bio major...or at least I thought I did. Then at college orientation, someone told me to "do something you're passionate about, not what you think you should be doing." And I immediately thought "theatre. I have to do theatre." Declared my major and haven't looked back.

KATIE: I started performing in Kindergarten, with my debut as Glinda the Good Witch for one scene!! I said my line about asking Dorothy to click her heels together...and then I ran offstage before she clicked her heels. I continued musical theatre throughout my whole childhood, performing in various musicals with my church, summer camps and my high school theatre department. Since coming to college and declaring my theatre major, I've really developed an appreciation for theatre production, straight plays and classical voice!

Love it. Especially about the decision to follow your heart and gut about what YOU want to do, not what you THINK you should do. That is so incredibly important. Okay, next question!! What's the most important thing you have learned along your theatre journey?

KAILEE: Oh, that's a good one. I'd say to never let other people tell you what you're capable of or assign your self-worth. You know yourself, and you know what you can do. Take certain things people say to you in the theatre with a grain of salt. I don't mean specific rehearsal directions or blocking, but attacks on your character or identity. Don't let anyone treat you with anything but respect. Also be friends with your stage managers.

KATIE: Theatre is for expression, not for making it impressive. To express, not to impress. There's definitely an atmosphere of comparison in this industry, with the idea of theatre as cutthroat. But theatre is such a beautiful expression of art, and you have something to offer that NOONE else has. People need to hear your voice. So, hold on to the mindset of sharing your voice and the beauty of art as opposed to crushing the competition.

That was such good advice, oh my goodness. Readers, if you're skimming this article- go back and re-read the question above!! Now, let's move into some more specific scenarios. A lot of high school seniors are starting to prepare for their prescreen seasons. So, I gotta ask- what's something you wish you'd known senior year?

KAILEE: First of all, don't feel bad if you've found theatre later in life. Or if you're someone who doesn't audition for a ton of schools. Because I didn't do that. And I'm thriving her [at University of Maryland]. And trust the universe. Trust your heart. Trust your instincts. Everyone's gonna end up somewhere. And that somewhere is where you're meant to be!

KATIE: I wish I had done my research about the college process, communicated with faculty a little bit more. And prepping early. It takes a lot, so much more than I realized. So, start preparing- where you're going to shoot your prescreens, what will you dance in, where will you go, etc. But also, I wish I'd trusted the process a little more. That everyone winds up where they're supposed to be.

YES!! That was so very well said, everyone is on their own path!! Trust and love that! Okay, but now you're in college! Coming here had to be a pretty life-altering decision. So, what drew you here?

KAILEE: Maryland was not my first choice. It wasn't a safety, but it was in my budget financially. My other dream schools were extremely expensive, and I'm glad I paid attention to my financials and decided to come to UMD. We have an excellent theatre program that doesn't break the bank, and I'm so happy here. UMD helped me discover my passion and do the thing I love most with people I love most.

KATIE: I love the small "conservatory" aspect with the chance to explore and pursue my other interests. I wanted a school that allowed me to do both, pursue my love of theatre while developing other interests. I also love how UMD honors the technical side of theatre, the straight plays, the musicals- something for everyone. I love the variety of programs, of students, of interests.

Okay, now time for a break from college and a move into a fun question. All these seniors are preparing for their college auditions, while everyone else is trying to audition for their fall school performances. So, let's give them some audition inspiration! What's your favorite pre-audition energy song or go-to routine?

KAILEE: I have a lot!! I even made a playlist for it. High School Musical is definitely on there, a classic bop. In terms of routine, I like to do vocal warm-ups every time before an audition. It really helps me center myself.

KATIE: Just listening or singing to "Astonishing" (from Little Women) makes me feel like...yeah, I'm meant for this. You've got to go in with that mindset- those feelings of "I deserve this." I'm meant for this...greatness! So, belt it out!! Imagine you're on stage. Also, yoga. It really keeps me grounded, pushes down the nerves that accompany auditions. So, stay grounded and get excited- remember WHY you want to do this!!

That made me smile. Okay, last question ladies. Theatre has definitely taken on new forms and meanings during these unprecedented times. How have you been staying creative during the time of COVID?

KAILEE: I've been doing a lot of writing. I decided I want to tell a story about my mom's journey and her family, so over quarantine I started doing research and talking to my family about their stories. It was interesting. I've also been playing a lot of ukulele and piano. My guitar got stolen in my dorm room lounge, so there goes that. I've also been participating in some virtual theatre productions, student produced! I also sing ALL the around the house. My family got so annoyed with me.

KATIE: I participated in a virtual theatre show at UMD with some of my friends! There's a TON of art coming out of this, the opportunity to explore new realms of theatre! I'm also trying to learn new music and skills for my resume- guitar, yoga, hopefully piano!! So, I just want to really explore and find time to tap into my artistic and creative abilities!!

There you have it, everyone!! I hoped this interview brought some much-needed advice and smiles, and if you have any more questions for Katie/Kailee or myself- feel free to reach out! My inbox is ALWAYS open ( and I wish you all the happiest continuation of your school years! Stay happy and healthy and keep creating! The world needs us theatre students-



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