Paducah teen Zachary Farmer dreams of performing on Broadway one day and wants to get better in his storytelling.
Farmer, 17, rehearsed on stage at the Carson Center Wednesday to musical numbers from "All Shook Up," with instruction from Broadway performer David Rossetti, who guided him and a group of his peers through different steps. Rossetti showed students the choreography and gave advice along the way as they performed Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" together.
"It's just amazing," Farmer said. "Working with such phenomenal people, hanging out with so much talent in one room -- there are no words for how valuable that is."
The exercise was part of a five-day camp by New York-based Broadway Workshop, which returned to the Carson Center for the eighth year this week to educate youth ages 9-18 on singing, dancing and acting techniques. Students are split up into two groups and their instruction comes from a small group of performers who do it at the highest level, whether they perform in national tours of "Jersey Boys" or act on Broadway.
"I've done this camp … since I was really young and coming back every year and doing great performances, learning some difficult music, working with my friends on something that we all enjoy is really awesome," Farmer said.
Farmer said he loves storytelling and theater combines his love for singing, acting and dancing into "one big thing" called musical theater. He performs in local productions and wants to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater in college.
"It's just something that I want to keep getting better at, and this is helping me a lot," he said.
Farmer said the Broadway Workshop teachers have given "so much good advice." The students have Q&A sessions, learn about the audition process in New York and he was helped with his monologues and songs. First-timer Alyssa Earnhart, 16, of Anna, Illinois, also practiced on stage Wednesday and shared that she joined the workshop after hearing about it from a friend who went years ago. She's learned how to improv better and picked up some more acting tips.
"I think my favorite part about doing anything on stage is the emotion you get from the people watching," she said.
Broadway Workshop students, including Farmer and Earnhart, are working toward a performance Friday that workshop director Marc Tumminelli describes as a revue-style show, featuring musical numbers from "All Shook Up," "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," "Mean Girls" and "The Spongebob Musical." They are directed by Broadway performers.
It caps off an intense five days of acting classes, audition workshops and more.
"They do a lot in the five days," Tumminelli said. "It's not all about the show. It's about giving them this full-circle experience and for them, these kids, they want it so badly. They want to have access and they want to get on stage and they are so excited to be here."
They will perform 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Carson Center. It's free and open to the public, said Josh Morehead, director of education and community outreach for the Carson Center. The performance will last about 30 minutes.
Visit thecarsoncenter.org for more information on other summer opportunities available to the community.