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Department of Theatre

Guest Artists Workshops

Career Preparation

The “business” aspects of pursuing a career in the arts are discussed both in and out of class, and our senior Career Preparation seminar course help students prepare for their initial career move after graduation.  We discuss important topics such as resumes, head-shots, websites, demos, finding an agent, joining the unions, etc.

While the UM faculty encourages your artistic development, we also help define your post-college career goals and plan the start of your career.  Our Full-Time Theatre Faculty members have worked around the country, and often provide career advice to theatre alums long after graduation. Theatre Majors leave UM with a plan and have the necessary training and skills needed to pursue their dreams.

We also bring in several Guest Artists from New York, Los Angeles and regional theatres each year to teach workshops with UM theatre students, and also discuss various aspects of pursuing a professional career in theatre, film or TV.

Recent Guest Artist Workshops

Recent workshops have included the following artists and wide variety of topics; our guests at UM Theatre are highly experienced professionals with impressive credits in their respective areas.

2015-2016 Guest Artists

Fall 2015

  • Eden Espinosa, Musical Theatre Audition Techniques/Song Interpretation. Eden is well known for her long run as “Elphaba” in WICKED and work on Broadway in musicals such as BROOKLYN and RENT; as well as concert performances in recent years.
  • Amy Murphy, Musical Theatre Auditions workshop.  Amy teaches voice in Birmingham, at UM and in NYC, and has worked as an auditions consultant extensively including work with Disney Theatrical.
  • Cliff  Willaims, Stage Combat workshop.  Cliff is a Washington D.C. based actor and fight choreographer, who stages fights for theatre productions including Arena Stage and the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
  • Melissa Firlit, directing and acting contemporary stage realism and “style” pieces.  Melissa is a NYC based freelance director who works around the U.S.

Spring 2016

  • Amy Murphy Studio 3-Day Invited Musical Theatre Workshop, NYC,  January 2016. For the 7th year, approximately 10 UM musical theatres participated in this musical theatre intensive where they worked with NYC based professional including cast members and the conductor from the Broadway production of THE GENTLEMEN’S GUIDE TO MURDER; voice teachers from The Growing Studio; casting directors Cesar Rocha of Telsey Casting and Michael Cassara; Broadway Dreams Education Director Craig D’Amico; and choreographer Randy Skinner. The workshop culminated with students presenting their material at the legendary “Don’T Tell Mama” cabaret in midtown Manhattan.
  • Tina-Marie Casamento-Libby.  Audition Techniques and the “business of acting.”  Tina Marie is a NYC based teacher, director and Associate Casting Director with Network Tours. She is also one of the creators and producers of the musical CHASING RAINBOWS about Judy Garland, which will run at the Goodspeed Opera House in fall 2016 and is slated for a Broadway opening the following year.
  • Amelia McCarthy , acting and auditioning for the camera and the “business of acting.”  Amelia is based in NYC and has been an  Associate Casting Director on major films such as TRUE GRIT, DOUBT and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN among others.

2014-2015 Guest Artists

Fall 2014

  • Amy Murphy, Vocal Technique
  • Dominique Johnson, Dance Audition/Technique Workshop. Dominique is a NYC based performer who originated the role of “Cameron” in BRING IT ON on Broadway.
  • Carl Dean, Guest Choreographer, CABARET; Michael King, Guest Music Director, CABARET; Phillip Lindsay, Guest Sound Designer, CABARET
  • Chan Harris, Audition Techniques—Cold Readings. Chan is a NYC based director/actor and Julliard Graduate who has worked internationally as well as around the U.S.; and was a full-time guest teacher and director at UM in 2014-2105.

