The Arts News

MPSA in the theater capital of the world

Their itinerary was packed with Broadway theatre experiences!

Posted on July 24, 2017 by Scot Allen

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The Mid-Pacific group just before the flight to New York.

In June, teachers Linda Johnson and John Wat guided 21 MPSA theatre students on a six-day trip to New York City, the theater capital of the world. Wat and Johnson were assisted by three parent chaperones.

Their itinerary was packed with Broadway theatre experiences including Cats, War Paint, Avenue Q, The Book Of Mormon and the 2017 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen.

The students also attended private professional workshops in musical theatre, film acting and stage combat, and participated in talks with professional artists including a sit-down with the entire cast of The Book of Mormon. Additionally the group found the time to visit some museums and other famous sights of the city.

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"The tour was educationally worthwhile," Johnson said. "The experience was everything I could have wished for. As a former resident of NYC, I can say that the students saw more and did more in six days then an average New Yorker might do in an entire year. We must have walked at least five miles a day!"

"What I loved most about the trip is that the students don't have to go to New York for college to get the benefit of this journey," said parent Melissa Pavlicek. "Starting right now they will look at their opportunities right here in Hawaii in a new way. They built friendships to last a lifetime. They (and I) will never forget this experience. As I watched our students scan the view from New York's One World Trade Center observation deck, it struck me that that their personal and professional horizons are endless. The sky is literally the limit!"

Student Reflections

Christian Caro
"I really loved getting the New York Experience. Although our time there was very short, we really enjoyed the city in the best way possible. Watching those musicals really reassured me that that is where I wanted to be, on the stage. Anyone at Mid-Pacific who enjoys the arts should have definitely gone on this trip. As student who is very much in love with the arts, I had a great time learning from the professionals on stage. For me, the best way to learn is to see how it's done. Watching those marvelous musicals gave me a goal to work towards and observe the specifics of what makes a great performer and what I need to do to get to that point. Aside from the musicals, the drama workshops were brilliant. Within an hour or so per session, we learned so much from Broadway and TV professionals. I'm almost certain that all of us were taking mental notes to take back home to Hawaii when we perform or audition for the musical or plays coming up."

Nicole Tsuda
"The highlights of this trip were seeing the Broadway musicals. I loved all of them so much. Also the workshops were amazing. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities. I learned multiple instruments, I dance and sing, and now I'm focusing on acting so hopefully it opens many doors for me. Thank you to Mama J and Mr. Wat for giving me this opportunity when I was still in sophomore year!"

Shemya Dang
"I really enjoyed the NY trip, it was a wonderful way to cap my HS experience. I was able to see a lot of shows, and spend time with students and teachers that I liked before I went off to college. The positives of the trip was that even though I was already trying to pursue a career in theater, getting to see the shows, talk to the people in the business, and having the workshops made me a bit more confidant in my abilities, and more hopeful that maybe one day I would be able to make it even if it took a lot of years. It made me realize that my dreams aren't impossible. The highlight of the trip was when I got to see Dear Evan Hansen, War Paint, Avenue Q, and Cats. All of which really impressed me, and gave me something to achieve, it helped add more timber to the fire in me that wants to be a performer. I didn't really get much from the workshops we did that I didn't already understand and know, but I am sure that the underclassmen who didn't know stage combat, musical theater or film, learned a lot as they were very educational. If anything I think the experience of just talking to the professionals about their life, and how they got where they are is what was the most helpful."

Kayla Sylvester
"In the beginning this trip did not mean a lot to me. But the closer it got to the time we had to leave I got really excited and it started to mean a lot because New York is the place I want to move to and go to college so just being there made me really happy. This also meant a lot because I got to see the places you would go to if I were to become an acting student. The highlights of the trip were definitely seeing the colleges and doing the workshops. The showstopper workshop was the best workshop to me because I love Aladdin with every piece of my body. Also seeing all the Broadway shows. And meeting the cast of Book Of Mormon was awesome because we learned what its like to be out there in the Broadway/acting world today. This all made me realize that everything is a business and it's very competitive and you need to be able to sell yourself. It made me excited to think that one day I could be on a stage and be performing in a Broadway theater because anything is possible with hard work."

