Monday, January 02, 2012

Baldwin Wallace College/A source for Broadway Talent

Cleveland’s Baldwin Wallace Musical College a source for Broadway Talent

There are many music theatre programs in the country. One of the repudiated “top five” is tucked away in tiny Berea, Ohio, a southwest suburb of Cleveland.

Yes, Baldwin Wallace College is exploding with talent that it unleashes upon the professional theatre world. There are a double digit of BW grads performing in, or getting ready to open in Broadway shows. Numerous others are running theatre companies, appearing in various professional theatre productions around the country, appearing on London's West End, and are trodding the boards on cruise ships and theme parks.

It’s the goal of the BW Music Theatre program to prepare students to compete successfully, and to sustain careers, as performers on national and international stages. The program offers an Intensive Conservatory-style training in Music (theory, solo & ensemble voice, and instrumental performance), In addition, Acting (for the stage and on-camera), and Dance (ballet, jazz and tap) help comprise the core performance instruction. The program has a very competitive entrance procedure, a limited enrollment, and strong academic rigor. Besides the Music Theatre major there are dance and Arts Management tracks.

The BW program has partnered with Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare in both performance and arts management, as well as with the Beck Center for the Arts in suburban Lakewood.

The 2011-12 theatre season has seen or will see these BW grads on stage: Steel Burkhardt - HAIR (starred last summer on Broadway and is currently the lead in the National Tour); Kyle Post – SPIDERMAN; Hillary Elk – MEMPHIS; Cassie Okenka -- BONNIE AND CLYDE; Corey Mach – GODSPELL; Libby Servais - WICKED and LYSISTRATA JONES; Kevin David Thomas --REBECCA (opening in February); David Cameron Anderson – REBECCA; Trista Moldovan - PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (took over as the primary Christine on Broadway, December 9, 2011); Jen Noble -- GHOST, JR Bruno--national tour of THE BOOK OF MORMON; and Jill Paice--DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY.

Victoria Bussert serves as the Director of the Music Theatre program. She is also a Resident Director at Great Lakes Theatre, while Scott Plate is the Department Chair.