Emilee Hassanzadeh from Bloomington Jefferson and Karl Amundson from Minnetonka High School were this year’s award-winning SpotLight Musical Theatre Program students selected as Triple Threat honorees for excellence in not only singing, dancing and acting, but also for being leaders within their community and role models for their peers. They were chosen following a portfolio submission, live audition and SpotLight Showcase performance with their fellow Top 12 finalists. Courtesy of the Trust, Emilee and Karl traveled to New York to receive acting and vocal coaching, take dance classes, meet with industry professionals and see Broadway shows. Check out what they had to say about their experiences!
Emilee about Cinderella and the post-show meet & greets: (Darren Criss) gave us some really good advice. He was awesome! And then we met Prince Charming-Santino Fontana. We freaked out when we were told that we were going to be meeting with him!
It was really special to talk to them—we were standing right on the Cinderella stage where we were watching all the magic just minutes before. It was so cool. I did my first show with Laura and I was in awe of her then and was in awe of her tonight. It was a really great first night!
Karl about working with Santino Fontana: Not only is he an amazing performer and really nice guy, he also gave us some really great insight about being an artist.
Karl on getting coached by Jonathan Reid Gealt: We dissected songs and went over how we could capture the attitude and emotions in a song. He also helped us get rid of our annoying habits. It was super constructive!
Emilee on working with Bryan Perri: This was definitely one of the highlights of our week. We worked on a lot of technique and afterwards he gave us a backstage tour!
Telsey + CO, founded in 1988, is an award-winning organization of casting professionals in New York City with local, regional, national and international clientele. They are responsible for the casting of award winning musicals, movies, commercials and events.
Karl about auditioning at Telsey: We met with one of their representatives and he talked to us about the business, watched us audition and gave us advice. We met with such a great variety of people.
On seeing Pippin:
Karl: I could say Pippin was the best show I’ve ever seen!
Emilee: Ditto. There’s about a hundred things to watch—you don’t even know where to look!
Karl: And then we got to meet members of the cast afterwards and take pictures with them…
Emilee: Patina Miller! She was so fierce!
Emilee about taking a class at Broadway Dance Center: They were super fun! We did a musical number to Under the Sea from Little Mermaid. There were such talented dancers there and it was really cool to be amongst them.
The Wrap Up
Emilee: Unforgettable. This was definitely the trip of a lifetime. I’m so grateful to everyone that brought us here. We learned so much. One really important thing that everyone kept telling us is that you have to find joy in this throughout the entire process of theatre.
Karl: The trip was amazing! We got lots of great coaching, got to be in one of the greatest cities in the world, got to see amazing shows and have a blast! One of the best trips of my life!
The SpotLight Musical Theatre Program honors and supports Minnesota high school musical theatre students, programs and their communities. Registration for the 2013-2014 year will be open September 1-October 1. To find out more about how you can become involved please visit us online.