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Douglas County Students Inspired by Classroom Visit from Broadway Performers
Posted On:
Friday, January 26, 2018
NMHS Lion King
NMHS Lion King
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Some of Broadway’s greatest talents visited students at two Douglas County high schools this week for an impromptu performance workshop and candid conversations about the importance of practice and perseverance.
Students at DCHS met with Michele McConnell, who just completed a record six-year run and 2,280 performances as “Carlotta” in the Broadway show Phantom of the Opera. As the show nears its 30th anniversary next week, she is the longest-performing Carlotta in the show’s history.
Karl Kuhlken, Chorus Director at Douglas County High School, said that his students attended a workshop with Michele in New York as part of a fine arts trip last year. This year, she paid a visit to DCHS while in Atlanta.
Ms. McConnell spoke to students about her career and time in the theater, stressing to them to never give up. She auditioned for many shows over a 12-year period, finally landing her debut in the Phantom chorus. After a year and a half in the chorus and as the understudy to Carlotta, she was given the part.
She also talked about how to audition and the attitude needed, providing a few anecdotes about her friends and their experience auditioning for various shows. She also spilled secrets about some of the humorous inner-workings of Phantom, including mishaps on stage. After speaking with students and answering questions, she worked one-on-one with a few students who are preparing for the upcoming DCHS musical, The Drowsy Chaperone.
Two members of the touring cast of the Broadway musical Lion King visited the FAME program at NMHS. Actors and dancers Kolin Jerron and Kayla Rose facilitated workshops and talked with the FAME students about careers in the arts. They also took students through the paces and shared sound advice about the transition from high school to college to the field of professional entertainment, sharing their journey and important cautionary tales of how to make a dream a reality.
“The students were inspired by the visit,” said NMHS Fine Arts Magnet Director Robert Connor. “We appreciate the time these professional entertainers spent with our students. Hearing from people working in the industry helps our students know what to expect if they decide to pursue a career in the performing arts.”
Kolin Jerron has performed in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, and with Royal Caribbean overseas. Kayla Rose has appeared in The Wiz, The Color Purple, and Hairspray. Lion King is a musical theatre powerhouse, earning 70 major theatre awards during its run as the third longest running show on Broadway.