Shortly before the dance world was shaken to its core with COVID-19, we caught up with A4D’s Dancer To WatchMichelle West to talk about her experience in the National Tour of Disney’s Aladdin.
Here’s what Michelle shared with us after learning the adventure was ending:
‘Aladdin has been such a joy ride. I never thought that I’d be with Aladdin for 3 years, but as each year passed, the more fun I would have. Being with Aladdin tour taught me lots of things but my top choices would be patience, quick-adjusting, money management, and understanding.
On tour, you’re dealing with different people, in different environments, every 2-3 weeks. It’s important to know that along with giving a great show every night, you have to adapt to your new surroundings. For me, having a consistent routine was crucial to performing a great show every night. Also, having my dog and my fiancé on tour with me was the icing on the cake!
Overall, I would totally do a tour again and I advise every actor to try a tour. It will totally open your eyes to new challenges and make you appreciate your job so much more. Also, FYI SAVE YOUR MONEY. Tour paid my student loan debt, bought me a home, and I still had fun!
The tour was canceled 6 weeks early due to coronavirus. We were going to try to continue in San Antonio but with the issue growing we couldn't resume.’
So what’s Michelle up to during quarantine?In the same way she embraced the tour and her entire dance career, she’s now embarked on a great new venture that’s keeping her in top shape… and it’s giving her a whole new passion… Check out Michelle’s new YouTube channel where she helps people get into condition through running!
Slow down Michelle... It’s too hard to keep up with you!
A4D had such a great time in last week’s IG Live with Chloe & Maud Arnold… If you missed it, we have posted the video online for you. They’re doing great things for the dance community… and literally for the world!
Be sure to check out the TAP INTO JOY event where you can still register and access all of the classes that took place over the Memorial Day weekend until June 25.
Thanks to A4D’s Brandon Hudson for hosting The Q Sessions with these dynamic ladies!
Check this page often. We continually update as we find new information.
FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Do you struggle with picking up steps to a new combination? Does it make you feel like you’ll never survive a real audition? Grover Dale heard from a dancer who was discouraged that she allowed a rude comment to distract her. She asked Grover what she could do and his answer gave her great comfort. If you feel you need help in this area, then check out SLOW AT PICKING UP STEPS for tangible advice that can help. Members can use this image to read more.
TV FAN-FAVORITE SMASH HEADING TO BROADWAY AS A NEW MUSICAL
Smash: A New Musical is coming to Broadway with lead producers Steven Spielberg, Robert Greenblatt, and Neil Meron. Inspired by the popular NBC series of the same name, Smash: A New Musical reunites Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote over two dozen songs for the television show and will provide the score. Bob Martin and Rick Elice will co-write the musical's book. The stage musical is set to include many of show's well-known songs, including the Emmy-nominated Let Me Be Your Star. Telling the story of what it takes to mount the new fictitious musical Bombshell, Smash: A New Musical will depart liberally from the series. The characters Julia and Tom (played on television by Debra Messing and Christian Borle), as well as Ivy and Karen (played on the series by Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee) will still be central to the storyline. All other details are being kept under wraps. This news follows the May 20 online event showcasing the 2015 Bombshell: In Concert benefit for The Actors Fund.
BEN PLATT TO BE A GUEST RECORDING ARTIST ON NBC’S SONGLAND Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning singer/songwriter, Ben Platt will be the guest recording artist on June 8th's episode of Songland on NBC. Platt will hear unknown songwriters pitch their original material alongside three of the most successful and sought-after writer-producers in music. Ryan Tedder, Ester Dean, and Shane McAnally will produce the songwriters to creatively adapt their songs to perfectly fit Platt's sound. One song will be chosen to be recorded by Platt and released for a global audience. The winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance as Evan Hansen in the smash hit, Dear Evan Hansen, Platt also received a Grammy Award for his role on Atlantic's Dear Evan Hansen Original Broadway Cast Recording and a 2018 Daytime Emmy Award for his part in the cast's powerful performance of You Will Be Found on NBC's Today. His rapidly growing body of work also includes memorable roles in the Tony Award-winning original Broadway production of The Book of Mormon and the blockbuster films, Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, amongst many others.
