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Skylight Music Theatre Announces Free Online Musical Theatre Classes

for High School Students, College Level and Professionals
Taught by Michael Unger, Ryan Cappleman and Amanda Marquardt

Milwaukee, Wis. (June 4, 2020) — Skylight Music Theatre announced the launch of free online musical theatre classes for high school students, college students, and professionals.

The online classes include Dance for Musical Theater with choreographer and performer Ryan Cappleman, (June 8); The Nerve-Proof Musical Theatre Audition Workshop with Skylight Artistic Director Michael Unger, (Mondays and Thursdays, June 4, June 8, June 11 and June 15); and 1960s Novelty Dances for Musical Theatre, a groovy, 1960’s dance class with choreographer Amanda Marquardt on Wednesday, June 10, inspired by an upcoming, soon-to-be-announced virtual music theatre production. The Nerve-Proof Musical Theatre Audition Workshop will take place on Zoom. All dance classes will be offered online through Facebook Live via Skylight’s Facebook page.

The Dance for Musical Theatre class will emphasize learning choreography from a hit musical. Classes will focus on picking up and memorizing choreography quickly and efficiently while implementing character and storytelling ideas. Each session will feature different choreography and be structured with a brief stretch, warm up, cardio activity, core strengthening, technical exercises to improve balance and pirouettes. This class will have no attendance limit and will take place on Skylight Music Theatre’s Facebook live on Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. (central).

The Nerve-Proof Musical Theatre Audition Workshop with Michael Unger is intended to keep performers focused on the most important aspect of their audition: showcasing their individual personality and talent.

“This workshop is the perfect place to work on new musical audition material, to dust off an old piece or to prepare for college/grad school auditions,” said Unger. “We will treat each song as a three-act play and find connections between the material and the individual performer in a creative, engaging and nurturing way.” Classes on Thursday nights will be from 7-9 p.m. (central) and will be offered to high school students. Classes on Monday nights will be from 8-10 p.m. (central) and will be offered to college students, graduates, and musical theatre professionals.

Unger will work with 6-8 students per two-hour class, however, an unlimited number of students can audit the class to observe and learn about concepts, techniques and tools that performers can apply to any song, scene, audition, etc. Accompaniment must be supplied by the individual singers with Karaoke-type tracks – or singers will work a capella.

Unger’s previous work with students in New York includes some who have gone on to perform on Broadway in such shows as Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Newsies, Aladdin, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hairspray, and many opera companies around the country.

The Nerve-Proof Musical Theatre Audition Workshops will take place on Zoom with a link sent out by email just prior to the class to those who have registered on Skylight’s website at these links:
For the high school level class use this form: https://bit.ly/2Mpfmg4
For the college level/professional class use this form: https://bit.ly/3gNCpPF

Amanda Marquardt, Skylight Education Manager and choreographer for a soon to be announced virtual music theatre production set in the British Invasion-inspired 60’s, will lead this free class called 1960s Novelty Dances for Musical Theatre. Dance along and do The Twist, The Jerk, The Watusi, and more of the 1960’s novelty dances to be featured in the musical. All levels of dancers are encouraged to participate. This class will have no attendance limit and will take place on Skylight Music Theatre’s Facebook Live on Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. (central).

About Ryan Cappleman

Ryan Cappleman is a performer, choreographer, musician and teaching artist from the Milwaukee area. Previous Skylight roles include Woof in Hair, Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Pooh-Bah in The Hot Mikado and Dancer in Carmina Burana. His choreography has earned him three Footlights Awards on professional stages, and numerous Jerry Awards, celebrating excellence in high school level musical theatre. Ryan has been a professional pianist for most of his life, working as a music director, accompanist, recording artist and arranger. As a teaching artist, he has worked with performers all around the country including at Skylight, Danceworks, First Stage, the Wisconsin Dance Council, the Minnesota Conservatory of the Arts, the Virginia State Thespian Conference and many high schools.

About Michael Unger

Michael Unger joined the Skylight team as Artistic Director in 2019. Michael is also the Producing Artistic Director of NewArts in Newtown, CT, which he started with a local father in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. For NewArts he has directed a dozen large-scale musicals involving over 550 local children. He was until recently the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education for Off-Broadway’s York Theatre Company. Michael has directed many benefit concerts, including for the Sandy Hook, CT and Parkland, FL communities. Selected world premieres include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Caligula and A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is featured in the award-winning documentary film, Midsummer in Newtown. Other directing credits include McCarter Theatre, 59E59, Paramount, W.H.A.T., Signature, Cape Playhouse, Deaf West and The MUNY. He has directed fifteen operas, two of which are available on DVD.

About Amanda Marquardt

Amanda Marquardt is Skylight Music Theatre’s Education Manager and is also a seasoned theatrical producer, director and choreographer. Prior to joining Skylight’s team in 2018 she spent six years as the resident choreographer and teaching artist for Wauwatosa East High Schools award-winning theatre program. Prior to returning to her hometown of Milwaukee, she spent over a decade in Los Angeles running her own theatre space in the heart of Hollywood, producing and directing theatrical productions varying from classical Shakespeare to Neo-Vaudeville. Her varied experience as a choreographer has ranged from full-scale, large cast musicals to carefully curated cabarets.

About Skylight Music Theatre

Skylight Music Theatre celebrates its 60th anniversary during the 2019-2020 season. Skylight’s mission since 1959: To bring the full spectrum of music theatre works to a wide and diverse audience in celebration of the musical and theatrical arts and their reflection of the human condition. Skylight presents productions “Skylight Style” – bringing fresh approaches or interesting twists to music theatre works, creating meaningful connections, not only between the characters on stage but with the audience as well. The beautiful, intimate Cabot Theatre allows audiences to feel close to the powerful emotions on stage.