Spring Break Takes Students on Learning, Service Trips

From Broadway to Chinatown to Harlem and the nation’s capital, Nebraska Wesleyan students and faculty are foregoing rest and relaxation for special opportunities to learn and serve during spring break.

Nebraska Wesleyan’s Theatre Department is in New York City to perform a student showcase and participate in networking and workshops with professionals. Thirty students and four faculty members made the trip.

“We called on friends and alumni in the business out in New York to assist with the workshops,” said Joan Korte, associate professor of theatre. “And they’re bringing their friends – actors, choreographers, agents.”

The Theatre Department previously participated in a workshop with Ron LaRosa, a casting director for Disney and musical director for the successful Broadway show The Drowsy Chaperone. This time around students and faculty will have the opportunity to work with Lindsay Levine, who works for a casting directing office for famous shows such as Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, Aladdin, Jersey Boys, and The Phantom of the Opera.

“Professors Jack Parkhurst, Dan Hays, and Eric Little have invited quite a few of their friends who are big name people in the business to come not only to watch us in the showcase, but for the workshop,” said junior acting major Megan Ghorashy. “Just having these connections with these professionals will help us in our future because by knowing them will let us have one big foot in the door above others who come to New York knowing no one.”

Students are looking forward to the professional feedback and experience involved in the showcase performance and workshops.

“No matter what is said, whatever they say will only make us stronger actors and create even better performances,” said Ghorashy.

The showcase will feature scenes, songs, duets, and group numbers all performed by Nebraska Wesleyan theatre students.

“This is an experience where all of us are doing pieces that we feel are our strongest and show off our talents. Just getting to perform for a lot of people in the business is super exciting,” she said.

A session about living and working in New York will be particularly helpful for the NWU students who plan to move to New York City after earning their theatre degrees, she said.

Students like Ghorashy are also looking forward to the opportunity to see Broadway shows. The group will see Spiderman the Musical, and individually various students and faculty will see newly opening shows such as Cinderella, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Hands on a Hardbody.

“Seeing the shows and being in New York itself just causes anyone with a passion to feel inspired,” Ghorashy said.

Nebraska Wesleyan’s Alumni Office will host New York City area alumni during the trip. Alumni have been invited to attend the theatre showcase and a reception following.

Beyond the Big Apple, eight other NWU students, two faculty and a pastor traveled to Washington, D.C. to study the intersection of faith and politics.

“We chose Washington D.C. because it seemed like an exciting place to explore this topic after this past year’s presidential elections,” said campus minister Mara Bailey. “Faith played an important role in all sides of the election, and will continue to do so.”

The group is touring famous museums and landmarks as well as meeting with Sojourners, a progressive Christian voice in politics, and the Faith and Politics Institute.

“Daily reflection will encourage participants to think about how they see the values of faith affecting how politics get played out on a daily basis in our nation’s capital, and also help them to debrief the things they are experiencing,” said Bailey.

A service project with Street Sense, a newspaper that spreads awareness about homelessness issues in D.C. and helps homeless individuals work their way out of poverty will also be part of the experience.

Yet another group of 10 students is in New York City as part of NWU’s New York Urban Cultural Immersion Trip. The group is exploring various neighborhoods of the city such as the Lower East Side, Harlem, and Chinatown. They are also participating in a service project with Interoccupy of NYC, helping in cleanup efforts left from the devastating Super Storm Sandy.

Nebraska Wesleyan University students and faculty are on spring break March 16-24.

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