Naperville, IL

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Same Programming, New Name! Academy of the Arts is now Illinois Conservatory for the Arts

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impact musical theatre

Session 1: june 10–14 | Session 2: August 5–9

Meet Broadway’s Samantha Pauly

By Joshua Sanchez

How can being in a pre-broadway production bring you as far as performing on the Tony’s? It seems unreal, doesn’t it? Well that’s what happened to Samantha Pauly. Samantha Pauly played the role of K-Howard in the Pre-Broadway production of Six the Musical. She was the original K-Howard on Broadway, playing the role for three years. Although Covid-19 delayed her broadway debut, it never stopped her from following her dreams.

During Samantha’s career, she has performed in many different musicals, movies and plays. Right before Six, she got cast in the national tour of Bat Out of Hell, but soon canceled from getting the role of K-Howard. Samantha’s dreams were finally coming true with the news of Six making it on Broadway. Unfortunately, as soon as they were about to open in New York City, Six closed due to the pandemic. During the pandemic, most if not all grew bored after only a few days of staying home, which foreshadowed creative tasks and hobbies to work on during these hard times. For example, Samantha used social media to create YouTube videos everyday to not only entertain herself, but to relieve herself from stress due to the pandemic.

“I knew that I was going to be really bored and I wanted to do something to self-entertain myself and eventually the videos blew off sort of creating this schedule for my everyday life,” Samantha expressed. Not only did these energetic, positive videos keep her on her feet, but it brought a smile to the faces of millions.
As Broadway was opening up to a fresh start, so did all Six of the queens and the roles they played. After Covid, Six the Musical could finally start running in New York. Unfortunately, Samantha and the others had to relearn most, if not the entire show. This also allowed her to gain a deeper perspective of “All You Wanna Do.” This hit song contains many different emotions, love, sadness, and most of all shows how vulnerable Samantha is while singing the song. Coming back from Covid-19, Samantha explains the struggles she had while learning “All You Wanna Do” all over again due to the struggles from her time of reflection over her past experiences through the 18 months of quarantine.

“I had so much free time that I had the chance to get back into therapy regularly which was helpful in general.We’ve all been away for 18 months and we’ve all gone through so much, we were all different people. Because of that, the numbers (in Six the Musical) will be different as well as a whole new version of myself and the other queens,” Samantha stated. As shown by her amazing performance as K-Howard, she created one of the most iconic queens on Broadway, causing a deeper understanding of what the role meant to her.

Samantha Pauly never gave up. She stayed hopeful throughout the pandemic, not even knowing if Six would ever open again. Even if Samantha was stuck at home, she took her career to a whole new level by doing different activities on social media platforms to continue what she loved to do the most. Perform.

Overall, everyone’s career will be different. The path you take is the path you will go. There will be different opportunities that people can take. If the opportunity doesn’t come now, it will come later. Samantha never stopped following her dreams even in the pandemic, and so can you. If you stop following your dreams you are practically throwing away everything that you love. Take Samantha as inspiration, never give up.

Broadway can be a stepping stone to something bigger. Never give up.

session 1 • june 10–14, 2024

session 2 • August 5–9, 2024

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Tyler McKenzie / Dance

TYLER MCKENZIE has been a part of Hamilton since 2017. Other credits include – Broadway & National Tours: Matilda, Mamma Mia. He has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Western Carolina University and has served on many faculties and teaching staff around the country, including the Musical Theatre Faculty at Penn State University. IG: @tylrmckenzie

Melissa Foster / Voice

Melissa Foster is a Professor of Instruction in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University, specifically teaching voice and topics in musical theatre such as Pop/Rock Vocal Style, and Pop Rock Musical Theatre. At Northwestern, she is the recipient of both the 2021 Galbut Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2022 Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction Award. She values her time inside the classroom just as much as she does outside, and simultaneously serves as 1 of 5 Faculty in Residence on Northwestern’s campus, mentoring students via their residential experience. When not at Northwestern, Melissa has been a Resident Vocal Consultant for LYRIC UNLIMITED (a division of the Lyric Opera of Chicago), and teaches for the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University. She has been guest faculty for Broadway Evolved, Artsbridge, Broadway Breakthru, IHSTA, ArtsLink and NATS. She has also taught countless masterclasses around the world. Highlights include: co-teaching a live-streamed, sold out masterclass with world renowned opera legend Renee Fleming and recent talks at schools and conferences in  San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, Ithaca, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Madison, South Bend, Goshen, Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago, Birmingham, Palo Alto, Xi’an, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Foster has consulted for the companies of numerous National Tours, including Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, and A Bronx Tale, and has recently enjoyed consulting for pop/rock projects like working with the NPR Tiny Desk series and for the multi-Grammy winning band Coldplay. Her book, “Don’t Sweat the Technique; A Performers Guide to Hip-Hop and Rap” (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers) was released in November 2023. Foster currently lives in Evanston, IL, with her husband Matt Boresi, their daughter Vivian, and their 2 adorable bunnies, Cinna and Rue.

Kara Lindsay / Acting

Broadway: Wicked (Glinda), Beautiful (Cynthia Weil), Newsies (Katherine Plumber) Original Cast/ Fathom Events Film. NYCity Center: Once Upon a Mattress (Winnifred Standby for Sutton Foster). National Tour: Wicked (Glinda), Little House on the Prairie (originated Laura). Paper Mill Playhouse: Newsies, Jolly Holiday, Little House…Prairie. Sacramento Music Circus: Singin in the Rain (Kathy Selden). NCT: Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins).Kansas City Starlight: Cinderella (Cinderella). Kansas City Rep: Cabaret (Sally Bowles). 5th Avenue: Lone Star Love (Miss Ann Page). Geva: A Christmas Carol(Belle). TV: Murphy Brown”ABC’s “Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong”ABC’s “The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II”, Tony Awards, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. BFA Carnegie Mellon University. Huge thanks and LOVE to my friends, family, Stewart Talent/ Industry Entertainment. @karalindsay1

Brittainy Barattia / Casting

Brittainy joined the Gray Talent Group as an Associate Agent in July of 2015. She now heads up the Chicago tv/film/commercial/VO departments.  After earning degrees in Theatre Arts and Psychology from the University of Iowa, she began her career in theatre, working in the fields of fundraising and production and stage management. In tandem with her work in the field of performing arts, Brittainy worked in the aviation industry, during which time she learned that there truly is no place like sweet home Chicago. Brittainy is delighted to be part of the performing arts community and is thrilled to help showcase the amazing talents of the actors at Gray Talent Group.


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