Musical theatre senior Maddie Jayne Austin developed a senior capstone project that includes an agency showcase opportunity for her and her peers in New York City this January. A total of 11 seniors and five juniors will participate: Brady Hosmer, Brandon Szep, Hannah Bridger, Mallory McKinney, Mckenna Rose Varner, Samantha Riggs, Emily Weaver, Grayson Johns, Rachel Harris, Sadie Sue Long, Anna Kate Hindman, Charlotte Godat, Meredith Warren, Sofia Rosso Benitez and Trevor Miller. Assistant musical theatre professor Chelsea Nicholson will also accompany the group to New York.
Austin partnered with a New York-based company The Growing Studio that hosts showcases for promising theatre professionals. She enlisted the help of guest director Jim Wood, but she has managed the details as the producer, stage manager, dramaturg, assistant director and more. Sophomore musical theatre major Alexandria Brandsetter is the assistant company manager and has helped run rehearsals and take notes for all the actors.
The showcase will take place January 13 at 2 p.m. and allow each senior three minutes to perform. Four invited agents will attend the showcase and then meet with the students to provide feedback and interviews. The following two days will consist of four different workshops: auditioning, voice over, acting on camera and commercial auditioning. Both seniors and juniors will participate in these workshops which will be hosted by some of the “hottest industry professionals,” said Austin.
The seniors are well-prepared according to Austin, “With the help of our guest director Jim Wood, our actors have made leaps and bounds of personal progress and are in outstanding places with their material. I am so proud of the work they have done and so excited for what this opportunity can bring all of us by the grace of God.”
After a year of planning, Austin is looking forward to the showcase and the exposure it will offer, “I personally hope to be signed by an agency and learn what the industry is calling for from this experience and I hope that for my peers as well. After graduation I plan to move to New York City to begin my life in the industry, loving people and using the gifts God has given me to bless others and show them a true reflection of His love.”
A Huntsville, AL native, Austin has been performing since she was six years old and took a year off from Samford to attend the Disney College Program. Her senior project is completely student funded and produced. The students plan to have a preview of the showcase on January 10 at 7 p.m. in Harrison Theatre.