CU's ATLAS Center Offers Students, Public, Opportunity to Work with Entertainment Industry Professionals

March 4, 2009

University of Colorado at Boulder students and members of the community are being sought for a series of free master classes and directors' labs taught by entertainment industry professionals from Disney Theatricals and Cirque du Soleil, a Tony Award-winning conductor and musical director, and a Tony Award-winning Broadway director.

Each ATLAS Center for Arts, Media and Performance lab this month offers up to 16 CU students a chance to get hands-on experience in various aspects of producing a multimedia production and to network with people in the industry. In addition, each lab offers an opportunity for 30 to 60 people, either from CU or the Boulder area, to sit in on the sessions as observers on a first-come, first-served basis.

"In a time of limited resources, it is wonderful that we can offer this extraordinary opportunity to the public and university community at no charge," said Rebekah West, director of the ATLAS Center for Arts, Media and Performance. She noted that the sessions are a result of creative discussion with the center among CU schools and departments, the Broadway in Boulder Studios of the Parlando School for the Arts, industry professionals and members of the Boulder community.

Broadway in Boulder Studios also is producing its first annual full-scale musical, the Tony Award-winning "The Secret Garden," which will be performed in the ATLAS Black Box Studios in June. This will be a high-caliber, all-student production with full orchestra and original Broadway costumes.

The four labs were conceived by Broadway stars David Ayers ("Wicked," "Mamma Mia!" and "Fiddler on the Roof") and Angela Gaylor ("La Cage Aux Folles," "Hairspray" and "Oklahoma!") to complement their production of "The Secret Garden" and provide opportunities for CU students. Ayers and Gaylor are the founders of Broadway in Boulder Studios.

"The directors' labs seemed like an obvious collaboration between CU ATLAS and Broadway in Boulder Studios," said Ayers. "Angela and I have wanted a platform to use our connections in New York, Vegas and L.A. and set up a series of master classes for students and the community of Boulder."

He added that the Black Box Studios in ATLAS offer participants in the labs an outstanding venue. "It is a truly world-class space, and we couldn't be more proud to produce our show and bring these incredible professionals to CU ATLAS and Boulder," Ayers said.

The directors' labs grew out of conversations with film and broadcast professionals from Hollywood, CU faculty and students, and community members. They agreed that graduating students with experience in the ATLAS Black Box Studio and Production Studio needed two things: the skills to work with new technologies and the ability to transform those skills into good storytelling.

ATLAS is a CU-Boulder institute for undergraduate, graduate and outreach programs that supports technology education for people and programs that traditionally do not have access to equipment and resources. The ATLAS Center for Arts, Media and Performance motivates people as they explore dynamic combinations of arts, technology, education and society.

Schedule of the ATLAS Center Directors' Labs

March 9, 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Disney Theatricals master class focusing on audition techniques, the casting process of Broadway shows, cast maintenance and training in long-running shows. Students participating in the class should come dressed and prepared to do an audition piece. They also should bring a resume and head shots. Taught by Jennifer Rudin, director of casting and talent development for Disney Theatrical Productions in New York City.

March 16, 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Master class focusing on music direction led by Tony Award-winning conductor and musical director Kevin Stites. Issues addressed will include blending voices as well as individual work, conducting and directing. Stites' Tony Award-winning credits include "Les Miserables," "Sunset Boulevard," "The Color Purple," "Titanic," "Nine," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Oklahoma," and "A Tale of Two Cities."

March 23, 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Thomas Kail master class focusing on the issues of directing a large-scale Broadway production. Kail is the 2008 Tony Award-winning director of Broadway's smash hit "In The Heights."

March 30-31 (times to be determined)

Eric Ludacer, Cirque du Soleil designer of the Las Vegas production "LOVE," focuses on the massive technical aspects of a full-scale Las Vegas multimedia production including sound, lighting, video projection and more. Students in these sessions also may participate in the production of "The Secret Garden."

Students from any discipline can participate in the labs by contacting ATLAS Center for Arts, Media and Performance Director Rebekah West at rebekah.west@colorado.edu.

The hands-on master class enrollments and observation opportunities (16 CU students and 30-60 observers) are on a first-come, first-served basis. More information is available at www.colorado.edu/atlas/directorslabs/.

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