Standing Out to Stand-In

So here is an account of my series of rather crazy-amazing events:

I submitted to a post on Casting Networks calling for background extras for a new MTV commercial for the European Music Awards.  Later that evening I received a phone call from the casting agency…

“Are you really 5’10” and blonde?” asked the woman on the phone.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Would you be interested in doing stand-in for the lead?”

“Of course!”

I showed up at the Broadway Stages in Brooklyn at my 9:30am call-time the next morning.  I had no idea what the project was, what exactly a stand-in does, or who I would be working with.  Turns out, I was the only stand-in, not to mention the only actor there for the day because it was more of a set-up/rehearsal for the production crew.  We were in a big gray warehouse where nearly forty crew members were building the actual set which resembled a “backstage” (ie. dressing rooms, lighting fixtures, musical instruments, etc.).

I was introduced to the director, producers, and camera crew who immediately put me to work.  I would stand in a “scene” (ie. dressing room, by piano, etc.) and walk a designated path (straight, curved, diagonal, etc.) towards the camera.  They would shoot these scenes with a small camera in order to set the camera angle(s), walking speed, frame of the picture, and where the background actors would be.  The “plot” is pretty simple – the “crew” (actually background actors) on camera start to mess up (spill coffee, drop a grand piano, etc.) because they are distracted by the star walking past them.

This took much longer than I had expected – we were pre-shooting these scenes “on set” until nearly 6pm (where I was free to leave but the crew had to continue setting up).

I overheard the director say, “We’ve got to keep working.  Heidi’s only here for five hours tomorrow and we can’t waste time working through the shots.”

Heidi.

Heidi…

Heidi Blickenstaff? No, this is MTV, not Broadway.

Heidi Montag? Blonde, yes. But not 5’10”.

….

HEIDI KLUM.

The day of the shoot my call time was 7:00am.  As I walked through the Broadway Stages I passed a dressing room marked “HK.”  Yep, it was true – I would be standing-in for Heidi Klum.

At 7:30 sharp we began walking through the scenes again, now with full lighting and background extras serving as makeup artists, backup dancers, welders, and electricians.  We would shoot a scene 8-10 times, with the director, camera man, and producers each giving me feedback (sometimes conflicting feedback, even) between shots – “Walk a half-a-second slower,” “Speed up along the curve,” “Keep your eyes to camera right.”

When all was “good” the director would call in Heidi from her dressing room and I would sit off to the side of the set while Heidi ran the take once or twice, with thunderous applause thereafter.

“Mary, back in!” the director would call.  Then Heidi would head back to her dressing room and I’d start walking through the next scene.

This went on for a good four and a half hours before we broke for lunch.  As I was gobbling down my chocolate cake for dessert, a production assistant came up to me.

“We want to fit you into Heidi’s dress.”

I literally froze for a second, with a bite of cake in my mouth.  I had forgotten that Heidi Klum had to leave early – it was Fashion Night Out after all.  But I look nothing like Heidi, despite the fact that I’m tall and blonde.  Nonetheless, I threw away my last bit of lunch and headed to the dressing room.

There was the dress – a peachy gold sequined custom-made Vivienne Westwood mini dress.  I was in seventh heaven.  I reached for the hanger and turned to walk to the bathroom.  “No, no,” said the dresser.  “We need you to try it on in here.”

It was literally out of a book: I had to strip down to my skivvies and slowly pull on the teeny-tiny gown all while four “Heidi-people” were watching me, poking me, and prodding me.  I “sucked in” as much as I could while they zipped the dress from behind.  I could feel my face turn pink. It didn’t fit.  No matter how hard I tried, my ribs were too big for the bodice.  I could tell the dressers were frustrated, which only made me feel worse.  They ended up having to pin the dress with giant black paper clips…classy.

Next, a woman helped me try on Heidi’s bronze Jimmy Choo heels because I couldn’t sit down in the dress.  They fit like Cinderella’s glass slipper!

“No, no,” said the same woman as before. “You’re not going to wear the shoes.”

Darn. Instead, though, I ended up wearing my own gold, glittery pumps that I had brought just in case – 10 points for Mary! (But I must admit that I did feel pretty rebellious pairing a couture Vivienne Westwood dress with Payless Shoe Source heels!)

