by Erin Thursby
Arts education is often the first to go on the chopping block in these hard economic times. It’s equally difficult to get the money to mount a full theatre production. For your aspiring actor or actress there are other places they can go to learn about the art of Broadway. Local community theaters offer programs for kids, mainly during the summer. But if you’re any age and serious about pursuing a career, after going to the local community theatre route, you might want to turn to My Broadway Dreams.
James Kinney, the artistic director of My Broadway Dreams has roots in Jacksonville’s theatre community. After establishing a career as a dancer and choreographer on Broadway (Sweet Charity, Fosse), he’s come back to one of the theaters where he learned the ropes. This year he returned the choreograph a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for the Alhambra. “I’m a Jacksonville native, so whenever I can get back, to work there, I do. I really believe in Jacksonville.”
My Broadway Dreams enables those who want to make a living on Broadway to learn from folks who have actually been there. The instructors actually make a living in the arts and have impressive Broadway resumes. Kinney had Broadway ambitions that have since been realized, but he remembers “having to go to Tampa” to get that extra training. He believes that a resource like My Broadway Dreams is needed here in because of the enormous talent and interest in Jacksonville. “It’s a place where art continuation is not looked at. It’s a hard place to get coverage because it’s not a football thing. There is culture in Jacksonville. There is a huge need for arts education and cultural education.”
While many of their students are kids, the program isn’t just for kids. Kinney tells us that the ages range from ten to sixty-five. “Our motto is: if you can be in a Broadway show, you can do Broadway Dreams.”
The program got its start about five years ago, when casting director Annette Tanner started doing workshops in the U.S. Among other things, she’s worked as a major casting director in New Zealand and Australia. Once she decided to make a Broadway training program available to folks of different socioeconomic backgrounds, she started connecting the people they’d need for the task. Says Kinney: “Annette’s sort of amazing. She has the ability to get the best people involved…A lot of the Broadway community want to give back. [We] got our start doing the same kind of thing.”
Bolero’s and the Jacksonville Film Festival are partnering with My Broadway Dreams to bring a workshop called Triple Threat Extreme to our area. The workshop will be held at Bolero’s at 10131 Atlantic Boulevard on October 14 from 4 pm-5:30 pm and October 15 from 1 pm to 6 pm. Prepare an audition and hear about what you can improve, and what Broadway directors are looking for from you! “They can find out what it’s like to audition and what works and what doesn’t work,” explains Kinney.
If it’s just your dance that needs brushing up, you can go on Saturday for dance for just $35. For the Sunday workshop, it’s $95, and to attend all the classes over that weekend is $120. Go to www.mybroadwaydreams.com to register or email [email protected] to register.
My Broadway Dreams
by Erin Thursby