Broadway: Theater major shares experience in New York, attending performances and meeting actors

Kristen Halsey

The week before spring break, I had the opportunity to go on a field studies trip to New York City. This trip is offered every two years and led by Paul Truckey, a faculty member in the theater department.

Theater majors are required to go on the trip to graduate but it is open to the community and other interested NMU students.

Each participant pays a fee that covers the hotel, different workshops to meet people involved in theater and the ticket prices to see Broadway shows throughout the week.

While having the opportunity to meet with various people involved in the world of theater, the most memorable for me was meeting actors Joel Grey and Sutton Foster.

I can only talk about the experience of seeing three Broadway shows because of illness but the people on the trip saw four total.

The first show that we saw was “Anything Goes.” This was an upbeat musical with lots of recognizable songs, such as “De-Lovely,” “Anything Goes” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.”

The energy it took to do that show from every actor is beyond anything I could imagine. At one point during the song “Anything Goes,” there was a four-minute tap number that took my breath away.

I came out of that show wanting to sing down Times Square and dance my way back to our hotel.

Every show that I watched kept my attention, but I had different reactions to each one.

“Porgy and Bess” was another play we saw. This show had me a little bored in the beginning.

To the actors’ credit, the music in that show is very operatic and I was in awe of their singing ability in the entire time. Not only did they have to carry all the intense emotion for it but they had to have a great set of lungs to back up the musical requirements for this show.

The part that had me hooked was in the second act, when there was an intense and emotional rape scene between the character Bess and her ex-lover, Crown.

That moment had me in tears and sitting in my seat feeling helpless. I cannot imagine being that actor having to do that scene night after night.

To see the talent that graces those stages and really getting to witness their hard work gives me inspiration to continue doing what I aspire to do and become an actor.

The last show on our trip was the show “War Horse,” the only straight play that was on our list of shows. This show blew me away the most.

First, the technical aspects alone are beyond anything I have seen before in a play.

There was the puppetry that was so realistic that I could ignore the fact that people were operating it. The structures of the puppets were unbelievable. The puppet used for Joey when he is grown was sturdy enough for the actor to ride.

Another technical element was the use of music with the actions. It was almost like watching a movie, but better because it was all happening right before my eyes and I was engaged from the first moment.

I would say the movie does not hold a candle to the staged play.

I found myself to be the most involved with this show and did not want to be interrupted by an intermission. I just wanted to see the full show from beginning to end.

The amount of talent that each actor had in every play was beyond anything I can imagine.

I think that even the most reluctant person will fall in love once they see a real Broadway show.