Next stop was hair and makeup.  Hair was surprisingly easy since my hair is the same length and color as Heidi’s- just a quick curl here and there.  Makeup was quite another story.  I must confess that I am not a glamorously tan German supermodel.  I am a pale, freckled little Irish girl.  There was no time for a spray tan, so that meant: foundation.  Foundation and bronzer all over my body – face, neck, arms, legs, you name it! And to make you laugh even harder, the woman reminded me, “This is a couture gown.  Do not get any makeup on it!”  Stress much?  The makeup “gods” completed my look with some dark red stick-on nails and voila! J’étais Heidi Klum!

For the next three hours we did much of the similar thing: walk through shots for timing and camera angles before shooting some final takes.  But these were shots that were not focused on Heidi herself (ie. camera on face of electrician, etc.).  All you really see of me is the side of my leg and hand as I brush past the camera.

Here’s the final clip (that’s ME at :13 and :14!):

I don’t know if there’s a real moral to my story, but maybe there is a little message hiding in there.  See, the week before this gig I’d been pretty down on myself; I would go to audition after audition and felt like I was often cut because of my height.  But when you just stay open and say “yes” to new experiences and opportunities, fate has a way of working out.  Heck, if I didn’t “stand out” at 5’10” I would never have been able to “stand in” as Heidi Klum!  C’est la vie!

Stand-in work is a great way to get your foot in the door if you want to pursue TV/Film work.  Plus, as dancers we’re used to taking lots of direction, which is an important skill for stand-ins.  For “stand-in” casting notices, check out www.castingnetworks.com.  Just think, nearly every TV celebrity and movie star uses a stand-in, why can’t it be you?

Gangnam Style

Not Your Typical Tour
Apassionata, Dance Captain, Stephanie Brooks (Professional Semester Alum.)

“APASSIONATA has been Europe’s most popular live arena shows for
nearly a decade, thrilling more than five million fans across 15 countries with a breathtaking display of the beauty and the bond between horse and rider, man’s strongest and most trusted animal.” – Apassionata.com

Audition
During my final mock audition in BDC’s professional semester, I received representation from McDonalds Selsnicks and Associates (MSA). One of the benefits of having an agent is that sometimes they have closed calls with just their clients, if their choreographer was booked for the job. When MSA sent out the breakdown for a horse show audition, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I was excited when I saw that Lorin Latarro was choreographing; I loved her choreography in The Musical Theatre Performance Project last year. The audition combination had a lot of personality, was technically challenging, and stylistic. After cuts were made, she paired us up for partnering. I was overjoyed when I received the call that I booked the job and even more so when I found out a fellow colleague of mine was going to do it with me. (Go Wildcats!!!!)

Rehearsal
We rehearsed in NYC and learned a lot of material quickly, keeping in mind that a lot would change once we actually got to the arena. Our first stop was Kentucky. Technical rehearsal consisted of long days in the dark cold arena. These rehearsals involve a lot of hurry up and wait, but I found that during the waiting is when you can learn the most if you stay engaged. It was such a privilege to watch Ken Billington (96+ Broadway Shows) do the lighting design and learn from Scott Farris (dir. “Chicago” and “Walking with Dinosaurs”) as he brought together American theater and European Equestrian riders. Lorin Latarro (Currently choreographing “Scandalous” set to hit Broadway this October) pulled from her diverse performance background and allowed us to collaborate on certain parts. It was a very artistically fulfilling process.

Overcoming Obstacles
Dancing in sand, running with flags and fire torches was strenuous on our bodies. For body maintenance, I did some form of Pilates, Yoga, and rolled out my muscles with a tennis ball. We had to be flexible and try to figure out how to adapt the choreography in the sand, and how not to spook the horses or get spooked by them. During rehearsals you could hear Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian, Icelandic, and English being bantered across the gigantic arena. After one of the first runs of the show, the horse choreographer called everyone together and our choreographer jokingly said it looked like a medieval conference. Picture 40+ horses and riders gathered together speaking different languages and four American dancers and a choreographer standing in a giant sand box. It was a surreal experience.

Stepping Up
As Dance Captain, my responsibilities were to run any extra rehearsals, communicate with the production team, maintain the artistic integrity of the choreography and spacing, make sure that the dancers safety and needs were met, and promote team unity. This production was a learning process for all of us. Most of our stage crew came from the rock concert world and we had to share with them certain theater protocols and vice versa. The communication between the tech crew, dancers and riders was extremely important, because the horses weren’t always predicable. We couldn’t depend on entering or exiting on a musical cue and it forced us to be quick on our feet, listen and watch each other. We developed physical and verbal cues and had to go with whatever happened in the moment.

