Remember when you used to dream of being a Broadway star? You’d perform a grand jete while belting a high A and land on your feet to flash a giant smile while you shook your jazz hands. You’d leave the theatre and your adoring fans would be waiting outside of the show under the marquee with your name in flashing lights. You’d sign playbills and autographs, and take as many pictures as the public wanted.
“Ask me anything,” you’d say, “I’m all yours!” You’d do anything to get there – all you needed was your big break. As Elaine Stritch once belted in the hit Follies song “Broadway Baby,” “Heck, I’d even play the maid, to be in a show.”
These neophyte actors perform under the tutelage of experienced Broadway stars, including Philly’s own Andrea McArdle, Eden Espinosa, and Jarrod Emick, just to name a few. They rehearse for one week and perform a final showcase for theater casting directors and the public. In an American Idol world where anyone is deemed a “star,” we respect true talent and Broadway Dreams, a non-profit organization, seems to be teaching kids that being a musical theater star doesn’t magically happen over night.
Of course, following your dreams doesn’t come cheap. At a $995 price tag for the week long class, following your dream to the Great White Way isn’t free. But tell that to the hundreds of actors in New York, “pounding 42nd Street to be in a show.” Fame and talent are often times too different of things, and for many the stage has been the legitimate training ground to prove your salt.
The Broadway Dreams Foundation instills that training in the young theater actors of today. Those interested in attending the Summer Intensive Performance can purchase their tickets for the 7:30pm show at the Merriam Theater on August 6th. We know we’ll be reliving the dream and cheering the actors on. We think the bright lights and music might even make our jaded, bitter selves sing a little bit when the curtain goes up. “I’m just a Broadway baby…”