Broadway Pros Named Co-Chairs of Westinghouse Arts Acadmeny’s Musical Theater Department
Like a lot of things, it doesn’t matter who you know. And at Westinghouse Academy of the Arts Charter School – a tuition-free public art school near Pittsburgh – professors Lindsey Carothers and Jarrett Reiche know everyone. Reiche works for the legendary Binder Casting – which played the original 1999 Broadway production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”.
The students at Westinghouse who were working on their own production of “Charlie Brown” were going to have a huge surprise. Suddenly everyone stopped and a giant TV was put on stage. Students went from bewilderment to amazement within seconds when a Zoom call with Broadway Legends Anthony rapp (Original “Charlie Brown” 1999 Bway Revival) and Ilana Levine (Original “Lucy” 1999 Bway Revival) has started.
“We turned on the TV and the kids went crazy,” says Reiche. “There was a notification that Anthony rapp was on. He is on “Star Trek” on television and created Roger in “Rent”. The students just grabbed hold and started screaming. They were panicking. “
Rapp and Levine got to talk about the origin of these pieces with students at Westinghouse Arts and their own personal journeys through the lives of these characters. Of all the productions in the world of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”, no one else in the world has had this kind of first person preview to audition, get the part, and tell a story too. beautifully simple every night.
Westinghouse Arts Academy Theater the students are also working on the northeast premiere of “Gavroche”, a pop-rock musical prequel to “Les Misérables” written by Bonnie gleicher – told from the point of view of adolescents in Victor Hugofamous book.
“We thought it would be an amazing opportunity for the students to learn what it is like to create a new musical, to create their own interpretation of the characters and to take notes from the composer herself,” said declared Reiche. “Working on a new show presents different challenges than an existing musical, and we want students to experience building something new.”
“Our students are starting to create a role – it’s not something you can do unless you’re in New York,” says Westinghouse teacher Lindsey Brett Carothers, who has extensive Broadway experience, performing in shows like “Bring it On: The Musical” and “Wicked”.
Another bonus for the Westinghouse students was a visit from Sarah Cooney, a famous New York casting director who has worked on numerous Broadway shows as well as the movie “The Big Sick”.
“She graciously volunteered her time to work with our students because she is a colleague of mine and a dear friend,” said Reiche. “We do everything we can to provide as many amazing opportunities as possible for these students. Sarah worked with the students and gave them industry insight on how to stand out in an audition when you’re not. you only have a minute or so to make a good impression. “
“We plan to bring more experiences like this to students at Westinghouse, giving them direct access to members of the Broadway industry,” Carothers adds.
For more information visit westinghousearts.org.