Musical Theatre program takes to the summer stage

Adela Talbot//Western News

Jackalyn Short, a Don Wright Faculty of Music professor is the co-artistic director of Musical Theatre on the Thames, a community-based program that will provide a one-of-a-kind professional and artistic experience in musical theatre.

Calling all Glee geeks and Fame fanatics, musical theatre takes to the Western stage this summer.

Presented in collaboration with Western, Musical Theatre on the Thames is a community-based program that will provide a one-of-a-kind professional and artistic experience in musical theatre. The program begins July 6.

“It’s just extra training,” said Jackalyn Short, a Don Wright Faculty of Music professor and co-artistic director of the program. “You’re never ready when you finish your degree. You’re always going and having to prove yourself, and pay your dues and do an internship. We’re trying to fill that niche.”

While classical musicians have countless opportunities, there aren’t any equivalent summer programs available for musical theatre, Short said.

“When you’re in school you’re learning theory and history and everything that goes along with your chosen craft,” she said. “And this is basically just about the craft.”

Short will be working with fellow co-artistic director – and family member – Amelia Pipher Cane. The mother-daughter team will be bringing in renowned specialists from Canada and the United States to coach the students.

Musical Theatre on the Thames features intense one-on-one training and focus more on vocals than dance for this year’s production, Short said.

The program will keep its students incredibly busy, occupying six days a week for three weeks in July, culminating in a performance of the Broadway musical Little Women during the week of July 20.

From yoga and dance to singing and acting lessons, students will be able to train their inner passion to its limits.

“At the end of it, you really know what you can do,” Short said.

Taking place at Western’s Don Wright Faculty of Music, students will have plenty of rooms to rehearse, practice, and perform.

The program isn’t exclusive to Western students – or university students at all. It is open to anyone age 18-30 who is interested to auditioning.

“Someone who’s just graduated and been out of the business for two years thinks, ‘Oh my god, I really want to get back in to it, but I haven’t had a voice lesson in two years, and I don’t know what I’m doing. But I’m going to do it.’”

Short welcomes anyone from any background. “What excites me is when I see an application come in, and I have no idea who they are.”

Musical Theatre on the Thames will feature two concurrent sessions: one, a two-week session and the other, and a three-week session. The difference is the three-week session will feature four full-show performances.

Auditions take place at the end of February. Applications can be submitted online at mtot.ca. Live auditions will be held in London and Toronto. The program also accepts distance auditions via email.