Unique Atmosphere
Some of the perks of this job were that we had amazing caterers who traveled with us, we learned how to ride horses, picked up a little bit of French, Icelandic, and Portuguese, and got to work with and meet incredible people.

Unexpected Close
Due to the financial crisis in Europe, Apassionata’s USA tour came to an end early (It is still running in several countries in Europe). We were given less than 24 hours notice that we were going back to NYC and the rest of the tour was cancelled. Of course, we were sad and it’s always a little unnerving to be without a steady job, but nothing in this business is guaranteed. That’s why it’s important to save when you are doing a show, so that during the slow times you can continue to train and be ready for the next opportunity. I learned a lot from Apassionata and am looking forward to what the future holds.

Movie Review: Step Up 4 Revolution

On July 24th Broadway Dance Center faculty, staff, and program students packed the movie theater for an exclusive preview showing of the new Step Up movie.  The fourth movie of the Step Up enterprise, “Step Up 4 Revolution” takes place in Miami, FL where a group of dancers (“the MOB”) realize that they can organize intricate and creative flashmobs as a means of social change.  The film features cameos from dance notables such as Mia Michaels, Billy Bell, Misha Gabriel, and more.

After doing a little research online, I came across some no-so-great reviews of the film’s predictable plotline.  But Chris Hewitt (The Pioneer Times) sums it up well when he says, “[The] fourth installment hits on the perfect formula: more dance, less talk.”  After all, the film, which is probably 75% dancing, is called “Step Up” rather than “Speak Up.”  Hewitt continues, “Like all the “Step Up” movies, its plot jetes around a bunch of young hoofers trying to get ahead in the dance world.  But it’s set in Miami, so there is less clothing, and it features the most inventive choreography (by Jamal Sims) and staging of any of the four movies.”

“Step Up 4 was a brilliant work on how dancers can change the world…But not alone – we all need towork together.” – Daniel Montera (Professional Semester F’11)

“This was the best Step Up movie yet.  The precise movement and togetherness was astounding.  I loved how it was just “dance.” – Pierce Cady-Penny

Movie Review: “First Position”

After a difficult double-header day of dancing at Broadway Dance Center, the last thing I wanted to do was watch a documentary about exceptionally talented young ballerinas.  Thankfully, my friend convinced me to go with him to see the talk of the (dance) town,  “First Position.”  We trekked over to the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (65th between Broadway and Amsterdam) and paid just $8 for our tickets (unheard of at NYC movie theaters!).  The atmosphere was chic – the theater was very tiny with padded bleacher seating for the 15 or so people in the audience.

But on with the show!  “First Position” follows the journies of eight young ballet dancers as they prepare to compete in the most prestigious international ballet competition, the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP).

  • Aran Bell: (11) son of a US Navy doctor, lives in Italy
  • Gaya Bommer Yemini: (11) daughter of an Israeli choreographer
  • Michaela Deprince: (14) orphan from the horrors of war in Sierra Leone who was adopted by a family in New Jersey
  • Jules Jarvis (JJ) Fogarty: (10) California
  • Miko Fogarty: (12) girl from California who is home-schooled so can spend more time in ballet
  • Jules Jarvis (JJ) Fogarty: (10) Miko’s younger brother who follows in her footsteps but does not share the same passion for ballet as his sister
  • Rebecca Houseknecht: (17) glamorous former-cheerleader from Maryland
  • Joan Sebastian Zamora: (16) left his home and family in Colombia to study ballet in NYC

All of the dancers (ranging in ages 10-17) aspire to win awards, scholarships, and job contracts to companies such as the American Ballet Theater and the Royal Ballet in London. These young kids are brilliant dancers – and the film will give you the motivation to get back in ballet class!

“These performers are so young, so serious, so full of dreams and so hard on themselves that it is difficult not to be moved by their striving.” – Kenneth Turan (LA Times)

“First-time director Kargman triumphs by picking characters who largely defy expectations.” – Mary Pols (TIME)

“Forget that “reality” show about young dancers on the Lifetime channel. First Position, a debut documentary from Bess Kargman, is the real thing.” – Amy Hitt (Washington Post)

Movie Musicals

musical (noun): a stage, television or film production utilizing popular-style songs – dialogue optional – to either tell a story (book musicals) or showcase the talents of the writers and/or performers (revues).