DISNEY SAYS ITS FLORIDA THEME PARKS WILL RE-OPEN IN MID-JULY
Disney will re-open its Florida theme parks in July. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will re-open July 11 and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, also in Florida, will begin business on July 15. A number of social-distancing measures will be imposed. Guests will be required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Parades, playgrounds, and fireworks displays will remain suspended. Disney submitted its reopening plan at an economic recovery task-force meeting in Orange County, FL. Disney’s plan was approved shortly after it was presented and awaits approval by Orlando Mayor Jerry Demings before it is sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DATE & DETAILS SET FOR DIGITAL 2020 OBIE AWARDS, HOSTED BY COLE ESCOLA The Obie Awards 65th annual celebration of off and off-off Broadway theater will air on the American Theatre Wing's YouTube channel on June 4 at 8pm ET. The prerecorded ceremony will be hosted by comedian, actor, and writer Cole Escola. Before the show, Patti LuPone and Marie's Crisis accompanists Adam Michael Tilford and Kenney M. Green will join the American Theatre Wing in a sing-a-long. The pre-show fundraiser, sponsored by Art Lab, will support the Wing’s efforts for the theater community in the midst of the pandemic. During the ceremony, awards will be handed out for shows that opened between May 1, 2019 and March 12, 2020. Songwriter and performer Shaina Taub will perform during the In Memoriam segment.
Larry Kramer, the playwright, author, outspoken AIDS activist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter, has died at the age of 84. Kramer is perhaps best known for his play The Normal Heart, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play in 2011. He co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York City. Kramer died of pneumonia on May 27. He is survived by his husband, David Webster… Norma Doggett, known for her performance as Martha in the 1954 movie musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, died at the age of 94 on May 4. Her Broadway credits include All for Love, Miss Liberty, Wish You Were Here, Fanny, and Bells Are Ringing…
CHOREOGRAPHER CAMILLE A. BROWN PRESENTS SERIES OF FREE DANCE CLASSES & LECTURES
Tony-nominated choreographer Camille A. Brown is presenting a new series called Social Dance for Social Distance with free dance classes and lectures online. Brown will teach choreography from some of her most acclaimed pieces. The classes are free and live on Instagram each day at 2pm ET. The series kicked off on May 21. Remaining sessions include an Afro-Cuban dance classes on June 1 and 5, a hip-hop class on June 12, and a tap class on June 26. Brown received a 2019 Tony Award nomination for her choreography in Choir Boy. She received Lucille Lortel nominations for her work for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf and Toni Stone. She will lend her talents to the new North American tour of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, scheduled to launch in early 2021.
SHOW OF SHOWS: BROADWAY.COM SALUTES THE TONYS FOR THEATER FANS ON JUNE 7
Show of Shows: Broadway.com Salutes the Tonys, a benefit for both the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League, will air on Sunday, June 7 at 7pm ET on Broadway.com and the Broadway.com YouTube channel. The event will benefit the two theater organizations that co-present the Tony Awards, The American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League, and their ongoing relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadway.com has recently produced numerous online charity events, including the acclaimed Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration for ASTEP, benefit readings of Michael Urie in Buyer & Cellar, and Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart for the Broadway Cares COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, and the return of The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which raised over $700K for The Actors Fund.
Broadway star Betsy Wolfe has announced that she and her husband, musician Adam Krauthamer, have welcomed their first child on May 20. It’s a girl named Poppy. Wolfe and Krauthamer met in 2014 while rehearsing for Bullets Over Broadway. They were married in 2018…
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be postponing all auditions from March 14 – May 11. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to those who have already made travel plans. In lieu of a live audition, we are excited to accept your demo reels and self-tapes.