Senior Showcase in NYC:
The 2015 WMU Senior Showcase was held on March 4, during WMU spring break, in the Theatre Row theatres two blocks off Broadway in Hell’s Kitchen. Ball State was holding their showcase in the same theatre complex but the times were staggered to avoid a conflict. There were two showings, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Oakland U participated with WMU - WMU went first in the afternoon and then they switched for the evening performace. The theatre was nice, it had a proscenium stage and sat around 100 or so people in typical theatre fashion. Parents were able to attend the showcase. Many alums came to the evening show and several current Broadway cast members were in the afternoon audience. Other schools were holding auditions later in the week in the same area.
Lots of agents attended, it was easy to spot them because they picked up full packets with copies of all the headshots and resumes and usually sat with pen at the ready to make notes, usually on a clipboard or a business pad holder of some sort. WMU employed a local theatre consultant who handled inviting the agents, greeting them on arrival, following up with them at the end of the showcase, and briefing the students on how the follow-up would proceed after the showcase. I would estimate that at least two-three dozen agents and casting agency reps attended, probably more.
In addition to the showcase, there were several days of workshops with several types of Broadway directors: casting directors, show directors, commercial and voice-over directors, etc. All-in-all it filled up about a week in NYC.
Prior to the showcase, the WMU students worked with a casting director to do the final polish on the showcase. My d really enjoyed working with the director and thought he really helped her to polish her solo for NY agents.
I thought the show was awesome, the students were extremely well prepared and the material fit each student perfectly. Each student did a solo and a duet with group numbers at the beginning and the end. We liked it so much we went to both performances.
After the show the students stayed through the end of the week in NYC to attend agent callbacks, casting agency callbacks, and invitations to attend auditions for specific shows. For example, several/most of the guys were invited to audition for Book of Mormon and several students were invited to audition for Hamilton. I think all or almost all of the students were invited to meetings with agents and managers, and auditions at major casting agencies. Agents generally won’t extend an offer of representation until you actually move to NYC.
I thought that it was a great way to be introduced to the NYC professional theatre scene and I think that the students got a lot out of it, I know my d did. My d had a friend in the ensemble of a current Broadway show and we got a great backstage tour after the performance, which was icing on the cake.
Note on Broadway tickets: we used TodayTix to purchase tickets to several shows at well below market price (usually 1/2 off) and the seats were really great - but you don’t know exactly where you will sit until you arrive at the theatre (but you will know the section).