The best musicals have three essential qualities –

Brains – intelligence and style

Heart – genuine and believable emotion

Courage – the guts to do something creative and exciting.

“What is a Musical?” by John Kenrick

The 1930s through the 1960s were considered the “Golden Age” of movie musicals.  With the advancement of film technology, Hollywood brought the thrill of the theater to the big screen complete with well-known songs, elaborate dances, lavish sets, and brilliant stars such as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland. During a time of financial and political instability, movie musicals revived hope and optimism amongst the American public.

  • 42nd Street
  • Swing Time
  • Babes In Arms
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Babes In Toyland
  • Singin’ In The Rain
My favorite movie musical is definitely “Singing in the Rain.” It’s the all time classic musical with fantastic dance routines, costumes and songs. With a mix of comedy and amour, it is the perfect date film. Gene Kelly’s masculine perfection and Debbie Reyonlds’ tough femininity work in perfect sync. You can sing along, cry along and laugh along! – Kayla Janssen (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Annie Get Your Gun
  • The Band Wagon
  • Brigadoon
  • Meet Me In St. Louis
  • The King And I
  • Stormy Weather
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Easter Parade
  • Anything Goes
  • White Christmas
  • Gigi
  • Carousel
  • Pal Joey
  • Oklahoma!
  • South Pacific
  • Damn Yankees
  • The Pajama Game
  • Show Boat
  • An American In Paris
I have many favorites – but I love “An American in Paris!”  – Megan Shuffle (BDC Groups Director)
  • Porgy and Bess
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Top Hat
  • On the Town
  • Guys and Dolls

The 1960s witnessed more direct restagings of Broadway musicals from stage to screen.

  • Mary Poppins
  • Oklahoma!
  • Sweet Charity
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • Kismet
  • Camelot
  • West Side Story
West Side Story… it was one of the first move musicals I ever saw and I remember saying to myself “It is okay to be a guy and dance. They are doing it.” I remember being a kid and anytime I was in a parking garage, I would start doing my version of COOL. I would get some interesting looks. – Ricky Hinds (BDC Theater teacher, Associate Director of “Newsies” on Broadway)
  • The Sound of Music
  • My Fair Lady
  • Funny Girl
  • The Music Man
  • Gypsy
  • Hello Dolly
  • Bye Bye Birdie
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie
I love “Thoroughly Modern Millie!”  It is the most unappreciated, underrated movie musical of all time!  It’s hilarious, quirky, and inspiring with a dynamite cast of Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Channing, and James Fox. – Becky Stout (BDC student)
  • Oliver
  • How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

The 1970s movie musicals, however, were not the joyous and idyllic films of the Golden Age.  Rather, filmmakers focused on rock n’ roll and stark realism that was influenced by the hippie movement, the Vietnam and Cold Wars, and American individualism.

  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Grease
Grease! I’ve watched that movie so many times! The music is catchy, and stays in your head. The dancing is energetic and vibrant! Just a great movie! – Nikki Croker (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
  • Godspell
  • Fiddler On The Roof
  • Hair
  • Cabaret
  • All That Jazz
I love “All That Jazz.”  It’s essentially a sort of autobiography of Bob Fosse and the dancing just can’t be beat.  The story is so raw and real – it really illustrates the up’s and down’s of “showbusiness.” – Mary Callahan (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Mame
  • Tommy
  • The Wiz

The 1980s/1990s attempted to boost the movie musical genre with the generous help of financial backers.

  • Xanadu
  • Annie
  • Victor, Victoria
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  • Fame
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Evita
  • Flashdance
  • Dirty Dancing
  • A Chorus Line

The Disney animated-musicals also thrived during the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Pocahontas
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Aladdin
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Lion King
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

Since 2000, movie musicals have continued to rise in popularity, with stage to screen adaptations, remakes, animated films, and brand new shows busting out all over.

