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Condit: Pressure, Preparation, and Positivity as Ingredients for Success

Friday, July 10, 2015


The Hanover Theatre’s Youth Summer Program (YSP) kicked off its first session earlier this week, with just over 40 students auditioning for their role in Fiddler on the Roof July 24-25. The talent and expertise that it takes to successfully audition, cast, learn and then perform the variety of songs and dances is remarkable. The fact that it’s pulled together as part of a three week program is incredible.

Then you talk to the directors and assistants involved, and you start to understand how it is indeed possible. The education director’s motivational style, reputation and past results with both The Hanover Theatre’s YSP and Grafton High School theatre department’s productions make Meghan Patrick a highly esteemed theatre educator. Her team also includes Jennifer Agbay (director of Ballet Arts Worcester), and Kallin Johnson (music director at Notre Dame Academy). Kelly Rourke is returning for her third year as a dance assistant, after going through the program and performing in The Nutcracker for many years. The students also have the opportunity to work with Philippe L’Esperance, who just earned his bachelor’s degree from The Hartt School of Music and Vocal Performance and is pursuing his master’s at Manhattan School of Music.

In addition to learning proper and advanced technique in a variety of musical theatre disciplines, participants benefit from interactions with the directors and assistants. When asked what tips Philippe gives about how to succeed in this field, his words apply to every type of work and industry. “Always stay positive because if you get negative, you’re never going to get anywhere in this business. You need to stay on your toes. Always work hard because there’s always going to be someone out there who is just as good as you and that is working hard. That work ethic and that drive is going to get you where you want to go in this business,” he advises.

According to cast members, the participants in YSP embody these principals. Participants are supportive, positive, fun, hard-working, and there is an overwhelming relief that theatre-loving teens have a way to connect and learn from each other. It’s common for relationships to develop and continue throughout the year. First-timers feel the connection too, as Dan Murphy attests.

Everyone feels the pressure for everything to come together in just three weeks of intensive workshops, rehearsals and lots of practice. It’s a big undertaking, but the students love it, and find themselves running their lines and practicing choreography and vocal arrangements during off hours. If you’re looking for a fun way to introduce some younger audiences to live theatre, love Fiddler on the Roof, or want to see what tomorrow’s stars of the stage are doing now, then check out YSP’s production of this nine-time Tony Award-winning musical. It is rich with humor, tradition, and cultural details that will alternately make you laugh and cry. Full price tickets are just $12 and available online or at the box office.

Tune into WCRN AM830 this Saturday from 1-2pm to hear “Behind the Scenes” interviews and we’ll see you at the theatre!


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