Spring 2015

  • Amy Murphy Studio 3-Day Invited Musical Theatre Workshop, NYC,  January 2015. For the 6th year, approximately 15 UM musical theatres participated in this musical theatre intensive where they worked with NYC based professional actors, directors and choreographers including Gavin Creel, Jenn Collela and casting directors Bob Kline, Geoff Josselman, Rachel Hoffman, Cesar Rocha and UM alumni Jason Styres, In addition to master classes, students present their work for casting directors and agents at 3 sessions, including Networks Tours.
  • Craig D’Amico, 2 Day acting workshop.  Craig is a NYC based actor/director and teacher who is also the Education Director for the Broadway Dreams organization.
  • Patrick Russell, Monologue Audition Technique. Patrick is a professional actor based in San Francisco and affiliated with the American Conservatory Theatre. He also discussed pursuing an

2013-2014 Guests

Fall 2013

  • Amy Murphy, Vocal Technique.
  • Tina Marie Libby-Casamento, Musical Theater Audition Technique. Tina-Marie is based in NYC and is the Associate Casting Director for Networks Tours. She is also a director, teacher, co-owner of Broadway Demo and the librettist for the musical CHASING RAINBOWS currently in development.
  • Jeanmarie Collins, Spolin improvisation technique. Jeanmarie is a professional actress, director and playwright who studied Viola Spolin’s technique in London, and has subsequently been teaching it in workshops and at university programs for many years.

Spring 2014

  • Amy Murphy Studio 3-Day Invited Musical Theatre Workshop, NYC, January 2014. For the 5th year, approximately 15 UM musical theatres participated in this musical theatre intensive where they worked with NYC based professional actors, directors and choreographers and various casting directors.  In addition to master classes with actors and choreographers, students present their work for casting directors and agents at 3 sessions, including Networks Tours. At this workshop, Craig D’Amico of the Broadway Dreams workshop presented 2 scholarships to their summer workshop and selected UM students Korey Wilson and Bailey Gaskin from the 33 participants of the workshop,
  • Parker Esse, Musical Theatre Auditioning and Dance Technique workshop. In this  2-Day workshop, Parker conducted  a dance workshop where he taught the dance audition combinations from his professional productions of KISS ME KATE and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, as well as a mock audition for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF including vocals, sides and dance.   Parker is a NYC based choreographer and director and choreographs musicals frequently for Arena Stage in DC, The Goodspeed Opera House and the Shaw Festival in Canada.  He also choreographed Stephen Sondheim’s  BED AND CHAIR Off-Broadway and Associate Choreographer on FINIAN’S RAINBOW and several other productions on Broadway.
  • Dino Spezzini, Improvisation technique.  Dino is a UM theatre alum who has studied long-form improv technique at 2nd City in Chicago and performed extensively with improv troupes and as a stand-up comic in Chicago and San Diego, where he currently resides.

2012–2013 Guest Artist Workshops

Fall 2012

  •  Lexie Dorsett, Musical Theatre Performance.  Lexie is a professional actress and graduate of The Cincinnati Conservatory program. She has recently played leading roles in national tours of Young Frankenstein and The Addams Family for Networks Tours.
  • Tina Marie Casamento-Libby, Musical Theatre Auditioning.  Tina Marie is a Casting Associate for Networks Tours in NYC as well as a professional actor and audition coach. She is also the Co-Owner of Broadway Demo.

Spring 2013

  •  Amy Murphy Studio’s January, 2014 NYC Musical Theatre Intensive Workshop. 12 UM students participated in this 3-Day workshop for the 4th year, where they worked with industry professionals such as Caesar Rocha (Telsey Casting); choreographers Parker Esse and Carlos Encinias; actors Craig D’Amico and Jenn Colella; and Networks Tours Casting Director and stage director Bob Cline and Jeff Whiting. In addition, workshop participants were involved in two auditions–one for a panel of NYC casting directors (including UM alumni Jason Styres of Jay Binder Casting) and Networks Tours.
  • Gene Columbus, Broadway Dancer, former Vice-President at Disneyworld, FL and current Executive Director of Orlando Repertory Theatre. Gene conducted resume, interview and career focused workshops for all majors from the perspective of his multi-faceted career as a former dance on Broadway and in Hollywood musical films; professional stage managing; and arts administration  for Disney Entertainment and Orlando Repertory Theatre in Florida. Gene also worked with all UM design and technology majors on portfolio preparation and presentation.
  • Craig D’Amico, monologue and audition techniques workshop; career Q&A session. NYC based actor and audition coach. Craig is also the Education Director of the Broadway Dreams Organization, where he works with students and musical theatre professionals around the U.S.

