WHS Students are Broadway Bound
On Jun. 24, 2019, 36 advanced theatre students from Wylie High School will perform on Broadway, in New York City. All proceeds from this performance will go to the advocacy group, Autism Speaks. WHS Director of Theatre, Polly Harrison (Murphy resident) described the experience, “Wylie students will join the dozens of professional Broadway performers and the other schools in an opening and closing group number and then perform a number on their own joined by a featured Broadway performer.” WHS will perform with Tony winner and current nominee, Kelli O’Hare. Harrison informs that this is a pretty exclusive opportunity in that only six student groups were chosen, “We submitted an application with videos of our previous productions and were selected among a nationwide pool of applicants.”
WHS students will perform a high-energy piece, ‘It’s All Happening’ from ‘Bring it On’ written by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda. Harrison said they chose this piece in the fall and have been in rehearsal since January. In early May, a Broadway producer from the production came from New York to work with the WHS performers.
While in New York, the WHS representatives will stay on 35th street. They will arrive in New York on Jun. 21, perform on Jun. 24 and return home Jun. 25. Harrison explained how their time in New York will be spent, “We alternate between sight-seeing and rehearsals with the professionals.” For some of the students, this will be their first time on an airplane. Each student was responsible for individual travel costs, participation in the production does not have a fee.
Murphy residents, Isaiah Ramirez and Julia Hodges are two of the advanced theatre students chosen to be in this production. Ramirez graduated with the class of 2019. He will be playing the part of a basketball player. He will sing, dance and have a speaking part. Regarding what he has learned from this experience thus far, he said, “I have learned the amount of time it takes to perfect my part in the show.” Additionally, he has learned to work under the pressure of a deadline since they needed to have their number ready when the Broadway producer arrived to work with them. He is really looking forward to going to New York, “It will be fantastic to perform on the Broadway stage and experience the adrenaline rush.” Hodges will be a junior in the fall. She will be playing the part of a cheerleader and in addition to singing and dancing, she will perform many stunts and do a lot of tumbling. She said she enjoyed working with the Broadway producer and making all the changes she told them to do. “The producer made quick changes that we had to learn and remember. It was cool that we could adapt to the changes so quickly.” She is looking forward to learning from the experienced Broadway stars and seeing New York.
Harrison said through this experience she has learned how to work with an artistic director who isn’t on her campus. She is looking forward to, “Watching my students work with industry professionals in the world’s most famous theatrical city.”
Participants from WHS includes Polly Harrison, Director; Jeffrey Bowling, Musical Director; Chelsey Burton and Bryan Walker, Choreographers; Shelly James and Randy Lewandowski, Assistant Directors. Performers: Shirley Berthelot, Kevin Betancourt, Mason Bowling, Tyler Casebolt, Kennedy Corey, Halle Dillard, Maria Dixon, Kole Dornseifer, Jacob Dotson, Natalie Elerbroom, JK Foster, Colyer Foxworth, Sara Frame, Emily Frye, Savannah Fuller, Ciera Gildert, Alexander Harrison, Nicholas Harrison, Julia Hodges, Taylor Hunt, Jordan Jackson, Leah Kaufman, Collette Koop, Ashli Lucio, Abraham Mendez, Aiden Nunn, Hope Osborn, Audrey Pena, Samantha Peon, Isaiah Ramirez, Aaron Samuel, Riley Shook, Logan Stelling, Tracy Vu, Grace Wilson and Hana Wisnuardi.