Kiyohide Noguchi
"Going on the trip meant that I was able to travel to New York for the first time in my life, being able to discover the city life of the world, and immerse myself in the city of the heart of entertainment industry; it meant a lot. Since I am interested in working this the industry, this trip helped me a lot because I was able to travel the city with a group of other people. As for the enrichment program for theatre, I thought almost all the workshops were great. Especially the film workshop because it was a lot more practical and it focused more hands-on, still it has a good balance of doing and relating to the entirety of film acting. Besides the workshops, watching the Broadway shows were extremely eye-opening for me because I've never watched any Broadway musicals before the trip.

Kazuo Kamiya
"I experienced many wonderful opportunities in New York. Instead of always eating rice at home, I tried the famous cheap but delicious pizzas and sandwiches in NY. I visited multiple historical sites of NY and was astonished by it. Also the amazing Broadway shows blew my mind. The theater experiences I learned from NY were definitely the shows. It was not the actors dancing and singing but the question time with the actors was the best. I learned about making wise choices about theater and knowing that I don't have to strive for a triple threat actor."

Chris Teves
"In New York, we saw many great Broadway shows, works shops, and other tourist locations. The four Broadway shows were Book of Mormon, War Paint, Cats, and Avenue Q. I think they were all good and it's hard to choose a favorite. The three workshops were for Stage Combat, Singing and Dancing, and Film Acting. My favorite was Stage Combat, and the guy teaching that workshop was cool. We were led by our tour guide, Kevin, who kept us on schedule at all times and was very knowledgeable about each place we went to."

Sasha Krstic
"The acting trip to New York is a great way for acting students to emerge into a whole new realm of acting. New York, being one of the major cities to pursue the career of acting, students really got to see what they could be getting themselves into if they aspire to do acting as a job. The positive experiences and highlights of the trip were definitely the acting workshops. I personally found it so fascinating to see people whose passion in the industry really worked. Meaning in the workshops we met some new and familiar faces. The people who were running the workshops were familiar faces from TV shows to stage. It was really exciting being able to work amongst people who dedicate their lives to what we love! The workshops themselves were also very exciting. I feel that seeing a bunch of people who really love the art they teach is great! That meaning it was cool seeing other people teach along side the wonderful familiar faces we see in class."

Kristina Keahola
"The most important part of this trip for me on both a personal and educational level was the film workshop. Before coming on this trip, I wasn't sure if I was really good enough at acting to do it later in my life. During the workshop, I really connected with the instructor, understood all of the concepts, and was familiar with all of the terminology that he discussed. I felt really prepared. When it came time for me to perform, I did a short monologue from The Illusion. I began with toning my performance down a lot, but then the instructor had me take another approach. He stood me up and had me perform as I would in the theatre. To my surprise, performing this monologue was pretty much committed to my muscle memory, or "performance" memory. I accredit that to our rigorous program and high expectations during class and the show. After my monologue, to my surprise, the instructor gave me a high-five and said it was, "awesome." I never saw that coming, as he's a professional actor in movies, TV, on Broadway, and had a full scholarship to Julliard and I'm a girl who played sports her whole life and just started this. Even when I consulted him on ways to improve my performance after the class ended, he said the only thing I need is to follow my instincts and deliver the words how I want to, not how I think someone wants them to be delivered. Other than that, he was more than satisfied. I am leaving this experience with a new sense of confidence that I never dreamed I would ever have in any facet of my life. I am also leaving with much more gratitude for my teachers. Ms. Johnson had confidence in me before I had confidence in myself, and encouraged me to try something new, something she could tell I wanted so badly. She helped me peel away my insecurities, perform ridiculous comedy on stage, and ultimately give me the foundation to perform the emotional rollercoaster that was The Illusion."