MT in the City: Empire State of Mind

For as long as I can remember, New York City has taken on a larger than life, magical and mysterious aura in my mind. People from all over the world, including myself, flock to this amazing city and leave inspired. I think of it as a place where people go to pursue their dreams, no matter what those dreams may be. It is a city of endless possibilities and opportunities. And now, instead of just visiting, I finally get to call this place my home.

I am starting a blog series for the NMT Green Room about life as a musical theater student in NYC. I moved to the city three weeks ago, so I am still acclimating to city life and balancing that with the craziness that is musical theater training. I look forward to taking you all on this journey with me.

All theater lovers know that NYC is the theater mecca of the world. Since high school, it has been my dream to study musical theater in the city that never sleeps and I figured making the move post undergrad would be the best time to do just that. Adventures excite me and moving to this one-of-a-kind city definitely qualifies as the ultimate adventure in my opinion. That being said, if you ever have the opportunity to move to any new city where you know absolutely no one, I would do it in a heartbeat. It challenges and rewards you in ways I am only beginning to discover.

Times Square.

Times Square. (CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia)

I am currently attending a two-year professional musical theater program. My classmates come from all walks of life. We have recent high school graduates, recent college graduates, transfer students, and students who have been out of college for a few years. Some students have extensive dance training while others have degrees in classical voice/opera. With so many rich and diverse talents, it is impossible not to learn from each other on a daily basis. The practical, real world training is refreshing after taking classes like geology and honors calculus during my undergrad. I never quite understood why a vocal performance major had to know about rocks or have extremely advanced math skills.

Since it is a two-year training program, the curriculum is very compact, making for long days that often extend into evenings and weekends. Our first semester classes consist of acting, vocal technique, vocal production, speech, script analysis, ballet, jazz, modern, total body workout, musical theater history, and private voice lessons. Just in case you didn’t notice, geology and honors calculus are not on this list. There is a huge focus on physical fitness too – ballet classes have been kicking my ass. It’s pretty intense to say the least. I actually don’t think I’ve ever sweat as much in my entire life as I have over the past three weeks (but I’m sure lack of air conditioning in my apartment hasn’t helped the cause). As exhausted as I am at the end of each day, this process has already proven to be incredibly rewarding.

Obviously it’s amazing to study musical theater here, but this city has so much to offer outside the theater realm that can’t be ignored. NYC itself is a stage where theater students are exposed to a plethora of opportunities and unique life experiences that have the ability to influence us as performers. There are countless museums, parks, restaurants, festivals, shops, markets, and cultural events to explore. Even the seemingly mundane act of taking the subway cannot be underestimated. You never know when the cast of Lion King may decide to burst out in song or some random street performer starts to break dance in the middle of the train aisle. There is always someone intriguing to observe and learn from. An acting coach of mine once said that in order to be the best actor you can be, you have to be curious, explore the world, and embrace all that life has to offer. NYC provides all that and more and I fully intend to experience EVERYTHING it has to offer. There truly isn’t any other place in the world quite like New York City.

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