Hamilton actor leads Masterclass for musical theatre students
The return of live stage performances brings students Masterclass learning experiences.
For musical theatre students, having the hit Broadway musical Hamilton running in Vancouver this month is a chance to focus their aspirations and see what hard work can lead to. It also delivered the opportunity for Capilano University to offer a Masterclass for students to learn directly from one of the show’s lead actors.
Earlier this week, a group of students were invited to attend an intimate learning session with Charlotte Mary Wen, a swing actor who understudies all the lead female roles in Hamilton and steps in to play any of the roles for different performances.
Six students performed a song from a musical and received individual critiques and feedback from Wen to further develop and improve their skills.
“It was so exciting and so beneficial for the students to hear directly from a professional,” said Gillian Barber, theatre instructor in the School of Performing Arts. “Having a professional spend time and give feedback on the student’s performance is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It offers real-life training that they do not get every day.”
Both the students who performed and students in the audience gained invaluable insight from Wen, according to Barber.
Musical Theatre student Troy Banks performs and receives feedback from Charlotte Mary Wen. Photo by: www.maxinebulloch.com
“The masterclass experience was a dream!” said Troy Banks, a first year Musical Theatre diploma student. “Charlotte Mary Wen was such an incredible person to work with! I instantly felt comfortable working with her and was able to give my all in my performance. Every note she gave to me, and my fellow performers, has stuck with me. Even though I only got to work with her for 15 minutes, she has helped me improve as a performer,” said Banks.
The sentiment was echoed by fellow first-year Musical Theatre diploma student Ava Stark.
“Charlotte’s experience and knowledge of the industry gave me insight and information that will help me further pursue my career and my dreams,” said Stark.
Student Ava Stark performs for Charlotte Mary Wen. Photo by www.maxinebulloch.com
Wen encouraged students not to be discouraged if they hear “no” in an audition. “A ‘no’ isn’t always a definite ‘no’; a ‘no’ can lead to a ‘yes’ in the future,” she said. Her own life story offered students the inspiration to stick with it through hard times and pursue their dreams.
This is the first time CapU has offered a Masterclass for Musical Theatre students, but it is an experience the University hopes to bring back annually for students with the post-pandemic return of live performances in Vancouver.
The Broadway musical Hamilton is showing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver May 24 –June 19.
More information about CapU’s Musical Theatre diploma program.
Submitted by: Communications