Students to present evening of musical theatre

Hesston College Music Theatre Workshop students work with Danika Bielik (front), dance instructor at Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts (Newton, Kan.) on choreography for their upcoming performance.

Students in Hesston College’s Music Theatre Workshop class will present an evening of showtunes and musical scenes at 7:30 p.m. March 1 in the Northlawn Studio Theatre on the Hesston College campus. The performance is free and open to the public.

The evening program will feature scenes from “Rent,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Secret Garden,” “Seussical the Musical,” “Carousel,” “Me and Juliet” and “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” and is the culminating event for the nine students enrolled in the eight-week course. The show has a running time of about 90 minutes. Accompaniment will be provided by collaborative pianist and Hesston College music faculty member Ken Rodgers.

The course is an opportunity for students to learn the fundamentals of a singing actor and lay a foundation to pursue musical theatre in their future education or careers. They also create resumes, take professional headshots and learn how to audition. Wayne Bryan, producing artistic director of Music Theatre of Wichita, visited the class Feb. 9 as a guest lecturer to offer audition tips and help students become familiar with the process through mock auditions.

“I think of this course as a kind of music theatre bootcamp,” said Matthew Schloneger, Hesston College music faculty member and one of the course instructors. “Students learn the basics for success in musical theatre whether they choose to pursue it further in college settings, community theatre or professionally.”

Hesston College presents a full-length musical every other spring semester, and offers the class during the off year to give students interested in musical theatre more opportunity to hone their skills.

“People interested in musical theatre need to be a triple threat with acting, singing and dancing,” said Schloneger. “The class teaches the fundamentals of all three.”

Schloneger and his colleagues offer a triple threat in instruction as well. Schloneger, who is a classically trained vocalist and active performer in opera and oratorio, offers professional voice training for students. Students take private voice lessons with Schloneger throughout the eight weeks, focusing primarily on the music theatre singing style. Laura Kraybill, Hesston’s theatre instructor and director, has a master’s degree in theatre education and helps develop students’ acting abilities. Danika Bielek, a dance instructor at Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts (Newton, Kan.) served as a guest dance instructor, teaching basic dance moves and choreographing the scenes for the performance.

Students in the class are sophomores Robert Howell of Newton, Kan., Kaedi LeFevre of Hesston, Kan., Melody Marshall of Grottoes, Va., Libby Waltner of Hurley, S.D., and freshmen Deni Brummer of Hutchinson, Kan., Broxton Busenitz of North Newton, Kan., Emerencia Dudas of Toledo, Ohio, Emmali Lapp of Hesston, Kan., and Cameron Ponce of Elkhart, Ind.