Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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


Share post:

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

For more updates, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Life.

MTSU's digital daily news source

Related articles

“Mi estis amata”: A review of MTSU’s rendition of “The Language Archive”

Featured Photo by Harry Whitmore Story by Stephanie Hall Middle Tennessee State University Theatre and Dance hosted their production of...

Women in Film president moderates “An evening with Brittany Broski” event

Featured Photo by Destiny Mizell Story by Destiny Mizell Brittany Broski flew from Los Angeles to Murfreesboro to answer student-asked...

Students laugh and sing at comedy and karaoke night

Featured Photo by Lina Chapman Story by Lillian Chapman To take some of the edge off as finals approach, Student...

World Storytelling Day at MTSU: Coming together for a purpose

Featured Graphic by Destiny Mizell Story by Anna Kaserman National World Storytelling Day, March 20, is a day for recognizing...