Part of the excitement of the Two Planks’ summer experience for our older Workshop students is the opportunity for aspiring actors to learn from seasoned professionals, whether part of our program staff or outside industry professionals who visit to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with TPTC workshop participants. We strive to give local aspiring performers exposure to seasoned professionals who have achieved some of the goals our students are working towards…
SOME OF OUR PAST PRESENTERS
Shannon Durig has joined us during Summer Workshop. Shannon is best known for starring as Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway production of Hairspray… the longest stint for any actress in the role, where she played for over 1000 performances! She has also had success in many other areas of the entertainment industry, having appeared in recurring roles on television on The Disney Channel and working as a dancer, singer, voice over artist, choreographer, dance competition judge, and as a passionate and inspirational teacher. Shannon always shares with aspiring actors the reality of the dedication and commitment it takes to make it on Broadway and in Hollywood. “I knew early on what I was destined to do and nothing was going to stop me. Heartbreak only made me stronger. It made me work harder than ever to prove myself.” she said. “Body image was, and is such a huge factor in society, especially in the entertainment industry. I want young girls to value themselves and know that what’s on the inside matters more than what is on the outside. The only thing that can truly hold you back is yourself. Take me for example, I’m living my dream, forget the critics.”
We have also been joined by the children cast of the Broadway musical Matilda! The kids joined us to share their experiences, let our Workshop participants know what it was like to be a kid and work on Broadway, how they worked full time and still went to school too, what it was like going to a professional casting call, what it felt like to actually be cast in a real Broadway show, and lots more. It was such a great time for our Workshop participants to be able to run through numbers alongside working actors their own age… and to see how a dream can sometimes become a reality! Plus, we got a special treat as the Matilda kids performed a few numbers from the show for us in our own, private setting!
Randye Kaye has worked in New York, Los Angeles, and toured throughout the country as a professional actress, is an internationally acclaimed voice over artist who has worked with industry leaders, clients, and producers, and has been an on-air radio personality with NPR’s WSHU ever since 1990, as well as with Star 99.9 from 1990 to 2005. Her love of performing began in summer camp herself, where sports seemed like torture and the “drama building” was a magical place. Since becoming a wife and parent, Randye has kept her career choices closer to home in Connecticut and NYC. Radio personality, theatre actress/singer, voice talent and coach, film/TV, Cabaret performer, professional MC… and has appeared in a number of Two Planks shows, including Chicago, DeathTrap, and this spring’s Lost in Yonkers.
WHO’S COMING NEXT???
Every year we look for exciting, new visitors to join us and share their experiences with our Workshop students. And starting in 2017, we’re going to be adding even more visitors to our day to give greater variety and insight to our program participants. Here’s a sample of who will be joining us in 2017. With more coming soon!
Think nobody has ever come from our own town and made it on Broadway? Stacie Lewis grew up right here in Monroe, working with members of Two Planks during her youth, and going through the Monroe school district. She went on to a professional acting career, most recently on Broadway in the critically acclaimed revival of Sunday in the Park With George. She also played Glinda in the Broadway and Chicago productions of Wicked, and on Broadway has been in Urinetown and Titanic, as well as national tours of Titanic, and South Pacific (among many others). She is currently writing a one-woman show and a children’s album.
Kevin R. Free is a prolific actor, director, playwright, and producer who lives in New York City. He has appeared in shows such as The Fantasticks, Music Man, Once on this Island, is a multi-award-winning narrator of audio books, and is featured in the cult podcast Welcome to Night Vale. He has also been the Education Director of Queens Theater in the Park, which created and administered programs in schools throughout Queens and Brooklyn. But perhaps Kevin’s biggest success and greatest claim to fame is that he introduced Two Planks’ ED and set guru—Brooke—and best-est sound board operator—Kim—to each other in college!
Who says you can’t make it as a performer from small town USA? Yes, we have not one, but two featured Master Class artists returning to their home town, having grown up in Monroe before moving off to make their fame and fortune in the wide word. Matt Densky is a New York-based actor who has performed across the country, including the Madison Square Garden and National Tour productions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and regional productions of Grease, Rock of Ages, Man of La Mancha and more. He is also the creator of Matt’s Material Makeover, a speciality audition book-building service.
Stay tuned for more info all the time!!!