Segerstrom Center for the Arts is offering its first Fall Musical Theatre Training Program for young people ages 9-18 years of age. Students of all experience levels are welcome for this 5-class virtual program, where they will be coached in musical theater performance and technique by some of the industry’s leading professional artists and educators.
The classes will be live but virtual Tuesdays and Thursdays November 5 – 19. Because the classes are live, they will provide immediate interaction between students and faculty while being completely safe for all. This format proved highly successful for the Center’s Five Days of Broadway program this past summer. Classes will focus on musical theater performance, acting, improv and dance.
The Fall Musical Theater Program will have two tracks, one for students ages 9–13 and one for ages 14–18. Entrance is not audition-based, so registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Capacity is limited. Tuition for all five classes is $150, and can be completed online at https://www.scfta.org/Engage-and-Learn/Camps-and-Classes/Fall-Musical-Theater-Classes/Overview.aspx.
Classes will be 60–75 minutes in length. Classes for students 9–13 years of age will be at 4 p.m., and classes for students 14–18 years of age will be at 6 p.m. Sessions are listed below:
Session 3 – Thursday, Nov. 12
Session 4 – Tuesday, Nov. 17
Session 5 – Thursday, Nov. 19
Among esteemed faculty for the 2020 inaugural fall program: Cheryl Baxter (first National Touring companies of Cats and 42nd Street, films Xanadu, Grease 2, television Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother and Netflix’s Lucifer), Olivia Espinosa (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Repertory), Chandra Lee Schwartz (Hairspray, Wicked) and Ben McFadden (Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Children’s Theatre).
Cheryl Baxter has been in the entertainment business for more than 35 years, working in theater, commercials, film and television. She started her career as an assistant choreographer to Gene Kelly and Kenny Ortega in Coppola’s film, One from the Heart and went on to assist Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her. She has worked on over 20 films, including Xanadu, Tap, Grease 2, Pennies From Heaven, 500 Days of Summer, This Is It with Michael Jackson and The Muppet Movie. She has danced beside such legends as Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr. The Nicholas Brothers and Donald O’Connor. Television credits include Bless this Mess, Veep, Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother, and the Netflix Series Lucifer, to name a few. Cheryl has performed in the Los Angeles and First National companies of Cats and 42nd Street and was in the Broadway telecast of Sophisticated Ladies. She has directed and choreographed theater productions all over the world and has worked extensively for Disney and Sesame Street Live. She is one of the producers of the World Choreography Awards honoring choreographers in all forms of media and currently teaches at AMDA, AADA and UCLA.
Olivia Espinosa is a bilingual actor, singer, playwright and director with a degree in Theatre Arts from San Diego State University. Professional performance credits include The Jumpitz, a children’s entertainment group that performed for military families stationed in Europe and productions with theatre companies throughout the country including The Denver Center, San Diego Rep and Native Voices. As a playwright she has taught residencies in detention facilities and group homes for foster youth and credits her students for the courage to become a playwright herself. In 2017, Olivia was honored as the recipient of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s most prestigious award – The Phil Killian Directing Fellowship. This opportunity gave her the chance to assistant direct for OSF’s Artist Director, Bill Rauch. Most recently, she assisted Tony Taccone on John Leguizamo’s Kiss My Aztec at La Jolla Playhouse.
Chandra Lee Schwartz is a stage actress, singer, and theater educator known for her role as Glinda in the Broadway and National Touring productions of the musical Wicked. She also appeared in the National Tour and Broadway production of Hairspray and in the 2003 Broadway revival of Gypsy, starring Bernadette Peters, directed by Sam Mendes. She graduated from AMDA, NYC and has appeared in many shows and festivals in New York City and all over the country. Chandra originated the role of Annie in the world premiere of Sleepless in Seattle, The Musical, at the Pasadena Playhouse and appeared in the NBC sitcom Crowded and on IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang. In addition to acting and singing, Chandra has been teaching acting and musical theater at AMDA College and Conservatory in LA as well as private coaching since 2013.
Ben McFadden is a Pacific Northwest native who transplanted to Los Angeles two years ago. Ben has taught and performed with organizations and theaters across the Pacific Northwest area including Seattle Children’s Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company and others.