Tuesday 3/5 was a busy day for the New York Project week group. In the morning we met with Propmaster Allyssa Dillon. In the afternoon we explored Times Square, Rockafeller Center, 5th Avenue and other iconic New York spots. In the evening we met Jeff Metzler, a broadway actor. He answered questions about how to get into the business and what it is like working in the business. In the evening we attended a performance of the musical Newsies. Here are our individual reflections from the day...
Newsies was one of the best musicals I ever saw. I really enjoyed the music of this Disney show!
I really enjoyed Newsies because of the technical aspects of the show. I thought the changing of the set was amazing. I also enjoyed walking around Times Square.
Yesterday we were fortunate enough to meet a real star who had been in multiple broadway shows before - Jeff Metzler. Although Mr. Metzler had a tremendous amount of success before, he still stayed humble and approachable. He kindly shared two secrets about "making it in NY". They are, one, to be kind to everyone, and two, to make connections. He was absolutely a joy to talk to and I love the fabulous experience communicating with him.
Today we met Allyssa and Jeff. I thought it was really cool to see how their different personalities "fit" their different careers. Allyssa was quiet and calm in her presentation to us, which seemed much like her "behind the scenes" job. Jeff was very animated and emotional in his talk with us, which made it apparent that he is an actor.
It was really interesting to meet Jeff because he has performed in theater and film. I asked him a question about whether or not there are differences between film and theater acting. He said "yes". For him, he enjoys performing on stage better because you are acting in front of an audience and the audience gives you energy. In front of a camera you don't get that energy. Yesterday was my first broadway show. It was really exciting because it was something new for me, and I was really shocked at all they do (dance, sing, perform, etc.)
Mr. Metzler said something that really stuck out to me..."Tonight is someones first broadway show, and tonight is someones last broadway show, so [as a performer] you have to always make it great." I thought this was cool because you should always give it your all because it is a new experience for someone every night, even though as a performer you have done the same show over and over again.
It is prevalent that making it in NY is all about the connections you have and how you act around those connections. Every person we have talked to, including our waiter at the Stardust Diner, said that it is all about who you know. Also, Charlie, Jeff, and Allyssa all mentioned that not only do you need the connections, but you have to be nice; people want to work with nice people.
To be honest, this is an extremely hard field to succeed in. You have to work very hard everyday to achieve success in this field. You have to be amazing at acting, dancing and singing; remember, you can lose an audition to someone who is better than you in some little manner. Likewise, connections and your representation are extremely important in this field. You have to be polite, kind and friendly. "You see, people enjoy working with people whom they like and people whom they know" (Jeff Metzler). Jeff, Mrs. Martinez's brother, briefly explained to us some tips to make it in the business.
So far, I have learned that talent comes in all ages, and in order to make it to NY, you must make a good impression and discover connections.
I learned about the impact of a career in the performing arts. I learned that a career in the performing arts helps to take the audience away from real life for a couple hours and entertain them. I find it interesting how everyone we met said the most important things were making connections, being nice and taking risks in order to make it in NY.
I saw my first broadway show yesterday. Newsies kept me on the edge of my seat the whole show. It was excellent. I was impressed by the lights, the props and the actors.
I am enjoying having discussions with the students about their reactions to the people we are meeting and the experiences we are having. I think the students are really enjoying themselves and are pleasantly surprised with what they are learning. They have appreciated the opportunities to meet people from the business. They have been impressed by the honesty of the artists we have met and have been grateful for the advise each artist has given. Something that stuck with me so far was something Jeff Metzler said. He talked about the importance of his work. He explained that at times he has been in the wings of the theater about to go on thinking to himself "Why am I doing this right now?" "This seems so silly." The times he has thought this have been when he has had a death in the family or something tragic in the world is going on. The answers to his reflections are exactly what Starr reflected on above... Jeff stated that the arts are so important because they let real people (meaning the audience) escape the hardships of real life, even if only for a couple hours.