Monday, February 26, 2024

Open Jar Masterclass: an inside look at the future of Broadway


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Photo by Jeff Gibson

Story by Rayyan Ahmed/Contributing Writer

Open Jar is based in New York City and is one of the most Broadway-integrated actor training programs there is. Students from all over audition to become a part of the program and are given the opportunity to train with some of Broadway’s greatest actors, directors, choreographers and agents.

MTSU theater students were given the chance to experience a one on one audition with Broadway legend Angelique Ilo at Tucker Theater this week. Ilo has acted in plays such as “The Wedding Singer,” “Crazy for You,” “Steel Pier” and more. Her experience is unquestionable, and she uses it to teach students how to land a job,  assess their skills and stand out in the interview process for a role.

“It’s important that you come up to the table and you bring something fresh and new and different, and you must make a choice, and you must be memorable,” Ilo said.

Ilo took the students onto the stage and made them participate in warm up exercises, such as having them embody a character and act that character out. This, she says, was the perfect way to allow students to break the ice and get rid of nerves. This also taught them to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, an important skill to master for this field.

“Make a bold impression, and tell a story, because it’s the storyteller that gets the job.”

Afterwards, she taught them a series of choreographed steps that came together into a full dance routine. They practiced that multiple times, until every student was in sync with one another. Finally, each student got on stage, introduced themselves, and sang a song of their choice while Ilo sat in the audience and judged.

“I think with this bunch they have to potential to go far in whatever they want to do,” she explained.

Students sang songs such as “What is It About Her” from “Wild Party,” “Freeze Your Brain” from “Heathers,” and “So in Love” from “Kiss Me Kate.” All of them were given feedback on their pitch, posture and potential with their song.

When asked what Ilo had to say to future theater students interested in Broadway, she said, “The sky is the limit for them, it’s what you can imagine, what you can see yourself doing. If you can see it, you can achieve it.”


To contact Lifestyles Editor Brandon Black, email

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