Encore Michigan

Billy Porter to instruct at Wharton’s theater workshops; registration open

NewsYouth/Family July 03, 2016 Encore Staff

EAST LANSING–”Take It From the Top” is a series of interactive workshops offered through MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts & Creativity at Wharton Center. Participants, from pre-teens to young adults and beyond, receive a opportunity to train with a team of leading Broadway professionals. Former instructors include such talented Broadway performers as Billy Porter, 2014 Tony Award-winner for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, and who played Lola in Broadway’s Kinky Boots, as well as Shoshana Bean, who played Elphaba in Wicked.

“Take It From the Top” was developed by Tony Award nominee and Legally Blonde star, Laura Bell Bundy, and Paul Canaan, a dance captain in 2014’s most Tony nominated show, Kinky Boots. Canaan says, “We started “Take It From the Top” as a catalyst for creativity in life. We bring a team of world-class artists at the top of the performing arts field to Michigan and immerse students in a full week of training in music, drama and dance, and advance their skills, no matter how accomplished or inexperienced they are. This is a unique educational experience, and culminates in a free performance at the end of the week. Each student will be given the opportunity to video an audition for a top New York casting agent who will offer feedback. It’s an incredible opportunity!”

Porter says “I remember when I was a kid growing up, trying to figure out how to live as a creative person. I had lots of influences and teachers and people who helped me. Without those people, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m so grateful when I get the opportunity to give back and share what I know with aspiring young artists.”

Participants learn the craft of musical theatre, including basic to advanced skills, industry history and practical content, in an exciting, fast-moving, interactive setting. “Take It From the Top” offers participants a chance to experience Broadway with the pros and sharpen skills in an inspirational, creative, fun and genuinely supportive environment. Participants will make friendships that will last a lifetime!

All workshops will be held at Wharton Center for Performing Arts. Space is limited. To register, visit www.whartoncenter.com/takeitfromthetop, or call 1-800-WHARTON. The registration deadline is July 20, but late registrations will be accepted based on class size.


Junior Advanced or Advanced Musical Theatre Intensive
Monday, July 25 – Saturday, July 30, 2016
Junior Advanced (Ages 7-15) 13 The Musical
Advanced (Ages 16-25) Crazy For You
Audition required to participate: Video auditions accepted
Tuition: $415.00

Five-Day Musical Theatre Intensive
Monday, July 25 – Friday, July 29, 2016
Two sections:
Pre-Teen (ages 8-13) Teens (ages 14-19)
Tuition: $315.00

Adult Class
Improv and song interpretation, theatre games, cabaret Wednesday, July 27, 2016, one night only (Ages 21+)
Cost: $30.00

Call Kris Koop Ouellette to inquire about limited, need-based financial assistance — 517.884.3166. For more information, contact Kris Koop Ouellette at Wharton Center: 517-884-3166 or kris.ouellette@whartoncenter.com.

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