Theatre department putting together first-ever Musical Showcase Workshop

The Department of Theatre may not have a musical production scheduled for this fall as it usually does, but that does not mean that work on new productions has slowed down. This year, for the first time ever, the department is putting together a Musical Showcase Workshop that is open to all majors. The showcase will be held over the weekend of Oct. 19.

Assistant Theatre Professor James Leagre is fully involved in the production and presentation. Leagre said that the purpose of the musical showcase is not to be an attraction for everyone to watch, but more of workshop meant to help students improve and gain confidence when they are auditioning for a production.

The workshop will begin with a version of a callback audition, and each participant will audition for one of the three sections of the musical showcases, singing, monologues and dancing. Leagre said that by inviting the audience to watch, he hopes the students will be motivated to perform their best.   

“I want there to be an accountability from the standpoint of we’re going to invite the public in to watch,” Leagre said.

Leagre also said that he hopes the workshop will generally interest students who attend and spark the interest of other majors that may become more involved with in the theatre department, either as spectators or as majors themselves.

“I think that they [other majors] are… going to get to experience the theatre department,” Leagre said.  “We kind of feel like this may bring some more people in that maybe are too scared to come in because they’re like ‘Oh, the theatre majors.’  But it’s an opportunity to come in and have some fun, and get to know some people and get to know the theatre department. So we’re hoping that we get a couple people that wouldn’t normally come in..”

Several instructors are being brought in from outside of the University of Indianapolis  to help teach the workshop. One of these is a choreographer and professional actress Mary Jayne Waddell. Waddell was recommended to Leagre by a colleague due to her experience as a professional actress.  

“We [Leagre and Waddell] both come with a wealth of experience to hand out to the students that are thinking of pursuing a career in this and really going to give them the truth and the reality of how it goes down when you audition,” Waddell said. “It’s really both of us [Leagre and Waddell] bringing our experience to them and helping them to identify their strengths and to also identify the tools they need to put in their toolbox to become a professional artist or in any aspect of life. Any of these skills can be applied to anything in life.”