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Cast of Wicked comes to University

When Justin Wirick was asked to teach a dance class to University students, money came to mind— but not for himself.

“When I was asked if I wanted to be paid to teach the class or to donate the money, I choose to donate,” Wirick said.

Wirick and Ryan Jackson are two members of the Broadway cast of “Wicked.” Members of the show were touring in Toldeo when Kevin Beebee, a University alumnus and member of the Broadway cast asked if they would teach a dance routine from the musical.

The cast are currently on tour in Toledo at The Stranahan Theater and decided to take a day to teach University students the process of auditioning for a Broadway performance.

“Both Ryan and I decided to donate the money we would’ve have been paid with because we wanted to donate it to something we are obviously passionate about: Broadway Cares,” Wirick said.

The two cast members taught two jazz workshops where they showed students a routine. Then they broke into groups and had the students perform the routine giving them feedback on what they liked and disliked.

After, they treated the students’ performances like an actual Broadway audition.

“We want students to understand what it would be like if they are serious about this career,” Jackson said. “We wanted it to be really beneficial.”

The two actors stressed that the career is not a walk in the park, but they must work hard at all aspects of theater.

“If you work hard, you will do well in this industry but you need to set yourself apart from everyone else fighitng for the same role in a musical,” Jackson said.

David Nathan Perlow, another actor in the play who stepped in during the jazz class, agreed and said they wanted to give these students real world coaching.

“I remember when I was in college and had the opportunity to be apart of something like this, so to give back to students is really amazing,” Perlow said.

This was a big deal, especially since the arts is multifaced, said Geoff Stephensons, a lecturer of theatre and film.

“There are so many aspects of the arts and this is an opportunity for people to learn from people who know exactly what they are doing,” Stephensons said.

Since the cast of ‘Wicked’ was already in Toledo, Stephensons said it was the perfect time to come.

Sophomore Jenni Schink heard about the jazz classes and jumped right on the opporutnity.

“I love the show ‘Wicked,’ it is just a great show and I want to see what the auditioning process was like for myself,” Schink said.

Schink plans to take what she has learned from the workshops when she auditions at Disney in the next couple of years.

“I learned a lot and hope the advice they gave me will help when I go down to Disney,” she said. “I love theatrical performances so it would be really cool if I got a part.”

The main advice Jackson gave the group of students was to be confident and sure of yourself.

“Don’t let someone who is always great steal your thunder,” he said. “They will hire you because they like you.”

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