2011-2012 Guest Artist Workshops

Spring 2012

January 2012 NYC Musical Theatre Intensive, Amy Murphy Studio. For the 3rd year, UM musical theatre majors participated in this invited 3-day workshop in NYC. Workshops and audition panels included guest artists such as Dave Clemmons, Parker Esse, Craig d’Amico, Rob Evan, Jenn Collela and various agents and representatives from casting offices, including UM alumni Jason Styres from the staff of Jay Binder Casting. UM alumni Rebecca Luker was also a participant on one audition panel, and UM alum Brad Holland, a long term cast member of STOMP, conducted a performance workshop. Click here for more details

March, 2012. Dance workshop with with NYC based Choreographer Parker Esse.

Esse has been an Associate Choreographer on Broadway and FOLLIES at the Kennedy Center in DC; with numerous NYC and regional choreography credits including the recent acclaimed productions of OKLAHOMA! And THE MUSIC MAN at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, as well as CAROUSEL at the Goodspeed Opera House in CT.

March, 2012. Acting for the Camera workshop with noted Los Angeles based actor Robert “Bob” Clendenin. Clendenin is a recurring character as “Tom the neighbor” on “Cougartown” starring Courtney Cox, and was a series regular on “Six Items or Less.” He has also starred in numerous national commercials and guest starred on many TV shows including “Scrubs” and “My Friend Named Earl,” as well as acted in films such as LA CONFIDENTIAL. Bob is also a co-founder of the Circle X Theatre Company in LA.

While at UM, Bob conducted a seminar on “pursuing a career in TV/Film” with a focus on LA, as well as one with our student playwriting group, the WCC, based on his experiences with play development at Circle X theatre. Bob also conducted two acting on camera workshops for upper class BFA majors in Audition Techniques for episodic television and commercials. Click here for Bob Clendenin’s IMDB page ~ Click here for photos of his UM workshop

April, 2012. NYC based actor Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, who recently performed the role of Frederick in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC on Broadway, conducted a musical theatre audition/song interpretation workshop for BFA majors in Musical Theatre. Click here for full Bio

April, 2012. Designer and Owner Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin (Florence, Alabama) visited UM as a joint guest of Theatre Costume Design and Fashion Merchandising to lead a workshop in recycled fashion using her trademark hand sewing techniques. Theatre design students were invited to participate in the 6 hour workshop, followed by a lecture on business models and ecologically responsible production sponsored by the UM Sustainability Committee through a Green Fund Grant.

Also in April 2012, Students from our Costume Design II class were allowed to access the library of rare materials and a private tour of the facilities at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA. This trip was funded by an ILlUMinate Grant awarded by the campus QEP initiative. While onsite, the students conducted research to support a group design project to design character puppets in several different genres for William S. Yellowrobe’s play for children, The Council.

Fall 2011

Musical theatre Audition Techniques with Amy Murphy; vocal consultant with Disney Theatricals, NYC and Birmingham/NYC based voice teacher

Musical Theatre Audition Techniques with Tina Libby; NYC based Casting Director with Networks Tours

(casting non-union national musical tours)

Shakespeare Performance with professional actor Paul Hebron; guest artist in DRACULA at AL Shakespeare Festival with acting credits in NYC and all major regional theatres around the US.

Dance and audition techniques with NYC based Choreographer Parker Esse. Esse has been an Associate Choreographer on Broadway; FOLLIES at the Kennedy Center in DC; and numerous productions including the recent nationally acclaimed OHLAHOMA! at Arena Stage in Washinton, DC. Esse, a former Broadway performer in FOSSE and A CHORUS LINE, spent a weekend with UM musical theatre students teaching a dance workshop including a number from FOSSE. He then conducted a mock audition for the musical A CHORUS LINE including a dance call, vocals and a reading from the script, giving feedback to each student. The session concluded with a “question and answer” session about the industry in NYC and musical theatre careers.

A dance workshop with Birmingham based director/choreographer Abe Reybold, who has taught as an adjunct at UM and holds extensive national tour and B’way credits, especially with legendary performer/choreographer Tommy Tune. As part of his workshop, Reybold taught the students two routines from Tune’s musical GRAND HOTEL, which he performed in on B’way and on tour.