  • Rock of Ages
“Rock of Ages!” – because I am obsessed with their styling/outfits and the music… I love the 80s and that was my all time favorite musical to watch!  Plus Russell Brand is in it…which basically sells it! – Kimberly Hamilton (Professional Semester F’11)
  • Hairspray
“Hairspray” was first a movie, then a musical, then a movie again!  It’s the quintessential movie musical! I love the magnetic energy of the film.  The story line is fun with such a wonderful underlying theme.  I want to jump up and “pony” every time I watch the movie…and I do!- Lizz Picini (BDC Assistant Groups Director)
  • Footloose
  • Les Miserables
  • RENT
  • Fame
  • Dreamgirls
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Chicago
“Chicago!”  Everything about the movie is just brilliant.  It is so different from the stage version, yet so good in its own way.  The lighting, costumes, camera movement, and cast are amazing! – Molly Day (Professional Semester S’12)
  • Moulin Rouge

“Moulin Rouge” is my all-time favorite movie musical. The combination of genius cinematography, a fatally twisted love story with demonic undertones, and a new spin on songs we know and love make it a “Spectacular, Spectacular” film. – Carie Jurcak (BDC Educational Programs Student Advisor)

  • Enchanted
  • Phantom of the Opera
My favorite modern musical is “Phantom” because it really communicates the depth behind each of the characters’ emotions and motives.  And the cinematography is gorgeous! – Lily Lewis (Summer Intern ’12)
  • Fame
  • The Producers
  • Sweeney Todd
I liked Sweeney Todd! Music was incredible. I could tell they really took it seriously. Orchestrations are PRICELESS. – Michael Petrowski (ISVP ’11)
  • Across the Universe
  • Burlesque
  • Sparkle
  • High School Musical

While Broadway will always remain the pinnacle of live musical theater, film has brought the joy of the theater to audiences all over the world.

Here are the TOP 10 movie musicals of all time!

  1. Singin’ in the Rain
  2. The Wizard of Oz
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. The Music Man
  5. West Side Story
  6. My Fair Lady
  7. Cabaret
  8. Meet Me in St. Louis
  9. The King and I
  10. An American in Paris

66th Annual Tony Awards

Last Friday night was the the 66th annual Tony Awards, the brightest night of the year for the Broadway theater community.  You probably already know that “Once” took the top awards of “Best Musical” and “Best Leading Actor.”  5-time Tony winner, Audra McDonald snagged “Best Leading Actress in a Musical.”  And the high-energy, tumbling tricks of “Newsies” was a shoe-in for “Best Choreography.”  But what determines “best” choreography?  Theater critic, Alastair Macaulay, writes “There is no single method for choreography to succeed in a musical: It may be a source of isolated highlights or a unifying thread.”  The competition is also an important factor in determining the year’s winner.  For example, Michael Bennett’s “A Chorus Line” beat out Bob’s Fosse’s “Chicago” back in 1976.  Some of the most renowned “dance musicals” didn’t even win “Best Choreography” (“White Christmas,” “Hairspray,” and “Come Fly Away”).   Here’s a brief list of the past Tony winners for “Best Choreography.”

1947 – Agnes de Mille (Brigadoon) & Michael Kidd (Finian’s Rainbow)

1948 – Jerome Robbins (High Button Shoes)

1949 – Grover Champion (Lend an Ear)

1950 – Helen Tamiris (Touch and Go)

1951 – Michael Kidd (Guys and Dolls)

1952 – Robert Alton (Pal Joey)

1953 – Donald Saddler (Wonderful Town)

1954 – Michael Kidd (Can-Can)

1955 – Bob Fosse (The Pajama Game)

1956 – Bob Fosse (Damn Yankees)

1957 – Michael Kidd (Li’l Abner)

1958 – Jerome Robbins (West Side Story)

1959 – Bob Fosse (Redhead)

1960 – Michael Kidd (Destry Rides Again)

1961 – Gower Champion (Bye Bye Birdie)

1962 – Joe Layton (No Strings)

1963 – Bob Fosse (Little Me)

1964 – Gower Champion (Hello Dolly!)

1965 – Jerome Robbins (Fiddler on the Roof)

1966 – Bob Fosse (Sweet Charity)

1967 – Ron Field (Cabaret)

1968 – Gower Champion (The Happy Time)

1969 – Joe Layton (George M!)

