BRISTOL - âPlow your own path and follow your heart,â Broadway and film actress Laura Osnes told young students at a theatre workshop at St. Paulâs Catholic High School.
On Thursday afternoon, Osnes talked with students from elementary to high school about theatre techniques and methods to help them prepare for their upcoming production of âPippinâ on July 19 and 20. Mark Mazzarella, director of performing arts at St. Paul and recent founder of the new nonprofit youth community theatre group, Revolutionary Youth Theatre, was ecstatic to have Osnes teach a master class for his students.
âI met Laura through mutual friends that we have in the New York area and she said she was interested in coming to teach a class. Her being here today is so important because the kids are absolutely inspired by her. Sheâs real, humble and genuine and itâs nice that the kids got to meet her and ask her questions and get ideas,â Mazzarella said.
Osnes, best known by her Broadway debut as the starring role as Sandy in âGrease,â also performed on Broadwayâs âSouth Pacificâ as Nellie Forbush, âAnything Goesâ as Hope Harcourt, âBonnie and Clydeâ as Bonnie Parker and starred in the title role of Rodgers & Hammersteinâs âCinderella.â She recently completed filming for her first Hallmark movie âIn the Key of Love,â which premieres in August.
Osnes said her beginnings were unconventional and there is no âcookie-cutter for success.â
âI went to a state college in Wisconsin for a year and decided it wasnât for me. I interned for a year and then later auditioned for a reality TV show where the audience voted me to become Sandy in Broadwayâs production of âGreaseâ in 2007,â explained Osnes.
Osnes encouraged the students to be themselves and to be patient.
âI know sometimes with acting we feel the need to portray other characters, but itâs ok to be yourself. Own the gifts that you have. Relax, there is no step-by-step plan to make it to Broadway. Just be patient and humble,â she smiled to the students.
The students had the opportunity to perform in front of Osnes and received critiques to better their upcoming performance of âPippin.â Junior St. Paul High School student Olivia Lanteri, who is playing the role of Catherine, was excited that Osnes came to the workshop.
âAs an actress, we all want to learn and grow. She had so many tips and techniques to offer us and the critiques she gave we can apply moving forward in our show,â said Lanteri.
One of the main techniques Osnes hoped kids took away from the class was to practice the art of storytelling, especially with vocals.
âI donât really have specific methods, but I think acting while you sing is so important because it really helps deliver the story of the show that youâre in,â Osnes said.
As the students continued their workshop with Osnes, Mazzarella continued to work on their upcoming production. Working on Pippin for the past five weeks, Mazzarella said that this is the âperfect summer show.â
âThis is our first show with the Revolutionary Youth Theatre. Thereâs so much magic in this show. So itâs great the students got to learn some magic. Itâs going to be a very fun and great show. Everyone has been so helpful and involved with the production, especially the interns,â said Mazzarella.
The Revolutionary Youth Theatreâs performance of Pippin will take place on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Paul Catholic High School Auditorium in Bristol. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. For more information and tickets, visit www.onthestage.com/show/revolutionary-youth-theater/pippin-20805 .