After a highly successful launch last summer, Theatre Calgary’s version of Broadway Dreams is in full swing at the Max Bell Theatre until Aug. 12.On the final night, the 62 students participating in the theatre intensive will join their instructors on stage for performances of musical numbers they have been working on.This year, the aspiring actors are being joined by instructor/performer Tyler Hanes, whose numerous Broadway credits include Urban Cowboy, The Boy from Oz, and the award-winning revivals of Oklahoma!, Sweet Charity, A Chorus Line and, most recently as Rum Tum Tugger in the 2017 Broadway version of Cats.Joining Hanes on this year’s faculty are tap dancer/choreographer Luke Hawkins, director Noah Himmelstein, conductor/arranger and singer Lynne Shankel, director/theatre creator Amy Rogers, choreographer for stage and film Michele Lynch and Calgary based composer/pianist Mark Limacher.Among this year’s students is Caitlynne Medrek, fresh off her Betty Award-winning performance as the ballet teacher in Theatre Calgary’s Billy Elliot.“I haven’t been cast in anything next season so I felt Broadway Dreams was an important way to feed the high I experienced from Billy Eliott. As actors we simply can’t stop growing and the faculty at Broadway Dreams are among the best teachers available.“These are all artists who are still active in their careers so what they have to offer us is current and relevant.”
From left, Caitlynne Medek, Fionn Laird taking a break between class and rehearsals for Broadway Dreams. Photo, Chris Loach/Theatre Calgary
Medrek says her win at the year’s Bettys for best female performance in a musical reminded her “I’m on the right path and that all the hard days are worth it.”She says she hopes to create work that will continue to showcase her abilities.“I’m hoping to do a concert version of Frozen with my company, YYC Princess,” says Medrek, who began performing with StoryBook Theatre 20 years ago and has never looked back since.Also taking this year’s course at Broadway Dreams is Fionn Laird, who made his first theatre appearance at age eight in Theatre Calgary’s A Christmas Carol.Stints in A Christmas Carol led to Laird being cast in The Shakespeare Company’s Richard III, Macbeth and Julius Caesar.“It was my work with The Shakespeare Company that convinced me to register for the performing arts program at Central Memorial High School. I want to make the arts an important part of my education.”Laird says he enrolled in Broadway Dreams because he thought “it would be great way to acquire more skills from people who are working in the industry.“The first day there was a class on auditioning and it was so eye-opening.”Laird has been cast in Theatre Calgary’s upcoming musical The Louder We Get, which premieres at the Max Bell in January.Tickets for Broadway Dreams are available by calling 403-294-7447.