1970 – Ron Field (Applause)

1971 – Donald Saddler (No, No, Nanette)

1972 – Michael Bennett (Follies)

1973 – Bob Fosse (Pippin)

1974 – Michael Bennett (Seesaw)

1975 – George Faison (The Wiz)

1976 – Michael Bennett & Bob Avian (A Chorus Line)

1977 – Peter Gennaro (Annie)

1978 – Bob Fosse (Dancin’)

1979 – Michael Bennett & Bob Avian (Ballroom)

1980 – Tommy Tune & Thommie Walsh (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine)

1981 – Gower Champion (42nd Street)

1982 – Michael Bennett & Michael Peters (Dreamgirls)

1983 – Tommy Tune & Thommie Walsh (My One and Only)

1984 – Danny Daniels (The Tap Dance Kid)

1986 – Bob Fosse (Big Deal)

1987 – Gillian Gregory (Me and My Girl)

1988 – Michael Smuin (Anything Goes)

1989 – Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, Frankie Manning, & Rayard Nicholas (Black and Blue)

1990 – Tommy Tune (Grand Hotel)

1991 – Tommy Tune (The Will Rogers Follies)

1992 – Susan Stroman (Crazy for You)

1993 – Wayne Cilento (The Who’s Tommy)

1994 – Kenneth MacMillan (Carousel)

1995 – Susan Stroman (Show Boat)

1996 – Savion Glover (Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk)

1997 – ann Reinking (Chicago0

1998 – Garth Fagan (The Lion King)

1999 – Matthew Bourne (Swan Lake)

2000 – Susan Stroman (Contact)

2001 – Susan Stroman (The Producers)

2002 – Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie)

2003 – Twyla Tharp (Movin’ Out)

2004 – Kathleen Marshall (Wonderful Town)

2005 – Jerry Mitchell (La Cage aux Folles)

2006 – Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game)

2007 – Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening)

2008 – Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights)

2009 – Peter Darling (Billy Elliot the Musical)

2010 – Bill T. Jones (Fela!)

2011 – Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes)

2012 – Christopher Gattelli (Newsies)

Check out this New York Times article: Judging Tony Nominees by Their Dance Numbers

and 5, 6, 7, 8, SMASH!

Last night marked the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the premiere of NBC’s making-of-a-musical series, the “Great White Way of Hope” (LA Times) SMASH. Choreographed by Broadway Dance Center’s very own Josh Bergasse and starring many BDC dancers (did you spot Ricky Tripp in the baseball number?), the show boasts stars like Debra Messing (“Will and Grace”), Angelica Huston (“The Addams Family,” “Ever After”), Megan Hilton (“Wicked, the musical”) and Katherine McPhee(“American Idol”). The much-anticipated series which was honored in 2011 Critic’s Choice Awards as one of the “Most Exciting New Series,” accounts the making of a new Broadway musical about the life and legacy of Marilyn Monroe and shows that most of the “drama” occurs off stage, behind the scenes.

We hosted some pretty SMASH-ing events yesterday in honor of the show’s premiere. Kiira Schmidt, assistant to Josh Bergasse, taught a SMASH-inspired theater master class.

“The SMASH class was a blast; it was a privilege to not only work with someone soheavily involved in this new series, but to also get an inside look at the authentic choreography and put it on our own bodies.” – Lizz Picini (BDC student)

And at 10pm, BDC students and staff rushed to studio 4 to watch SMASH on a big-screen projector while munching on popcorn. The events were sponsored byLaDuca Shoes who gave away free dance shoe bags and even raffled off a pair of their beautiful character heels (also adorned by the dancers on SMASH)!

True story! While shopping for snacks at Food Emporium for our own SMASH premiere party, Emily Bass (Marketing/Events Coordinator @ BDC) ran into Katherine McPhee (star of SMASH) at the checkout line! McPhee obviously would have stopped by our BDC SMASH Extravaganza but she was planning for her own casual get-together with a few of her friends.

The baseball routine, “The National Pastime,” seemed to jump off the screen with its innovative choreography, clever humor, and talented performers. Keep your eye out for many other BDC-goers dancing in upcoming episodes!

“We have great dancers, very quick, very smart, very athletic. The music’s great – I saw my choreography have an entirely new life.” – Joshua Bergasse

So what are critics saying about SMASH? Take a look!

“The show seems to have a lot of promise, and the musical numbers dazzled.” –The Wall Street Journal

“Glee for grown-ups” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Quite the little sunbeam…endearing characters, an instinct for backstage meows and a firm grip on its own sense of camp control.” – The Washington Post

But we want to know what YOU thought! Share your opinion of the SMASH pilot by commenting on this post!