Several Broadway performers with local ties will be holding workshops at Premier Dance Academy in Avon. Cessalee Smith-Stovall is the director of the Music Dance Theatre Workshops.
“There are so many of us living in New York who have ties back here in Indianapolis,” Smith-Stovall said. “We’ve learned some really valuable information and want to share it here.”
An Indianapolis native, Smith-Stovall is a singer, actor, and dancer living her dream in New York City. She is just one of 14 artists who will be offering their expertise at the special workshops beginning this weekend.
The performers, many with Broadway credits, are excited to give back to the community that shaped them into the artists they have become today.
“We all got our start either in high school or local community theaters like Footlite, Civic Theatre, or Buck Creek Players,” Smith-Stovall said. “I start a show in November, so I had a couple of months off.”
She will be performing in “The Book of Morman” this fall.
Smith-Stovall will be joined by long-time American Cabaret Theatre Music Director Michael Murray, and Indianapolis natives Christopher Noffke and L. Steven Taylor.
Taylor is currently performing “The Lion King” on Broadway while Murray is a singer and music director in both New York off Broadway and in New Jersey. Noffke is a nationally recognized choreographer.
Additional teaching artists for week one are Chicago and New York actors Melody Betts and Grant Thomas.
There is biographical information on all of the instructors on the organization’s website at www.musicdancetheatre.com.
The organization’s mission statement is, “Music Dance Theatre Workshops exist to teach, mentor, and encourage students with a passion for the arts. Classes will focus on all aspects of musical theatre including singing, dancing, acting, auditioning, and theatre as a career.”
The primary goal of the program is to make a career in the arts a realistic, feasible, and accessible possibility for young performers.
Classes are open to anyone ages 13 and older, with some leeway for exceptional students as young as 10.
Each 8.5-hour workshop is designed for a specific topic. Participants will have the opportunity to work with professional Actor Equity Association actors from NYC and Chicago. They will also be able to develop skills and learn new techniques in singing, dancing, and acting. There is also an opportunity for individualized coaching on songs and monologues for auditions.
The first round of workshops will be at Premier Dance Academy, 8405 E. U.S. 36, Avon. The first sessions are Sept. 8 and 9. More sessions will follow each weekend for several weeks.
Registration is $50 and may be made online at www.musicdancetheatre.com, e-mailed to email@example.com, or by calling 679-6042.